Cooking Tips

A Grab-and-Go Kit Will Make Grilling So Much Easier

With a little preparation, grilling will become much more convenient.

Published July 11, 2022.

At the test kitchen, where we have more than 40 cooks developing grill recipes, we have a grilling garage stocked with all the equipment we need. It’s glorious to have everything stashed in one spot. Seeing the convenience of this strategy inspired me to make a grilling box for my own backyard. 

Since I don’t have a garage—and am not providing grilling gear for 40 people—I stock a large storage bin and keep it in my basement alongside my supply of charcoal and a fire extinguisher. 

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When I’m ready to grill, I just grab the whole kit and bring it outside.

Here’s What’s Stashed Inside

  • Chimney starter: Because lighter fluid—and even charcoal pretreated with lighter fluid—can give food an off-flavor (and make it taste like petroleum), using a chimney starter is the best way to evenly light charcoal. 
  • Newspaper (or other paper) for lighting charcoal
  • Lighter or matches
  • Grilling gloves (or dish towels you don’t mind getting dirty): You need to protect your hands and arms!
  • Aluminum foil: I use this to make foil packets for wood chips, wrap brisket and other big meat cuts while smoking, and to tent meat while resting.
  • Grill brush: This is to clean the grates before and after cooking.  
  • Paper towels: Paper towels always come in handy, but they’re my go-to when oiling grill grates to avoid sticking. I’ll wad up a few towels, dip the wad in vegetable oil, and use long grill tongs to evenly brush the grates.
  • Grill tongs: You need to be able to pick up or turn food without getting your hands too close to the hot fire. 
  • Spatula: A good spatula for grilling should not be too heavy or bulky to comfortably flip burgers. It should also have a long handle.
  • Wood chips and/or wood chunks: It’s fun to play with different flavors of wood chips and chunks, but if you’re starting out, hickory is a safe bet. It’s strong but neutral and what we develop with most of the time in the test kitchen.
  • Disposable pans: Many of our recipes call for a water pan in a grill to even out the heat and create a moist cooking environment. If you’re using charcoal frequently, stock up on 13 by 9-inch pans. If most of your barbecuing will be done on a gas grill, buy a couple disposable aluminum pie plates.
  • Vegetable oil
  • Salt
  • Pepper

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