Give the gift of good taste to the champs of propane and charcoal.
Picture your favorite grill master — tongs in hand, bent over a smoking grate, flipping and turning burgers, sausages, and veggies. Now ask yourself, “What can I add to this experience?”
Apart from the obvious answers like “taste tester” and “bringer of beer,” there are plenty of ways a gift-giver can show outdoor cooks that they care.
But this can be a difficult space to navigate. Many brands claim to cater to grilling enthusiasts, though often their products will fray, rust, or go stale with only a handful of uses.
We’re here to help you avoid these well-meaning debacles. Cooking outdoors is usually an event, right? Below you’ll find nine items, each of which brings a little extra flavor to the party.
The Tiers of Gift Giving
We begin with Level One. Do you have an acquaintance or coworker who always winds up grilling at gatherings or company functions? If you’ve been tasked with coming up with a gift for such an individual, these first-tier options provide a quality product at an accessible price.
Next is Level Two, where we move from “acquaintance” to “longtime friend.” These are slightly more expensive picks, purchased as a thoughtful thank-you to an individual who’s fed you on multiple occasions.
Level Three is reserved for the cook who lights up your life as well as their grill. Each of these comes with a message: “I care about your health, comfort, and the tools you use to feed me. Now, go make something delicious.”
Gift Guide for Grillers
Chances are that your gifting target already has a favorite grill. But what about a spice pack or a shiny new pan to upgrade their experience?
Here are three ideas that any grill master will be eager to try out.
Level One: Penzeys Spices Grill & Broil Mini Gift Box
It’s hard to go wrong with spices. Or at least, that’s what we used to believe. After experiencing the magic of Penzeys, it seems that not all blends are created equal. This company has a loyal following in the Midwest, and its grill rubs live up to the hype.
Per the maker’s online store, the Grill and Broil Mini Gift Box ($18) includes a “¼ cup jar each of our Cajun Seasoning, BBQ 3000, Galena Street Rub and our Penzeys Seasoned Salt.” This is just one of the many sets available on their website, which also carries a wide variety of recipes.
Level Two: Grillaholics Heavy Duty Grill Basket
From peppers to carrots to cauliflower, veggies are great on the grill. But unlike thick slabs of meat, these healthier options have a tendency to slip between the grates.
This is where a grill basket comes in. The Grillaholics version ($23) shown here is composed of heavy-duty stainless steel, with holes large enough to admit heat and smoke while keeping your vegetables in.
While there are cheaper options out there, Grillaholics earns its higher price tag. The product’s reinforced corners and curved handles provide thoughtful touches, but our favorite aspect is that this basket is dishwasher-safe. This eliminates a great deal of cleanup time, allowing you to give the gifts of convenience and deliciousness, all in one.
Level Three: Lodge 12-inch Carbon Steel Skillet
We know, cast iron is great. But have you tried carbon steel yet? These pans ($45) are almost as versatile as your grandma’s skillet, but much lighter and with many of the same characteristics.
Both can be seasoned to a state of near-non-stickiness, and their affordable nature makes them perfect for rugged, outdoor use.
But here’s the kicker: Carbon steel takes heat much more quickly than cast iron. This makes it perfect for grilling, especially over a time-sensitive medium like charcoal.
And like your other Lodge products, this skillet should last for years to come.
Most folks love the smell of the grill: the searing meat, the woody aroma of charcoal, and the clouds of delicious smoke.
But if you’re not timing your burgers, those scents can quickly turn from pleasant to acrid. Either way, your clothes are definitely going to carry the smell.
Here are a few ideas to help a grill master maintain not only their rhythm but also their wardrobe and skin.
Level One: Casio “Royale” Watch
If you know me, you knew I was going to sneak a wristwatch in here somewhere. And for grilling applications, it’s hard to go wrong with the Casio “Royale” ($20).
This particular model (the AE-1200WH-1AVCF) features resin construction, a mineral dial, and a 39.5mm dial chassis that provides a compact, comfortable ride.
This Casio includes an impressive array of features. No longer will grill masters be forced to smudge up their phones, setting a timer with greasy fingers. The Royale includes a stopwatch and five alarms, in addition to its countdown timer.
And while dunking your phone in with the dishes is usually a bad idea, this watch features a 100m water-resistance rating. Yes, you could opt for an apron timer. But does it have a backlight or a cool little world map on its face? Nope! The Royale is simply more fun.
Level Two: BBQ Butler Grill Apron
Just because we poked fun at the timer doesn’t mean we discount the apron. Grilling can be a messy business, and what better way to keep yourself and your outerwear clean? True, you could go with a cheaper option with a goofy saying. But when it comes to serious cooking, it pays to wear a serious apron.
This example from BBQ Butler ($60) is just the ticket. Its premium leather and canvas house six pockets, along with a towel holder and adjustable straps. There’s plenty of space to tote your phone, your tongs, and other tools of the trade while protecting your favorite T-shirt.
Level Three: Simms Bugstopper Hoodie
Speaking of shirts, here’s a thought: One of the key appeals of grilling is that it (usually) takes place outdoors. But you know who else likes warmth and the smell of food? Bugs, especially the biting and stinging kind.
In the war against insects, the Simms Bugstopper Hoodie ($85) has you literally (and figuratively) covered. Its 100% polyester COR3 fabric has been treated with Insect Shield, a permethrin compound that will last through dozens of washes.
And while a hoodie may seem an odd choice for the heat of the grill, we’ve found the Bugstopper to be lightweight and breathable enough for a summer day. It’s soft, comfortable, and a perfect addition to your outdoor wardrobe.
Still stumped? If your grill master already has their apparel and cookware dialed in, then an accessory might be a solid bet. Whether it’s a speaker to keep them company, a thermometer to check the meat, or a knife for carving up chicken, each of these items should provide years of outdoor use.
Level One: Morakniv Craftline Pro S Fixed-Blade Knife
Whether slicing through grilled veggies or thick steaks, a keen edge and thin blade stock are key. And while Mora is known mainly for its bushcraft knives, the Craftline Pro lineup ($17) is a wonderful choice for grill-side food prep.
Its 3.58-inch blade is just right for pairing tasks, and the grippy handle and finger guard will keep your hands safe. Simply put, you’re not going to get a more versatile, well-made knife for the price.
And yet, there are cheaper versions in Mora’s lineup, with carbon steel in place of stainless. Don’t get us wrong — carbon blades can be great for food prep. But if you’re gifting one of these items, we’d opt for the lower maintenance and rust resistance the stainless model affords.
Level Two: Anker SoundCore 2 Portable Bluetooth Speaker
Sometimes, it’s nice to enjoy the sizzle of charcoal and meat. But other times, you want some tunes to liven things up.
Bluetooth speakers are a perfect addition to the party, and few companies produce better models than Anker. This upgraded SoundCore 2 ($40) features 12W of stereo sound, plus an IPX7 waterproof rating. Combined with a 24-hour battery, it has all the charge you need to grill all day (and all night!), even in the pouring rain.
There are newer models available, but I picked the SoundCore 2 for its proven tech and reasonable price. There are four colors available, and the product boasts a 4.7/5 rating over 90,000-plus reviews on Amazon.
Level Three: Thermapen ONE Digital Thermometer
As a cook, one of the worst feelings you can get is making yourself sick with your food. Wanna know what’s worse? Saddling your friends and family with an inadvertent case of food poisoning. And when you’re straddling the line between “rare” and “underdone,” the degree of your meat is everything.
Forget the finger test. Even pro chefs use the Thermapen ONE ($99), with its swivel thermometer and lightning-fast readings. Per the company’s website, the ONE features an “improved accuracy spec of ± 0.5°F (± 0.3°C),” eliminating guesswork when it comes to internal temps.
The company offers an entire range of BBQ equipment, but its headline thermometer is the most popular star.
Want even more? Check out our guide to the Best Portable Grills!