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10 Upgrades for Your Rusty Old Grill Accessories

Three images: The left image is of three salmon filets on a cedar plank by Wood Fire Grilling Co. The middle image is of someone pouring hot coals from a Weber chimney starter into a charcoal grill and the right image is of a Kaluns wood chip smoker on a grill.
Wood Fire Grilling Co./Weber/Kaluns

Grilling season is upon us! So, it’s time to pull out that old firebox and get it ready for a summer full of greasy burgers and flame-kissed steaks cooked your way. First, though, you’ll want to inspect all your grilling tools and accessories.

From grimy cleaning brushes to flaking grill grates, it’s important to check (and, sometimes, replace) all the accessories you use to create those memorable meals. We’ll show you what to look for, and how to know when it’s time to replace a tool. We’ve also included some reliable replacements for anything you have to pitch.

Alpha Grilling Tools

Two side by side images: The left image is of an Alpha Grillers BBQ tool set and the right image is of someone using the grill fork to hold a new york strip steak.
Alpha Grillers

A home griller is only as good as their tools, and without them, well, you’ll burn your fingers, to say the least. Over time, grilling utensils can get pretty greasy and grimy and sometimes even rust if left outside and not properly cleaned. So whether your wood-handled utensils are started to wear down and splinter or those tongs don’t align right anymore, it’s time to sub them out.

The heavy-duty Alpha grillers BBQ tools are the perfect set that’ll last you several seasons. It features a spatula with one serrated edge, lockable tongs, a grill fork, and basting brush. The ergonomically gripped handles mean comfort for the chef, and all tools are dishwasher safe, too.

Bristle-Free Cleaning Brush

Two side by side images: the left image is of the Grillart logo surrounded by different grilling ingredients and the right image is of a Grillart bristle-free cleaning brush near a pamphlet.

Over time, cleaning brushes begin to wear and break down and sometimes become hazardous for anyone eating off the grill. You see, the bristles from the brush will sometimes break off and wind up in your food and then into your mouth and throat. This can be extremely painful and dangerous.

So if you have an ancient bristle brush with loose or rusty bristles, it’s definitely time to replace it with a bristle-free cleaning brush. This Grillart brush and scraper is designed as a safe alternative to bristle brushes. For best results, preheat the grill and dip the brush in water before each swipe.

Universal Grill Cover

A man placing a Grillman grill cover over his grill, and a smiling woman watching near by.

Grill covers extend the life of your grill and keep it looking young and fresh year after year. So if your 10-year-old cover is weather-worn, has holes, or you don’t own a cover at all, it’s time to get yourself one. We have the Gillman Premium cover and love it!

The heavy-duty Gillman is an excellent option as it fits most grills and uses a universal design. Just be sure to measure your grill before selecting the size. Measure the width from the farthest end of each side, the depth from the front to the back of the grill, and the height from the ground up to the highest point.

Rapidfire Chimney Starter

Two images: The left image is of someone pouring hot coals out of a Weber chimney starter and the right image is of the chimney starter smoking hot and ready to pour into the charcoal grill.

If you are an avid charcoal griller, then you might already know about chimney starters, and if you don’t, you need one. This gadget pretty much works to start your grill without using a stinky lighter fluid that will leave your food tasting like chemicals.

The Weber Rapidfire chimney starter features an ergonomic handle and durable construction so that you can use it for years of grilling. From lighting the coals with lighter cubes to safely pouring out the hot coals, you’ll love this easy-to-use product.

New Grill Grates

Various meats roasting on Weber grill grates.

If your grill grates start to rust or chip away, this can significantly impact the flavor of your food. Not to mention this makes it harder to clean the grates after each use.

If you’ve soaked and scrubbed your grates, but you can’t manage to get them clean, then it’s time for a new set of grates. You can choose from cast iron, porcelain-coated, or steel options. They each have their benefits and downsides and varying costs too.

Cast-iron grates are great as they hold their heat well and last the longest if taken care of. So if you are known for leaving your grill out and open in the rain or don’t clean your grates after each use, this may not be the best choice.

But if you are an avid griller and don’t mind the extra work that goes into maintaining those grates, we recommend going with cast iron. Steel is a much cheaper option, but they tend to chip, causing food to stick to them over time. Porcelain-enameled grates are nice at first, but they’ll also begin to chip and eventually rust.

When searching for new grates (especially on Amazon), be sure to include your grill’s make and model number, so the exact grates you need will appear. We’ve included a link below to the traditional porcelain-enameled, cast-iron kind.

Alternative Thermometer

Two side by side images displaying a Rubbermaid grill thermometer. The left image is of the thermometer in an oven and the right image is of a male grilling burgers, with the thermometer displayed on the warming tray.

Having an alternative grill thermometer is always a wise choice if you are hoping for accuracy. Plus, the hood-mounted grill thermometers are pretty wonky as they don’t actually measure the cooking surface temperature unless the grill is shut for long periods of time.

So whether your dial just isn’t working anymore or you want a little more accuracy, the Rubbermaid thermometer is an excellent option. It’s designed for ovens and grills alike and made with durable stainless-steel construction for long-lasting use. Plus, it’s super inexpensive.

Stainless-Steel Skewers

Two side by side images displaying Lanney stainless steel kabob skewers.

If you’re still using wood-splintering shish kebob sticks, it’s time to make some changes, people. These reusable barbecue skewers are perfect for kebobing anything. They’re perfect for shrimp, chicken, steak, veggies, and more.

The flat blade and angled tip means you won’t have to worry about your cubed foods spinning when you flip the sticks, either.

Universal Stainless-Steel Smoker Box

 A Kaluns smoker box full in action on a grill smoking with sausage and other ingredients nearby.

If you want that delicious smokey taste, but don’t yet own a smoker, try a smoker box! It’s an inexpensive way to achieve that delicious flavor you’re chasing. You just place the box under the grates, and you’ll have an aromatic, savory meal in no time.

If you already have a smoker box, but it’s begun to warp, this durable stainless-steel model will get the job done. Then, all you’ll need is some smoking chips.

New Cedar Planks

Two images: The left image is of three salmon filets sitting on top of a plank on a grill and the right image is of grilled potatoes sitting on a plank by Wood Fire Grilling Co.
Wood Fire Grilling Co.

After one or two uses, grilling planks won’t quite cut it anymore. Even if they’re in good shape, they’ll still take on the flavor of whatever you grilled last time. So unless you want your chicken tasting like salmon, we always suggest investing in new planks.

You can choose from different flavors like alder, maple, or cedar, so you know just what your delicious meals will taste like. These fragrant planks offer gourmet quality you’ll enjoy all summer.

Silicone Basting Brushes

Two RWM basting brushes surrounded by pincher bowls full of olives, with a skillet of sausage.

There are plenty of basting options in the grilling world. From boar bristles and silicone, to nylon and Teflon (and mops), it’s hard to know exactly which is best.

If you’re still using that old pastry brush for barbecue sauces and teriyaki glazes, we urge you to switch to a silicone basting brush, as they’re designed to withstand high heat. This set from RWM will do the trick. The removable brush heads are even dishwasher safe!

Two silicone brush heads in bright orange are also included, so you can keep a set in the kitchen and never intermingle those flavors.

Lots of folks spend their summertime grilling and sharing the delicious results. This year, it might be time to upgrade those old tools, so you can get to enjoying the delicious results even sooner!

Emilee Unterkoefler Emilee Unterkoefler
Emilee Unterkoefler is a freelance food writer, hiking enthusiast, and mama with over ten years of experience working in the food industry. Read Full Bio »
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