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Barbecue Accessories & Supplies

Originally posted: 08/01/2001
Last updated: 04/21/2014

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Many people have asked me for a list of items that a new Weber Smokey Mountain Cooker owner needs to get started. In addition to the obvious things like charcoal and smoke wood, here are the items that I think are essential, followed by some optional ones.

Essential Items

Essential barbecue tools

  1. Water Container: You'll need a container to fill and replenish the cooker's water pan. You've probably already got something suitable around the house. Shown here are a 1-gallon milk jug, a 64-ounce ketchup bottle, a 2-liter soda bottle, and a wine bottle. A garden watering can with spout also works well.
  2. Barbecue Gloves: Use heavy leather barbecue or welder's gloves when working with hot cooker parts or hot coals. Choose fingered gloves over mitten-style for greater dexterity.
  3. Charcoal Tongs: For spreading hot coals in the charcoal chamber and adding fuel or wood chunks through the access door. A long handle is a must.
  4. Spray Bottle: For basting meat during the cooking process. Commonly used for spraying apple juice as a baste. A good quality bottle from the hardware store will last many years.
  5. Fire Extinguisher: Always have a fire extinguisher within easy reach, and have it inspected annually.
  6. Chimney Starter: There is none better than the Weber chimney. Holds 6 pounds of Kingsford, is rust resistant, and has a secondary metal handle for stability. See How To Use A Chimney Starter for details.
  7. Cooker Thermometer: Weber Bullets built before 2009 have no built-in thermometer, so you'll need to add one. Shown here is a Taylor candy thermometer with a 5-1/2" stem—just stick it through the lid vent. Optionally, you can mount a permanent thermometer in the lid. See Measuring Temperature In The WSM for details.
  8. Instant-Read Thermometer: For taking quick internal temp readings in the kitchen or at the cooker. Shown here is the ThermoWorks Thermapen, the best unit on the market. See Measuring Temperature In The WSM for details.
  9. Probe Thermometer: A probe thermometer can be used to measure internal meat temperature during the cooking process, or the cooker temperature at the top or bottom grate. A block of wood with a hole drilled through keeps the probe off the grate, as shown in the photo. See Measuring Temperature In The WSM for details.
  10. Basting Brush: For saucing meat toward the end of cooking. Buy a good quality brush with a long handle.
  11. Cleaning Brush: A palmyra brush (the same material used in push brooms) works great for brushing out the interior of the WSM during cleanup.

Optional Items

Here are some non-essential items that I've found very useful. Consider adding these to your collection as you gain experience with your cooker.

  • Hot Meat Handling Gloves: Neoprene gloves (available at hardware stores and home centers) are heat and chemical resistant and clean up easily. Ideal for handling large cuts of meat like brisket, pork butt, ribs, and whole chicken. For pulling pork, lightweight cotton gloves covered with latex gloves work great.
  • Food Tongs: For handling small- to medium-sized pieces of meat. Buy a high-quality pair with scalloped ends and long, spring-loaded, locking handles. I like Edlund brand 16" tongs, made in the USA.
  • Cotton Mop: For basting meat during the cooking process. A must for basting liquids that won't pass through a spray bottle. Mops are available at grocery stores, gourmet kitchen stores, and restaurant supply stores. May be cleaned and reused, but cheap enough to use once and throw away.
  • Rib Racks: To increase rib cooking capacity. Weber makes a good rib rack.
  • Drip Pan: An undercar oil drip pan does a great job of protecting a patio or deck from drips coming off the cooker. Rust-resistant and easily cleaned, these pans are large enough to accommodate the WSM with room leftover to hold the lid when removed and a charcoal chimney. Available at most auto supply stores.
  • Butane Lighter: The long reach and continuous flame make lighting a chimney starter very easy.
  • Remote Probe Thermometer: A remote probe thermometer connects to a transmitter that sends temperature readings to a display unit inside the house. Dual probe models can measure both meat and cooker temperature. See Measuring Temperature In The WSM for details.
  • Vacuum Sealer: A Foodsaver vacuum sealer extends the life of leftover barbecue in the refrigerator or freezer. Portion meat into small bags for convenient barbecue anytime.
  • Ice Chest: Keep hot barbecue ready for serving for hours in an empty cooler. See Holding, Storing & Reheating Barbecued Meats for details.
  • Poultry/Kitchen Shears: Makes cutting the backbone out of a chicken easy, and it feels safer, too. Nice for cutting away fat and scrappy meat.
  • Cimeter & Serrated Knives: The cimeter is my knife of choice for trimming briskets prior to cooking; a good serrated knife does the trick for slicing after cooking. I like Forschner Brand, made by Victorinox—the Swiss Army Knife company. They're restaurant-grade knives at low prices.
  • Extra-Large Plastic Cutting Board: You'll appreciate a really big work surface when dealing with huge briskets and pork butts. Available at restaurant supply stores.
  • Large Cookie Sheets: A pan with a rim helps catch extra rub during application to meat. Heavy-duty aluminum models are a good value and allow you to carry a 12-pound brisket to and from the cooker with confidence.
  • Shakers: Pizza cheese shakers work well for all kinds of rub, or reuse shakers from store-bought seasonings.
  • Funnel: Neatly pour apple juice into a spray bottle or homemade rub into a shaker.
  • Bamboo Skewers: For rolling ribs to increase rib cooking capacity. Cheap and disposable. See Pork Rib Preparation for details.
  • Disposable Foil Pans: For cooking beans, meatloaf, nuts, or other items in the smoker that require a shallow or deep pan. Rinse after use and recycle.
  • Disposable Food Service Gloves: A sanitary way of handling meat during preparation, carving and serving. Reduces the need for repetitive hand washing. Essential when working with hot items like chili peppers. Tight-fitting latex gloves are best for work that requires dexterity (e.g. meat cutting). Otherwise, loose-fitting plastic gloves are fine for other food handling tasks and cost less, too.

Competition Checklist

If you want to try your hand at competition barbecue, you'll need a lot more than what's listed here. One of the best competition checklists I know of is available for download at the Smokin' Guns BBQ website.

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