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11 BBQ Party Essentials That’ll Take the Hassle out of Hosting

Watch the video for genius ways to make your BBQ better using stuff you already have laying around the house

I’ll be honest with you—grilling is not a strong suit of mine. While I love to host parties and cook for people, grilling on a BBQ is best left to my husband. Luckily, we are a party-throwing dream team. I get to plan the fun parts of the party (menu, cocktails, music), and he “gets” to grill the entrees and some side dishes. It’s a match made in heaven. But while I like to put thought into the details of a gathering, I also like to keep the party execution as hassle free as possible. These BBQ party essentials will help you throw a fun summer barbecue and enjoy it too. 

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So grab your barbecue tools and fire up that grill.

woven wood trays

Inevitably, I have to make several trips to the kitchen during a BBQ party. Having a few different sized trays help us bring items into and out of the house way more efficiently than if we try to stack things up in our arms. (I drop a lot less things too, which is a bonus.)  Not only do these work for bringing out the items that are about to go on the grill, but you can also use them to serve drinks or use them as tables if needed.  Buy it: Woven Rattan Trays from West Elm, $47

professional barbecue grill cleaner

The Grill Daddy Pro is a really great way to get your grill prepped before your guests arrive. The handle is a reservoir that you can fill with water that turns to steam with the heat of the BBQ. The long handle ensures you won’t get too close to the fire, and the brush does all the hard work for you. Cleaning the grill takes only a few minutes with this handy tool. Buy it: The Grill Daddy Pro, $24

Marinade your meats and vegetables easily with this collapsible marinade tray!

Marinating meats can be tricky. But this Flip & Flavor tray makes it easy. Not only is it collapsible, which is great for storing in between uses, but it also locks tight to allow you to flip it over without causing a huge mess. With this you don’t dirty any extra utensils for meat turning, which has a way of getting super messy. Is it just me or does the meat always slip off the fork, fall back into the marinade, and explode everywhere? This allows you to simply flip the tray over so the flavor penetrates both sides with ease. Buy it: Flip & Flavor from Bed Bath and Beyond, $13

red burger press

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Surprise your guests with stuffed burgers. This simple tool lets you make homemade patties that you can fill with all kinds of amazing ingredients. No longer will you have to run to the store to pick up your gourmet patties. With this you can make them right in your kitchen. It’s simple to use, and it lets you be creative with your menu. Buy it: Stuff-a-Burger Press from Sur la Table, $17

baked potato grill cooker 

This cool vegetable rack makes cooking potatoes on the grill really easy. The preheated tool gets the potato cooking from the inside out and gets them done faster. Because it is so small, it doesn’t take up much surface area on the barbecue, so you can cook a side dish alongside your entree. Buy it: Rösle BBQ Potato Rack from Sur la Table, $20

jalapenos vegetable grill rack

Stuffed peppers are a fun addition to a BBQ party menu. With a little advance prep work, this delicious appetizer cooks quickly on the grill and stays nice and neat. This special pepper roaster keeps the veggies standing upright, leaving the filling less likely to spill out and cause flare-ups on the grill. Buy it: Jalapeno Pepper Roaster from Williams Sonoma, $20

 

pit mitt barbecue glove

No matter how many kinds of BBQ tools you have, a Pit Mitt will always come in handy. Whether you use it for picking up grilled vegetables that are on the smaller side (why are they always SO hard to pick up with tongs!?) or grabbing your shish kebab, this glove will protect your hand from the heat. This is also perfect if your barbecue has a side burner and you’ve left the pot holder inside. You won’t end up with the nickname “hot hands” if you keep one of these close by. Buy it: Pit Mitt from Sur la Table, $20

grill basket

Sometimes when you buy your BBQ you don’t even know what types of things you’ll end up grilling on there. This wire mesh seafood basket means that your shellfish will get that delicious, smokey, grilled flavor and be corralled in one place. The basket can hold a few dozen oysters or clams and keep them from slip-sliding across the grill or falling through the cracks. Buy it: Steven Raichlen Best of Barbecue Stainless Wire Mesh Grilling Basket $30

large grill spatula

This extra large spatula makes turning fish, or moving it to a new spot on the grill, super easy. The large head is perfect for flipping delicate filets as they get tender from cooking. The long handles mean you won’t be burning the hair off your fingers; while it’s made for fish, this tool would work really well for other items you are sure to be cooking at your barbecue party. Buy it: Rosle Stainless-Steel BBQ Fish Turner from Williams Sonoma, $50

kebabs on wood planks wine glass

These wine infused cedar cooking planks add extra flavor to your favorite grill items. To release the flavor, all you have to do is soak the planks in water and place them directly on the grill. When you close the lid, the food gets infused with a subtle hint of wine. And that doesn’t sound bad to me. Buy it: Wine Infused Cedar Grilling Plank Set from Uncommon Goods, $12

cutting board drip tray

While you may have other cutting boards, this maple version is designed especially for barbecuing. The moat catches all the juices that escape when the meat is carved. This board makes for easier clean-up and can also be used as a serving platter. A large cutting board is essential for getting all the meat onto your guests’ plates. Buy it: Sugar Maple Barbecue Cutting Board from Wayfair, $38