It seems like it never fails that right at the moment you need to flip burgers on the grill or pull chicken wings, you find your favorite spatula or tongs coated with a fine layer of dust, dirt, and dog hair. Before you know it, your grill is on fire and you still don't have the tools ready that you need.
Finding the ideal spot to store barbecue and grilling tools is tough because they tend to be large, bulky, and typically can't be stored in the kitchen. We're sharing some of the best ways to keep your tools safe and organized so you're not just leaving them hanging from accessory hooks built-in on your grill.
Best Tips For Grilling/BBQ Tool Organization
Getting organized and staying organized is a challenge for many people, and grillers are no different. You'll need to create a system that helps you keep track of things so you don't find tools lying in the yard or spend an hour looking for the meat thermometer. There are lots of great ideas you can use around the house for storing BBQ tools other than plugging up the pantry or clogging the kitchen drawers.
Low-Cost Options for Grill Tool Storage
Properly storing your BBQ tools doesn't have to be a huge expense. You can set up easy access to your favorite grilling utensils and keep everything clean in between cookouts using some simple methods.
Not just for hiding away Christmas ornaments anymore, a proper storage tote is one of the least expensive and most effective ways to store BBQ tools. Look for a large, moderately deep tub in heavy-duty plastic that has a weather-proof lid that latches closed.
We like the totes that have wheels on one side and are roughly suitcase-size. This gives us plenty of room for tongs with long enough handles for happy grilling, several spatulas in different sizes, and even our barbecue apron. You can improve the organization by using epoxy to attach a magnetic tool holder in a convenient spot so your utensils have a designated spot.
Yard Sale Scores
If you don't need something fancy and you are just looking for a low-buck option to keep your tools in one place, scope out local yard sales. Some of the ideas we've seen over the years include an old truck bed toolbox, an old file holder or lockers, we've even seen someone that refurbished an old gun cabinet into a grilling tool storage showcase.
Portable caddies are particularly great when you are using different sauces and seasonings throughout a cook or on different proteins and vegetables while cooking. These devices let you organize your squeeze bottles, tongs, spatula, burger press, or whatever else you are using. They typically have spots to hang tools to save space and help you organize your grilling tools.
Portable grilling tool caddies are affordable and don't need to be complicated, but you should look for designs that are well-made and easy to clean. They can also be an excellent option for storing cleaned bottles, basting brushes, meat thermometers, and other necessary tools that tend to get lost in the kitchen drawer. We have two separate sets – one for sauces and the other for spices and seasonings to save time when we are grilling.
A great idea is to use a cart that has enough space to keep all your gadgets, grill grates, and charcoal or wood chunks. The polypropylene ones that are used in food and beverage establishments work great and are easy to clean up, while metal ones often have a drawer for storing essentials. You'll want to have a spot to roll your cart out of the way when you aren't using it.
Going Big for the Ultimate in Grill Tool Storage
Those tool sheds you see at home improvement stores are the ideal way for the ultimate grilling tool storage. Not only do you have plenty of room to hang hooks for all your utensils, but you've also got a spot to store your grill or smoker out of the weather. A tool shed is ideally suited for storing charcoal, a folding table, and a utility cart to make it easy to move things around.
The ultimate storage shed is not only a space to keep your charcoal grills, but also provides a place to organize other essential equipment. Keeping knife sharpening stones or an electric knife sharpener in your tool shed makes it easier to get a quick edge on your blades while cooking outdoors. You can organize a pantry with skewers, grilling hooks, butcher paper, and other non-perishables. Most people find that the more convenient the supplies are for grilling, the more they enjoy the process.
How to Properly Clean BBQ Tools for Storing
One of the mistakes we see a lot is people who tend to store BBQ tools without properly cleaning and treating them. Even the highest-quality stainless steel spatula will eventually rust and corrode if it isn't properly cleaned. Unlike most indoor utensils, grill tools tend to take a beating. Treating them before storing them can make them last longer.
Keeping Metal Accessories Clean
Spatulas and tongs are among the worst offenders when it comes to tools that don't get cleaned well. Both can be difficult to clean when they have globs of burned on food, grease, oil, and smoke deposits. Most of the time, the best way to clean metal tools is to soak them in hot, soapy water for a few minutes and scrub them clean. Commercial grill wipes can go a long way to removing stains and stuck-on stuff from metal tools.
One of the best things you can do to prevent your metal grilling tools from getting nasty is to apply a very light layer of oil to them after they are clean. Mineral oil is a good choice as it is both food-safe and won't go rancid.
Keeping Wood Accessories Clean
We love using wood tools and metal tools with wood handles. If you don't keep wood clean, it won't take long for the accessory to begin falling apart. Whether it is a bamboo cutting board, walnut scales on your chef's knife, or your favorite fish spatula, cleaning wood thoroughly is essential to prevent bacterial growth during storage. This also applies to indoor utensils, so if you aren't treating them already, you might want to start.
One of the easiest ways to clean most wood surfaces is with lemon juice. It is an acid that removes bacteria. Following this up with warm, soapy water is usually all you'll need to do to clean most wooden tools. If you notice areas that are cracking, splintering, or burned, it is time to replace your tools.
Mineral oil is excellent for treating freshly cleaned cutting boards. It is non-toxic, seals the wood, and isn't greasy when you use a fine layer. For handles on tongs and knives, we recommend using walnut or linseed oil to keep the handles in perfect condition. Keep in mind that oils can catch fire, so don't use them when grilling, and make sure that you wipe your handles down very well before storage. Linseed oil has a reputation for spontaneously combusting.
Must-Have Grill Tools
There are a handful of barbecue tools we think are absolutely essential. Here is a brief list of some of our top picks and check out our article for the details about each item and what we think makes them perfect.
- The ultimate barbecue grill grate brush
- The perfect spatula
- Comfortable tongs
- Heat-resistant gloves
- A reliable meat thermometer
- A portable caddy
Finding the perfect spot to store all your goodies can be a bit of a hassle, but getting organized will also make you enjoy your grill more. There are simple solutions that don't cost too much and there are options for storing your stuff that can get quite pricey. You'll want to find the sweet spot for you. The most important thing is that you clean your tools, keep them stored out of the weather, and have them handy so that you don't end up serving partially-blackened chicken wings at the next barbecue get-together.
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