Pitmaster's Tool Kit

The tools of the trade from the Backyard BBQ to the professional Pitmaster.

Here are my suggestions for the essential tools in your arsenal.

1. Why you need any of this?

2. The knives and keeping things sharp

3. The other stuff

4. Storage

5. Final thoughts


Why you need any of this?

Now when it comes to BBQ you do need a few things from trim and prep to serving your meal to friends, family or customers.

I have a list of knives, gadgets and handy tools to have you cooking like a professional.

The quality of your tools will come down to your budget but like buying anything, I believe in buying the best you can afford. Good tools will last you a life time if you look after them and it will make your life easier.

Just like a tradesman and his tools you too should have the tools for your craft.


The knives and keeping things sharp

Knives are the back bone of your tool kit, each serving a valuable function in preparation to finish. Some of these knives will see significantly more use then others, therefore Ill go through each knife and its uses to help you decide what you need in your tool kit.

Trimming Knife

Also known as a curved boning knife, I recommend something around 16cm. There are many affordable options for this such Victorinox and F dick. This will do a lot of work for you and is my go to for trimming, the curved flexible blade allows you to maneuver the blade and get into seems to cut out unwanted fat and silver skin without losing too much of the product in the process.

Chef's knife

Also known as a cooks knife, this is the most versatile of the knives and can do just about everything. They do come in many lengths but for most I would suggest something around 16 - 18cm. This is a must and chances are you already have one in your kitchen. It will do the majority of the work outside of trimming, I opt for a German style blade as it is heavier then a Japanese style knife. This is handy when working with small bones and cartilage like when you are separating wings.

Pairing Knife

This little guy is great for smaller work like cutting up fruit and veg, in terms of BBQ mine gets a lot of use for scoring fat, mincing garlic or for any small detail work. It comes in handy for things like opening up  packaging too, can also be used in a similar fashion to the trimming knife for fat and silver skin.

Carving Knife & Carving Fork

Like a chefs knife but less depth on the blade this is great for slicing and carving, whether its thin to thick slices of roast or even brisket.

Bread Knife

The name kinda says it, great for dealing with soft items such as bread and tomatoes. Can also be used for slicing up brisket especially if its a little over done. The serrated blades are difficult to sharpen so this is something you may not want to break the bank with as it is often easier to just a buy a new one.

Slicing Knife

What I have is a touch overkill, but something around 30cm is fantastic. If you plan on doing things like brisket often, this is exceptional at making long strokes without sawing at it. Also great for things like slicing up smoked salmon, ham, turkey and pork belly.


Mostly used for butterflying or quartering chicken, it will get through most soft cartilage and small bone but can be useful rough chopping herbs and soft greens.

Sharpening Steel

Id suggest getting an oval steel as it will have a greater contact with the blade, which means less strokes too sharpen. Diamond is the preferred option but  it depends on your budget. I use mine about every 2-3 weeks depending on how heavily used the knife is. I do find that you will still need to get your knives sharpened on wet stoned occasionally but this will reduce that requirement significantly.

Honing Steel

I use this usually at the start of the day when I pull out the knives I plan on using, if its getting particularly heavy use I may steel it again as I feel the blade start to dull. If you hone the blade regularly it will reduce the frequency of needing to be sharpened.


The other stuff

Thermometer Probe

You gotta know your temps, instant read thermometer goes along way I recommend the Inkbird IHT-1P Instant read thermometer coming in around $35. there are far more expensive option out there but i find this works just fine.

Notepad & Pen

Its handy to take notes on cooks such as when stuff goes on and off, recipe ideas or just a review on a cook to see what went wrong.


The wife is happier when you don't ruin all your clothes with grease stains.


Accidents happen, especially when you don't have a bandage.


Just a back up lighter when you need to start a fire or stove top.

Wireless probes

This will reduce your need to keep on opening the cooker to check temp. depending on the probe you have it could even predict a cook time.



On the go

Most chefs / cooks / pitmasters wont leave their gear at work, you never know who is going use it or miss use it. You have two main options being a roll/bag or a hard case. My preference is a case as your blades will be kept secure and you'll have extra real estate for you other items.




At home

Knife blocks tend to be a breading ground for bacteria and often only store the particular knife it came with. Magnetic knife strips are great for storage as you can place them where you like in a safe spot and see the knife you are looking to use.


Final Thoughts

Not all items here are necessarily essential and you if it came down to it, and you could only have two it would be a good chef's knife and a instant read thermometer. End of the day there are a number of items I have and haven't mentioned, it will come down to your budget and what you think you need. You will over time accumulate more and more as the passion burns on.