Sonny’s Holiday Gift Guide: BBQ Tools for the Pitmaster in Your Life

From The Smoker December 4, 2023
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Whether they’re just startin’ their barbecue journey or they’re a master of the craft, this Gift Guide is packed with all of the tools of the trade they could want.

In the video above, Pitmaster Shannon Snell goes hands-on with each of the tools in this gift guide. From knife sharpeners to thermometers, he shows you exactly how to use each one. Lookin’ for a specific item? Check each section below for some quick tips on what to shop for this holiday season. We’ve also included some Pitmaster Pro Tips to get you started on the grill.

Holiday Gift Guide

Grill Brushes & Cleaners

  • Combo Grill Brushes are great all-in-one tools to both scrape and scrub down grills.
  • Wire Brushes are heavy-duty cleaners, but be careful, as some of the bristles can accidentally break off.
  • Pitmaster Pro Tip: When using these brushes, your grill should always be slightly warm to help with cleaning. A good rule of thumb is to either clean right before or as you finish cooking.

Tongs, Gloves & Spatulas

  • High-temperature heavy-duty gloves are a great essential for removing big pieces of BBQ.
  • When shopping for a spatula for grilling, pick a metal one. Plastic ones cannot withstand high temperatures and may burn.
  • Pitmaster Pro Tip: For tongs or spatulas, the longer the handle, the better. They keep you further from the heat, and you can move the meat more easily.


“A thermometer is the number one must-have tool among your barbecue accessories.”

Sonny’s Head Pitmaster Shannon Snell
  • Digital Thermometers are the best on this gift guide, according to Pitmaster Shannon. They’re accurate, and many are compact and easy to store.
  • Temperature Alarms are great and customizable if you’re busy and don’t have time to keep an eye on your barbecue. You can set high/low alarms and timers, and many have wireless capabilities.
  • Want to know how to take the temperatures of pork, ribs and chicken? Check out Shannon’s tips right here.
  • Pitmaster Pro Tip: To calibrate an old-school or analog thermometer place it in 32°F water and once it hits that temperature, you’re good to go.

Cutting Boards

  • Wood cutting boards hold up, but can be hard to keep free of bacteria after it’s been used a lot.
  • Hard silicone cutting boards are Shannon’s go-to. They’re durable, easy to clean and have virtually no downsides.
  • Pitmaster Pro Tip: You’re not really supposed to traditionally wash wooden cutting boards. You should instead put oil on them and let them soak in the flavors of whatever you’re slicing.

“If you have to have one knife in your drawer, I urge you to choose a 12″ Chef’s Knife because it does everything.”

Sonny’s Head Pitmaster Shannon Snell
  • As Shannon says, a 12″ Chef’s Knife is one of the best all-around knives to have in your kitchen. They’re durable and great for cutting multiple types of meat like brisket and pork.
  • Cleavers, Carving and Boning Knives are great for specific jobs, like cutting through bone and trimming meats, respectively.

Knife Sharpeners

  • Diamond Steel Sharpeners are used by many Pitmasters but must be used in a specific way for full effectiveness. Check the video above and skip to 13:50 to see how it’s done.
  • Sharpening Stones have a long history of being used, but can also be a bit difficult to master. They must be wet, and you should only use them every couple of months.
  • Handheld Sharpeners are Shannon’s top pick. They are portable, easy to use and can be found online or at any hardware store.
  • Pitmaster Pro Tip: When using a Sharpening Stone, they have different grits, and the higher the number, the sharper your blade will be.

Brushes & Mops

  • BBQ Mops are best for getting more flavor on your meat, usually for seasoning that’s a little thinner than traditional BBQ Sauce.
  • Silicone Brushes are Shannon’s pick for gifts, because they withstand high temperatures, and will let you baste your barbecue in sauce as it’s cooking while keeping you safe.
  • Seasoning Shakers help you spread your coating as evenly as possible so you can avoid clumps.
  • Pitmaster Pro Tip: When seasoning, hold the shake at a 45° angle above your meat, and don’t go too high. That will ensure the best coat of seasoning.


  • Fire Sticks take 30 minutes to burn completely down, so they will last quite a while if you need them.
  • Fire Starter Cubes are Shannon’s favorites because they burn hot and quickly. They’re also very compact, making them easy to transport to the grill or fire pit.
  • Tumbleweeds are low-cost, but they burn very quickly, usually within two to three minutes.
  • Electric Fire Starters are great if you have an outlet near you, but a long-handle lighter will do the job just as well.
  • A Chimney and Lump Charcoal is what Pitmaster Shannon uses to get the flames goin’ on his grill. No, this isn’t the same chimney that Santa will be travelin’ down. This is a metal tube used for transporting the charcoal after it’s been lit with the firestarter of your choice.
  • Pitmaster Pro Tip: Avoid lighter fluid at all costs. It will end up givin’ your barbecue a taste that is overpowering and bitter.

Treat Them to Some BBQ this Holiday

If the Pitmaster in your life has it all from this gift guide, how about a smokin’ surprise delivered right to them? Send a Sonny’s E-Gift Card. Pick the amount and a festive design, add your own custom message and choose when it will arrive. That means on Christmas morning, they’ll have a gift card waitin’ for them. You can also pick up a physical gift card at your local Sonny’s. Just tell a team member you’d like to get one.

Sonny's Gift Cards

Celebratin’ the holidays with us at Sonny’s? Don’t forget to tag us @SonnysBBQ on social. Hopefully, we’ll make the Christmas card this year, but even if not, we still can’t wait to welcome you in.

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