Grilling Tongs: What Are They?

by Joost Nusselder | Last Updated:  May 30, 2022

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Grilling tongs are a type of kitchen utensil used for picking up and flipping food on a grill. They usually have long handles to keep your hands away from the heat, and sometimes have serrated edges to help grip the food.

In this guide, I’ll explain what grilling tongs are, how to use them, and why you need them in your grilling toolkit.

What are grilling tongs

BBQ Grill Tongs Explained: Your Ultimate Guide to Choosing the Right Tool

When it comes to BBQ grill tongs, the materials and construction are crucial factors to consider. The tongs (here are the best ones for BBQ) should be made of strong and durable materials, such as stainless steel, to ensure they can handle heavy meats and regular use. Look for tongs with long handles to keep your hands safe from the heat, and with comfortable grips for easier holding. The edges of the tongs should be designed to properly serve and handle different ingredients, from sweet to savory.

Length and Design

The length of the tongs is also important to consider. Longer tongs make it easier to reach food on the grill without getting too close to the heat. The design of the tongs should be versatile enough to serve a lot of different purposes, from flipping burgers to turning vegetables. Traditional tongs with a simple design are always a popular choice, but there are also newer, more innovative designs that offer added benefits.

Price and Quality

When it comes to BBQ grill tongs, the price can vary greatly. While it may be tempting to choose a cheaper option, it’s important to remember that you get what you pay for. Cheaper tongs may not be built as solidly or conveniently as more expensive options, and may not last as long. On the other hand, highly expensive tongs may not offer any added benefit over a more moderately priced set. Look for a set that is of proper quality and within your budget.

Maintaining and Using Your Tongs

Once you’ve chosen the right BBQ grill tongs, it’s important to properly maintain and use them. Always make sure to clean them after each use, and store them in a convenient and safe place. Beginners may notice that it takes some time to get used to holding the tongs properly, but with practice, it will become second nature. Always be aware of the main benefit of using tongs- they are safer than other tools and prevent piercing the meat, which can lead to disappointment in your customers.

Choosing the Right Material for Your Grilling Tongs

When it comes to grilling tongs, the material you choose is important. Here are some common materials to consider:

  • Stainless steel: This is arguably the best material for grilling tongs. It’s highly durable, safe to use with food, and long-lasting. Plus, it’s strong enough to handle heavy cuts of meat without damage.
  • Wooden: Wooden tongs can be a great choice if you’re looking for a more natural aesthetic. However, they may not be as durable as stainless steel and can be more difficult to clean.
  • Other materials: Some grilling tongs are made from materials like silicone or plastic. While these may be more affordable, they may not be as high-quality or long-lasting as stainless steel.

Factors to Keep in Mind

When choosing the right material for your grilling tongs, there are a few factors to keep in mind:

  • Cooking style: If you’re cooking on a high-heat grill, you’ll want tongs that can handle the heat without melting or warping. Stainless steel is a good choice for high-heat cooking.
  • Portability: If you’re looking for a set of tongs that you can easily take with you on the go, consider a compact and portable option like the Weber Original Portable Stainless Steel Tool Set.
  • Cleaning: Some materials, like wooden tongs, may require more careful handwashing to avoid damage.
  • Pellet grills: If you’re using a Traeger or other pellet grill, you may want to choose tongs with teeth to help grip the pellets.

Choosing the Right Grill Tongs: Tips and Tricks

When it comes to grill tongs, the material used is crucial. You want a pair that can withstand the intense heat of grilling and provide a durable grip. Steel is usually the best choice, but there are also tongs made of silicone or a combination of metal and silicone. Here are some pros and cons to consider:

  • Steel tongs are heavy-duty and can handle a variety of foods, but they can get hot to the touch.
  • Silicone tongs are great for working with slippery or delicate foods, but they may not stay durable over time.
  • Tongs made of both metal and silicone offer the best of both worlds, but they may not fit comfortably in your hands.

Handle with Care

The handle of your grill tongs is just as important as the material used. You want a pair that is easy to grasp and comfortable to hold, even when your forearms are sweaty from all the intense grilling. Look for tongs with:

  • A comfortable grip that won’t slip out of your hands.
  • A locking mechanism to keep the tongs closed when not in use.
  • A storage ring for easy storing when not in use.
  • Additional features like precision edges for easier grabbing or a smart set of tips for a better grip on larger foods.

Size Matters

Grill tongs come in a variety of sizes, from small and thin to large and heavy-duty. The size you choose will depend on the type of grilling you plan to do. Here are some notes to keep in mind:

  • If you’re grilling pork or other large cuts of meat, you’ll want a pair of tongs with longer handles for better control.
  • If you’re grilling a variety of foods, a set of tongs in different sizes may be your best bet.
  • If you’re grilling for a special occasion or a large group, consider investing in a high-quality pair of tongs that will last longer and offer more precision.

Final Tips

Here are some final tips to keep in mind when choosing the right grill tongs:

  • Make sure the tongs fit comfortably in your hands and are easy to use.
  • Look for tongs that can withstand the heat of your grill and protect your hands from burns.
  • Consider the type of foods you’ll be grilling and choose tongs that are best suited for those foods.
  • Don’t be afraid to try out different models until you find the perfect pair.

Grilling Tongs: Your FAQs Answered

Grilling tongs come in a variety of styles and lengths, depending on the user’s needs. Some of the most popular types include:

  • Regular tongs: These are the most common type of grilling tongs, and are perfect for picking up and turning foods on the grill.
  • Dedicated meat tongs: These tongs are specifically designed for handling meat, and often come with a scraper to help remove any dry or stuck-on bits.
  • Long tongs: If you’re grilling over an extreme heat source, longer tongs can help keep your hand further away from the flames.
  • Connected tongs: Some models have a piece of steel that connects the two tongs, making it easier to control and turn delicate foods.

What is the proper length for grilling tongs?

The length of your grilling tongs depends on your personal preference and the type of food you’re cooking. However, a good rule of thumb is to choose tongs that are at least a couple of inches longer than your hand. This will allow you to grab and turn foods with ease, without getting too close to the heat source.

What makes for a good grilling tong?

A good grilling tong should have the following features:

  • Proper construction: Look for tongs made from high-quality steel that won’t break or bend easily.
  • A comfortable handle: The handle should be easy to grip and not feel awkward in your hand.
  • A scraper: A built-in scraper can help prevent meat from sticking to the grill.
  • Length: As mentioned above, the length of the tongs is important for keeping your hand away from the heat source.

How do I choose the right grilling tongs for me?

Choosing the right grilling tongs involves a couple of key factors:

  • Think about the type of food you’ll be cooking and choose tongs that match that style.
  • Consider the length of the tongs and how it feels in your hand.
  • Read reviews and check the construction of the tongs to ensure they’re worth the investment.

Can grilling tongs be used for wet and delicate foods?

Yes, grilling tongs can be used for wet and delicate foods, but it’s important to choose the right type of tong. Look for tongs with a dedicated meat scraper or connected tongs to help prevent delicate foods from breaking or falling apart.


So there you have it- everything you need to know about grilling tongs. They’re not as simple as they look, but with the right information, you can make the right choice. 

So don’t be afraid to explore the possibilities and experiment with different types until you find the perfect pair for you.

Joost Nusselder, the founder of Lakeside Smokers is a content marketer, dad and loves trying out new food with BBQ Smoking (& Japanese food!) at the heart of his passion, and together with his team he's been creating in-depth blog articles since 2016 to help loyal readers with recipes and cooking tips.