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How to Make Backyard Barbecue Fun and Easy

Most barbecue enthusiasts are drawn to barbecue for enjoyment. Backyard barbecue can be relaxing and provides many opportunities for socializing and making memories with your family and friends.

Done right, working a fire and turning raw meat into a delicious meal is refreshing and even therapeutic. This is especially true if you spend a lot of time in the office or with other mentally taxing responsibilities. But without adequate planning, it can end up being a stressful and disappointing experience—even if you’re not cooking for a crowd.

Every aspect of cooking requires a degree of planning. It starts with your grocery shopping and figuring out which ingredients you will need to make the dishes you want to serve. It also means making sure you have plenty of fuel, such as charcoal and pellets, on hand.

Running out of fuel or realizing you forgot an important ingredient can ruin the entire experience. Trying to cook without all the proper tools and supplies can add a lot of stress too. While there is nothing wrong with “roughing it”, if you're like me, you don't have a lot of extra time on your hands, so simplifying the process is a priority.

Getting ready to throw a barbecue party? We carry a wide variety of equipment and supplies to help you cook for your guests with confidence. Call us at (717) 355-0779 or visit us at 140 W Main Street in New Holland, PA.

Basic Essentials for Backyard Barbecue

Here are some of the things I personally consider essential tools and supplies when I’m cooking on my patio. I'm assuming you already have a decent smoker or grill, some fuel, and your food.

Hand-held probe thermometer

There are some foods I don't check with a thermometer, but after years of experience in cooking, I still rely on a thermometer to tell me when things are done. This method will help you avoid serving dangerous and overcooked food.

We sell a variety of instant-read probe thermometers from Maverick and Thermoworks. Some of them are listed on our website, but you can also see them for yourself in our retail store.

Whether you have $30 to spend on a thermometer, or you decide to go with a more high-end one such as the Thermapen MK4 or Maverick’s PT-75, learn how to use it and memorize the target internal temperatures of each meat category, and you’ll be well on your way to serving amazing barbecue to your guests with confidence.

  • ThermoWorks Billows

    ThermoWorks Billows BBQ Temperature Control Fan

    Add to cart
  • ThermoWorks Blue DOT

    ThermoWorks BlueDOT Thermometer With Bluetooth

    Add to cart
  • ThermoWorks Classic Thermapen Green

    ThermoWorks Classic Thermapen

    Add to cart
  • Thermoworks Dash
    Christmas Gifts

    Thermoworks Dash

    Add to cart
  • ThermoWorks DOT Red

    ThermoWorks Dot

    Add to cart
  • ThermoWorks Industrial Infrared Thermometer

    ThermoWorks Industrial Infrared Thermometer

    Add to cart
  • Accessories

    ThermoWorks ONE Glow-in-the-Dark Silicone Boot

    Add to cart
  • ThermoWorks High-Temp Air Probe

    ThermoWorks Pro Series Air Probe

    Add to cart
  • ThermoWorks High-Temp Cooking Probe

    ThermoWorks Pro Series Cooking Probe

    Add to cart
  • ThermoWorks Pro Series Straight Probe

    ThermoWorks Pro Series Straight Probe

    Add to cart
  • Accessories

    ThermoWorks Protective Zipper Wallet for Thermapen

    Add to cart
  • Accessories

    ThermoWorks Signals

    Add to cart
  • ThermoWorks Classic Magnetic Boot

    ThermoWorks Silicone Boot for Classic Thermapen

    Add to cart
  • Thermometers

    Thermoworks Silicone Probe Spool

    Add to cart

Need help knowing when certain meats are done cooking? We've put together a handy chart with cooking and finished temperatures and estimated cooking times for common cuts of meat. Get our BBQ time and temperature chart here.


A great seasoning adds “spice” to your food like nothing else! We have more than 100 different barbecue seasonings in our store. It’s easy to either get overwhelmed or carried away, so we recommend starting with these three foundational seasonings:

Visit our store at 140 W Main Street in New Holland, PA to pick up these three seasonings for an excellent starting point. If you can’t contain your excitement, we’ve got dozens of other wonderful choices for adding pizzazz to your food. Our staff will be glad to make some recommendations too.


I use a lot of disposable gloves when prepping and cooking, and like both the vinyl and latex kind. The latex gloves are a bit thicker, but tear more easily than the vinyl. Which one you use is entirely personal preference.

If I am handling something hot, I will usually wear knitted cotton gloves under the disposable gloves. You can still get burned handling a pork butt right off the smoker, and if that's a concern, you can use a heat resistant glove or grilling mit.

Here are some of the gloves we carry:

  • Accessories

    Cotton Knit Gloves

    $1.95 Add to cart

Tongs and Spatula

A pair of long-handled tongs is great for turning sausage links and picking up jalapeno poppers, etc. A spatula is also a necessity for turning burgers. We carry a variety of basic tools and accessories in our store.

Cutting Board

A cutting board is useful for much more than slicing meat and chopping onions. I use them a lot for preparing foods when I don't want to sanitize the table.

Charcoal Chimney

If you cook with charcoal, try using a charcoal chimney. They are a reliable and easy way to light charcoal for smaller grills and smokers. We carry a couple of different kinds of chimneys.

Grill Brush

I like to keep a couple of grill brushes on hand. Don't waste a lot of money on brushes, because they are not designed to last very long anyway. Visit our store to see which brushes we carry.


I use a lot of aluminum foil for wrapping ribs on the smoker and covering dishes with hot meat in them, etc. You might choose to wrap your meats in butcher paper instead. We carry heavy duty aluminum foil, rolls of peach paper, and high-heat food wrap.

  • Accessories

    Butcher Paper

    $42.99 Add to cart

Grilling Cart or Prep Table

A plastic folding table works for food prep, but I've been wanting to get something with a higher working height and a surface that's easier to clean.

I recently purchased a Keter XL Barbecue Cart from Amazon and have used it every time I fire up a grill or smoker and even as a serving table. So far I am loving it and would highly recommend this to anyone who needs a good-looking cart on a budget. Yes, it's cheaply made and the entire body is made of plastic, but you're getting what you pay for here.

How to Make Backyard Barbecue Fun and Easy

Keter BBQ Cart

Trash Can

A trash can next to your workspace is very helpful for keeping raw meat contamination to a minimum. I use a plastic trash can with a locking hinged lid. I can't remember where I purchased it from, but I think it came from Walmart or Dollar General.

Small Shovel and Metal Bucket

I have a coal shovel with a straight edge along the bottom and use it often for scraping together ashes in my fire pit or cleaning out fireboxes, etc. A small metal bucket is useful for holding ashes until they cool down or for catching grease on a Meadow Creek tank smoker or pig roaster. You should be able to find these at your local hardware store.

Containers for the Meat

If I'm smoking meat and want a place to hold the meat for a couple of hours, I place it into an empty ice chest, either wrapped in aluminum foil or in disposable pans covered with foil. If you are grilling or immediately serving the food, some regular pots or glass cake pans from the kitchen can work just fine. We also carry insulated warming boxes which hold full-sized pans.

Spray Cooking Oil

I like to oil my cooking grates before adding the meat to help keep it from sticking. Any kind of spray cooking oil from the grocery store will work.

Simplify Your Cooking Even More...

Here are some accessories to simplify and diversify your cooking even more if you are already have the basics and are looking to invest a little more in your outdoor cooking:

  • Accessories

    Ro-Man Pork Puller

    $79.99 Add to cart
  • Accessories

    Bear Paws

    $13.99 Select options
  • Christmas Gifts


    $67.99$185.39 Select options
  • Accessories

    BBQ Dragon Fan

    $59.99 Add to cart
  • Accessories

    ThermoWorks Smoke

    Add to cart

Getting ready to throw a barbecue party? We carry a wide variety of equipment and supplies to help you cook for your guests with confidence. Call us at (717) 355-0779 or visit us at 140 W Main Street in New Holland, PA.

About the author: Lavern Gingerich is a writer and the digital marketing manager for Meadow Creek Barbecue Supply.

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Meadow Creek Barbecue Supply is a specialty BBQ equipment and supply store in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania.

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140 W Main St in New Holland
Phone: 717-355-0779

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