Three Things to Know Before You Buy Grilling Gloves

From handling sauce-covered meats to rearranging hot coals, here’s how to take the guesswork out of choosing grilling gloves that match the way you like to barbecue.

Guy in sleeveless shirt and sunglasses grilling meat
Wear gloves when grilling to protect your hands from the heat.Scott Madore via Unsplash

I love to barbecue, especially over natural wood fires. But I can’t tell you how many ski gloves, bandanas, and t-shirts (yes, I’ve done it) I’ve wrecked over the years trying to rearrange coals, burning logs, hot grills, and searing grates. That is, until I started using proper grilling gloves.

What I’ve discovered (through many years of singed hands), is that the kind of grilling gloves you choose really depends on how you intend to use them around the fire.

-Are you going to be handling slippery meats that might be covered in marinade and placing them directly onto your backyard barbecue?
-Are you one of those people (like me) who is forever reaching into the campfire to adjust the grill or burning chunks of wood?
-Do you intend to rearrange coals with your hands to get just the right heat under your Dutch oven?

If so, you need the right pair of grilling gloves. Don’t know what to choose? No worries. Here are three grilling glove options that will match any grilling style.

Leather Gloves

18-inch suede grilling gloves
These 18-inch suede gloves offer great forearm protection and ample dexterity for shifting hot grills or wielding tongs over the fire.Amazon

Leather gloves, like those worn by welders, can be great barbecue companions. Their long sleeves offer excellent arm protection, and they're fine if you're going to grab a hot handle on a coffee pot that's been on the fire, so long as you don't intend to hold onto it for a moment or two (synthetics outperform them here). Thick leather adds bulk, so they lose points for dexterity and they're not as easy to clean, but there is something reassuring about the hefty feel of thick leather when you're cooking over open flames.

Silicone Gloves

Silicone grilling gloves
The 17-inch design on these “pit gloves” offers great protection to hands and forearms, and are they are rated to 932F. A waterproof, neoprene coating makes them easy to clean.Amazon

Silicone gloves are an excellent choice for gripping sauce-slathered meats and popping them on and off the grill, making them the perfect choice for those who like to "cook with their hands." Nothing sticks to them, so they're super easy to clean up. And because most are made using food-grade silicone, many are BPA-free, which is nice for those who want to minimize the chances of foods mixing with chemicals.

Synthetic Gloves

Synthetic grilling gloves
These Aramid-fabric gloves offer the best of all options—excellent dexterity, a heat rating that’s a whopping 1472 F., and a non-slip design. Clean them up with soap and water or simply toss them in the washing machine.Amazon

Synthetic gloves made with Aramid fibers, however, offer the best of everything. They have a super-high heat rating, so you can rearrange coals or smoldering firewood without fear of burn-throughs. They offer excellent dexterity for wielding slippery meats, spatulas, and tongs. And they clean up easily with soap and water or you can just toss them in the washing machine.