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Updated November 2022
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Buying guide for Best BBQ claws

One of the best things about barbecuing is that it allows you to cook your favorite foods slowly. It leaves you with meat so tender that it practically falls off the bone, making it perfect for shredded recipes like pulled pork or pulled chicken sandwiches. But for the easiest shredding possible, you need a good pair of BBQ claws to pull the meat apart quickly and painlessly.

BBQ claws are handheld tools with several sharp tines that allow you to shred meat much more quickly than you can using forks. BBQ claws, also known as meat claws, can also be used to lift hot meat from the grill or out of other cookers, like a crockpot. You can also use a claw to stabilize hot meat while you slice it.

There are lots of BBQ claws to choose from, and our buying guide offers plenty of tips to help you find the best ones for your next barbecue.

BBQ claws can help you shred meat in less than half the time it takes using forks.

Key considerations


Stainless steel: The best BBQ claws are made of food-grade stainless steel. It’s the sturdiest, most durable option and offers excellent heat resistance. It doesn’t rust or warp and is extremely easy to clean, too. However, you’ll pay more for stainless steel claws than for other claws, and they can scratch some pots and pans.

Plastic: BBQ claws are also made of nylon or premium polycarbonate. They’re not as durable or heat resistant as stainless steel claws and can absorb odors and stains more easily. However, plastic claws are less expensive, so they can be a good option if you’re on a budget. Make sure to choose claws made of food-grade, BPA-free nylon or plastic to keep chemicals from leaching into your food.


To effectively shred meat, the tines on BBQ claws should be fairly sharp. If the tines are dull, they can make pulling apart the meat more difficult and time-consuming. Stainless steel claws typically have the sharpest tines, which makes shredding your meat nearly effortless.

Pay attention to the length of the tines, too. The deeper the claws can get into the meat, the more easily they can shred it.

Heat resistance

It’s also important to consider how heat resistant the BBQ claws are, so you can be sure you can use them on meat right off the grill. Stainless steel claws can withstand temperatures of over 1,000°F, but most nylon and plastic claws can only handle temperatures up to 475°F.



You want to have a firm grip on your BBQ claws to use them effectively, so it’s essential to choose a set with handles that feel comfortable to hold. For most people, claws that feature a curved handle you can wrap your fingers around are the best option. Not only do they feel good in the hand, but they also keep your fingers protected from the sharp tines.

Many stainless steel BBQ claws have wooden handles, but some are made entirely of metal. Those with metal handles usually aren’t the most comfortable to hold, but you don’t have to worry about the handles coming loose. Some BBQ claws with plastic handles have molded grips for the best feel in hand.


It’s crucial that you clean BBQ claws right after each use to prevent them from absorbing stains or odors. Dishwasher-safe claws are the best option because you don’t have to do any scrubbing to get them clean. You can put plastic, nylon, and many stainless steel claws in the dishwasher, but keep in mind that stainless steel tines can lose their sharpness when washed repeatedly in the dishwasher.


Many BBQ claws come as part of a set with other barbecue or grilling accessories, including grilling gloves, which protect your hands from the grill’s high heat. Other sets include a basting brush to apply sauces or marinades to your meat as it’s cooking. You can also find claws that come with a recipe book to inspire you when you’re looking for your next barbecuing adventure.

A BBQ claw can be used to hold a watermelon steady as you cut it.



Grill set: Before you can use your BBQ claws, you need to grill your meat, and a set of grill tools can help you prepare delicious barbecue. 

Grill mat: A grill mat makes it easy to keep your grill clean when cooking pork, chicken, or brisket.

Grilling gloves: If your BBQ claws don’t come with grilling gloves, you’ll definitely want to purchase a pair to make grilling easier.

Vacuum marinator: When you're short on time, but want your meat to be big on flavor, a vacuum marinator will get the job done.

Did You Know?
Some BBQ claws are strong enough to easily lift a 20-pound pork butt or brisket.

BBQ claw prices

Pairs of BBQ claws vary in price based on material, heat resistance, and included accessories. Most pairs cost between $5 and $45.


The most affordable BBQ claws are nylon or plastic models that aren’t very durable. They’re generally only heat resistant to 475°F and don’t include any other accessories. You’ll pay between $5 and $12 for these claws.


These BBQ claws are typically higher-quality nylon or plastic models or sets that come with accessories like grilling gloves. You can also find some standard stainless steel claws in this price range. You’ll typically pay between $13 and $20 for these claws.


The most expensive BBQ claws are nylon, plastic, or stainless steel models that include accessories like grilling gloves or a basting brush. You can also find some higher-end stainless steel claws sold on their own in this price range. You’ll generally spend between $18 and $45 for these claws.

The handles on all-stainless steel BBQ claws can get hot when you’re handling food right off the grill. If you’re sensitive to the heat, opt for claws that have wooden or plastic handles that stay cooler.


  • Shred meat while it’s still warm. Use your claws to shred the meat before it cools and it will be easier to separate.
  • Pull the claws in opposite directions to shred meat.
  • Wash your BBQ claws right after each use. This will keep them in good condition. If your claws are dishwasher safe, toss them in when you’re done shredding. Wash claws that aren’t dishwasher safe with dish soap and warm water. If your claws have a hollow area on the back, food can easily get trapped inside those crevices. Be sure to clean those areas thoroughly.
  • Don’t use BBQ claws to pick up hot charcoal. You can’t get a firm grip on the coals, so you run the risk of dropping the charcoal and burning yourself.
Pulled pork and brisket are ideal for delicious barbecue sandwiches, while shredded chicken makes a tasty taco filling. 


Q. What types of meat can I shred with BBQ claws?

A. Most people use BBQ claws to shred pork, brisket, chicken, and turkey, but you can use them to shred or pull apart any tender piece of meat.

Q. What else can I do with BBQ claws besides shred meat?

A. BBQ claws can serve a variety of functions to make the next cookout you throw run smoothly. They are ideal for lifting large cuts of meat because you can anchor the claws into the meat for an excellent grip. You can also use one claw to stabilize a piece of meat while you carve it, so you get nice, even slices. If you have a watermelon that needs cutting, you can use BBW claws to keep it from rolling away while you slice.

Q. What can I do if my hands get too warm using BBQ claws to shred hot meat?

A. Most BBQ claws have extremely short handles that don’t put much distance between your fingers and the hot food. However, you can find some models with long handles that are similar in length to a fork, which means you don’t have to get your hands too close to the heat.

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