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Digital Thermometers:
Stop Guessing!

thermopop bbq thermometer

Gold BBQ AwardA good digital thermometer keeps me from serving dry overcooked food or dangerously undercooked food. You can get a professional grade, fast and precise splashproof thermometer like the Thermopop (above) for about $24. The Thermapen (below), the Ferrari of instant reads, is about $96. It's the one you see all the TV chefs and all the top competition pitmasters using. Click here to read more about types of thermometer and our ratings and reviews.

bbq thermapen

GrillGrates Take You To
The Infrared Zone

BBQ_grill_grates

Gold BBQ AwardGrillGrates(TM) amplify heat, prevent flareups, make flipping foods easier, produce great grill marks, keep small foods from committing suicide, kill hotspots, are easier to clean, flip over to make a fine griddle, smolder wood right below the meat, and can be easily removed and moved from one grill to another. You can even throw wood chips or pellets or sawdust between the rails and deliver a quick burst of smoke to whatever is above. Every gas grill and pellet smoker needs them.

Click here to read more about what makes these grates so special and how they compare to other cooking surfaces.

The Smokenator:
A Necessity For All Weber Kettles

smokenator bbq system

Gold BBQ Award If you have a Weber Kettle, you need the amazing Smokenator and Hovergrill. The Smokenator turns your grill into a first class smoker, and the Hovergrill can add capacity or be used to create steakhouse steaks.

Click here to read more.

The Pit Barrel Cooker

pit barrel c ooker bbqAbsolutely positively without a doubt the best bargain on a smoker in the world.

This baby will cook circles around the cheap offset sideways barrel smokers in the hardware stores because temperature control is so much easier (and that's because smoke and heat go up, not sideways).

Gold BBQ AwardBest of all, it is only $299 delivered to your door!

Click here to read our detailed review and the raves from people who own them.

scissor tongs

Best. Tongs. Ever.

Gold BBQ AwardMade of rugged 1/8" thick aluminum, 20" long, with four serious rivets, mine show zero signs of weakness after years of abuse. I use them on meats, hot charcoal, burning logs, and with the mechanical advantage that the scissor design creates, I can easily pick up a whole packer brisket. Click here to read more.

Amp Up The Smoke

mo's smoking pouch

Gold BBQ AwardMo's Smoking Pouch is essential for gas grills. It is an envelope of mesh 304 stainless steel that holds wood chips or pellets. The airspaces in the mesh are small enough that they limit the amount of oxygen that gets in so the wood smokes and never bursts into flame. Put it on top of the cooking grate, on the burners, on the coals, or stand it on edge at the back of your grill. It holds enough wood for about 15 minutes for short cooks, so you need to refill it or buy a second pouch for long cooks like pork shoulder and brisket. Mine has survived more than 50 cooks. Click for more info.

steak knives for bbq

The Best Steakhouse Knives

Gold BBQ AwardThe same knives used at Peter Luger, Smith & Wollensky, and Morton's. Machine washable, high-carbon stainless steel, hardwood handle. And now they have the AmazingRibs.com imprimatur. Click for more info.

tailgater magazine
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Barbecue Wood Suppliers

By Meathead Goldwyn

You should be able to get good quality smoke wood locally. Many hardware stores and sporting goods stores sell chunks, chips, and planks. Some manufacturers like Weber and Char-Broil sell aluminum pans with perforated covers and the wood flavor of your choice. Kingsford makes a compressed wood briquet.

A great source is a local cabinet maker or flooring installer. They often have a wide range of delectable scraps of kiln dried, tight grained chunks, chips, and sawdust. You want hardwoods like oak, cherry, and maple. If you thank them with a slab of ribs now and then you might have a lifetime supply of free wood. Just make sure the wood is pure, untreated, and unstained.

If you want logs, there are also usually small companies selling to homes with fireplaces. They usually sell wood in cords and face cords. A cord is 128 cubic feet or a neatly stacked pile perhaps 4' high, 8' long, and 4' deep (usually cut into 2' lengths). A face cord is 1/3 of a cord, about 42 cubic feet, perhaps 4' high, 2' deep, and 5' long.

You want a reputable dealer who can be trusted when he says the wood is apple, cherry, or whatever. You can buy smaller bundles in hardware stores, at campgrounds, and even convenience stores, but you really can't be sure what is in the bundle.

You may be able to scrounge good wood from orchards who will let you gather dead trees, branches, prunings, etc. Just make sure you get clean wood, free of spray residue, mold and mildew, with a low percentage of bark. Beware of pesticide sprays, almost all orchards use them.

You want dry wood for cooking. Wood is dried two ways, by leaving it stacked outdoors for at least a year, or dried in an oven called a kiln. Kiln drying uses a lot of energy so this method is usually used only for quality lumber for construction, not for firewood.

If you wish, you can buy freshly cut wood and dry it yourself. If you can put it under an overhang or cover that will keep the rain and snow off. Some folks cover wood piles with tarps. Try to get it off the ground. Old pallets are perfect for the job. Properly stored, firewood can be kept for years. Don't bring it indoors. There are bugs in there.

For more on wood and how it produces flavorful smoke, read my article on the science of wood and smoke. I discuss the popular wood types there, too. But remember, hickory from Arkansas tastes different from New York Hickory, and there are many different species of hickory. Don't get obsessive over wood.

Here are some suppliers you might want to check out.

Weber and Other Suppliers on Amazon.com

57 Smokehouse

Backyard Provisions

Baxters Original Premium Smoker Wood

B&B Charcoal

Cabelas

Carolina Cookwood

Carolina Sauce Company

Firewood.com and 1-800-FIREWOOD

Fruita Wood Chunks

Fuel And Flame

Grillworks

Guava Wood Farms Hawaii (also sells kiawe)

Just Smoked Salmon Western Red Alder Wood Smoking Chunks

Maine Grilling Woods

Mark's Tree Farm

Mo's Food Products They also sell a great stainless steel pouch that holds sawdust and produces smoke on a gas grill.

Pimentowood.com specializes in Jamaican pimento wood chips, charcoal, planks

Sharpe Gourmet Wood Chips

Smokey Bear's Wood Chunks

Smokinlicious.com

Vaughn Wood Products

Wiley's Cooking Woods

WoodCooks.com

This page was revised 7/10/2013

 


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About this website. AmazingRibs.com is all about the science of barbecue, grilling, and outdoor cooking, with great BBQ recipes, tips on technique, and unbiased equipment reviews. Learn how to set up your grills and smokers properly, the thermodynamics of what happens when heat hits meat, as well as hundreds of excellent tested recipes including all the classics: Baby back ribs, spareribs, pulled pork, beef brisket, burgers, chicken, smoked turkey, lamb, steaks, barbecue sauces, spice rubs, and side dishes, with the world's best buying guide to barbecue smokers, grills, accessories, and thermometers, edited by Meathead.

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