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If you know a griller or pitmaster, here are the tools and toys they want. All of them are gold medal winners. Remember our reviews and ratings are unbiased because we don't sell anything (other than memberships in our Pitmaster Club), and our advertising is sold by third parties, so we are free to be brutally honest. Click the links to read our full reviews. We've given you an idea of each gift's price but you can find the latest pricing with online retailers linked from our reviews. All of the following have earned a Best Value Gold Medal. Click here to read the criteria for our Best Value Awards.
The Best Sauce Brush ($9.68)
You'll never waste time cleaning messy natural and nylon brushes again when you switch to silicone. Silicone brushes load up with lots of sauce, deliver it evenly, and are dishwasher safe.
Best method for starting charcoal because it doesn't need that nasty lighter fluid. Just stuff a couple sheets of newspaper under the coal and light. Also acts as a measuring cup to give you consistent amounts of fuel.
Frogmats Are How You Keep Small Foods Like Nuts And Onions From Falling Through ($13.30)
Prevent fish from sticking to your grill with this non-stick, sturdy, reusable wire mesh mat. Excellent for grilling sticky items and saving small stuff like shrimp and jalapeno poppers from falling to their death in the fire below.
America's Most Famous BBQ Joint Tells You How They Do It In The Book "Franklin Barbecue" by Aaron Franklin and Jordan Mackay ($18.06)
Franklin Barbecue in Austin is widely considered the best in the world and people stand in line for hours to get in. In this excellent book, Franklin shares his secrets for building and maintaining a fire that produces clean smoke, and how to prepare the classic meats of the Texas barbecue canon.
Our Very Own Book: "Meathead: The Science Of Great Barbecue And Grilling" By Meathead Goldwyn and Greg Blonder, PhD ($21.08)
Give your foodie friends this New York Times Best Seller, named one of the Top 10 Cookbooks of the Year by Amazon, the BBC, Chicago Tribune, and WIRED! 400 pages, half of which are the ultimate outdoor cooking textbook explaining what is heat, what is smoke, how they react with food, meat science, and how grills and smokers work. Along the way we bust scores of BBQ myths. The second half has more than 100 well tested recipes that put the concepts to work.
Never Overcook Or Undercook Again! In 5 Seconds, ThermoPop Will Up Your Game Immediately! ($29)
Nothing will improve your cooking faster than a good digital thermometer. You can't rely on that dial thermometer in your drawer. It is sloooooow and inaccurate. Only a good digital thermometer will prevent you from over or undercooking food. This popular, colorful device is a high-performance, low-cost, rapid-read, handheld thermometer for food usage. The rotating display makes it easy to read from any angle.
GrillGrates Turns Your Plain Old Gas Grill Into An Infrared Grill (From $48.99)
An absolute must for gas grills, this extruded aluminum surface can set right on top of your cooking grate to amplify heat by turning it into an infrared grill, prevent flare-ups, kill hotspots, and more. Also amps up charcoal grills and pellet smokers.
Slow 'N Sear Turns Your Trusty Old Weber Kettle Into A Serious Smoker AND It Sears A Steak Like Nothing Else ($89.95)
The single best accessory for the Weber Kettle makes it a better searing machine and converts it into a superb smoker at the same time. It holds the charcoal off to one side and puts a water barrier between it and the indirect zone. Truly innovative and truly amazing.
The Story Of American BBQ Can Be Told By These Benchmark Regional Sauces ($99)
To most of us, barbecue sauce is red and sweet. To those who would rather lunch in the back of a shack than under the golden arches, barbecue sauce comes in a rainbow of colors and flavors tied to its area of origin. Here is a 12 pack of authentic sauces from the barbecue capitals of Texas, South Carolina, North Carolina, Kansas City, Western Kentucky, and more, benchmarks of their home town, selected by Meathead and sold by a specialty sauce company.
Thermoworks Smoke Is State Of The Art Thermometry With Two Probes And A Remote Meter That Lets You Monitor Your Meal While Watching The Game Or Cutting The Lawn ($99)
Two thermometers in one! Smoke can monitor air temperature and food temperature and transmit and receive info up to 300 feet away via radio frequency. RF is sooooo much better than Bluetooth. The menus are really intuitive and the user interface couldn't be simpler -- take out of the box and get cooking immediately. It is much more user friendly than the competition.
Why Eat Cold Pasta Salad At The Game When You Can Grill A Feast With The Char-Broil Grill2Go X200? ($149)
This fun little gasser folds up like a brief case and gets searing hot real fast with Char-Broil's TRU-Infrared system, which eliminates flare-ups, retains moisture and reduces gas consumption: a nice feature on this portable that runs on 16.4 ounce LP canisters.
The Coolest Cooking Technique Since The Smoker: Sous Vide And The Grill Or Smoker Make A Killer Combo ($199)
Sous vide is a foolproof method that guarantees you will never overcook or undercook, and that you will always have tender and juicy food. If you use a grill or smoker with sous vide will you amp it up to 11. There are a number of sous vide devices on the market, but Joule is clearly the best.
Set It And Forget It Simple, The Camp Chef Smoke Vault Uses The Same Tech As Many Of The Best American BBQ Joints ($249.99)
A gas smoker is so simple to operate, that's why so many top flight BBQ joints now use them. Check out the solid construction, wide temperature range and 24" wide capacity of this Smoke Vault. Dial it down to 160°F for smoking cheese, or crank to 400°F for crisping turkey skin. It is the only residential gas smoker we know of that can be used with a natural gas line.
Huntington 4200 2-Burner Gas Grill May Be Boring To Look At, But It Cooks Great And Is Built To Last ($249)
You might easily pass by this unassuming grill in favor of a shiny model made with cheap stainless steel. If you're watching your pennies, however, this low cost gas grill may be short on looks but it is long on value and carries a lifetime warranty on the aluminum body.
Pit Barrel Cooker, The Inexpensive Smoker That Beats The Big Boys And Has A Cult Following ($299)
Our readers are in love with this inexpensive, easy to use charcoal smoker. Delivered to your door for $299, no assembly needed, it beats anything in this price range hands down! Cook flat on a grate or hang meats from rods at the top. Pizza, brisket, turkey and you can hang eight full slabs of ribs in this magic drum and everything comes out great!
First built in 1948, the rectangular shape makes this grill really easy to set up in two zones for reverse searing or just plain indirect smoke roasting, and the charcoal grate is very close to the food grate so you can really get a great sear on a steak in a hurry! These cast aluminum charcoal grills work great and last forever. PK fans love their grills with a cultish fervor and often pass them down from one generation to the next.
Retro Look Gas Grill From Modern Home Products Will Last Well Into The Future ($1,044)
Modern Home Products pioneered the first gas grills in the early 1960s. The super thick cast aluminum cookbox is virtually indestructible and the WNK4 carries a limited lifetime warranty on just about everything. The appearance may lack sizzle, but people who own these heavy aluminum grills get hooked on the way they cook.
I Really Really Regret Giving Up My Napoleon Prestige P500RSIB ($1,400)
Every now and then our grill and smoker tester, Max Good, lets me have one after he has put it through its paces. So a few years ago he gave me this Napoleon. I really loved it. More than any other gas grill I've used. It comes loaded with four 12,000 BTU main burners, an 18,000 BTU rotisserie back burner spit and kit included, and a powerful ceramic sear burner capable of hitting 1000°F. The cool thing is the sear burner is on a side table so it doesn't take up space under the hood. And brother, is it hot! Yet it can be used to warm sauces or cook veggies. Each burner has its own electronic ignition. Lots of high quality stainless steel all the way around including Napoleon's characteristic wavy grate rods. When Max told me he wanted me to play with another gas grill, I gave the Napoleon to the local fire department. I rue the day.
Weber's Summit Charcoal Grill Is A Kamado Killer ($1,699)
Introduced last spring, the Weber Summit Charcoal Grill is a radical departure from George Stephen's original Weber Kettle and Weber's first major upgrade to the kettle in decades. The world loves Weber's iconic kettles, but these new Summits are just plain bigger and better in every way. They can easily be changed from a smoker to a grill to a searing machine, it is well insulated, but its metal construction makes it MUCH easier to dial down the temp than a ceramic or other kamado. Best of all, it is a snap to set up in two zones, something that is not easy on a typical round kamado.