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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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trophyBest Value Grills & Smokers of 2014

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bbq checkbox 2014 AmazingRibs.com Top 10 Best Value Charcoal Grills

bbq checkbox 2014 AmazingRibs.com Top 10 Best Value Gas Grills

bbq checkbox 2014 AmazingRibs.com Top 10 Best Value Backyard Smokers

bbq checkmark 2014 AmazingRibs.com Top 10 Best Value Tailgate & Portable Grills

As we awaken from the worst winter hangover in memory, our thoughts turn to flower blossoms, chirping birds, and replacing that rusty old grill and smoker.

To help you find your next pride and joy, AmazingRibs.com has named its Top 10 Best Value Charcoal Grills, Gas Grills, and Smokers. AmazingRibs.com is, according to all the rating services, the most popular barbecue and grilling website in the world, by far. The site's Equipment Reviews section contains almost 500 grill and smoker reviews and ratings from more than 180 manufacturers. There is nothing close anywhere.

This year, of the 40 selections, 21 were made substantially in the US, China produced 12, five hail from Canada, and one each come from Denmark and Indonesia.

Weber dominated the list as it usually does with nine selections because their machines are so well engineered, built to last, and carry reliable warranties. Several newcomers have cracked the lineup, among them the amazing Pit Barrel Cooker, a fine smoker for only $289 including delivery to your door from the plant in Colorado. Canadian manufacturer Napoleon scored a touchdown on our Tailgating List with their game changing TravelQ 285X Portable Gasser for $399.

Of the 40 selections, 21 are under $500, and several are under $300 but couldn't resist adding several high end units if "value" means "I don't care about price" to you.

Some categories, like kamados and pellet smokers are growing rapidly. Kamados are usually egg shaped and well insulated, with many made from ceramics. They excel at smoking and winter cooking. Pellet smokers are another hot item. They burn wood pellets made from compressed hardwood sawdust from saw mills and most have thermostat controls, just like your kitchen oven.

Each year the gas grill manufacturers up the ante with new features. More and more are adding special high heat sear burners in order to create the high temps needed to properly crisp steaks as well as side burners for cooking your side dishes or keeping sauces warm, and rotisserie burners in the rear.

Max Good, AmazingRibs.com's Director of Equipment Reviews & Keeper of the Flame, laments that most manufacturers continue to include cheap bimetal dial thermometers mounted in the top of the lid. "The temp in the lid is often much different from the temp on the cooking surface, so mounting temperature indicators there, I hesitate to call them thermometers, doesn't do you much good unless you plan to eat the lid. We think it is time for them to start installing digital thermometers on the cooking surface". He recommends that you budget for a good digital oven thermometer and a separate digital food thermometer. AmazingRibs.com also rates and reviews thermometers.

Good says "We rate and review as objectively as possible, measuring temperatures, slamming lids, turning dials, studying warranties, and kicking casters, but inevitably intangibles such as look and feel have to be considered. All the selections have won an AmazingRibs.com Best Value Award, and we consider them among the best of breed in their price category."

This page was revised on 9/3/2014

 


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grouchy?1) Please use the table of contents or the search box at the top of every page before you ask for help, then please post your question on the appropriate page.

2) Please tell us everything we need to know to answer your question such as the type of cooker and thermometer you are using. Dial thermometers are often off by as much as 50°F so if you are not using a good digital thermometer we probably can't help you. Please read this article about thermometers.

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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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© Copyright 2014 by AmazingRibs, Inc. AmazingRibs.com is published by AmazingRibs, Inc., a Florida Corporation. Unless otherwise noted, all text, recipes, photos, and computer code are owned by AmazingRibs, Inc. and fully protected by US copyright law. This means that unless you have written permission to publish or distribute anything on this website you have committed a Federal crime. But we're easy. To get reprint rights, just click here. You do not need permission to link to this website. Note. Some photos of commercial products such as grills were provided by the manufacturers and are under their copyright.