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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.

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GrillGrates Take You To
The Infrared Zone

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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 $289 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 mor 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.


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*Based on 4" raw burger with 1/2" space on all sides

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Best BBQ accessories

Fire Magic Aurora 540 Gas Grill

By Max Good

Manufacturer: Fire Magic

Fire Magic grills have been manufactured in California since 1937. These luxury grills exude elegance and quality. Excellent in  design and construction, beautiful to behold and priced accordingly. These are among the finest grills made.

In 1982 RH Peterson, pioneers in fabrication of realistic, artificial gas logs, acquired Fire Magic to complement their outdoor lifestyle line. They produce not only free standing gas, coal and electric grills on carts and pedestals, but anything else you need for an outdoor kitchen including smokers, a wide range of attachments and accessories, several different side burners, refrigerators, keg coolers and tappers, rotisserie baskets, ventilation hoods, griddles, pots and pans, tongs and spatulas, and even the kitchen sink.

Paul Loar, owner of Fireplace and Chimney Authority, is a Chicago area Fire Magic Dealer who was kind enough to invite us to one of his showrooms. Loar clearly took pride in demonstrating his wares, stating the burners have a range of 200°F for slow roasting and smoking all the way up to 1600°F on the large Echelon 1060 model to sear steaks in minutes, just like steakhouses. All monitored by the onboard digital thermometers. He warns new owners to reduce cooking times, "It's like getting behind the wheel of a Ferrari when you're used to driving a Taurus".

Fire Magic designs are elegant and engineered for customization. The grills or "heads" can be purchased for drop in installations or mounted on carts and pedestals. The model numbers tell a lot about the model. For example, E1060i indicates: E=Echelon, 1060=actual or approximate primary cooking surface, i=island or drop-in head for install. A660s: A=Aurora, 660=660 square inch primary cooking surface, s=stand-alone or mounted on a cart. For outdoor kitchen installations, anything in the vast Fire Magic catalog may be incorporated. Options for stand-alone models are more limited but you may, for instance, replace an E-Burner with an IR Sear Zone.

If you're in the market for the best, you should consider Fire Magic. If you're building an outdoor kitchen or souped-up patio you should consider Fire Magic. Outdoor kitchens are significant home improvement projects. We don't recommend drop-ins because once the cement is dry, it's hard to change your mind and if you move, you can't take it with you. But if you choose to go that path you undoubtedly would like your grill to last as long as the bricks. One Fire Magic dealer recounted a call to fix an installed drop-in grill. When asked about its age the homeowner replied, "I bought this place 30 years ago and it was already here". To the astonishment of both men, parts were still available and the unit was put back in service. I believe this company will stand behind all their products. Indeed, when speaking with Fire Magic employees their genuine enthusiasm is palpable. Of course you're not just buying reliability and great customer service; you're buying the shining centerpiece of your outdoor realm and a lifetime of enjoyment the versatility and superior performance these elite cooking machines deliver.

They also make American Outdoor Grills, which are premium cookers at a lower price than Fire Magic. All high quality and made in America.

Available on-line and at independent hearth and patio stores.

Fire Magic Aurora Series Gas Grills

Upon inspecting the high level of performance and craftsmanship exhibited in Aurora models one could likely be surprised to discover they are actually a step down from Fire Magic's premier Diamond Echelon grills. They are also smaller than the Echelon series with the largest Aurora A660 having the same primary cook surface size as the smallest Echelon E660.
 
Be that as it may, Aurora is far from an entry level product line in design, construction and price. Like all Fire Magic grills, Auroras are made with high quality 304 cast stainless steel burners, cooking grates and housings that carry a lifetime warranty. Warranty for various components then drops to 15 years for brass valves and backburner and manifold assemblies all the way down to 1 year for electric systems.

Fire Magic Aurora 540 Gas Grill

The A540 has stainless steel cooking grates that are thick and heavy. 16 gauge stainless steel flavor grids blanket the burners for even heat distribution and the three cast stainless steel E-burners, actually shaped more like an H, are super heavy duty and designed to spread flame throughout the firebox. One owner likened the intensity to "a sea of fire". Access to burners is easy for cleaning, smoking, or setting up a rotisserie.

All models have battery operated push to light ignition and built-in digital thermometers with meat probes. Small battery boxes easily pop out from the sides of the control panel. All models are available with or without the rotisserie and the backburner raised above the cooking grate for rotisserie cooking.

Aurora has a 12" deep firebox (mighty nice for rotisserie) and a double wall spring assisted hood. Removable warming racks can be stored on brackets behind the hood. These brackets also hold the rotisserie spit. Backburners include a stainless steel cover for protection when not in use.

The drip collection systems consists of a tapered firebox bottom draining into a small drawer accessed from the front control panel and equipped with a disposable aluminum tray. But you shouldn't get much grease because most burns up on the flavor grids especially if you do a burn off after each use.

Stand-alone models are available with or without a 15,000 BTU side burner.  All 304 stainless steel cart construction with insulated doors and drawers. Retractable tool and paper towel holders. Heavy-duty locking swivel casters.

All Fire Magic grills are made with high quality 304 cast stainless steel burners, cooking grates and housings that carry a lifetime warranty. Warranty for various components then drops to 15 years for brass valves and backburner and manifold assemblies all the way down to 1 year for electric systems. Lifetime ownership is a Fire Magic mantra. All grills are shipped with conversion kits that facilitate propane or natural gas should your preference change.

Fire Magic designs are elegant and engineered for customization. The grills or "heads" can be purchased for drop in installations or mounted on carts and pedestals. The model numbers tell a lot about the model. For example, A660i indicates: A=Aurora, 660=actual or approximate primary cooking surface, i=island or drop-in head for install. A540s: A=Aurora, 540=540 square inch primary cooking surface, s=stand-alone or mounted on a cart. For outdoor kitchen installations, anything in the vast Fire Magic catalog may be incorporated. Options for the Aurora series stand-alone models are more limited than with Echelons. Fire Magic Add-ons can increase the price significantly. Our listed MSRP is for a basic A540s freestanding model.

Price: 

$5,655 Manufacturer's suggested retail price (MSRP), actual price may vary.

Where To Buy (Buying from these suppliers supports this website): 

Amazon

FireCraft: Free Shipping

Northline Express

AJ Madison

Primary Function: 

Grill

Drop-Ins

Fuel: 

Propane Gas

Natural Gas Capable

Primary Capacity: 

540 square inches ( about 26 burgers )

Main Burners: 

3

Manufacturer claims that all or practically all of this device is made in the USA

Yes

BTU: 

60,000

Heat Flux: 

111. Heat Flux is the BTU per square inch and is a more useful measure of how much heat a grill delivers than BTU alone.

Review Method: 

Looked Closely At It

We have seen this product up close and we have also gathered info from the manufacturer,  owners, and other reliable sources.


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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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