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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 is 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. 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 $269 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.

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 monthly

Search Our Reviews and Ratings

Click Search to see all our Reviews and Ratings. Use the filters below to refine your search.

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

Thermometers. The thermometer on your grill is lying to you.

Best BBQ accessories & gadgets. Tools and toys that make you a better outdoor cook.

Hasty-Bake Gourmet 256 Dual Finish Charcoal Grill

By Meathead Goldwyn

Manufacturer: Hasty-Bake

Founded in Tulsa, OK, by Grant "Hasty" Hastings in 1948, 15 years before the unfortunately named kids' toy and three years before the Weber Kettle were invented, the Hasty-Bake was probably the first home grill with a hood, and it incorporated innovations that are just being rediscovered by other grill makers today.

Their grills are unique and built to last. In fact they offer renovation because so many Hasty-Bakes are passed down from one generation to the next. "We can repair any grill from an original 1948 model to a recent model", boasts their website.

Hasty-Bake offers parts, seasonings and sauces, apparel and various accessories. Sales are from a limited number of independent dealers, Amazon and a few other online stores, and direct.

Hasty-Bake Gourmet 256 Dual Finish Charcoal Grill

Top Ten Charcoal Grill 2014Meathead loves Hasty-Bake! Here is his review:

Bottom line: I have never worked with a finer charcoal grill. They may be out there, but I've never encountered them.

Please do not confuse this superb cooker with the Easy-Bake Oven toy for kids! This is a real grownup serious charcoal cooker. There is nothing you can't do with this grill and it deserves a place in the back yard of every serious outdoor cook. A friend calls it the Swiss Army knife of grills.

The manufacturers sent me their Hasty-Bake Gourmet 256 Dual Finish Charcoal Grill to test in July 2010. It has 522 square inches of main grate cooking surface, and 283 square inches on an upper grate. My favorite feature is the adjustable height charcoal grate (#1 in the illustration below). It moves up and down with a crank allowing me to lower the coal grate, push the coals to the right side, fire them up, start a big hunk of beef like a rib roast on the left side of the food grate, then, when I get the meat's interior temp to say 115°F, I can slide it over the coals, crank them up to right below the meat, and brown the exterior as the interior rises to 125°F. This lets it work like a Santa Maria grill, perfect for Tri-Tip, or a closed convection roaster perfect for turkey or chicken. It is very easy to set up for 2-Zone or Indirect cooking and smoke roasting or you can just crank it all the way up to sear a steak in a hurry. Remember the heat diminishes rapidly the further the food is from the coals. This system gives you very good temp control.

photo of hasty bake design(1) Bi-Metal Thermometer, (2) Double Wall Hood, (3) The cooking grates are angled towards the center, and a V-shaped channel ducts much of the grease to a disposable cup on the outside, (4) A large side door that allows you access to the charcoal during the cook, (5) A removable heat deflector that goes between the coals and the cooking grates for better indirect cooking, (6) large, easy to remove charcoal tray, (7) Crank to raise and lower the coal tray, (8) Adjustable Damper, (9) Slide out ash pan for rapid cleanup.

A removable stainless steel work table runs the full length of the front. Gourmet models have an upper rack for cooking or keeping food warm, and a glass window so you can see your food without lifting the bi-fold door on the fixed hood.

In addition to fine searing and indirect convection cooking, the Hasty-Bake is a good smoker. It does a fine job of circulating smoke. In fact, it is almost too good. You will need much less wood than you think and if you don't cut back, you could easily over smoke. Yes, it does leak a lot of smoke, but it also retains and circulates a lot, so you need very little wood.

So far my only criticisms are relatively minor. I have had problems getting it down under 250°F to 225°F my favorite smoke roasting temp, but with practice and precise measuring of coals, it can be done. As with every grill that uses a bimetal thermometer, this one is wildly inaccurate according to benchmark tests I have done with a thermocouple. So make sure you get a good digital grill thermometer to get the most out of this otherwise fine cooker. Also, the bi-fold door on the Gourmet will knock plates and wine glasses off the front shelf if you're not careful opening and closing it. Maybe this is just a personal problem?

You will need the optional cover because rain can get in, and you should also get heavy duty gloves because the knob on the side door gets hot. The best way to light the coals is with the charcoal tray and the ash tray sticking out the side door, and you will need gloves or a stick to push it back into position. You will not need a chimney to start coals. You can mound the coals in the charcoal tray and ignite them from below.

Otherwise, fit and finish are very good on the Gourmet. I have not tested the others, so I cannot speak for them. All models have a 5 year warranty on workmanship and parts, a 1 year warranty on finish, and a 10 year warranty on stainless steel components. Some models are available in all stainless, and some are both stainless and black powder coated. A rotisserie is available, and, get this, the Gourmet can run two rotisseries at once!

Additional comments below are from David Parrish, AmazingRibs.com Hasty Bake Maven. Click here for bio.

Price: 

$1,399 Manufacturer's suggested retail price (MSRP), actual price may vary.

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

Amazon: Free Shipping

Primary Function: 

Grill

Smoker

Combination Grill & Smoker

Fuel: 

Charcoal

Primary Capacity: 

522 square inches ( about 25 burgers )

Secondary Capacity: 

283 square inches

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

Yes

Review Method: 

Cooked On It

We have hands-on experience testing this product. We have also gathered info from the manufacturer, owners and other reliable sources.


Please read this before posting a comment or question

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. 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 can't help you. Please read this article about thermometers.

MISSING COMMENTS. On March 16, 2014 the company that supplied the software for our comments section went out of business. The company that bought them was not up to our standards, so on April 17, 2014 we moved to a new service and and thousands of previous comments were lost. So we must begin again. Sigh. Click here to learn more about our comment system.

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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, rubs, and side dishes, with the world's best buying guide to barbecue smokers, grills, and accessories, edited by Meathead.

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