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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

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.

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

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Best BBQ accessories

Char-Broil Vertical Gas Smoker

By Max Good

Manufacturer: Char-Broil

Char-Broil is an innovator in the popular gas grill arena with clever designs, low to midrange prices, and excellent customer service. For several years they have focused on infrared cooking. Starting in 2012 all new IR models were dubbed "Tru-Infrared". These grills are made with stainless steel tube burners that work in conjunction with a radiant surface to bring heat close to the food. The radiant surface shields food from direct flame and reduces hot dry convection heat rising from the burners.

As one of the biggest BBQ manufacturers in the world, Char-Broil offers a clear, low cost alternative to Weber and surpasses other price driven manufacturers like Brinkmann and Masterbulit with their infrared gas grill design innovation and focused marketing. Also in 2012, Char-Broil introduced Saber, a new, very high quality line of gas grills that goes head to head with Weber's Summit series in the premium grill space. They offer charcoal grills, smokers, fryers and a variety of accessories and tools.

Char-Broil is owned by The W.C. Bradley Company headquartered in Columbus, GA.  Roots of W.C. Bradley go back before the Civil War to The Columbus Iron Works. The first Char-Broil grill was made and sold in the USA in 1953. Now all Char-Broil grills are manufactured in China and distributed around the globe.

Char-Broil Vertical Gas Smoker

Top Ten Charcoal Grill 2014Char-Broil's vertical gasser is one of many smokers that share the same basic design. This cabinet style device has one door for the cooking chamber and a pull out drawer at the bottom to access the combo water pan and wood tray, allowing you to tend the wood and water without disturbing your smoke box. Rotary ignition and a control knob for the 16,500 BTU burner are located on the control panel under the drawer. It comes with three adjustable chrome plated grates. One of the unique features is the wire rack above the chimney that is perfect for keeping your sauce warm. At 19.5" deep x 21.5" wide x 45.5" high, it is large with a low price.

Feedback from owners is typical of these low cost devices. Some are very happy and getting satisfactory results, others complain of poor construction and gaps in the doors that leak heat and smoke. But as Meathead explains in our intro to gas smokers, leaks won't hurt your food, just raise your wood and fuel costs slightly. And for this money, how can you gripe about construction?

The heat indicator is especially bad on this model. Some folks even replaced them with other cheap dial thermometers and declared that to be a significant improvement! Fuhgeddaboudit. Do yourself a favor and pick up an accurate digital thermometer.

Our science adisor, Dr. Greg Blonder, recently conducted experiments using this model. "Well, it’s a mixed bag", he states,."Better quality steel than I expected. Some bent grill parts. Door seals ok. Cheapest thermometer I’ve ever seen on a smoker. Wound wire handles on door too thin to protect your fingers against heat- useless. Biggest issue is combined water tray and smoke tray, which are concentric donuts with smooth sided walls. Filling the outer water tray is very likely to slosh into the inner wood tray, extinguishing the fire - Bad design. Burner flames are efficient according to my combustion gas analyzer. Cannot run under 285F without water pan, then drops to 240F. Water lasts about an hour, 4 oz oak wood about 45 minutes. The flames in the Charbroil are actually pretty hot, and convert nitrogen in air to NO, (nitrogen monoxide), to a thin  "smoke ring". No wood required. But the wood adds wood flavor and a wider, deeper colored ring." Click here to learn more about how the smoke ring is formed.

It is what it is. If you're looking for a cheap gas smoker Char-Broil is as good as it gets in this price range. Furthermore you can easily find deals on this guy. Even Wal-Mart sells them for way under the posted MSRP.

Price: 

$200 Manufacturer's suggested retail price (MSRP), actual price may vary.

Primary Function: 

Smoker

Fuel: 

Propane Gas

Primary Capacity: 

578 square inches ( about 28 burgers )

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

No

BTU: 

16,500

Heat Flux: 

29. 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: 

Cooked On It

We have hands-on experience testing this product. 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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