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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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2009-02-17 Best Hot Dog Gone

By Meathead Goldwyn

As published in the Huffington Post

The best hot dog in the town famous for hot dogs, perhaps the best hot dog in the nation, Best's Kosher Franks, has been chewed up and spit out by the conglomerate that swallowed it whole.

Best's Kosher, whose franks ranked #1 in a double blind tasting of all-beef wieners by this taster (see below) has been shuttered. According to an AP report on Forbes.com, "Sara Lee also has been shedding businesses that don't fit into its strategy of focusing on categories where it is strong." According to multiple reports, the brand was profitable, just not profitable enough.

In addition to it's superb franks, Best's also sold knockwurst, Polish sausage, salami, bologna, chopped liver, pastrami, corned beef, and kishka (blood sausage). Sarah Lee also owns Hillshire Farm, Jimmy Dean and Ball Park brands, all of which will continue. The closing of the plant on Pershing Road in Chicago will mean the loss of about 185 jobs.

Best's was a venerable brand, established in 1886 in Cincinnati by German immigrant Isaac Oscherwitz, and nurtured for more than a century by his descendants. It was sold to Sara Lee in 1993. The company started its move to Chicago in 1925, set up shop in Bridgeport near the stockyards, and grew rapidly. At one time Best's was the brand sold at Wrigley Field, Comiskey Park, the United Center, and Soldier Field, where I enjoyed many of their garlicky, natural casing sausages. The story of Best's Kosher is told sweetly by Susan Berger, the founder's granddaughter, in an Chicago Tribune op-ed earlier this month.

Small profits, quality products, faithful followers, 185 livelihoods, and tradition are apparently meaningless to Sara. It's an all too familiar tale. WBEZ radio, the NPR outlet in Chicago, broadcast an interview with Berger and among the comments posted to their website was this telling eulogy by Larry Warsh, of W. Bloomfield, MI, who claimed:

"I was distributor for Best for 40 years and a broker for them for 10. When Sara Lee bought Best their attitude was that if a small broker could do the kind of business I was doing, how much more could their large brokerage organization do? It was a case of a large conglomerate buying a small ethnic company, letting go all the people that got Best where they were and putting in people that didn't really know about Kosher lunch meats. They were bound to fail."

It is not known if there is any buyer interested in acquiring the brand and/or its facilities. One can hope because, according to a BBC report, the U.S. has a shortage of kosher meats.

The lesson is that if you have built a business and you decide to cash in, kiss it goodbye, because there's no telling what the new owners will do with it. I have also lived through this heartbreak. In response to speculation that Perdue Farms was interested in getting into the kosher meat biz, one commentator on a Jewish website mused "Marcel Proust wrote about it in "Recherche du Temps Perdue." Proust's book titled A la Recherche du Temps Perdu was translated as Remembrance of Things Past. Sigh.

Click the links to read my ratings of the best all-beef franks, my rankings of the best Chicago Hot Dog stands, how to make the perfect hot dog, and more recipes and lore.


Remember, no rules in the bedroom or the kitchen.

Meathead


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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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