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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.

Hot Links To The Best Food, Drink, Websites, Podcasts, Forums, Mailing Lists And Other References.

By Meathead Goldwyn

In this section I have attempted to create a guide to quality food and cooking info on the net. Why send my readers elsewhere?

In fall 2009, when Conde Nast announced it was pulling the plug on Gourmet magazine, Christopher Kimball, publisher of Cook's Illustrated, a competitior of Gourmet, wrote a thoughtful op-ed in the New York Times on its demise.

He blamed free content on the net and the advertising business model that keeps it alive, and argued for the subscription model his excellent site uses. "Google 'broccoli casserole' and make the first recipe you find. I guarantee it will be disappointing. The world needs fewer opinions and more thoughtful expertise..."

So I Googled "broccoli casserole" and the very first recipe was in cooks.com (not related to Cook's Illustrated). Cooks.com is a humongous recipe database and it had 395 (!) broccoli casserole recipes contributed by, well, anyone. The very first recipe, by someone identified only as "CM" called for "sliced chicken" to be placed in the bottom of the casserole and the rest of the ingredients go on top. Then it said "brown on the top third shelf in a 350°F oven for about 15 minutes or until nicely golden." It doesn't say if I'm to use bake or broil, but I'm here to tell you, if you use raw chicken, 15 minutes on either setting is not likely enough time to kill salmonella, rampant in raw chicken nowadays. You could be more than "disappointed" in the first recipe you find, as Kimball predicts. You could be serving everyone a nice case of food poisoning.

I randomly clicked on some of the other recipes. A few looked like they might be pretty good. But many had confusing ingredients lists, failing to specify what kind of cheese, and other recipes had sketchy instructions. The latest thing is "crowd sourced" recipe sites like Foodista.com and the recipes section of Wikia.com. Anyone can edit any recipe they want. The theory is that the wisdom of the crowd will produce something better than any individual can. It works fairly well on Wikipedia.com, an online encyclopedia. So, if I hate cilantro, I can whip through the site removing cilantro willy nilly. If I like spicy food, I can add a splash of hot sauce to everything. It I work for Velveeta, well, you get the picture. These are new sites, so only time will tell if they produce anything useful, but I am skeptical.

Real recipe writing is hard work and it takes experience. It can take a dozen attempts to get it right. Adjust one ingredient and you probably have to adjust others. After you get it down you have to explain each step so there is no ambiguity. A serious food writer lives in fear of ruining somebody's meal with an imprecise instruction. So where are those serious food writers and tested recipes?

Google uses a computer program to determine its rankings and far too many of the goods sites are buried. Most of the time it is pretty good. But when it comes to food, Google and the other search engines are bringing us quantity, not quality. So it is left to me to bring us quality.

If you want me to add a site, please read my links policy first.

Barbecue, Grilling, and Judging Classes. Some are very basic, some advanced, some backyard oriented, some competition oriented, some are for a few hours, some last two or more days, some are hands on, some are demos and lectures. Some even include free beer and parties. A few are held at magnificent resorts and the package includes room. Some of these instructors will travel to your location if you want to pull together a group, and some will even teach private lessons. Many are taught by competition pitmasters, others by chefs, others by authors.

Accredited Culinary & Restaurant Management Schools. Want a career in the culinary arts or restaurant management? There are many cooking schools, but only a few are accredited and degree granting. Here are some. This list is by no means comprehensive.

Best food and cooking websites. The internet contains a wealth of useful info as well as a lot of misinfo. Here are links to some of the best websites.

Best barbecue websites. Tasty websites on everything from hamburgers to charcoal to tailgating to the Weber Bullet.

Barbecue competitions & associations. There are hundreds of BBQ competitions across the country, and some have prizes up to $75,000! Start practicing!

How to build a grill, smoker, hog cooker. Here are links to some of the best plans and videos for everything from a big brick grill to a UDS (Ugly Drum Smoker).

Best wine, beer, and spirits websites. Here are databases with recommendations for the best in drinks.

Best hot dog links. Where to find the best dogs in LA, West Virginia, and answers to your frank questions.

Meathead's other websites. Man cannot live on ribs alone (at least I can't). Here's some links to some of my other websites and projects.

...more to come (to be notified when new recipes and other articles come online, be sure to subscribe to my free, spam free, email newsletter).


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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