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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 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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One Nation Under Sauce: A Guide to America's Barbecue

"Drive around the building. If there's no wood pile, move along." Meathead

By Meathead Goldwyn

Here's the massive concept: As I travel, I like to hit the local pitstops, tuck in a napkin, take a few pictures, and meet the pitmasters. In this section I plan to post my experiences and I invite you to do the same. Sooner or later I will set it up as a searchable database where you can rate the restaurants. This is a big expensive project, so forgive me if it takes a while. Meanwhile, I have included some external links to sites that have come recommended by users. I can't vouch for the quality of the meal or the accuracy of the info below, so check around and call ahead. At this time I haven't even posted all my faves, and the listings are in no special order. If you stop in, tell the Meathead sent you!

The web has a lot of great restaurant guides. If you're looking for a place just around town or when you're on the road, there are a lot of handy resources to tip you off on where to go, and where not to go. I have included some of them below. You should also check out the popular food message boards. They usually have sections devoted to restaurant discussions. And they're often up to date on who got cited by the health board and who lost their chef. Here are the restaurant guides I use.

US Barbecue Pitstops

  • Alabama
  • Alaska
  • Arizona
  • Arkansas
    • Whole Hog Cafe in Little Rock
    • McClard's Bar-B-Q, 505 Albert Pike, Hot Springs, Arkansas 71901, 501-623-9665, 866-622-5273
    • Jones Bar-B-Q Diner, (James Beard award winner) 219 West Louisiana St., Marianna, AR Owners: James and Betty Jones
    • Roadside BBQ, Proctor
  • California
    • Mo's, San Luis Obispo
    • Ribs & Rods, Sacramento
    • Everett and Jones, Oakland since 1973
    Beachwood Barbecue, Seal Beach
    • Uncle Frank's Barbecue, Mountain View
    • Great American Barbecue, 2009 Hight St, Alameda CA 94501
    • BBQ Smokehouse, Sebastapol, Larry Vito, owner.
    • Salinas City BBQ, 700 West Market, Salinas, CA, Franz Ingram
    • Curly's BBQ, Seaside, CA, Hampar Kocek and his son, Selcuk.
  • Colorado
    Big Hoss BBQ
    Brothers BBQ
  • Connecticut
  • Delaware
  • District of Columbia
  • Florida
    • Wholly Smokes. 6803 N Armenia Ave, Tampa, 33604, 813-935-5879
    • Alligator Alley, 1321 E. Commercial Blvd, Fort Lauderdale, 954-771-2220, closed Tue, Chef Iggy, Carl Pissolo.
    • Georgia Pig, 1285 S. State Road 7, Davie, FL 33317, 954-587-4420
    • Jenkins Quality Bar-B-Que, 4 locations in Jacksonville
    • Tom Jenkins 1236 S Federal Hwy, Ft. Lauderdale, FL
    • Tom's Place, West Palm Beach, FL
    • Big John's Alabama Bar-B-Que in Tampa
    • Skebo's Kitchen, Club Lexx, 12001 NW 27th Ave.; 5 p.m.-5 a.m. daily; 786-443-7306.
    • Mama Lucy's All Pro Ribs, 2201 NW 119th St.; 1-8:30 p.m. Wednesday, noon-10 p.m. Thursday, noon-11:30 p.m. Friday, 1-11:30 p.m. Saturday, noon-7 p.m. Sunday; 305-687-8782.
    • Saint City Coffee Shop, 9302 NW 22nd Ave.; 8:30 a.m. until customers stop coming, daily; 305-693-3877.
    • House of Prayer Church & Restaurant, 2445 NW 62nd St.; 11:30 a.m.-9 p.m. Thursday, 11:30 a.m.-11 p.m. Friday-Saturday, 11:30 a.m.-9 p.m. Sunday; 305-691-5577.
    • VII Sports Club, 5994 NW 22nd Ave.; noon-midnight Friday-Saturday; 305-638-9616.
    • Bulldog BBQ
    • Big Momma's Smokehouse BBQ, Palm Beach, Boca Raton, others
    • Shorty's BBQ, multiple locations
    • Texas Hold 'Em BBQ, Fort Lauderdale
    Florida Barbecue Association.
  • Georgia
    • Col. Poole's, East Elijay, GA, Hill of Pigs Col Oscar Poole Dougless GA has "Nat BBQ Championships"
    • Wall's, 515 E. York Lane, Savannah, GA. Between York St. and Oglethorpe Ave (Historic District) 912-232-9754.
    • Fatt Matt's Rib Shack, Atlanta, has live music
    • Barbecue Kitchen, College Park
    • Harold's Barbecue, Atlanta
    • Pig-N-Chik, Atlanta
    • The Swallow At The Hollow, Roswell
    • Williamson Brothers, Douglasville
    • Hudson's Hickory House, Douglasville
    Atlanta Restaurants.
  • Hawaii
  • Idaho
  • Illinois
    Click here for a page devoted to Illinois barbecue, emphasis on Chicago.
  • Indiana
  • Iowa
  • Hawgeyes BBQ, 1313 S.W. Ordnance Road. Ankeny, Iowa 50021, 515-963-4397. Mike Tucker.
    Hickory Park BBQ, 1404 S. Duff, Ames, IA, 535-232-8940, 10:30-9, about 25 miles north of Des Moines.
  • Kansas
  • Kentucky
    Check out the road trip by Rob Baas
    • Starnes in Paducah
    • Moonlight Diner
    • Smokey Pig in Bowling Green
    • The Smoke Shack in Scottsville
  • Louisiana
  • Maine
  • Maryland
    • The Red Line Grill, 6912 Fourth St. NW, 202-291-9464. Metro: Takoma stop.
  • Massachusetts
    Pigtrip. Barbecue joints in Boston.
  • Sweet Cheeks Q. The chef has finished second on Top Chef twice.
  • Michigan
  • Minnesota
  • Mississippi
    • The Shed in Ocean Springs, MS, near the coast, not far from Mobile, AL, owned by the Orrison family, is probably the coolest joint in the country and belongs on your bucket list.
    • Pig Out Inn, Natches. Est 1955
    • Memphis Barbecue Co., 709 Desoto Cove, Horn Lake, MS 38637. Just a few miles south of Memphis. 662.536.3763, Melissa Cookston and John Wheeler, owners
  • Missouri
    • Check out my quick notes on a visit to Kansas City with links to a lot of photos (expanded section coming)
    Super Smokers, 601 Stockell Drive, Eureka MO, 636-938-9742, 11-8
    • Bill Arnold's Blues Hog Cafe, 116 E Main St, Perry, MO. 573-565-3040
    Jack Stack's, 101 W 22nd St, KC, MO, 816-472-7427
    • KC Masterpiece
    • Smoki O's, Kansas City, Otis & Earlene Walker. Famous for snoot!
    • Oklahoma Joe's, Kansas City
    • Pappy's, St. Louis
    Lonnie Ray's, Harrisburg, MO
  • Montana
  • Nebraska
  • Nevada
  • New Hampshire
  • New Jersey
  • New Mexico
    • Danny's Place, 902 South Canal, Carlsbad, NM 88220.
  • New York
    Pete Wells at the NY Times reviews NYC BBQ
    • Painted Pony in Lake Lucerne - has live rodeo twice per week
    • Hog Pit, NYC
    • Brooks, Cooperstown
    • Blue Smoke, NYC
    • Hill Country, NYC, an ode to Kreuz Market in TX, Elizabeth is executive chef
    • Dinosaur Bar-B-Que, NYC, Syracuse, Rochester
  • North Carolina
    • Skylight, Ayden NC, Pete Jones, owner. Only wood cooked whole hog, chopped, with slaw.
    • Ed Mitchell's
    • The Barbecue Joint in Durham NC
    • Bar BQ Center Drive-In, Lexington
    The Pit, Raleigh
    North Carolina Barbecue Society. They have a Barbecue Trail that includes most of the important places to see and taste including a map, address and phone, and background info. It's all here.
    North Carolina Barbecue Joints.
  • North Dakota
  • Ohio
    Hot Sauce Williams, Cleveland
  • Oklahoma
    Earl's, Oklahoma City, OK
  • Oregon
  • Pennsylvania
  • Puerto Rico
  • Rhode Island
  • South Carolina
    • Click here to see my notes on a visit to South Carolina and lots of photos (expanded section coming)
  • South Dakota
  • Tennessee
    Here's a fine article about BE Scott's in Lexington TN.
    A&R Bar-B-Que, Memphis
    The Bar-B-Q Shop, Memphis
    Central BBQ, Memphis
    Charley Vergos' Rendezvous, Memphis
    Corky's Ribs & BBQ, multiple locations in Memphis and elsewhere in TN
    Cozy Corner, Memphis
    Germantown Commissary, Memphis
    Interstate Bar-B-Que, Memphis
    Neely's Bar-B-Que, Memphis
    Payne's, Memphis
    Tops Bar-B-Q, Memphis
    City Café, Memphis
    Canale's Grocery, Eads, TN, In an old grocery store
    Bozo's, Mason
  • Texas
    Touring the Texas Barbecue Belt. Meathead's extensive guide to barbecue in and around Austin.
    • Click here to see my detailed tour of The Austin Barbecue Belt with plenty of photos.
    Texas Monthly's definitive guide
    Full Custom Gospel BBQ by the estimable Daniel Vaughn
    • Here's a link to The Texas BBQ Trail, a guide paid for the joints in Elgin, Lockhart, Luling, Taylor
    • And while you're at it, why not hit the Texas Wine Trail
    • Burn's, Houston (Roy Burns, owner)
    Willy Ray’s, 145 Interstate 10 N, Beaumont, TX 77707 409.832.7770
    Mikeska’s Barbecue, 4225 Hwy. 59, El Campo, TX 77437, 979.543.8252 (tel.), 800.388.2552 (toll-free)
    • Thelma Bar B Que 3755 Southmore Boulevard, Houston, TX 77004
    • Drexler's
    Luling City Market,
    • Goode Company on Kirby in Houston
    • Vergies BBQ at 5535 Gessner Drive, Houston, TX 77041 (713) 466-6525.
    Sonny Bryans, multiple locations in Dallas, but the original is a must.
    Gonzales Food Market, 800-269-5342
    • Rudy's, multiple locations, my fave is in Round Rock
    New Braunfels Smokehouse, 441 N. Guenther, New Braunfels, TX 78131, 800-537-6932
    Vera's for BBQ cow's heads barbacoa de cabeza, 26th St. and Southmost Road, in Brownsville, TX., since 1955
    • Ja Kiva, Terlingua
    • Clem Mikeska's, Temple
    Cap Ranch Gourmets, 2018 S. Broadway, Tyler, TX 75701, 903.592.3452 (tel.) 800.874.9321 (toll-free)
    Snow's, Lexington
  • Utah
  • Vermont
  • Virginia
    Dan & Barbara & Sandra Gill's Something Different Country Store and Deli in Pine Tree, 45 miles from Richmond.
  • Virgin Islands
  • Washington
  • West Virginia
    • Hocutt's Carolina Barbecue, Moundsville
  • Wisconsin
    • Speed Queen, 1130 West Walnut Street, Milwaukee, WI, 203-237-6660
    • Maxie's, Milwaukee
  • Wyoming

More Links

BBQ Porch.

Dixie Dining

Epicurious. The Best Eats section is good and the BBQ section is also helpful.

Roadfood. Although Roadfood is ostensibly focused on inexpensive restaurants on the highways and byways, the discussions on this message board often include restaurants in cities as well as recipes. They have a section on BBQ and it contains a lot of great joints. Some good tips. Easy to use.

Friends Eat

MenuPages. Menus and more for NYC restaurants.

Zagat. The Zagat guides are among the most respected in the world. But you've got to pay to see the entire database. There are bits and pieces available for free online, but to get the complete reviews and to add your reviews, fork it over.

Eat My Town. Honest restaurant, bar, pub and hotel reviews in England.

...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).

This page was revised 5/26/2012


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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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