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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

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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.

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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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Chocolate Chile Barbecue Sauce. Yes, You Read That Right.

"'Put a sock in it' [is] Gourmet chef slang for 'Needs more flavor.'" The cartoon strip Mr. Boffo by Joe Martin

chocolate chile barbecue sauceBy Meathead Goldwyn

This sauce has the classic taste profile of all the most popular barbecue sauces, sweet, tart, and slightly spicy, but with a wonderful twist: The seductive taste of chocolate. If it sounds weird, well, it is a bit weird, but I'm here to tell you it works. And don't worry, it is not too hot. Of course you can make it hotter if you want...

The idea came from, of all places, Charleston, SC. Charleston is emerging as one of the hottest restaurant cities in the nation with creative chefs, many with classic roots, putting modern spins on traditional Southern Cuisine. Chef Ciaran Duffy worked there for many years at Tristan where he developed a Chocolate Chile Barbecue Sauce. I ordered a bottle and loved it, but alas, when Duffy moved west to become the executive chef at the Marriott Del Mar near San Diego, Tristan stopped bottling it. So I created my own recipe.

This concoction clearly has nothing whatsoever to do with Southern barbecue sauce traditions which tend to be vinegary, or Charleston which is in the mustard based barbecue sauce belt. Its components are really Caribbean, where the word barbecue originated, Mexican, where chocolate and vanilla come from, Floridian and Brazilian, which produce more oranges than anybody, South American, where tomatoes originated, and Central America, where chile peppers were first discovered. So what could be more far Southern than a blend of them? It is a bit of a novelty, but a darn good one.

How to use it? I love it on pork ribs and even meatloaf, not so much on other beef products. So I need you to make a batch, try it, and let me know on which foods you like it.

Makes. A bit more than 2 cups of sauce
Preparation time.
45 minutes
Keeps. Because it has a high acid and sugar content, it can keep for months in the refrigerator.

Ingredients
3/4 cup white sugar
3/4 cup rice vinegar
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup tomato paste
1/4 cup orange juice
2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon table salt
1/8 teaspoon chipotle chile powder

About the cocoa. I use Hershey's Natural Unsweetened. Click here to learn more about chocolate and the different types in my article on the Science of Chocolate.

Method
1) Mix the sugar and water in a pan and simmer until the sugar dissolves. Add the rest of the ingredients and simmer on low for 30 minutes.

2) Paint it on your ribs. One layer is all that is needed. If you wish, put the sauced ribs over high heat to caramelize the sugars a bit, but watch it carefully so it doesn't burn. Then, for a festive touch, grate some orange zest on top. Serve it with a big red wine.

This page was revised 10/30/2011


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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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