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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.

sunlite kentucky black barbecue sauce


Sunlite Kentucky Black Barbecue Sauce & Dip For Lamb And Mutton

"Mary Had a Little Lamb. Won't You Have Some, Too?" Moonlite Bar-B-Q Inn

By Meathead Goldwyn

The most obscure of the regional American barbecue sauces is the Kentucky Black Barbecue Sauce & Dip because it can be found in only a small area of Western Kentucky just west of Louisville around Owensboro. This fascinating blend is mostly vinegar and Worcestershire sauce and it is designed to go with the specialty of the region, slow smoked mutton.

The first sheep came over with Columbus on his second voyage and were grown more for their fleece than their meat. Demand for wool kept the US herd up near 60 million head through WWII, and it has been on a steady decline since then, down to about 6 million head today. Tender young lamb is still a popular meat, but far less popular than beef, pork, and chicken.

When a lamb is no longer producing enough wool, more than 1 year old, it is slaughtered for food and the meat is called mutton. It has a distinctive and gamier taste than younger, more succulent lamb. As with so many other barbecue meats such as pork ribs and beef brisket, mutton found its way to the low slow smoker because it is tough, full of connective tissue, and less desireable than lamb.

And why Western Kentucky? Once upon a time, in the 1800s, Kentucky was the largest lamb producing state. It has now fallen to number 34. But the tradition of barbecue mutton lives on in dozens of barbecue joints and church socials. The cuts of choice are shoulder and rear leg.

Black Barbecue Sauce sounds wierd, but it is remarably effective. I was pretty skeptical, but once I tasted it, I understood. Sweet sauce would be all wrong. This thin tart sauce cuts the rich fat, which is more intensely flavored than beef, pork, and chicken by far. The sauce is used as a baste, called a dip, because it is thin and penetrates. It is also used as a finishing sauce.

The meat is prepared in a similar fashion to pulled pork, but it is usually not shredded, it is sliced. It is then doused with the thin sauce that enters all its pores.

Some places, like the Moonlite Bar-B-Q Inn, the most famous of all the Western Kentucky barbecue joints, have two slightly different recipes, one for basting, and one for serving. Moonlite published some of their recipes in a cookbook, Family Favorites from Moonlite, which I tried, and frankly, wasn't impressed. So I studied their published recipes, ordered a bottle from their website, set about trying to reverse engineer it, and then I amped it up a notch. In head to head blind tasting, everyone liked mine better. So I called it Sunlite just to make sure there is no confusion.

Makes. 3 cups
Preparation time. 25 minutes.
Keeps. Because it has a high acid content, it can keep for months in the refrigerator.

Ingredients
2 cups water
1/2 cup Lea & Perrins Worcestershire
1/2 cup distilled vinegar
1/2 teaspoon white pepper
7 tablespoons brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon allspice
1/4 teaspoon onion powder
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1 1/4 teaspoons table salt
1 1/4 teaspoons lemon juice

Method
1) Mix all the ingredients in a pot and simmer for 10 minutes.

2) Prepare a leg or shoulder of mutton or lamb by removing all the surface fat and the tough silverskin hiding under it.

3) Coat it with a generous layer of Dolly's Lamb Rub And Paste.

4) Preheat your smoker to about 225°F. If you are using a grill, set it up for 2-zone cooking and get the indirect zone to 225°F. Smoke it low and slow as you would a pork shoulder for pulled pork bringing it up to 203°F. Beware of the stall. Start early and have a faux cambro on hand. How long will it take? Depends on how thick your meat is, and whether or not you use the Texas Crutch.

5) Cut the meat off the bone in 1/8 to 1/4" thick slices and douse with warm sauce just before serving.

This page was revised 4/15/2013


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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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