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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
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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.

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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).

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Amp Up The Smoke

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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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Tennessee Hollerin' Whiskey Barbecue Sauce

"Corn won't grow at all on Rocky Top, Dirt's too rocky by far. That's why all the folks on Rocky Top, get their corn from a jar." Rocky Top, Tennessee State Song, by Felice and Boudleaux Bryant

By Meathead Goldwyn

The best aged Kentucky Bourbons and Tennessee Whiskeys are the Cognacs of the country.

Bourbon is named for Bourbon County, Kentucky, and, although law requires Bourbon to be 51% corn, the best are 75% or more corn, with the balance wheat, rye, or barley. Although they are not called Bourbon, Tennessee whiskeys such as Jack Daniel's are made pretty much the same way as Bourbon and are comparable in taste.

The fermentation is induced by the introduction of "sour mash", some of the fermenting mash from previous batches, a process similar to the way sourdough bread is made. The mash ferments and is distilled to 80% alcohol (160 proof), which is aged in oak barrels for two years or more. Most are aged four years, and the best are aged eight years or more. They are blended with water and bottled from 80-90 proof.

In recent years Bourbon has grown in popularity, in part because some producers have begun bottling single barrels, aging for longer periods, and using fancy bottles.

The Jack Daniel's World Championship Invitational Barbecue is considered by many to be the most prestigious competition in the world. It is held in the holler just behind the distillery's home, Lynchburg, Tennessee. A few years back they added a sauce competition, but all sauces had to have Jack Daniel's in them. Inventive chefs cooked up some mighty nice sauces, and many of them have found their way into bottles.

Aged corn whiskeys have a wonderful sweet vanilla flavor that is great in barbecue sauces, but it is easily lost among the bold flavors of the alcohol and the other ingredients of a barbecue sauce. To showcase the whiskey flavors, my sauce does not have many ingredients, but it still is very complex. The secret is that we begin by gathering the essence of Bourbon by reducing a cup to a few tablespoons of magical elixir.

I named my sauce after the holler in which it was invented. It has a kick, and after one taste you'll be bending over and hollerin' "Kick me!"

Recipe

Makes. About 2 cups of sauce. Click here to calculate how much you need and for tips on saucing strategies.
Preparation time. 45 minutes.
Keeps. Because it has a high acid and sugar content, it can keep for months in the refrigerator.

Ingredients
2 cups Jack Daniel's Black Label or Bourbon
1 cup ketchup
1 tablespoon lemon juice
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
2 tablespoons malt vinegar
4 tablespoons dark or blackstrapmolasses
1/2 teaspoon liquid smoke (optional)

Method
1) Taste the whiskey to make sure it is up to your standards. Pour 1 cup of whiskey into a saucepan and set aside the remaining whiskey. Bring the saucepan to a boil and reduce the liquid to about 2 tablespoons. Don't let the alcohol flame. Taste the unused whiskey to make sure it hasn't gone bad.

2) Add 1/2 cup of the whiskey and the other ingredients. Simmer over a low heat for 30 minutes and reduce it by about 1/3. Use it immediately or bottle it and keep it in the refrigerator for a month or more. Drink the remaining whiskey.

This page was revised 2/17/2009


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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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