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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.

barbecue baked beans

Bourbon Barbecue Baked Beans

By Meathead Goldwyn

This recipe below is more Southern than Boston Baked Beans, sweetere, and will make the best baked beans you've ever had, certain to wow your guests. OK, I know there's a lotta stuff in this recipe, but when you consider that baked beans are really a stew, and stews get complexity from, well, stewing, I say the more stuff, the merrier. The important thing is that it's quick and easy to assemble. Lotsa stuff, little fuss. Besides, nothing that has bacon in it can be bad.

There is an alternative prep, and a lot of rib joints make their beans this way: They take the unsold ribs from yesterday, scrape the meat off the bone, and use it instead of the bacon. Some even add scraps from their other meats. The best ribjoints put their bean pans under the meat in their smokers and let the drippings fall into the stew bringing with them flavor from the rub seasonings, fat, and smoke. This is a great technique, but it is easy to oversmoke them, so leave them in the smoker for 2 to 3 hours on your first try.

If you are from Texas or South Carolina or New Orleans, you might not like these beans because they are sweet. That's the way the rest of the nation likes beans. Sorry. You need to try my recipe for Grannie's Texas Beans or Hoppin' John or Red Beans & Rice.

Speaking of rice, Hoppin John and Red Beans & Rice are excellent examples of how well beans go with rice. For a surprise, serve this recipe with white rice.

Bourbon Barbecue Baked Beans Recipe

Yield. About 12 servings
Preparation time. 20 minutes
Cooking time. 45 minutes or more

Ingredients
6 strips of thick cut bacon
2 medium onions, coarsely chopped
1 red bell pepper, coarsley chopped
1 jalapeño, or more or less to your taste, coarsley chopped
1 can (15 ounces) red kidney beans, drained and rinsed, or 1/4 pound dried red kidney beans
1 can (15 ounces) white kidney beans, drained and rinsed, or 1/4 pound dried white kidney beans
1 can (15 ounces) black beans, drained and rinsed, or 1/4 pound dried black beans
1/2 cup raisins
3/4 cup Kansas City style BBQ sauce
4 tablespoons molasses, any grade
1/4 cup Kentucky Bourbon or Tennessee whiskey
2 teaspoons dry mustard
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1 bay leaf (try not to leave this out)

About the beans. You can use all one type of bean. The beans in the photo were made with white kidneys only. Click here to read my article, The Zen of Beans, for tips on working with dried beans. If you plan to use dried beans, follow the instructions there for soaking them. Dried beans may take longer to cook than canned depending on the type you use, their size, how long you soaked them, and how you cook them.

About the bacon. Substitute hot dogs for bacon and you have Beanie Weenies.

About the peppers. Substitute poblanos for bell peppers. Richer flavor and a little heat.

Optional add-ins. Add 1 teaspoon American chili powder or ancho powder and/or 1 teaspoon rosemary leaves (not powder). Add 1 tart apple such as Granny Smith or Jonathan, peeled, cubed, and add it with the whiskey.

Do this
1) Make sure you are using a 2 quart or larger pot or Dutch oven. Cook the bacon over a medium heat. When it begins to brown, flip it, brown the other side, but remove it before it renders all its fat and gets hard. We want bacon that we can cut, not crumble. You will probably need to do the bacon in two batches. And what the heck, go ahead and cook an extra slice or two for the cook to eat when nobody is watching. Drain the bacon by putting it on 2 layers of paper towels on top of a section of the local newspaper.

2) Pour off the bacon fat into a coffee cup leaving behind about 2 tablespoons and most of the brown bits dissolved in the fat. When the fat in the cup begins to cool, but before it hardens, move it to a plastic tub and store it in the fridge. You can use this later for cooking onions or veggies. Nothing perks up broccoli like bacon fat!

3) Add the onions and peppers to the pot and cook them until they wilt. If the bacon bits stuck to the bottom start to get too dark, add an ounce of water and they will dissolve promptly with the help of a wooden spoon.

4) Add everything else including the bacon. There are three good ways to cook these beans:

  • On your grill/smoker. If you have a smoker, put them below the meat for about 2 to 3 hours at 225°F. They will collect flavorful, smoky drippings from the meat laden with seasoning from the rub. Just be sure they don't burn.
  • In your oven. Put the pot in your oven uncovered for 2 hours at 250°F. Stir every 30 minutes to make sure they don't burn.
  • On the stovetop. Bring to a gentle boil over medium heat and then turn it back to simmer for 30 minutes without a lid. Stir and scrape the bottom with a wooden spoon every 10 minutes to prevent burning and sticking. Try to keep the bay leaf submerged.
  • In a slow cooker. Set it to medium, which should be about 250°F and check them in about 2 hours.

6) Remove the bay leaf. Taste and adjust the flavors as you see fit. If you like it spicier, add hot sauce. Add more molasses if you like it sweeter, or salt if you think it needs it. Cook it longer if you want it thicker, or add water if you want it thinner.

This page was revised 12/14/2009


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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, rubs, and side dishes, with the world's best buying guide to barbecue smokers, grills, and accessories, edited by Meathead.

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