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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.

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texas beans

Grannie's Texas Butter Beans Recipe

"If you've only had sweet Boston Baked Beans, then you don't know beans." Meathead

By Meathead Goldwyn

During hard times, beans have kept many Texans alive. For more than a few, the bean pot contained simply beans, salt, pepper, and maybe a little pork fat or bacon. You can go crazy with additions, but this is the classic, simple, home style recipe. When you visit classic Texas pitstops, beans are almost always on the menu, and outsiders, particularly Yankees, are often surprised to discover that "Texas Caviar" is simple and not sweet.

There are a million ways to vary this recipe and every Texan has her own twist. Some start with the stripped down recipe below and add potato chunks, bell peppers, anchos, hot sauce, ham hocks, leftover meats, or herbs. Sweeteners, such as molasses, common in Yankee bean dishes such as Boston Baked Beans, rarely appear in Texas beans.

Some cooks play with garnishes at the table, but I keep it simple, just a little jalapeño, if I garnish at all. Sometimes I go crazy and add chopped tomato and raw onion. For a luxe treatment when company's coming, I put a pat of butter or dollop of sour cream on top of each serving.

Below is my version of Texas beans, the kind you might find Grannie dishing out in a farmhouse or at her barbecue joint. You can use just about any bean, but butter beans, pintos, or black-eyed beans (a.k.a. black-eyed peas) are the most common in Texas.

This is a common everyday dish, but in Texas it is traditional to serve black-eyes on New Year's Day to bring good luck for the coming year.

Recipe

Makes. 8 servings as a side dish
Preparation time. 6 to 12 hours soaking if using dried beans, plus about 3 hours cooking time. Exact cooking time will vary for dried beans depending on how dry they were and how long they soaked.

Ingredients
2 strips bacon, chopped
2 cans (15 ounce each) pinto beans, drained and rinsed
1 large onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, pressed or minced
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
2 bay leaves
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
2 (14 ounce) cans reduced sodium chicken broth
1 (14 ounce) can whole, diced, or crushed tomatoes
2 fresh jalapeño peppers, finely chopped
Salt and ground black pepper to taste

Method
1) Click here to read my article, The Zen of Beans, for tips on working with beans and equivalents for dry, canned, and cooked beans. Decide which you will use. If you plan to use dried beans, follow the instructions there for peparing them. If you plan to use canned beans, move on to the next step.

2) Heat a Dutch oven or a heavy pot with a medium heat and add the bacon. Cook until it starts to brown and the fat starts to melt. Add the onion and cook until limp.

3) Add the pressed garlic, cumin, bay leaves, and black pepper and cook about 2 minutes.

4) Add the chicken broth, tomatoes, and the beans. Bring to a boil for about a minute and back the heat down to a simmer. Scrape any bits off the bottom. Stir gently. Simmer about 3 hours with the lid on, stirring every 15 to 30 minutes to make sure things don't stick to the bottom.

5) Some folks serve their beans after most of the liquid has been absorbed, others like it more like a thick soup, and some folks like it thinner. You can add water to thin it or smash a few beans if you want to thicken it. Or you can take the lid off and simmer them lid off for about 30 minutes. Your call. Add cumin, salt, and pepper if you think it needs it. Just before serving remove the bay leaves and add the chopped jalapeño. The reason we wait til the end to add the chile is so its flavor and heat will remain intact and add crunchy little bursts when you eat.

Leftovers
If you have leftovers, smush them up completely. Throw some bacon grease or other fat into a frying pan, cast iron preferably, and when it's hot, add the beans and stir frequently until they are the thickness you prefer. Them's refried beans, partner (in Spanish the prefix "re-" means "well", so "frijoles refritos" means "beans well fried", not "beans fried again").

This page was revised 5/30/2010


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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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