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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


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

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 $299 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.

tailgater magazine

baltimore pit beef sandwichAmped Up Roast Beef On The Cheap: Baltimore Pit Beef

"If you don't get some on your shirt, you're not doing it right." Meathead

By Meathead Goldwyn

You can make roast beef from many cuts on the steer, but here's how to make a fine roast beef by taking a lesson from the Pit Beef cooks in Baltimore.

Pit beef is served in many restaurants, bars, and pubs in the Charm City area, and surprisingly, it is rarely found outside Maryland. It is essentially a juicy roast beef sammich cooked on a grill. All manner of grills are used, charcoal, wood, and gas.

The meat is a large hunk of beef, often from the rump, often top round, sometimes bottom round, and sometimes sirloin. It is rubbed with a savory spice and herb mix, usually cooked until it is dark and crispy on the outside and rare inside, sliced thin across the grain so there is a narrow crusty ring of flavor from the exterior in every bite. Then it is heaped on a roll or rye bread. You can usually order your preferred doneness since the edges and tapered sections are cooked more and are less red. Cooks will often throw slices back on the fire if you don't want yours rare.

Because the roasts typically used are from the rump and are very lean, they can be tough. Baltimore restaurants machine slice the meat very thin to make it easier to chew, but you can make it tender by cooking it lower and slower than the high speed operations. Low and slow melts the connective tissues that surround the meat fibers (see my article on meat science). Still, if you use one of the cheaper roasts from the rump, it is absolutely essential that you cut across the grain and shave the slices paper thin.

pit beef roastIn order to get that authentic flavor, you should cook over charcoal, but pit beef can be done just fine on a gas grill. I recommend you throw in some smoke. This is usually a big hunk of meat so you need to get as much flavor as possible on the exterior because the interior doesn't have much flavor other than simple beef. Rub and smoke just can't penetrate very far.

Some places proffer a wide range of condiments, but the standard is a horsey sauce, sometimes called tiger sauce, which is a blend of horseradish and mayo, and then thin sliced raw onions top it all. Baltimore Tiger Sauce is very different than the stuff sold in a bottle called Tiger Sauce. Some folks like a sweet red Kansas City style barbecue sauce on top, but I don't know why.

Some places serve their pit beef on caraway studded rye bread, but if the beef is juicy and topped with tiger sauce, rye bread is a recipe for a sloppy mess in your lap. I'll have mine on a kaiser roll or hoagie bun.


Makes. 10 heaping sandwiches
4 to 6 hours

Tiger Sauce
3 tablespoons jarred horseradish in vinegar
1/2 cup mayonnaise

The Sandwich
1 (5 pound) top or bottom round beef roast
5 tablespoons Mrs. O'Leary's Cow Crust recipe
2 raw onions, peeled, ends cut off, sliced thin
10 kaiser rolls

About the horseradish. I recommend grated horseradish in white vinegar, from a jar or home made, but you can use the creamy version if you wish.

1) Trim excess fat and any silver skin from the roast. The fat does not penetrate the meat. Meat is 75% water andf fat and water don't mix. And the fat blocks the rub and smoke from the meat. If your roast is funny shaped, tie it with butcher string to make it closer to uniform in thickness so it cooks uniformly. Now take a look at the meat and figure out which way the grain is running because when it is done, you will want to slice it across the grain to reduce the chewiness. It is easier to find the frain when the meat is raw. In a baking pan, coat the entire surface with the Cow Crust, which is an oil based wet rub. I like to amp it up, especially if I use the lean cuts from the rump by injecting about 1 ounce per pound of my beef injection. You can cook right away, but if you let it sit overnight in the fridge, there will be slightly better penetration of the rub and the injection will have a chance to move around and distribute itself.

2) Mix the mayo and horseradish and let it sit for at least 30 minutes during the cook.

3) Set up your grill for 2-zone indirect heat and get the indirect side to about 225°F with the lid down. On a smoker, set it up to cook at 225°F. I know this is a lot cooler than most restaurants tcook at, but stick with me. This will make meat more tender than most restaurants. If you wish, throw some wood into your grill for smoke flavor. I recommend it. Place the meat in idirect heat, close the lid and check the color on the bottom after about 30 minutes. If it is differnt than the color on top, roll it over. The cooking time will depend on the temp and the thickness of the meat. Shoot for about 115°F in the deepest part.

4) Then move it over direct heat to crisp up the crust, and roll it around every 5 minutes or so when the exterior gets deep mahogany. Don't burn it. Watch the temp in the center and remove the roast when it hits 125°F for medium rare. This reverse sear method will give you much more even color inside the meat, and a crisper crust that if you sear first.

chewiness5) Slice the meat thin across the grain for max tenderness. If you slice and the grain is running parallel to the slice, rotate the hunk and slice it across the grain. This is crucial! It may be hard to slice warm meat with a machine if you have one, so I slice mine by hand. Just shave it off. Don't try to make large complete slices. The thinner the better. After you slice it, you can throw a few slices back on the grill or in a pan for those who like it chewier and more well done.

6) Mound it high on the roll, drizzle on some horsey sauce, and scatter a few thinly sliced onion rings on.

This page was revised 1/10/2013

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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, 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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