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Digital Thermometers:
Stop Guessing!

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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
The Infrared Zone

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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.

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

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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 $289 delivered to your door!

Click here to read our detailed review and the raves from people who own them.

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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

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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 mor 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.


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chicken cracklinsChicken Skin, Duck Skin, Turkey Skin And Other Poultry Cracklins And Even Chicken Skin Bacon

By Meathead Goldwyn

Who doesn't love crispy chicken skins?

But sometimes the chicken is best cooked without the skins. There are a lot fewer calories in skinless chicken, and it's hard to keep them intact when you pound chicken breasts flat, for example. It's also hard to make them crispy if you marinate the chicken as in my Buxom Chicken Breasts or Cornell Chicken.

Like much else on the chicken, skins are mostly water, not fat. There is a lot of fat in chicken skin, and a layer of fat underneath, and skins are packed with flavor and it's a doggone shame to chuck them out, especially since they are so easy to make.

So I make cracklins from them and sprinkle them back on the dish as a garnish. If you make them properly, they are crispy and crunchy like potato chips, and they're just as good as bacon bits on a salad, on a chicken breast sandwich, on pulled chicken, on pasta, use your imagination.

chicken baconAt Lillie's Q in Chicago, one of my favorite BBQ restaurants in the country, Chef Charlie McKenna uses his imagination a lot. For example, he smokes chicken, removes the seasoned skin, breads the chicken meat, and fries it.

Like me, he didn't like discarding the skins, especially since they had all that rub and smoke flavor. So he came up with a clever idea. He took the skins, placed them between two baking pans, put the pans in the oven, and roasted until crispy. McKenna calles the crunchy skins chicken bacon and serves it on a BLT.

You don't have to use smoked chicken, any skins will do. Just be careful, they burn easily. I recommend cooking them at 325°F, and yes, you can use your grill as an oven, just cook them with indirect heat. That's what a piece of chicken bacon looks like at left, and no that's not Chef McKenna.

Method
1) Remove the skins from your turkey, chicken, or duck. Turkey skins are thin with little fat underneath, chickens have a bit more subcutaneous fat, and duck has a lot of fat. Cut the skins into squares or strips about 1" long and 1/2" wide.

2) Roasting method. Preheat your smoker or set up your grill for 2-zone indirect cooking and get the air temp in the indirect zone to about 325°F. Spread the skins onto a flat pan like a cookie sheet, sprinkle them with salt, not too much, and place them in the indirect heat for about until they are crispy. Turkey will take about 30 minutes, chicken 45 minutes, duck an hour or more. Your time will vary depending on the amount of fat on the bird. If you wish to add wood and flavor them with smoke, go for it. You can even do this in you indoor oven.

Frying pan method. Cover the bottom of a frying pan with about 1/4" of water and add the skins. Heat until it simmers gently but does not boil. Add the skins. It is important that you do not cook too hot or they will burn and spatter all over the place. Wear a shirt. Stand by the pan and stir the skins every three minutes or so until the water evaporates. Pour off the fat and save it. Continue cooking over low until the skins are golden. Scoop them out and place them on a double layer of paper towels to drain, and while they're hot, sprinkle on some salt.

Try not to eat them all immediately, OK?

This page was revised 6/15/2014


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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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