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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.

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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).

Gold BBQ AwardBest of all, it is only $289 delivered to your door!

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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 more than 50 cooks. Click for more info.

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The Best Steakhouse Knives

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smoken chicken

Sweet Georgia's Brown Smoked Yard Bird, Parts Or Pulled

"It takes a tough man to make a tender chicken." Frank Perdue

By Meathead Goldwyn

Smoked chicken is like liver. You either love it or hate it. In the South, you can start a fight by voicing a preference for smoked chicken or fried chicken. For me, it's all about the skin. Fried chicken is worthless unless it crunches. Smoked chicken, Georgia style, is big, bold, and assertive, but the skin, although it is packed with flavor, is not crispy. The only way to tell which side of the chicken wire fence you're on is to try it. Fortunately, it's easy to make. This method will produce a delicate, moist bird if you don't overcook it, so there is no need to even consider brining it.

Recipe

Serves. 2 people
Preparation time. 5 minutes to get ready, and about 2 hours to cook

Ingredients
1 whole chicken, about 3 pounds
4 tablespoons of Meathead's Memphis Dust, approximately

Method
1) An hour or three before cooking, split the chicken in half by cutting it with heavy shears. Dig out all that brown goop nestled along the spine. In fact, I usually just remove the spine, toss it in a bag, and save it for making stock. Sprinkle the chicken with salt. This is called dry brining. The salt migrates into the meat, and helps season it and hold onto moisture. Dust both sides thoroughly with the spice mix but remember, spices don't penetrate far (I discuss this in my article on marinades).

2) Preheat your smoker to 325°F. If you are using a grill, set it up for 2-zone or indirect cooking. At 325°F, you can render more fat and crisp the skin a bit.

3) Put the meat in the smoker or on the indirect side of the grill. Add less wood than you normally do. Resist the urge to add more. After you've tasted it you can decide if you want to use more wood next cook. But chicken doesn't need much smoke. Cook for about 1.5 to 2 hours or until the temp in the thickest part of the meat without touching bone is 165°F.

Some options

1) You can make the skin crispy. When you're done smoking, but the meat is slightly underscooked, say 155°F, move it to the direct heat side of a hot grill, skin down. That should do it. Take it up to 160 to 165°F.

2) If you want, take the bird out of the smoker at about 145 to 150°F, crisp the skin as above, then paint the meat with sauce and sizzle it on the direct heat part of a grill for a few minutes, lid off, watching it carefully because it can burn in a hurry. Or put it under your kitchen broiler.

3) When the meat is done, you can pull the meat off the bones and rip it to shreds, plop it on a bun, and crown it with a dollop of sauce. Voila: Pulled Chicken!

4) In Georgia this could get you thrown in the Okefenokee Swamp, but remove the skin and dust it with my Simon & Garfunkel Rub instead of Memphis Dust. Savory and low fat. OK, I'll shut up now.

5) How about this: Remove the skin raw. Smoke it alongside the meat. It will get crisp, like cracklins. Then pull the meat off the bone, put it on a bun, just a little sauce, sprinkle the crackins on top, and serve.

This page was revised 7/3/2014


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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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