Help us help you

If we have helped you become a better cook, please become a Pitmaster Club member and help us become a better website. Benefits for members include:

(1) Seminars with famous Pitmaster Professors
(2) Access to The Pit forum
(3) An all new expanded Temperature Guide Magnet
(4) Gold Medal Giveaways of free grills and smokers
(5) Support for Operation BBQ Relief
(6) Support for AmazingRibs.com!

Learn more about the Pitmaster Club

Not ready to subscribe yet? Return to AmazingRibs.com

grill, smoker, thermometer, accessories ratings
AmazingRibs.com BBQ Logo

message from meathead

Meathead the Barbecue & Grilling Lover Cartoon

Get Smoke Signals,
our FREE e-letter.
No spam. Guaranteed. Enter your email:

bbq ad


If you like AmazingRibs.com, please save this link and use it every time you go to Amazon. Amazon and many other websites pay us a small referral fee when you click our links and purchase from them. It works on everything from grills to diapers, Amazon never tells us what you bought, it has zero impact on the price you pay, but has a major impact on our ability to improve this site!

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.

bbq thermapen

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.

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.

tailgater magazine

Zombie Blood: Make Your Own Ketchup (Or Is It Catsup?)

"Three tomatoes are walking down the street, a poppa tomato, a momma tomato, and a little baby tomato. Baby tomato starts lagging behind. Poppa tomato gets angry, goes over to the baby tomato, and smooshes him and says 'Catch up.'" Mia (Uma Thurman) in Pulp Fiction, 1994

By Meathead Goldwyn

Giant Ketchup BottleWhat would we do without ketchup? We put it on burgers, we plunge French fries into it, and we make barbecue sauces from it. And really, when you think about it, most barbecue sauces are just a form of pumped up ketchup.

But historically ketchup did not always contain tomatoes! Tomatoes were native to Central America and the word ketchup probably came from Asia long before tomatoes made their way out of the New World. Some think the word came from ke-tsiap a Cantonese word that meant roughly "fish pickled in brine". Others think it came from Indonesian kecap made of pickled fruits and vegetables. It contained no tomatoes and was probably more like soy sauce or Chinese fish sauce. Slather some of that on your burgers, bucko.

Much like canned anchovies and sardines, these sauces were loaded with amino acids that pack a lot of the savory umami flavors.

Mrs Smith's ketchup recipe

Eliza Smith's recipe for "English Katchup" in The Compleat Housewife: Or, Accomplished Gentlewoman's Companion may have been the first published when it appeared in England in 1727. It was also probably the first cookbook published in the US in 1742. It used white wine vinegar, shallots, anchovies, white wine, vinegar, pepper, lemon peel, horseradish, cloves, ginger, mace, and nutmeg (at right). It was used as an ingredient in fish sauce or meats.

Another recipe was published around the same time by Richard Bradley in "The Country Gentleman's and Farmer's Monthly Director." It contained port wine, the juice of boiled mushrooms, mace, and cloves and was rally just a red wine sauce. Thin and translucent mushroom ketchups became quite common and popular.

In 1867 Mrs. A.P. Hill, a Georgia widow, published Mrs. Hill's New Cook Book. It has recipes for several "catsups" that were used to flavor meats and other sauces. Her recipes included tomato catsup, pepper catsup, cucumber catsup, mushroom catsup, walnut catsup, lemon catsup, and a boozy pudding catsup that was made with nut liqueur, sherry, curacao, and lemon peel. Now there's a base for a barbecue sauce!

Heinz introduced its tomato ketchup in 1875 and its recipe has become a standard for all ketchups. An 1876 advertising slogan promoted it as "Blessed relief for Mother and the other women in the household!"

Today, by law, all American ketchups contain tomatoes, vinegar, sweeteners, salt, spices, and herbs. Yes, the definition of ketchup is defined in the Code of Federal Regulations, Title 21, Volume 2, Part 155, Section 194 (21CFR155.194). You can look it up.

And for the record, tomatoes, botanically, are fruits, not vegetables, even though, in 1981, under President Ronald Reagan, in a bureaucratic bumble, the USDA attempted to classify ketchup as a vegetable when served in school lunch programs. The whole thing blew up with a little help from the Democrats, especially after Reagan’s agriculture secretary, John Block, attempted to defend the new rules.

If you want to learn more, I recommend Andrew F. Smith's book Pure Ketchup: A History of Americas National Condiment. It follows the evolution of the condiment from centuries gone by and reproduces historic recipes. Smith attempts to answer the spelling question, ketchup or catsup? "Ketchup, catchup, or catsup continue to be used today, but other similar spellings have been employed for years... In America, Isaac Riley, editor of the 1818 edition of The Universal Receipt Book, believed that ketchup was the correct spelling. According to Riley, catchup was a vulgarization, and catsup was simply an affectation... Until a few decades ago, catsup was the preferred spelling in many dictionaries. Today ketchup clearly is in the ascendancy, and is the clear choice of lexicographers and manufacturers".

Although there are slight differences in flavor, Heinz and Hunt's are interchangeable in my recipes. But if you want a treat, make my Zombie Blood. Rich, thick, sweet, spreadable, Zombie Blood is great on fries or sandwiches, especially burgers, or as a glaze on meatloaf. But it is not a clone of grocery store ketchup. It is made to my taste.

Just one thing: Never, no way, nohow, put ketchup on a hot dog. Click here to read why.

ketchupMakes. About 8 ounces
Takes. About 90 minutes

1 pound fresh ripe summer plum tomatoes or a 14 ounce can whole tomatoes or diced tomatoes
1 medium onion, finely diced
2 cloves fresh garlic, peeled and pressed or finely minced
4 tablespoons (1/4 cup) honey
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon lime or lemon juice
1 teaspoon dried thyme
2 tablespoons peeled and minced fresh ginger
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 teaspoon table salt

Optional. As usual, I recommend you follow my recipe the first time. Then, if you wish, do variations on the theme. Add herbs and spices that you love. Get exotic with ras el hanout, 5 spice powder, cilantro, or curry powder. I often use smoked paprika. How about some soy sauce, hoisin sauce? Make it your own.

About the tomatoes. This dish is best whenmade from fresh ripe summer tomatoes, but if you wish, you can do it with canned whole or diced tomatoes. They come in 14 ounce cans, so one will be fine.

Heat. I know you like hot stuff, but know that the fresh ginger should do the job. If you want more, add 1/4 teaspoon chipotle powder.

1) Remove the stems, tips, green cores, and any black spots or discolorations from the tomatoes. Chop into 1/2" cubes.

2) Mix everything together in a pot and simmer for one hour. Stir periodically to keep it from burning.

3) Force it through a food mill, chinois, or mesh strainer. If you are using a mesh strainer, a ladle makes a good pusher. Put it back on a burner and simmer until it is thick, like ketchup. Taste it and adjust any seasonings to your taste, pour into a squeeze bottle, and chill. Keep refrigerated.

This page was revised 9/17/2012

Please read this before posting a comment or question

grouchy?1) Please use the table of contents or the search box at the top of every page before you ask for help, then please post your question on the appropriate page.

2) Please tell us everything we need to know to answer your question such as the type of cooker and thermometer you are using. Dial thermometers are often off by as much as 50°F so if you are not using a good digital thermometer we probably can't help you. Please read this article about thermometers.

3) If you post a photo, wait a minute for a thumbnail to appear. It will happen even if you don't see it happen.

4) Click here to learn more about our comment system and our privacy promise. Remember, your login info for comments is probably different from your Pitmaster Club login info if you are a member.


LeaderDog.org Ad on BBQ site

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.

This site is brought to you by readers like you who support us with their membership in our Pitmaster Club. Click here to learn more about benefits to membership.

Advertising on this site. AmazingRibs.com is by far the most popular barbecue website in the world and one of the 50 most popular food websites in the US according to comScore, Quantcast, Compete, and Alexa. Visitors and pageviews increase rapidly every year. Click here for analytics and advertising info.

© Copyright 2014 by AmazingRibs, Inc. AmazingRibs.com is published by AmazingRibs, Inc., a Florida Corporation. Unless otherwise noted, all text, recipes, photos, and computer code are owned by AmazingRibs, Inc. and fully protected by US copyright law. This means that unless you have written permission to publish or distribute anything on this website you have committed a Federal crime. But we're easy. To get reprint rights, just click here. You do not need permission to link to this website. Note. Some photos of commercial products such as grills were provided by the manufacturers and are under their copyright.