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Digital Thermometers:
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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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The Pit Barrel Cooker

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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).

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Best. Tongs. Ever.

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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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bloody marySmoked Bloody Marys

"There are some things a grown man needs to know how to make: His bed, barbecue sauce, and Bloody Marys." Meathead

By Meathead Goldwyn

The Bloody Mary is the classic eye-opener, 19th holer, hair of the dog, and a chance to drink your veggies. The Bloody Mary has a name that cannot be forgotten and is the breakfast drink of choice for millions of Americans on a Sunday, and more than a few a few Mondays.

The original is believed to have been invented in the 1921 by Fernand Petiot, an American tending bar in Paris, although the entertainer George Jessel made a credible claim to the recipe. Or perhaps the origin was a cocktail called "Red Snapper" at the King Cole Bar and Lounge of the St. Regis Hotel, New York in 1934. When Tabasco sauce was added the name "Bloody Mary" was applied.

The origin of the name is clouded. Some believe the inpiration for the cocktail was the Hollywood star Mary Pickford who earlier had a cocktail consisting of rum, grenadine and maraschino named after her. It was most likely named after England's Queen Mary I, nicknamed Bloody Mary for her violence against Protestants in the 1500s. The drink may also have gotten its name from a folkloric witch. According to legend, she will appear if you call her name three times. I'll tell you this, if you yell Bloody Mary three times at my favorite bartender, she'll toss you out on your keister.

In the 1960s it became popular to serve the cocktail with a celery stick when a guest at "The Pump Room" at the "Ambassador East Hotel" in Chicago, requested something with which to stir his drink. Someone gave him a celery stick and a legend was born. Today garnishes of every kind can be seen with the Bloody Mary, even shrimp, olives, carrots, ribs, and even a sardine for the very courageous.

Variations of the drink abound giving birth to hundreds of descendants of the original Red Snapper.

The Smoked Bloody Mary is made with my secret ingredient: Smoked ice. This is an absolute must, turning amping a great drink all the way up to 11.

Makes. 1 drink
Preparation time. 15 minutes

Ingredients
4 ounces V8 juice
1 1/2 ounces 80 proof unflavored vodka
1 ounce Kansas City style barbecue sauce
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
1 teaspoon dill pickle juice
1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire Sauce
1/8 teaspoon bottled horseradish in vinegar (not in cream)
1 or 2 squirts of Tabasco Chipotle Sauce
2 pinches of table salt
2 pinches black pepper
1 tablespoon Meathead's Memphis Dust
1 slice of bacon
1 lime wedge for garnishing
5 cubes smoked ice

About the tomato juice. If you wish, slice 3 large juicy ripe tomatoes in half and put them in your smoker at 225°F, sliced side up, and smoke for an hour. Squeeze the smoked tomatoes into a strainer and push on the pulp with a ladle so most of it goes through. Taste it. If it is too thin, cook it down a bit by boiling it in a non-reactive metal pan. You can do this a few days in advance. You'll need 4 ounces to make one drink.

About the lime. The original Bloody Mary probably had a lemon not a lime, but I prefer lime. You can use lemon if you wish. Or both.

About the vodka. If you wish, substitute tequila, white rum, aquavit, gin, grappa, lime vodka, herbed vodka, vodka infused with sundried tomatoes, or even a pilsner beer.

About the Worcestershire. I prefer Worcestershire, but for fun, you can try beef bouillon or steak sauce.

Optional mix-ins. Try crushed fresh garlic or garlic powder, grated fresh onion or onion powder, capers. Go easy.

About the Tabasco. You can make your own, or use any of your faves, like Sriracha.

About the bacon. Feel free to substitute a BBQ Rib, a Slim Jim, beef jerky, or a celery stick.

The other garnishes. Try green onion, a carrot stick, an asparagus spear, a pickled asparagus spear, a cucumber spear, or a dill pickle spear. Try a skewer with pickled pearl onions, a chunk of jalapeno, a cherry tomato, a sundried tomato, a grilled shrimp, prosciutto, olives stuffed with blue cheese or anchovies, or an anchovie filet.

Method
1) Make the smoked ice.

2) Mix or shake together the V8 juice, vodka, barbecue sauce, lime juice, Worcestershire, pickle juice, horseradish, hot sauce, salt, and pepper.

3) Pour the Meathead's Memphis Dust into a small plate like a coffee saucer and spread it out evenly. Take the lime wedge and run it around the rim of a tall (highball) glass to moisten it. Invert the glass and place it on the spice mix and twist it until the rim is well coated.

4) Add the bacon first, then the smoked ice, pour the drink over the rocks, and hang the lime wedge on the lip of the glass.

This page was revised 6/28/2014


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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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