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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 is 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

BBQ_grill_grates

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. 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 $269 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.

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.

The Zen of Hamburger Buns

"It requires a certain kind of mind to see beauty in a hamburger bun." Ray Kroc, founder of the McDonald's chain

By Meathead Goldwyn

The key is to choose something that:

(1) Won't dull the flavor of the beef,
(2) Is large enough to envelop the patty,
(3) Allows the patty to take center stage,
(4) Is firm enough to hold together when wetness attacks it,
(5) Is soft enough that you don't have to bite down too hard and squeeze out the juices, and
(6) Is squishy enough to form fit around its payload so things don't fall out.

A good grocery store hamburger bun will do if it is fresh, but you can set your burgers apart with something a little better.

Some of the best burgers I've eaten in restaurants are served on kaiser rolls (more flavor), onion rolls (nice toasted onion flavor), brioche rolls (buttery), challah rolls (eggy), French bread roll (crusty), and pretzel rolls (salty and sturdy). Let's give props to Mickey D's for popularizing the sesame seed bun with it's interesting texture and flavor.

Without a doubt the best bun I've ever had was at Zingerman's Roadhouse in Ann Arbor, MI. James Beard Award winning Chef Alex Young takes a house-made onion roll and loads the top half with clarified butter. Not a light coat, a lot. It then goes doen on a medium hot griddle, and stays there until it is deeply toasted, and I mean deeply. The crown is well beyond the surface, perhaps 1/8" thick. When you bit into this burger the bun makes and audible crunch.

What you don't want is a bread so hard or crusty that you have to tear it with your teeth, like ciabata or bagels. The strangest bun I've seen, and frankly, just the thought of it turns my stomach, is the donut bun. You heard me, some places have decided to appeal to heathens with a super sweet tooth by placing their beef between two glazed donuts. That is simply wrong, man.

One important step is to warm the buns, or better still, add texture to the sandwich by toasting them. Cold rolls right from the fridge are a turnoff. 20 secs in the microwave will make them warm and soft.

My favorite bun is one a local baker sells. It is eggy and at the same time brioche-like. My favorite treatment is to melt one tablespoon of butter per bun, paint it on the cut side all the way to the edges because the edges tend to burn, and then toast it so it is golden and crunchy. You can toast them in a pan or on a griddle before the meat goes in, on the grill grates, under the broiler, or in your toaster oven. Watch carefully because they can burn quickly. If you are afraid of vampires, mix a little garlic powder in the melted butter. I'm often warding off vampires.

This page was revised on 5/24/2011


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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. 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 can't help you. Please read this article about thermometers.

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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, rubs, and side dishes, with the world's best buying guide to barbecue smokers, grills, and accessories, edited by Meathead.

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