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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 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

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 $289 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.


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grilled corn on the cobThe Zen of Corn

By Meathead Goldwyn

The only time to buy corn is when it is in season. In the South it comes into season in early summer. In the North local corn isn't available until late July (although some of the new hybrids like Precocious come in earlier). Frozen corn is OK as an ingredient in a dish, but I just can't eat it straight. It just tastes like plastic to me.

The best corn comes from nearby. This is where the locavores have it right. Trucking it cross country in a hot truck can kill its flavor and sweetness. Like fruit, I think the best corn comes from the cooler northern climates, where the days are hot and the nights are cool. If you buy at a farm stand, select ears that are in the shade. If you buy from a supermarket, ask the produce manager what state it came from. Look him/her in the eye. Ask when it arrived.

Inspect the ears. Don't pick the biggest. Pick the midsized ears. The husk should be pale green and moist. The cut end of the stem should not be brown. The silky threads coming out of the top may be brown, that's not a problem, but black is. The silk under the husk should be blond and as delicate as a child's hairs. Pull back the husk a few inches and look at the kernels. Not just the top kernels, which tend to be undersized, but the kernels 1-2" down. Leave behind the ears with big gaps, uneven sized kernels, really big kernels, and really small kernels. Don't worry if there is a worm hole. You can cut it out. You're dealing with nature here. She ain't perfect.

Some kernels are white and some are yellow depending on the variety, and some varieties even have both white and yellow on the same ear. When nobody's looking, find a typical ear and with the nail of your thumb, puncture a kernel. The juice should be milky and taste sweet. If it is, find identical ears and load up. If it isn't, skip the corn and make potato salad.

When you get it home, leave it in the husk and get in into the fridge ASAP.

New corn varieties stay sweet longer

Once upon a time, the strategy was: Get the water boiling, run to the field, pick the corn, run back husking all the way, and throw the fresh corn into the hot water. That's because the natural sugars in corn start turning to starch shortly after it is harvested. But now there are new hybrids that stay sweet for 2-4 days. Called sugar enhanced and shrunken-2 varieties, they allow city dwellers to get corn as sweet as farm folk.

Now don't panic. These hybrids are not Frankenfood. In fact, sweet corn, called sugary, is a mutation from dent corn, a.k.a. field corn, that is used for animal feed, corn oil, and ethanol.

Perhaps the best known of the new varieties is Silver Queen, but there are many others whose names make the mouth water (those breeders must be transplants from Madison Avenue). Some farm stands list their names so here are a few: Bodacious, Calico Belle, Challenger, Crisp N'Sweet, Dazzle, Even Sweeter, Incredible, Landmark, Maple Sweet, Pinnacle, Platinum Lady, Snowbelle, Ssupersweet (yess there are two letterss ss), Summerflavor, Sweetie, Top Notch, Viva, and Zenith.

This page revised 3/6/2010


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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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