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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

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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.

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.

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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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mustard growing in a vineyardThe Science Of Mustards

By Meathead Goldwyn

Mustard begins as the seeds of mustard plants, Brassica, members of the cabbage family. Their little yellow flowers produce white, brown, and black seeds, which are ground to make mustard "flour." White mustard seeds produce yellow powders, and black seeds produce a brown powder.

Once you have the seeds, you can take a number of paths. You can grind them into a powder and separate the husks, or just crack them and leave in the husks. They you can mix them with water, vinegar, white wine, beer, liquors and liquers, lemon juice, or lime juice, and add salt and other spices. The results range from bright yellow to brown, from smooth to grainy, from incredibly pungent, to mild.

They go from the three-alarm variety served in Chinese restaurants made by simply adding vinegar or water to the powder, to the pungent brown French Dijon style made with white wine, to the mild bright yellow American version served on hot dogs in the US.

Mustard's heat comes from oils released when the ground seed is mixed with liquid. The active ingredient is allyl isothiocyanate. It travels up the nose, and the really hot ones can make your eyes tear. Unlike chile pepper heat, which tends to stay in the mouth and builds cumulatively with each mouthful, mustard heat dissipates fairly quickly. Some of the heat is due to the variety of the seed, some to the solvent added, and some to the temperature of the solvent. Cooking the brew actually can defang it a bit. It can be diluted with water and thickened with flour. Mustard heat and flavor dissipate with age, so buy small quantities, and use them up.

mustard museumAccording to the jocular Barry Levenson, Curator, with his wife Patti, of the Mustard Museum, mustard is the oldest condiment. The Chinese have grown mustard for more than 3,000 years and mustard seeds were found in the tombs of Egyptian Pharaohs. He says "The earliest references to mustard in the Dijon region of France dates back to 1336, but we can assume that the early monks had developed the art of mustard making many years earlier."

If you love the stuff as much as I do, then you absolutely must visit the National Mustard Museum in Middleton, WI, about three miles west of Madison. Try to be there on "The Big Yellow", National Mustard Day, in early August. It features $1 hot dogs with mustard. If you want ketchup, there is a $10 surcharge. They sponsor an annual judging of 16 categories of mustards including salad dressings, sauces, and more. I have had the privilege of judging the event. The winners are sold in their gift shop along with many others, and you can sample them. The website are a treasure trove of info and trivia, and it sells a number of mustards and other sauces online. In the shadow of the massive University of Wisconsin campus, Levinson touts his facility as Poupon U.

Mustard has a number of culinary applications in addition to use as a condiment on sandwiches, most importantly as an emulsifier to help oil and vinegar mix together properly in salad dressings. Yellow mustard is at the heart of South Carolina barbecue sauce, one of my favorites, especially for pulled pork. And without mustard, pretzels are boring.

Mustard is to pulled pork as jelly is to peanut butter. The two just go together naturally. Although most BBQ sauces are tomato based, classic South Carolina BBQ sauces are yellow and are based on yellow mustard. Many Kansas City-style red BBQ sauces have mustard added for complexity, spiciness, and depth of flavor.

Mustard styles

Coleman's MustardGold AwardEnglish dry mustard a.k.a. Mustard powder. Colman’s Mustard powder is a blend of brown and white mustard powders that has been made in England since 1814 and is widely available. You can prepare your own condiment by mixing it with wine, vinegar, water, and seasonings. Go ahead. Make your own honey mustard. Go easy. It's hot. Real hot.

Grey Poupon Dijon MustardDijon-style mustard or brown mustard. I use the more widely available Grey Poupon. Technically GP is "Dijon-style," since it is now made in the US and other locations by Nabisco. Dijon and Dijon-style mustards are made from brown or black mustard seeds. The seeds are ground, and white wine, verjus (the juice of unripe grapes), or vinegar is added along with other spices and herbs. For most of my recipes I use the original Grey Poupon, not the "Country" or "Spicy" flavors. GP is owned by Kraft.

Whole grain mustard. Contains the husks of the seed giving it a rustic texture and flecks of brown color. I like it for pan sauces.

French's Yellow MustardYellow "ballpark" mustard. Made from yellow mustard seeds and colored by turmeric, American "ballpark" style mustard is essential for eating hot dogs, emulsifying salad dressings and pan sauces, in South Carolina BBQ sauces and many other sauce recipes. They are not as hot and flavorful as English or Dijon mustards. French's is the most popular and they claim it takes 10 million seeds to make one bottle. French's is owned by the multinational, Reckitt Benckiser. I have also used Plochman's and there is little diff in taste. Plochman's is still family owned. Usually I buy whichever is on sale.

Other mustards. Other popular mustard types are honey mustard (mixed with honey), horseradish mustard (mixed with horseradish), and hot mustard (mixed with wasabi or hot chile peppers).

This page was revised 7/26/2014


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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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