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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.

tailgater monthly
digg

picklesThe Zen of Pickles

By Meathead Goldwyn

Pickles began about 4,000 years ago as a way to preserve vegetables, fruits, and even meats from summer through the winter. The key concept is that a liquid prevents microbes from spoiling the harvest. It can have high concentrations of salt, vinegar, oil, or sugar. Herbs and spices add flavor and help preserve the pickles. To get a sense of the possibilities, check out the catalog of The Pickle Guys on the Lower East Side of New York City or The Cultured Pickle in Berkley, CA.

The different pickling methods

1) Refrigerator Pickles. This method is simple. You simply pack the pickles in a bottle with a brine and store them in the fridge for a few days and eat. Some are ready in 24 hours. They keep for 2 months or so in the fridge. Click here for my recipe for Quick & Easy Refrigerator Kosher Dill Pickles. Here's my recipe for Sweet & Sour Pickle Chips for Sandwiches.

2) Quick Process or Fresh Pack or Heat Processed or Canned Pickles. In order to store pickles at room temp, pickles must be pasteurized. The jars are sterilized before filling, the pickles are usually packed with a salt brine, vinegar, and spice mix, they are packed in special bottles with special lids, and then they are submerged in boiling water for a precise time. The contents are not only pickled but cooked, which changes their flavor and texture. This is how grandma stored veggies in the basement for the winter.

3) Fermented Pickles. Fresh sauerkraut and the pickles you buy from a pickle barrel are fermented in barrels or vats. The process allows bacteria to turn sugars to lactic acid. It takes time and careful control over the temperature and humidity and the bacteria that do the fermentation. It can be done at home, but it's tricky.

4) New Pickles or Overnight Pickles. These are among my faves and they are by far the easiest. When you are done with a jar of pickles, the brine has been diluted a bit, but it is still good. Throw some fresh pickling cucumbers or green tomatoes in the brine for at least one day. Pickling cukes are a special small breed that you can find in many groceries in the summer, and I quarter them into spears. They will soak up the brine, remain bright green and crunchy, and taste just like store-bought for up to two weeks. Better. You can't keep them for long because the brine isn't full strength, nor do you want to. It is the fresh new flavor that makes them charming. Just don't try to use a brine twice.

Some other pickle lingo

Pickling Spices are a blend of spices, differing from packer to packer, and can include allspice, bay leaves, black peppercorns, cardamom, cinnamon bark, cloves, coriander seeds, dill seeds, ginger, hot pepper flakes, juniper berries, mace, and mustard seeds.

Genuine Dills are made by fermentation with dill weed or dill oil added during the fermentation

Kosher Dills have garlic added. They may not, in fact, be made according to kosher laws, but they are said to be kosher style.

German-Style Dill Pickles are cucumber pickles that not fermented, don't use a salt brine, but are cured in vinegar or lemon juice.

Sweet or Sweet-Sour Pickles have both sugar and vinegar in the packing.

Gherkins are a special small variety of cucumber, and they can be made either sweet or sour, they are usually sweet in the US.

Sweet/Hot Pickles are sweet and amped up with hot peppers.

Bread & Butter Pickles or Pickle Chips are usually sweet/sour pickled cukes sliced crosswise into coins for sandwiches. Click here for my recipe for Instant Sweet Sour Sandwich Pickle Chips.

Half Sours are refrigerator pickles made without vinegar and have been aged for about two weeks. They are usually brighter green and very crunchy.

Three quarter sours are the same as half sours, but they have just been stored longer, usually about a month.

Sour Pickles are the same as half sours, but they have just been stored about three months.

This page revised on 1/19/2011


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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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