×

This site will be undergoing maintenance Monday 10/27 from 6 p.m. to 6 a.m. Eastern, 5 p.m. to 5 a.m. Central, 4 p.m. to 4 a.m. Mountain, 3 p.m. to 3 a.m. Pacific

During this time the Pitmaster Club will be closed and the rest of the site may be offline for very short periods of time (hopefully not at all).

We will be back Tuesday morning with a bigger faster server.
Thanks for your patience.

bbq grill and accessories ad
AmazingRibs.com BBQ Logo

maintenance

Meathead the Barbecue & Grilling Lover Cartoon

Get Smoke Signals,
our FREE e-letter.
No spam. Guaranteed. Enter your email:

bbq ad

http://tinyurl.com/amazingribs

If you like AmazingRibs.com, please save this link and use it every time you go to Amazon. Amazon and many other websites pay us a small referral fee when you click our links and purchase from them. It works on everything from grills to diapers, Amazon never tells us what you bought, it has zero impact on the price you pay, but has a major impact on our ability to improve this site!

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.

bbq thermapen

Join our new Pitmaster Club!

Support the website that supports you and get some nifty benefits:

A Comprehensive Food Temperature Guide Magnet that sells for $9.95 on Amazon.com.
Live video seminars with top Pitmasters.
Access to The Pit forum.
Entry into Gold Medal Giveaways.
Support for Operation BBQ Relief.

Click here for details.

benefits to pitmaster club

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. 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.


The space above can be yours at our lowest rate. Click here to go to Blogads where you can upload your ad, pick the duration, and pay with credit card. It's easy!

tailgater magazine
digg

apple pie

The Zen of Pie Thickeners

By Meathead Goldwyn

making apple pieThe bane of all bakers is soupy pie. When you cut into it, the filling runs into the pan and the pie deflates. So experienced bakers use some sort of a thickener to make it nice and firm. The amount of thickener depends on the liquid and the amount of pectin, a natural thickener in the fruit. It is a bigger problem with some fruits than others, especially apple, strawberry, blackberry, raspberry, peach, plum, and nectarines. Cherries and blueberries are less juicy while apples have more natural pectin than berries. Riper fruits are softer and juicier than slightly underripe fruits.

Flour: Not recommended

Many older home bakers use all purpose flour. Flour can make the filling cloudy, can have a starchy taste, and a gritty texture. It is not recommended. If a recipe calls for all-purpose flour, experts say to substitute one of the below options.

Cornstarch: Better

Corn starch is better because it sets clear, but it can be a bit gummy and it can break down and become watery under the heat of baking. For a 9" apple pie, try 2 tablespoons of cornstarch. More for juicier fruits such as berries and stone fruit.

Instant tapioca: Better still

A lot of bakers recommend tapioca, a starch from cassava or manioc root. Among those, tapioca seems to be the fave because it has great absorbing power, it is practically invisible, adds gloss, is clean tasting, and it doesn't break down in acidic fillings, or when frozen, or under high heat as some of the other thickeners do. Tapioca can be stored indefinitely in a cool dry place. It is available in four forms:

1) Tapioca flour, tapioca starch, cassava flour is a powder that some bakers prefer to instant tapioca for pies. For a 9" apple pie, try 2 tablespoons of instant tapioca. More for juicier fruits such as berries and stone fruits.

tapioca2) Instant tapioca is also called quick tapioca, quick cooking tapioca, tapioca granules, and instant pearl tapioca are great for pies. Minute Tapioca is the brand name for instant tapioca owned by Kraft. Instant tapioca is granulated and this is the stuff used for thickening pie fillings, stews, gravies, and soups. Because it doesn't dissolve completely and it can leave small gelatinous blobs you should pulverize it in a food processor, blender, spice grinder, coffee mill, or mortar and pestle. This form takes a little time to "bloom" and do its magic, so it needs to be added to the filling at least an hour before baking.

3) Large beads, pearl tapioca beads, tapioca balls, or fisheye tapioca are BB sized pellets, and they are used to make tapioca pudding or "bubble" drinks now gaining in popularity in Asian restaurants. They don't dissolve entirely and make squishy, gelatinous balls. Don't use these in a pie.

4) Regular tapioca, small bead tapioca, or small pearl tapioca, are also used in pudding, but are too large and don't dissolve completely, so they're not recommended for thickening pie filling.

ClearJel

Many commercial bakers use a product called Instant ClearJel, a modified food starch known to remain clear and keep its thickening power under both hot and cold conditions. It c an even be used to thicken fresh berry pies that are not baked. The package says to use slightly less than flour, and slightly less than double the amount of corn starch or tapioca. For a 9" apple pie, try 2 tablespoons of Instant ClearJel. More for juicier fruits such as berries and stone fruit.

This page was revised 7/17/2010


Please read before posting a comment or question

grouchy?1) 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.

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

3) If you post a photo, wait a minute for a thumbnail to appear. It will happen even if you don't see it happen.

4) Click here to learn more about our comment system and our privacy promise. Remember, your login info for comments is probably different from your Pitmaster Club login info if you are a member.

Moderators

LeaderDog.org Ad on BBQ site

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.

This site is brought to you by readers like you who support us with their membership in our Pitmaster Club. Click here to learn more about benefits to membership.

Advertising on this site. AmazingRibs.com is by far the most popular barbecue website in the world and one of the 50 most popular food websites in the US according to comScore, Quantcast, Compete, and Alexa. Visitors and pageviews increase rapidly every year. Click here for analytics and advertising info.

© Copyright 2014 by AmazingRibs, Inc. AmazingRibs.com is published by AmazingRibs, Inc., a Florida Corporation. Unless otherwise noted, all text, recipes, photos, and computer code are owned by AmazingRibs, Inc. and fully protected by US copyright law. This means that unless you have written permission to publish or distribute anything on this website you have committed a Federal crime. But we're easy. To get reprint rights, just click here. You do not need permission to link to this website. Note. Some photos of commercial products such as grills were provided by the manufacturers and are under their copyright.