bbq grill and accessories ad
AmazingRibs.com BBQ Logo
Meathead the Barbecue & Grilling Lover Cartoon

Read Smoke Signals, our free e-letter. No spam. Guaranteed. Enter your email here:

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 who bought what, 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 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.

wild riceThe Zen of Rice

"Rice is great if you're really hungry and want to eat two thousand of something." Mitch Hedberg

By Meathead Goldwyn

Rice is the primary food for more than half the people in the world. It is the seed of a grass and is the staple of many cuisines from Asia to Mexico to Africa because it is rich in protein, starch, minerals, and vitamins, and low in calories and fat. It is versatile enough to be an integral part of an entree or a dessert.

Rice is intimately linked to the cuisine of the American South, especially barbecue, because it was cultivated extensively by slaves in the coastal areas of South Carolina and Georgia, where low and slow smoke roasting was also perfected by slaves.

According to the USA Rice Federation, there are 120,000 different varieties of rice, but the most common cooking rices in the US are white rice, brown rice, wild rice, and arborio rice, all described below. There are many others available. I'm a big fan of forbidden black rice, red rice, and jasmine rice.

Commercially, rice can be made into a syrup, a milk substitute, noodles, fermented into wine, beer, vodka, vinegar, and biofuel, and the bran can be used to make vegetable oil. It can also be popped to make rice cakes, the puffed rice breakfast cereal Rice Krispies, and let's not forget Rice Krispie bars.

About brown rice

Brown rice is whole grain rice that has been husked to remove the chaff, but it is still wearing its outer bran layer. According to the USA Rice Federation, one cup of brown rice provides two of the three recommended daily servings of whole grains. It is nuttier, chewier, and slightly more nutritious than white rice. But not as much as you have been told. Because there is oil in the husk it can go rancid if kept too long, so it should be stored in cool dark places or the refrigerator. There are several varieties, but they all cook about the same. Brown rice needs just a bit more water than white rice and takes about twice as long to cook.

About white rice

Further processing of brown rice removes the outer bran layer, the germ, and much of the nutritional value. White rice can be stored in a sealed container for years, but watch for infestations if somehow insect eggs got in during the processing.

Long grain rice is not as sticky as short grain rice so it is the best choice for fluffy side dishes such as pilaf, rice salads, or as a base for saucy dishes.

Medium grain rice is more moist and tender than long grain rice when cooked, and has a greater tendency to cling together.

Short grain rice clumps more easily and is the best choice for sushi and desserts.

Enriched rice has had some of the with iron, niacin, thiamin, and folic acid lost when the bran and germ are removed coated back on the surface of the kernel.

Converted rice is steamed before it is husked. This forces many of the nutrients from the husk into the kernel making it more nutritious than most white rice. It cooks quickly and doesn't clumb easily. Uncle Ben's is the best known brand.

Minute rice or instant rice is white rice that has been cooked and then dried. It is more expensive, and doesn't have the same nutritional value. Since other rices are so easy to make, its main advantage is speed, cooking in about 5 minutes. It saves you about 10 minutes.

A reader has pointed out that "It makes great cheap backpacking food, especially at high altitude where cooking times need to be increased. That saves fuel. Fish can be steamed above it and the resulting broth adds a touch of fish stock to the rice. Herbs, a few shreds of smoked meat, and you can make a cheap 'gourmet' meal on the trail. It is good for breakfast, just add cinnamon sugar, crushed starlight mint, dried fruit, or a square or two of chocolate for a varied, simple breakfast. The unsticky quality of Minute Rice makes cleanup easier. Just boil another cup of water in the pot, scrape a bit, and you have a safe drink to finish the meal. It is clearly not as nice as real rice, but it keeps you fed on the trail."

Cooking brown and white rice

Portion size. Plan on 1/2 to 3/4 cup of uncooked rice per adult.

For white rice, follow the 1-2-3 rule of thumb. In general, 1 cup of uncooked long grain white rice (about 1/2 pound) + 2 cups boiling liquid = 3 cups finished rice and serves 3-4 people. Add 1/2 teaspoon of table salt and 1 tablespoon butter to the liquid.

Stovetop cooking. Put the liquid, salt, and butter in a saucepan with a tight fitting lid and bring to a boil. Add the rice, pouring it in slowly so that each grain is engulfed in water rather than just dumping it in. This will help keep it from clumping. Stir briefly and dial back the heat to a slow simmer, on low. Cover with a tight lid so little steam will escape and simmer 15 minutes for white rice, 45 minutes for brown rice and wild rice. Do not lift the lid and do not stir. After it is done, taste it. If it is too crunchy, cook for another 2-4 minutes. Remove from the heat and let it sit for 5 minutes, fluff with a fork and serve.

Cooking tips. The basic concept for rice cookery is the same for all types except arborio rice. Exact cooking times can vary depending on your rice source, altitude, and if you like it crunchy or soft.

Do not wash. Most white rice sold in the US is enriched. Rinsing or washing it removes much of the stuff that makes it healty. If you wash arborio rice you risk removing the starched that make the creamy sauce. That said, washing rice does make it a bit fluffier.

Measure carefully and use a timer. Rice is not very hard and it is not very forgiving. Get your measurements and timing right.

Oven cooking. Rice is often used in casseroles and stews cooked in the oven. Cook white rice at 350°F for 30 minutes, brown and wild rice for 60 minutes.

Microwave cooking. Don't try to cook more than one cup at a time in the microwave. Put the rice, liquid, and salt, in a microwave safe bowl and stir. Top with the butter. Cover with plastic wrap and poke three holes in the plastic with a knife tip to allow steam to escape. Cook on high power for 12 minutes. Cook brown and wild rice for 30 minutes. Let it sit for 5 minutes, remove the plastic being careful not to steam clean your eyebrows, and taste. If needed, cook a few minutes longer. If there is excess water, drain it in a strainer. Fluff with a fork, add salt, pepper, and butter to taste, and serve.

Rice cooker cooking. Rice cookers have a heating element and an inner pan that sits above the heat and make rice cookery practically brainless. The cooker senses when the rice is done and alerts you. Some can hold the rice and keep it warm for a short while. Mine has a glass lid, and I like that. Follow the directions on your cooker.

About the cooking liquid. Rice absorbs a lot of liquid when prepared and can be cooked in water as well as other liquids such as broths, stocks, soups, stews, and juices. If you use a flavorful liquid like soup or broth, you may want to skip the salt in the recipe since soups and broths often have salt in them. You can always add it later but you can't take it away. If you want to cook rice in fruit juice, dilute the juice one to one with water

Add-ins. If you wish, you can add onion, peas, carrots, or other vegetables, even bits of cooked meat, when you add the rice. Add fresh herbs when you remove it from the heat and let them steam during the 5 minute rest.

Brown the rice to amp it up. Before cooking, rice can be browned in a thin layer of oil to produce a richer nuttier flavor.

Serving. Put butter or fresh oil on the table if you wish. A pat of butter can practically glows on the palate when mixed in rice.

Leftovers. Leftover rice can be covered and stored in the refrigerator for up to a week or frozen for up to 6 months. In fact, it makes sense to cook lots of brown rice when you are preparing a meal and freeze whatever you don't use. Then you can have brown rice for dinner any night in a hurry. To reheat, add 2-3 tablespoons of water per cup of rice and heat in a saucepan over a medium heat, fluffing frequently with a fork. To reheat in the microwave, add the water, cover with plastic wrap, poke three holes in the cover, and nuke it for 1 minute on high. Or use it for fried rice or rice pudding.

Cooking brown rice and wild rice

Add 1/4 cup more liquid to brown rice for a total of 2 1/4 cups liquid to 1 cup of rice. Add 1 cup more for wild rice for a total of 3 cups of liquid to 1 cup of rice. Do not wash brown rice, but you should lightly rinse wild rice.

Wild Rice

Native to North America, most "wild" rice is actually cultivated just like other rice although you can sometimes find truly wild wild rice (that's wild rice in the picture above). You can tell the difference by looking at the price. Wild wild rice, most of which is handpicked in Minnesota, is 2-3 times as expensive. It's good, but not worth it IMHO.

Bomba Rice

Bomba is a short grain from Spain that is ideally suited for paella because it is especially good at absorbing the flavorful cooking liquid, up to three times its volume.

risottoArborio Rice

This variety absorbs a lot of liquid and retains its shape so it is best used for making risotto, the Italian rice dish that can be a meal in itself. Risotto is made by adding stock or broth and other flavorful liquids which it gladly absorbs. It clings to itself and makes a creamy, rich binding sauce while retaining a chewy texture. You should never rinse arborio rice or you will remove the starches that make it creamy.

Arborio rice drinks about 4.5 cups of liquid per cup of uncooked rice, and takes about 30 minutes. It should be cooked over a low temp on the stovetop, uncovered, and stirred almost constantly. Creative chefs find all sorts of fun things to put in the liquid. The best risotto I ever made had a roasted red pepper that I liquefied in a blender in the liquid.

Arborio rice can be used to make paella, just don't stir it while it is cooking.

Rice Mixes

Many manufacturers make some fun and convenient rice mixes packaged with herbs and spices. They are quick and have saved me many nights.

Here are some good videos of rice dishes

This page was revised 10/26/2009


Please read this before posting a comment or question

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.

MISSING COMMENTS. On March 16, 2014 the company that supplied the software for our comments section went out of business. The company that bought them was not up to our standards, so on April 17, 2014 we moved to a new service and and thousands of previous comments were lost. So we must begin again. Sigh. Click here to learn more about our comment system.

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

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 and Quantcast. 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 you need written permission to publish or distribute anything on this website. 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.