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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.

The Zen of Soup, Stock, Gravy, and Bouillon

By Meathead Goldwyn

Stocks, broths, bouillons, court bouillons, gravies, consommés, reductions, demi-glaces, nages, soups, soup bases, jus, pan sauces, and sauces, are all flavorful liquids. Just what are they?

Stock. Meat stocks are usually made by placing meats and bones in cold water, bringing it to a simmer, but not a boil, skimming off the foam and fat, and then adding vegetables, herbs and spices, and simmering for 2-12 hours to extract the flavors, proteins, and gelatin. Sometimes the meats, bones, and vegetables are browned before simmering to crank up the flavor. After cooking the stock is strained. There are also vegetable stocks made without meat. Stocks can be consumed straight or used as bases for soups, stews, gravies, and sauces. They are also used for cooking grains such as rice, pastas such as couscous, or poaching other foods such as meats. They are easy to make at home from leftovers or they can be bought in cans or boxes. Stocks can be found full strength, condensed, and low sodium. Bouillon (see below) can also be used to make stocks. Open containers of stock should be stored in airtight nonmetal containers. Many chefs freeze stocks in ice cube trays and store the cubes in plastic bags.

Broth. Cooks argue over the definitions of broth and stock. Some say that stock is made from bones and broth is made from meat. Not true. Some say stock will gel when cooled and broth will not. Not! For all practical purposes, there is no difference.

Consommé. A light stock that has been clarified, often with egg whites, to remove large solids. Concentrated consommé with gelatin added can be made into aspic, a flavorful jelly.

Reduction. A liquid that has been boiled in order to remove water and concentrate flavor.

Demi-glace. A very thick, shiny, concentration of veal sauce.

Nage. Stock that is cooked down to concentrate flavor but is not a base yet.

Soup Base (aka Cooking Base). Stock concentrated into a paste. It usually has salt added.

Soup. Usually based on a stock, soup typically contains chunks of meats, vegetables, grains, and pastas cooked in the stock. Chowders are soups that are usually cream based. Soups can be thin or quite thick.

Bouillon. Solid cubes, granules, or powders made from highly concentrated meat or vegetable stocks. When reconstituted with water, bouillon becomes stock. They often have a lot of salt added so they are not a good choice for sauces that call for reductions.

Court bouillon. French for "short broth." This is a simple liquid for poaching meats and veggies made by simmering veggies and herbs. Typically thin and used for cooking seafood.

Gravy. Stocks that have been flavored with seasonings, wine, milk, juices, etc., concentrated, and thickened with cornstarch or flour to be served on meat, potatoes, and pastas.

Jus or au jus. The natural juices that run off cooked meat, especially when it is cut.

Sauce. A thick liquid that is usually highly flavored. It is used to alter the flavor of foods by serving it on the foods or with them.

Pan sauce. The powerful bits of flavor that stick to the bottom of a pan when meats and veggies are sautéd in it are called the fond, French for foundation. If you remove the meat and veggies, and add liquid like water, wine, booze, or broth, then turn up the heat, the fond will dissolve and make a rich liquid. This can be turned into a pan sauce with the addition of cream, butter, and/or a thickener, preferably arrowroot.

This page was revised 2/22/2009


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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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