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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


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 imprimatur. Click for more info.

tailgater monthly

Piccata Sauce for Grilled Veal, Chicken, or Pork

By Meathead Goldwyn

This is a simple Tuesday night sauce that produces Sunday night food. Originally from Italy and served on veal, it is well suited for chicken and pork chops. I'm not too fond of this sauce on beef or lamb. The classic piccata is cooked indoors in a skillet, and the sauce is called a pan sauce because it includes the brown bits that stick to the bottom of the pan, but the recipe is a snap to make on the grill. I'll give you the grilled version first, and then the classic pan version. And for all the traditionalists chefs out there, I know my sauce is a bit heavier and richer than the textbook version, but I think it is needed to stand up to the big bold flavors of barbecue.

Piccata Sauce Recipe

Makes. 2 servings
Prep time. 20 minutes
Cooking time. 30 minutes

1 pound grilled chicken, pork, or veal
2 tablespoons butter
1 tablespoon flour
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
2 pinches of table salt
1/2 cup cream sherry wine (see note below)
1/2 cup dry white wine
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice (about the juice of 1 small lemon)
2 tablespoons brined capers, drained and rinsed

About the sherry. My recipe calls for cream sherry, a sweet "fortified" wine that has had brandy added. An amontillado (medium dry) sherry, or oloroso sherry will work fine. Malmsey Madeira, another fortified wine is also good, but bual Madiera is actually my fave. Sercial and verdelho Madeira are dry, so if you use them you might want to add 1/2 teaspoon of sugar. Fino sherry will work with 1/2 teaspoon of sugar.

About the dry white wine. I always have a jug of cheap dry white like Mondavi Woodbridge Sauvignon Blanc or Yellow Tail Chardonnay around for guzzling and cooking. Occasionally I pick up old, oxidized whites in the closeout bin just for this kind of sauce. The aren't good drinking, but make fine cooking wines.

About the lemon juice. Be precise when measuring the lemon juice. A bit too much and it will make the veins in your neck pop out. Get a fresh lemon if you can.

Optional garnish. When you're done you can garnish with a sprinkle of fresh parsley and a thin slice of lemon.

Serve with. Serve with a grain that will sop up the extra sauce and a simple veggie. Try brown rice, couscous, barley, or bulgur wheat with grilled asparagus or squash. A big dry white, like a California Chardonnay.

1) Prepare the grill for 2-zone inirect cooking, and get the indirect zone to medium hot, about 325°F. Oven temp is not critical. Salt and pepper the meat and grill it over indirect heat to make sure it remains tender and moist. Use my meat temperature guide to decide when it is ready. If you are using chicken breasts, pound them flat for even cooking.

3) While the meat is grilling, you can make the sauce on a burner indoors or out. In a small sauce pan melt the butter on low, then whisk together the flour, salt, pepper, over medium until all the flour is dissolved and starts to turn tan. Wait til it turns color, about 5 minutes. Add the wine and lemon juice and crank it to high. Cook the sauce, whisking every 2 minutes or so. Reduce the total volume of the sauce in half.

4) Just before the meat is done, add the capers to the sauce. Don't add them too early or they will disintegrate. If the sauce is too thick, add a splash of water. Spoon a pool of the sauce on each dinner plate, then remove the meat from the grill and lay it on top of the sauce. Garnish with fresh parsley and a lemon slice. If there's extra sauce, put it on the rice.

The Classic Indoor Chicken Piccata Recipe

Pan sauces are wonderful and complex because the get flavor from the browned meat that sticks to the bottom of the pan. Learning to make pan sauces is a basic skill all cooks should learn. They have multiple applications. Use a 12" stainless steel frying pan. Stainless is better than non-stick because you want the pan to cause the meat juices to brown and stick to the pan, but not burn. These brown bits, called fond (which means roughly "base") by French chefs, will dissolve when we make the sauce and add to the flavor.

Makes. 2 servings
Prep time. 30 minutes
Cooking time. 15 minutes

1 pound grilled chicken, pork, or veal
2 tablespoons flour
1 pinch of salt
1 teaspoon ground black pepper
3 tablespoons butter
1/4 cup cream sherry
3/4 cup white wine
3 tablespoons lemon juice (about the juice of 1 medium lemon)
2 tablespoons brined capers, drained and rinsed

Make the meat even in thickness. One of the problems with chicken breasts is that they are thick at one end and thin at the other, so you usually overcook the thin end or undercook the thick end. We solve this problem by flattening the meat by pounding it. Another problem is that the skin is impervious and acts like a rubber boot to prevent flavor from getting to the meat. Here's how. Remove the chicken skin and trim off excess fat (I know, it hurts to do this, but it really pays off). Rinse the meat and dry with paper towels. There is often a flap of meat, sometimes called the tenderloin, on the underside of each breast. Remove it and set it aside. Pull out about 12" of plastic wrap or wax paper. Lay the meat slightly off center on the plastic wrap, fold the rest over the top, and pound it with a frying pan bottom until it is about 1/2" thick all over. Think of your boss while doing this. But don't get carried away. Pound the meat too flat, and it will be overcooked by the time it gets crispy, so get this right. Sprinkle lightly with salt and pepper and set aside.

Other meats. You can use veal, pork, or even turkey if you wish. Just slice it or pound it so it is about 1/2" thick.

1) Put the flour on a dinner plate, add the salt and pepper, mix, and spread it out on the surface. Lay each breast on the plate one at a time and coat it lightly with the flour on all sides by rolling it around in the white stuff.

2) Heat the pan a medium-high heat and then add the oil. As soon as it starts to sizzle, add the meat and let it cook for about 3 minutes until the bottoms start to turn GBD (Golden Brown and Delicious). Turn the meat over and cook about another 3 minutes until GBD. Remove the meat and put it in a bowl. Cover the bowl with a plate so it stays warm.

3) Add to the pan about 1 tablespoon of the flour left from when you coated the meat. Cook the flour about three minutes until the whiteness is gone. Add the wine and lemon juice. Cook the sauce, stirring and scraping the bits from the pan for 2 to 3 minutes until it starts to thicken and doesn't look cloudy. Add the capers and stir. Add the meat and cook another minute or two on each side just to warm it.

4) Move the meat to the serving plates, add the side dishes, and pour or spoon the sauce and capers over the meat. Garnish with fresh parsley and a lemon slice. If there's extra sauce, put it on the rice.

This page was revised 12/4/2012

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About this website. 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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