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Digital Thermometers:
Stop Guessing!

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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!

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Best. Tongs. Ever.

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Amp Up The Smoke

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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.

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Chinese Five Spice Riblets Recipe

By Meathead Goldwyn

These wonderfully flavorful half size rib nibbles make a great appetizer for a party. They are flavored with an aromatic Chinese spice mix, five spice powder.

To make these bite-size finger foods as a perfect party dish, the ribs are cut in half lengthwise at the butcher. They are marinated and deep fried to a golden color. If you don't want to fry, they can be braised, roasted, and barbecued.

Braised Riblets. Braise them by simmering them in the marinade in a Dutch oven or covered pot for 1 hour.

Roast Riblets. Spread the ribles on a broiler pan or wire grate above a pan and bake at 225°F for 4 hours, turning them once.

Barbecue Riblets. Roast them on a grill using indirect heat at 225°F for 4 hours. Use the techniques described here for gas grill and here for charcoal grill. Skip the wood smoke, it clashes with the other flavors.

Recipe

Yield. 24-28 half riblets
Preparation time. 15 minutes
Marinating time. 2-4 hours
Cooking time. Frying takes 5 minutes per batch and a total of about 30-40 minutes

The ribs
1 slab St. Louis cut spareribs (about 3 pounds). If you plan to fry the riblets, be sure to buy St. Louis cut spareribs because they are flat and baby backs are too curved to fry properly. Remember, St. Louis cut ribs have the rib tips removed. If you're not clear on the differences, see this article on the different rib cuts. Have your butcher cut the slab in half lengthwise with a bandsaw so that you have two mini slabs with bones that are only about 2-3" long. If you can't get this done by the butcher, cut the slab into individual bones and then cut them in half with a Chinese meat cleaver.

Marinade
3 cups rice wine (you can use sake or any good dry white wine)
3/4 cup sugar
1/3 cup unseasoned rice vinegar (or 1/4 cup distilled vinegar)
3 tablespoons five spice powder
3 tablespoons dark soy sauce
4 teaspoons hot pepper sauce for mild heat, use more if you like it hot
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 tablespoon corn starch

The crispy stuff
1/2 cup cornstarch
2 tablespoons Chinese five spice powder
2 tablespoons ground black pepper
2 tablespoons sugar
2-3 cups peanut oil for frying

The garnish
1/4 cup sesame seeds, toasted lightly in a dry 12" frying pan
3 scallions, chopped into rings

Do this
1) Mix the marinade ingredients thoroughly in a non-reactive 1 to 2 quart bowl.

2) Skin and trim the ribs. Slice the two half slabs into individual mini ribs and submerge them in the marinade in the refrigerator for 2-4 hours. No more.

3) When you are ready to start cooking, place the cornstarch on a plate and mix in the five spice powder, ground black pepper, and sugar.

4) Remove the ribs from the marinade and drain them in a strainer or colander, but do not rinse or dry them. Save 1 cup of the marinade.

5) Make the sauce by taking one cup of the marinade, whisk in 1 tablespoon of the cornstarch mix, and heat it over medium flame until it thickens, burbles, becomes translucent, and turn it down to the lowest temp. This will take only a few minutes and you can do it while the ribs are frying.

6) Roll the ribs around in the cornstarch mix until lightly coated. Set them on a clean plate. If you have a deep fryer, get it out and fire it up. If not, in a large, deep skillet (preferably cast iron), or Dutch oven, pour in the peanut oil until it is about 1 inch deep. Heat the oil to 375°F. Use a thermometer. Add half the ribs to the pan, but don't crowd them. They shouldn't touch or else they won't fry properly. Fry the ribs in two batches until golden all over, about 5 minutes. Drain them for a few minutes on a cookie pan covered with paper towels. Keep the first batch warm in a 250°F oven while you are frying the second batch.

7) Move the riblets to a serving platter, pour just enough sauce to lightly cover them, and sprinkle sesame seeds and chopped green onions on top.

This page was revised 4/13/2010


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

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