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Digital Thermometers:
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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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Click here to read more about what makes these grates so special and how they compare to other cooking surfaces.

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The Pit Barrel Cooker

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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).

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Amp Up The Smoke

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may with mojoMayo With Mojo

By Meathead Goldwyn

Talk about convenience. Mayonnaise is a condiment in practically every American fridge because it so conveniently moistens and flavors so many dishes. Mayo is simply an emulsion of oil and egg with a splash of lemon juice.

But one reason so many people prefer Miracle Whip (have you eve noticed that the world can be divided into two camps, mayo and Miracle Whip?), is because mayo can be a bit bland. In fact, when we make dishes with mayo, like potato salad, we usually add herbs and spices.

Mayo is a blank canvas on which you can paint a huge range flavors. There are infinite ways to make your own signature mayo and never have to break an egg. Here are a few blends to try. As background for this recipe, read these articles, The Zen of Herbs & Spices, The Zen of Chiles, the Zen of Garlic, and The Zen of Salt.

Mayo With Mojo

I've used this blend mostly in deviled eggs, egg salad, and as a sandwich spread. It can also be slathered on fish, chicken, or potatoes before you grill! It locks in moisture and crisps nicely. Then, recently, Capt. Jeff Meyer, a retired pilot, sent me a sample of a his Capt. Jeff's Potato Salad Mix. It's similar to mine, a little sweeter, and he uses it on potato salad. I tried it and it worked great, so then I tried mine on potatoes, and it worked great too. DOH!!! I use it on corn on the cob before it goes on the grill, and on almost anything that calls for mayo. Order some of his and make some of mine and see which you like better. Click here for my recipe for Potatoes With Mojo inspired by Capt. Jeff.

Makes. About 1.3 cups, enough for 3 pounds of Potatoes With Mojo
Preparation time. 15 minutes
Aging time. 2 hours minimum

Ingredients
2 tablespoons dried onion flakes, a.k.a. dried minced onion
1 tablespoon sweet red pepper flakes
1 teaspoon white sugar
1/2 teaspoon mustard powder
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon celery seed
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1 cup mayonnaise
1/3 cup distilled vinegar

Optional mix-in. I almost always add 2 teaspoons of sun dried tomatoes, minced fine. 1 pinch cayenne or other hot pepper flakes. That's the red flakes in the photo above.

About the onions. Don't use powdered onion. Go for those little onion chips. They have been de-fanged. They have a nice concentrated flavor without the bite. I often add fresh onions to my egg salad and potato salad. They add a different dimension.

About the celery. Capt. Jeff's Potato Salad Mix uses what I think is dried celery leaves. I love his mix because the celery flavor is so deep. You can use 2 teaspoons dried celery leaves instead of celery seed if you can find it. You can make the dried celery leaves yourself just by cutting the leaves off a celery stalk and spreading them on paper towels until dry, then crumbling them.

About the garlic. Just because there's onion, doesn't mean there has to be garlic. Resist the temptation.

Where's the salt? I have left the salt out of this recipe, not because I don't want you to use salt, salt is a great flavor amplifier and helps protein hang onto moisture, but because there may be times when you don't want it, for example, if the meat has been wet brined, dry brined, or injected. Nowadays, more and more meats are sold "enhanced" by the injection of a salt solution. If you have meat that is unsalted, add about the same amount you would apply at the table. How much is that? Shoot for about 1/2 teaspoon per pound of meat and apply it heavier on thick spots. When possible, I like to apply the salt the day before, but even an hour or two is enough to get it moving inward, and the AmazingRibs.com science advisor Dr. Greg Blonder has shown in my article on wet brining, that when the meat heats, the salt moves deeper and faster.

Method
1) Mix all the spices in a small bowl. Now mix the spice mix with the mayonnaise and the vinegar and let it sit in the fridge for at least 2 hours. This is crucial. The flavors in the mix are oil soluble and mayo is 70 to 80% oil. In those 2 hours the flavors will work their way into the mayo and the dried flakes and seeds will suck in the mayo and soften.

2) You can now use the mayo as a sandwich spread, in potato salad, egg salad, tuna salad, whateverrrr. Try this: Spread it on skinless chicken breasts or mild white fish, and grill.

Chipotle Mayo

Try this on chicken salad.

Ingredients
1 cup mayonnaise
2 teaspoons of liquid from a can of chipotle in adobo sauce or more to your taste

About the chipotle in adobo. Try to find it. Once you open the can you can put the rest in a jar and it will keep for months in the fridge. If you can't find it, try Sriracha, a garlicy Asian style hot sauce.

Do this
Just blend the two in a bowl with a fork.

 

This page was revised 9/11/2012


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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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