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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 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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GrillGrates Take You To
The Infrared Zone

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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.

The Smokenator:
A Necessity For All Weber Kettles

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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.

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 $299 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.

Amp Up The Smoke

mo's smoking pouch

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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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.

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pickled rampsPickled Chicago
(Pickled Onions)

"I give you Chicago. It is not London and Harvard. It is not Paris and buttermilk. It is American in every chitling and sparerib. It is alive from snout to tail." HL Mencken

By Meathead Goldwyn

This recipe was designed for ramps, but it works on any kind of onion.

According to historians, the river that ran by the native American village near the mouth of the giant lake was lined with wild onions, most likely ramps or wild leeks. In the The Encyclopedia of Chicago, Ann Durkin Keating says "The name 'Chicago' derives from a word in the language spoken by the Miami and Illinois peoples meaning 'striped skunk,' a word they also applied to the wild leek (known to later botanists as Allium tricoccum). This became the Indian name for the Chicago River, in recognition of the presence of wild leeks in the watershed. When early French explorers began adopting the word, with a variety of spellings, in the late seventeenth century, it came to refer to the site at the mouth of the Chicago River."

Ramps are like other onions, an underground bulb and long tall green grasslike stalks. Ramps are much smaller than leeks, more like scallions, but the leaves are flatter. They are most tender and tasty in spring, and as with robins, when they arrive I know spring is really here. Onion stalks are the first thing edible to push up in spring, and a chomp on raw ramps is my first celebratory rite of spring.

Ramps propagate rapidly and a handful planted in spring will produce a bucketful by late summer. Like scallions, served raw, they add a pungent bite to salads, and can be stir fried or grilled as a side dish or topping for meats.

When pickled, they are sweet, sour, tangy, and a great relish to accompany barbecue and grilled foods. I fell for the pickled ramps Chef Rick Gresh serves at David Burke's Primehouse in Chicago as a side dish with steaks, and I love them in this context. I asked for his permission to publish his recipe and he gave me the go-ahead with the request that I disclose that his recipe is based on one by eminent Chef Tom Colichio. With his permission, here's Chef Gresh's recipe for pickled ramps, slightly modified by Yours Truly. Try them on a pulled pork sammie or on hot dogs. Please note, these are refrigerator pickles, which means they must be kept chilled.

Ingredients
1 pound ramps, including leaves
3/4 cup water
1/2 cup white wine vinegar or distilled vinegar
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 tablespoon honey
1/2 teaspoon whole mustard seeds
1/2 teaspoon whole coriander seeds
1/2 teaspoon whole fennel seed
1/2 teaspoon whole celery seeds
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 whole bay leaf
1/4 teaspoon table salt

About the ramps. You can use regular old onions in this recipe and they ar just as good.

Method
1) Clean the ramps, removing the large green leaves. You can use them in a vegetable dish, or wilt them in a pan and serve them as a topping on meats or other dishes. They're good on pizza or chopped into rice and couscous.

2) Combine everything except the ramps and bring to a boil. Keep the liquid in the hot pan and let it cool for about 30 minutes. Refrigerate.

3) Boil a pot of water and drop the ramps in for about 20 seconds. This is called blanching and it alters the chemistry of the bulbs, and pastuerizes them. Quickly drain the pot into a colander and run cold water over the ramps for about a minute to shock them and rapidly stop the cooking.

4) Put the ramps in a very clean jar and cover them with the cool pickling liquid. Refrigerate for 5 days before using, and keep refrigerated for months.

This page was revised 3/22/2012


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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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