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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.

Myth: Stabbing The Meat With A Thermometer Or A Fork Will Drain It Of Vital Juices But Cutting It Is A Good Way To Tell If It Is Done

By Meathead Goldwyn

Yet another myth: Using a thermometer will cause your meat to bleed out, and you must never use a fork to turn your meat. But cutting into your meat will help you tell when it is done.

There is no seal or moisture barrier on the surface of your meat. Water gets out by dripping and evaporating all through the cook. Searing meat is done to develop complex flavors, not to seal it. So poking a hole in it doesn't destroy its integrity. Meat is not a balloon. It won't go pfffffft and deflate.

An eight ounce steak is 75% water. That's six ounces of water. That's about 36 teaspoons. If you stick a thermometer probe into the meat at most you'll lose 1/4 teaspoon. Let's say you treat it like a pin cushion and you lose a whole teaspoon. There's 35 left! And if you use a good modern digital thermometer the probe is so thing there's no way you'll lose that much. So stop worrying about it.

Same thing for using a fork to turn the meat. Obviously tongs or spatulas are better for turning than a fork, but if you don't treat it like a voodoo doll, the juice loss will never be noticed.

The fastest way to lose moisture is to overcook the meat. Even 5°F can make a huge difference. For proper meat temps, read this guide.

Even slicing it to check doneness is not going to cause a major hemorrhage, although this is faaaar more traumatic than a thermometer or a fork turn or two. But the problem with using a knife is that the color you see can fool you. On a steak, for instance, many proteins contain iron ions, hemes, that change color when exposed to oxygen. So when you cut into that steak and think it looks perfect, after a few minutes it will turn redder. Worse, that light you have on your deck is not a perfectly color balanced white light. Incandescent lights are yellowish and looking at the color of meat bathed in a yellow glow can seriously fool you. The best way to tell if a steak is ready is with a good digital thermometer. Nothing else works.

This page was revised 5/27/2013


Please read this before posting a comment or question

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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