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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 $289 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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pounded chicken

Pounding Or Slicing Chicken Breasts For Perfect Even Cooking

Here's the problem with chicken breasts. They don't like you. They are tear shaped for a reason. To make you cry. Take them much past 165°F in the center and they turn to cardboard. But if you cook the center of the bulge to 165°F, and you must in order to be safe, then the tapered edges with be dry, even burnt.

To add moisture, a little swim in brine helps, or perhaps an injection, or even a marinade. But the thick end is harder for the moisturizer to penetrate. They barely get past the surface anyhow. And with that big bulge, they just don't fit on a sandwich properly, leaving no room for lettuce and tomato. Then there's the skin. It only covers part of the meat and it shrinks when it gets hot. Brines and marinades have problems getting past the skin.

But there is an easy solution. Pound the meat flat. Now, if you brine or marinate, the liquid can enter the meat evenly on all sides. And when you cook, the heat can enter on all sides. This technique comes in handy for many chicken dishes, indoor or out: Chicken rollups, Chicken Cordon Bleu, Chicken Marsala, Chicken Paillard, Chicken Cutlets, and Chicken Scallopine.

pounded chickenFor really thin pieces of chicken, lay the palm of your hand on top of the breast and draw a sharp knife through the midsection producing two half breasts. Then pound away.

1) Take the bones out. Just run a sharp knife over the rib cage trying to get as much meat as you can off. Freeze the bones and trim for making stock.

2) Take the skins off. If you love skins, then set them aside. Sprinkle the skins with a little salt and pepper, cut them into 1/2" squares, and render them slowly in a medium hot pan until they are crisp and golden, like bacon bits. Stir regularly so they don't burn. Sprinkle them on the finished meat.

3) You need to cover the meat before you beat it to keep the bodily fluids from flying around the room. Pull off a sheet of plastic wrap. Lay it flat on a solid counter or table. Lay the meat on the plastic wrap just off center and fold the other half over the meat. Don't use waxed paper or foil, it tears easily. You can use a zip top bag, especially if you are going to marinate or brine in a bag. They are nice and sturdy and rarely tear or bunch.

4) Now it is time to flatten the bulge. Leave the tenderizer mallet and the rolling pin in the drawer. They tend to tear the meat. Use a skillet or sauce pan. First look around to make sure nothing on the table will fall off when you start pounding. But don't haul off like you are pounding a nail. Thwack it gently and focus on the bulb end. Several whacks are better than a vicious spanking. Take it down to about 3/4".

5) Remember, because it is so thin, it will cook faster.

before pounding pounding chicken breast

This page was revised 7/23/2012


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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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