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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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Support the website that supports you and get some nifty benefits:

A Comprehensive Food Temperature Guide Magnet that sells for $9.95 on Amazon.com.
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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

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 $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.

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.


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Freezing And Reheating Leftovers

"The most remarkable thing about my mother is that for thirty years she served the family nothing but leftovers. The original meal has never been found." Calvin Trillin

By Meathead Goldwyn

I usually cook more food than needed so I won't be embarassed by running out, and my guests fight over the leftovers. For ribs, I plan on at least 1 to 1.5 pounds per person for a meal (remember, about half the weight of a slab is bone). For pulled pork and brisket, I also cook about a pound because there is shrinkage and waste before serving. Here's how to freeze and reheat leftover meats.

food saverFreezing.The best way to store food more than a week is in the freezer. Foods lose few nutirents and little quality when frozen. But if they are kept for longer than a few weeks, meats can oxidize, fats can get rancid, and the surface can harden from freezer burn. Especially pork and seafood. Oxygen is the enemy. So I pack food for storage is with a vacuum sealer like the FoodSaver Vacuum Sealer. You put the food in a plastic bag, insert it into the machine and it sucks out the air and seals the bag. Make sure you mark the date on the bag. It is a great way to store cooked foods too. Put your pulled pork in the bag, add a little sauce and seal. When it is time to serve, place the bag into a pot of simmering water. It reheats rapidly and tastes almost as good as when it came out of the smoker.

If you don't have a vacuum sealer, use a zipper bag. Put the meat in the bag, add a little sauce, broth, or stock, and then slowly lower the bag into a pot of cold water. The water will displace the air in the bag. You can then zip it. The idea is to get out as much air as possible to minimize freezer burn and oxidation.

Thawing. When you plan to eat your leftovers, thaw them in the refrigerator. This could take 6 to 8 hours for ribs, longer for thicker cuts. There are some more tips on thawing in my article Thawing Meat. When you are ready to cook, remove the plastic wrap.

Here's how to reheat:

Indoor oven. If you are going to use barbecue sauce, paint the meat all over. Wrap the meat in two layers of foil being careful not to puncture the foil. Before you seal it add about 1/4 cup of water. This will help keep it from drying out. If you are not using sauce, place a few ounces of broth or stock, water, apple juice, or white wine in the packet of foil. Place the foil wrapped fully thawed meat in a baking pan or cookie tray. Heat oven to about 225°F. The meat will shrink and get tough at higher heats. Bake in foil on a middle rack until the center is 155°F. Ribs may take up to an hour. Larger cuts may take longer. Unwrap ribs and put under the broiler on one side for 5 to 10 minutes with the door open and the light on until sauce begins to bubble. Leave the door open so the thermostat will not turn off the broiler. Do not walk away from the oven because sauce can go from bubbly to carbon black in minutes. Turn the ribs over and broil for a few more minutes until sauce is bubbly. For other meats you can firm up the surface under the broiler similarly. They will not be as good as when they were fresh off the grill, especially since many smoke flavors evaporate with time or they are oxidized, but they should still be mighty tasty.

Grill. If you don't have a good oven thermometer, get one. Paint the meat on both sides with sauce. Heat grill to about 225°F with the lid closed and use a 2-zone setup. On a gas grill this is probably about medium. Bake in the indirect zone in the foil until the center is 155°F. Unwrap and grill directly over the direct zone for 5 to 10 minutes on each side until the sauce is bubbly. Watch them so they don't burn.

Microwave. The advantage of the microwave is speed. Microwaves cook differently by getting the water in the meat all excited and essentially steam the meat from the inside, so if you go too long, it can make meat mushy. Meanwhile the fats and sauce can start popping making a mess in the oven. You can prevent this by keeping them in plastic wrap or a plastic container, but I don't like to use plastics in the microwave. I have not seen indisputable proof, so my behavior could just be superstition, but I have read enough that I am concerned that microwaves release compounds in some kinds of plastics that get into the food and could be harmful. Microwaves can also make the sauce runny while dry heat ovens and grills firm the sauce up and caramelize the sugars. It's hard to give you precise times for your microwave, start at about a minute and touch them to see if they're ready.

This page was revised 5/25/2012


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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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