In the past, all the articles, recipes, tips and technique on AmazingRibs.com were written exclusively by Meathead. That’s no longer the case. In 2017, we added some knowledgable writers and editors to provide new recipes and reviews.While most of the content is still my own, I stand on the shoulders of some very helpful people, listed below.
Meathead is the founder and publisher of AmazingRibs.com, and is also known as the site's Hedonism Evangelist and BBQ Whisperer. He is also the author of "Meathead, The Science of Great Barbecue and Grilling", a New York Times Best Seller and named one of the "100 Best Cookbooks of All Time" by Southern Living.
Clint Cantwell is AmazingRibs.com's GM and Senior Vice President, charged with creating recipes, writing articles, shooting photos, and a little bit of everything else. Cantwell was named one of the "10 Faces of Memphis Barbecue" by Memphis Magazine and was the winner of Travel Channel's "American Grilled: Memphis".
Brigit Binns is Meathead's culinary consultant, collaborating with him on his next book "The Meathead Method, Barbecue And Grilling As An Art" for publication in spring 2020. She is is the author of more than two dozen cookbooks and runs a B&B and cooking school in the wine country of Paso Robles called Refugio.
As AmazingRibs.com's Vice President of Product Reviews & Keeper of the Flame, Max Good is the man in charge of finding the best products for the AmazingRibs.com Equipment Reviews section. Max loves barbecue so much that he took his barbecue sauce recipes, had them bottled, and now sells them around the country.
Professor Greg Blonder is AmazingRibs.com's resident science advisor, myth buster, co-author of the site's first book, "Meathead, The Science of Great Barbecue and Grilling". A Professor of Product Design and Engineering at Boston University, he has a physics BS from MIT and a physics PhD from Harvard.
Huskee is the manager of our Pitmaster Club and Comments Moderator on our public site. A KCBS Certified Barbeque Judge (CBJ), he experimented for a few years with a cheap Brinkmann cabinet charcoal smoker before graduating to a Yoder Wichita offset smoker. His arsenal has since expanded to nine cookers.
John "Spinaker" Bowlsby serves as AmazingRibs.com's Comments Moderator. Spinaker grew up in the BBQ starved state of Minnesota where people are more likely to be eating lutefisk than brisket and ribs. I addition to his love of outdoor cooking, Spinaker is also an expert on cast iron cookware and how to restore it.
Jerod Broussard serves as a Comments Moderator for AmazingRibs.com. He is a maestro of the drum smoker and Texas barbecue in genera who has been a food inspector in Texas since 2002. Don't be shy with your questions regarding chicken, Jerod inspects about 15,000 a day prior to them being chilled and processed.
Jim Maivald is Senior Vice President and Chief Technology Officer or AmazingRibs.com. He is an Adobe Certified Expert (ACE) and Adobe Certified Instructor (ACI) with over 30 years of experience working with graphic design. He has written 10 books and hundreds of articles on graphic design and electronic publishing.
Ray Johnson is AmazingRibs.com's lead vBulletin programmer, having heavily customized the software that runs the site's Pitmaster Club. Nicknamed "RayJ", Johnson has 35 years of comprehensive computer knowledge, with extensive experience in hardware, software, networking, programming, and operating systems.
Based in Atlanta, he brings 25 years of experience with national management of sales and marketing. Most recently he was part of the team that brought B&B Charcoal, a small family owned venture, into the hottest brand for those in the know with a cult following placing it thousands of stores and millions of backyards.
Robert is a highly respected authority on food, drink, and travel with a Ph.D in English. Working from his home base in Charleston, South Carolina, he is the founder and publisher of The Southeastern Dispatch, the Contributing Barbecue Editor for Southern Living and a frequent contributor to publications including Serious Eats, Saveur, Early American Life, Garden & Gun, The Local Palate, and the Charleston […]
Kris Coppieters is AmazingRibs.com's Lead Developer, managing the site's servers, all coding, and all technical troubleshooting on the free portion of this completely custom-built site. Coppieters specializes in helping companies kick-start their automation projects and software-developer team-building.
As AmazingRibs.com's Marketing Director, Charlotte Wagner is the guardian of the site's overall brand. After working in motorcycles, fine art film, beauty, and financial services, she's thrilled to marry her love for food, drink, and all things marketing to help broaden the reach of the AmazingRibs.com message.
In addition to serving as a video content creator for AmazingRibs.com, Jason King loves to cook and shoot videos. His role with the site began when he began filming videos of AmazingRibs.com recipes. Today several of them appear alongside the recipes on AmazingRibs.com as well as the BBQFOOD4U page on Youtube.
Acclaimed cartoonist Jerry King creates original barbecue and grilling cartoons exclusively for AmazingRibs.com's Pitmaster Club. His client list also includes Disney, American Greetings, and many other companies around the globe. After serving in the Army, King went on to graduate from The Ohio State University.
An artist and illustrator for AmazingRibs.com, Lisa Kolek studied illustration and graphic design at the American Academy of Art, Chicago, and scientific and botanical illustration at the Morton Arboretum. A senior designer at the Brookfield Zoo, Lisa's animal and plant illustrations have appeared in zoo exhibits.
Editor of AmazingRibs.com from 2017 to 2021, David Joachim has authored, edited, or collaborated on more than 45 food books, four of them on barbecue and grilling, and his Food Science column has appeared in "Fine Cooking" magazine since 2011.
Nate Maliwacki serves as a content creator for AmazingRibs.com, filming, editing, and producing instructional recipe videos for the site and for his own YouTube channel, White Thunder BBQ. His goal is to teach and inspire viewers to cook with live fire and to have fun while doing so.
A meat scientist known as "The Meat Geek", Dr. Antonio Mata, PhD (10/7/50 - 1/14/22) was a contributor to AmazingRibs.com and a Consulting Technical Coordinator to the National Cattlemen's Beef Association. Mata discovered the Petite Tender and Las Vegas Strip Steak as well as being involved in the discovery of the flatiron steak.
Bill McGrath is AmazingRibs.com's Thermometer Maven. He has sophisticated equipment, an electrical engineering degree from Cornell University, and an MBA (almost) from UC Berkeley. Despite being mostly retired, he is still responsible for developing and updating all of ExxonMobil's electricians' training modules.
Malcom Reed is one of the most respected men in barbecue and his many videos make him a genuine YouTube Star. His love for BBQ inspired him to build his website, his YouTube channel, and a podcast. We don’t know how, but he still finds time to compete on the BBQ circuit with his team, Killer Hogs.
Henrik Oscarsson is an AmazingRibs.com Pitmaster Club moderator. He was born in the southern part of Sweden and he lives in Stockholm, the capital. He has a house in the country side where the smoker resides, so he's there almost every weekend. He spent his senior year in high school as an exchange student in the US.
One of the best known and most respected people in the world of barbecue, Candy Sue Weaver is an AmazingRibs.com moderator. In addition she is President Emeritus of the Kansas City Barbeque Society, the largest barbecue association, and VP of Sales and Marketing for BBQr's Delight, a maker of food grade wood pellets.
Known around the world for his two hour broadcast, the BBQ Central Show, Greg Rempe also produces a 30 minute weekly podcast for AmazingRibs.com Pitmaster Club members called The Pitcast. Each week he offers the latest news from the food and barbecue world. He also does occasional product reviews for AmazingRibs.com.
Known as “The Cowboy Cook” and a capable griller in his own right, JT (Jeff Tracy) loves to interview great cooks like Aaron Franklin, Steven Raichlen, Tuffy Stone, Wayne Mueller, Amy Mills, Meathead, and other notables from the BBQ world. These interviews can now also be found in AmazingRibs.com's Pitmaster Club.
Dan Gertsacov is a Senior Advisor at McKinsey and Company, focused on the future of food and restaurants. Dan is also an active angel investor and board member in food and restaurant tech, having previously been the Chief Commercial Officer of Focus Brands and Chief Marketing and Digital Officer of Arcos Dorados.
Paul Sidoriak's official title with AmazingRibs.com is Fire Starter because he makes things happen in his role as Director of Relationships. Sidoriak is also the author of Exclusively Kamado and The Flippin’ Awesome Backyard Griddle Cookbook and has previously served as a BBQ consultant to several major brands.
Chef Ryan Udvett is a classically trained chef from Le Cordon Bleu in Chicago and serves as an official recipe tester for AmazingRibs.com. Chef Udvett has managed several restaurant kitchens and is currently the Product Development (R&D) Manager at CBQ, LLC a subsidiary of Carl Buddig and Company.
Rick Browne oversaw product testing, reviews, and ratings for AmazingRibs.com. A renowned TV cooking show host, photojournalist, and author of 16 barbecue books, he was the creator, host, and executive producer of public television's popular "Barbecue America" TV series that aired on more than 230 stations.
Norma Goldwyn is an AmazingRibs.com's copy editor and is Meathead's mom. One of the fringe benefits of having a retired school teacher for a Mom is she will gladly underline all my spelling and grammar errors in bright red ink. She stays active editing, going to the theatre, and guides art museum tours as a volunteer.
I owe a lot of thanks to a lot of nice folks who have taught me and helped me on this trial by fire, especially all you readers who have questioned, commented, spell-checked, and criticized.
My wife, the saucy Lou, Ph.D., a microbiologist and food safety expert who hates it when I use her kitchen, forcing me outdoors, and now fearlessly eats my cooking (well, most of it), offers honest feedback on my recipes (brutally honest), and has patience with me (most of the time).
My Mom and Dad, Norma and Jerry Goldwyn, my sister Ann and her husband Peter. Some of my first food memories are meals at Mom & Dad’s short-lived restaurant in Sarasota, Florida. When they bought the place, it had the romantic name of a local flowering bush, the Oleander. When they found out Oleanders are poisonous, it became Jerry’s restaurant. The food was good, especially the ice cream sundaes, and the paintings from the local artists that they hung were inspirational. They let me be a jerk when I was 13. A soda jerk that is. What a great start to a career in food, drink, and art. Peter cooks the absolutely best swordfish steaks on the planet. Click here to read my Dad’s WWII Memoir.
My amazing agent and stern taskmistress, Sally Ekus of the Lisa Ekus Group, her Mom, Lisa, who invited me to join her family of distinguished authors, and their staff who are effective and efficient.
My editor at Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, Rux Martin, who has welcomed me to her small but prestigious stable of cookbook authors including such luminaries as Jacques Pepin, Dorie Greenspan, Jack Bishop, and Karen Tack.
The scientists who have read my work and helped me fix it, among them Dr. Benjamin Chapman of North Carolina State University, Dr. John Marcy of the University of Arkansas, the prefers to remain anonymous researcher at the big poultry company, and others who patiently answer my questions about hamburger boogers and more.
Stephen Gerike of the Pork Checkoff trade association is a chef, butcher, and their liason to the foodservice industry. He more about pork than anybody I’ve met and often he lets some of his expertise rub off on me.
Marietta Sims. Marietta was my Sous Chef and Assistant in 2012. She has retired and moved to South Carolina where they make great barbecue. Perhaps mine wasn’t good enough?
Jaden Hair of SteamyKitchen.com a talented food blogger who has introduced me to many cool people and ideas.
The three Sterling fellows in my life: Sterling Ball of BigPoppaSmokers.com who turned me on to many good cooking tools and methods, Colin Sterling, my former editor at Huffington Post for giving me prime real estate and freedom to write what I want in his august food section, and Sterling Pratt, formerly of Schaefer’s Wines & Spirits in Skokie, IL, my favorite wine, beer, and cheese store.
Allen Kelson, an occasional editor of these pages, now mostly retired, was publisher, editor-in-chief, and head food critic at Chicago Magazine for many years. When he edits me he makes me sound like a better writer than I am.
Garry Howard, who runs the Smokering List, a free email mailing list about barbecue and cooking to which I subscribe. The talented cooks who hang out with there offer merciless feedback and are an amazing fount of information. Many have tested my recipes and corrected them, and more than a few have dug up typos and other errors. Among them, in alphabetic order: Sandra Aylor, Lucy Baker, Kevin Cleek, Bruce Cook, Erv Crain, John R. Crowley, Gerry Curry, Buzz Dean, John Douglas, Dave Frary, Dan Gill, Ed Hood, Greg Hunter & Nancee Gell, Rodney Leist, Stan Marks, Bill Martin, Scot Murphy, Merrill Powers, Mark Stevens, Jack Waiboer, Candy Weaver, Joe Wells, “Big Jim” Whitten, and Jack Wimberly. I am sure I have missed several for which I am very sorry.
Phyllis Richman, my former editor at the Washington Post.
Marlene Atkins, formerly of the Le Cordon Bleu in Chicago. She hired me to teach there and mentored me. That’s where I met Chefs Tim Bucci, Mark Stanley, Tom Beckman, and so many others who answered my stupid questions as I started this project.
Keith and Renee Miller, my friends, neighbors, dogsitters, and candid critics. I can always count on Keith for an honest opinion and, as a captain in the Pleasantview Fire Department, he brought me feedback from the firemen who survived my experiments. Also, thanks to their son Keith Miller III, a.k.a. “Lieutenant Lawnboy” who cut my lawn for many years, helped me move things and pitched in on household projects. He is now a cadet at West Point. You go guy.
Bronson “Bronnie” Smith, also of the South Carolina Barbeque Association, my guide to the joints of South Carolina. He matched me bite for bite all week long. He also took me to Jackie Hite’s Bar-B-Que. And now I can die.
Natalie Longo, my wife’s niece and talented songbird, whose warbling you can hear on my theme song “You Can’t Hurry Ribs“.
Patrick Carlson of bbqlogos.com, designer of the cartoon likeness of Meathead.
Myron Mixon, Chris Lilly, and the many other patient barbecue chefs I’ve met and quizzed at their restaurants and competitions across the nation.
Lynn and Tom Kimble of Leader Dogs for the Blind. They have been instrumental in helping us with our other great love, training dogs. Sport, Wags, Layla, Jazz, and Sunshine are now dragging blind people around, and they added so much to our lives when they lived with us.
Peter Parts, and industrialist and philanthropist, and amazing leader, who got me involved with Camp Good Days, an incredible summer camp for kids with cancer.
Julia Child, who, through the TV screen, told me in the ’60s that I could cook. I remember watching her in black and white when I was in college and trying her recipes on my roommates. I was honored to be a guest in her house for a dinner in 1995, and she was everything you think and more. In her last television interview, with Sarah Moulton on the Food Network, in the summer of 2004, she said “I think food is important and if you don’t know how to cook, it’s tragic.” Amen.
Etienne Merle, proprietor and chef of the late lamented L’Auberge du Cochon Rouge, a magnificent French restaurant in Ithaca, NY, who allowed me apprentice in his kitchen for a while, until he decided it was time to kill me. With good reason. I learned soooo much in such a short time. I have never met a more talented chef.
The helpful librarians I have met, especially Barbara Cline and Elizabeth Hansen at the LBJ Library and Museum in Austin; Flo Turcotte,Mil Willis, Richard Phillips, James Cusick, and Paul Losch at the University of Florida Library (Go Gators!); Charlotte Priddle of the Fales Library & Special Collections at NYU; the librarians at the New York Public Library; Harold Washington Library in Chicago; the University of Tennessee in Knoxville; the Library of Congress in DC; the University of South Carolina’s Caroliniana Collection in Columbia; the Florida State Library in Tallahassee; University of Memphis; and John Struble of the George Eastman House in Rochester, NY. If there is a more helpful, friendly profession, I’d like to hear about it.
Steve Jobs and Alton Brown who have been role models.
And the gods of grape, grain, and fire who have looked over me so far.
These are not ads or paid placements. These are some of our favorite tools and toys.
A big part of this site is our unbiased equipment and product reviews. We love playing with toys and we have no problem calling them the way we see them. Some companies pay a finder’s fee if a reader clicks a link on AmazingRibs.com and buys a product. It has zero impact on our reviews, zero impact on the price you pay, and the sites never tell us what you bought, but it has a major impact on our ability to keep this site alive! So before you buy, please click our links. Here’s a link that takes you to a page on Amazon that has some of our favorite tools and toys: https://tinyurl.com/amazingribs
The Pit Barrel Cooker May Be Too Easy
The PBC has a rabid cult following for good reason. It is absolutely positively without a doubt the best bargain on a smoker in the world. Period. This baby will cook circles around the cheap offset sideways barrel smokers because temperature control is so much easier.
Comprehensive Temperature Magnet With 80+ Important Temps
Winner of the National BBQ Association’s product of the year award. This 8.5″ x 11″ magnet contains more that 80 benchmark temperatures for meats (both USDA recommended temps as well as the temps chefs recommend), fats and oils, sugars, sous vide, eggs, collagens, wood combustion, breads, and more. Although it is not certified as all-weather, we have tested it outdoors in Chicago weather and it has not delaminated in three years, but there is minor fading.
The PK-360, with 360 square inches of cooking space, this rust free, cast aluminum charcoal grill is durable and easy to use. Four-way venting means it’s easy to set up for two zone cooking with more control than single vent Kamado grills. It is beautifully designed, completely portable, and much easier to set up for 2-zone cooking than any round kamado.
The Cool Kettle With The Hinged Hood We Always Wanted
Napoleon’s 22″ Pro Cart Charcoal Kettle Grill puts a few spins on the familiar kettle design. In fact, the hinged lid with a handle on the front, spins in a rotary motion 180 degrees. It’s hard to beat a Weber kettle, but Napoleon holds its own and adds some unique features to make the 22″ Pro Cart a viable alternative.
Bring The Heat With Broil King Signet’s Dual Tube Burners
The Broil King Signet 320 is a modestly priced, 3-burner gas grill that packs a lot of value and power under the hood. Broil King’s proprietary, dual-tube burners get hot fast and are able to achieve high, searing temps that rival most comparatively priced gas grills. The quality cast aluminum housing carries a Limited Lifetime Warranty.
Surely you know somebody who loves outdoor cooking who deserves a gift for the holidays, birthday, anniversary, or just for being wonderful. There he is, right in the mirror! Here are our selections of best ideas, all Platinum or Gold Medalists, listed by price.