Many merchants pay us a small referral fee when you click our links and purchase from them. On Amazon it works on everything from grills to diapers, they never tell us what you bought, and it has zero impact on the price you pay, but has a major impact on our ability to improve this site! And remember, we only recommend products we love. If you like AmazingRibs.com, please save this link and use it every time you go to Amazon https://tinyurl.com/amazingribs
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 Pitmaster Award winners or Gold Medalist, listed by price.
Heat Resistant Gloves With Extra Long Sleeves Hold The Hot Stuff
If you're using oven mitts at the grill, it's time to trade up. Say hello to these suede welder's gloves. They're heat resistant enough to handle hot grill grates, and flexible enough to handle tongs. The extra long sleeves even let you reach deep into the firebox to move hot logs without getting burned. Our Fave.
GrillGrates(TM) amplify heat, prevent flareups, make flipping foods easier, keep small foods from committing suicide, kill hotspots, are easier to clean, flip over to make a fine griddle, and can be easily removed and moved from one grill to another. You can even throw wood chips, pellets, or sawdust between the rails and deliver a quick burst of smoke to whatever is above. Every gas grill needs them.
The amazing Karubecue is the most innovative smoker in the world. The quality of meat from this machine is astonishing. At its crux is a patented firebox that burns logs above the cooking chamber and sucks heat and extremely clean blue smoke into the thermostat controlled oven. It is our favorite smoker, period.
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 in the hardware stores because temperature control is so much easier. Best of all, it is only $299 delivered to your door!
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 much easier to set up for 2-zone cooking than any round kamado. Beautifully designed and completely portable. Meathead says it is his preferrred grill.
The Good-One Is A Superb Grill And A Superb Smoker All In One
The Good-One Open Range is a charcoal grill with an offset smoke chamber attached. It is dramatically different from a traditional offset smoker. The grill sits low in front and doubles as a firebox for the smoke chamber which is spliced on above and behind so it can work like a horizontal offset smoker only better. By placing the heat source behind and under the smokebox instead of off to the side, Open Range produces even temperature from left to right, something almost impossible to achieve with a standard barrel shaped offset.
The First Propane Smoker With A Thermostat Makes This Baby Foolproof
Set ThermoTemp's dial from 175° to 350°F and the thermostat inside will adjust the burner just like an indoor kitchen oven. All you need to do is add wood to the tray above the burner to start smokin'.
The smart folks at ThermoWorks have finally done it: The Swiss Army Knife of thermometers, two in one. Start with the industry standard food thermometer, the Thermapen MK4, our Pitmaster Award truly instant (2 to 3 seconds) precise (+ or – 0.7°F). Then they built in an infrared thermometer ideal for measuring the temps of pizza stones, griddles, and frying pans (also great for finding leaks around doors and windows in your house).
The BBQ Guru DigiQ DX3 is a basic thermostatic controller for charcoal and wood fired cookers. It features an easy to use menu, clear display, separate fan with an internal damper, cooker temperature probe, and a single food temperature probe. It does not interface with the internet or smart devices.
Like all thermostatic controllers, the DX3 employs a temperature probe that attaches to the cooking surface. This sensor measures the temperature inside the smoker or oven and relays that information to the control computer. This internal temperature is compared to a temperature setting made by the user, and adjusts the airflow through the cooker to control the temperature. By increasing the fan speed, more air is forced through the cooker, resulting in higher temperatures. This achieves the same result as manually adjusting the vents, but without constant fiddling, so the internal temperature is held closely to the desired cooking temperature.
The DX3 has three control profiles that adjust the response parameters to the type of cooker being used. The manual, which must be downloaded from the company website, lists the proper setting for various popular cookers. Once set, the setting is retained in memory. The desired cooker temperature is set by the user, and the user can set a temperature tolerance range. If the internal temp exceeds the set tolerance, too high or too low, the display will flash and an audible alarm will sound. The food temperature is monitored by a second probe. When the food temperature reaches the food temperature setting input by the user, the display will flash and an audible alarm will sound. The audible alarms can be adjusted for volume or turned off completely. The user can also enable or disable a ramp function that will lower the cooker temperature when the food temperature approaches the user setting, thereby preventing the overcooking of food. There is also a selectable open-lid detection feature that will prevent temperature overshoot after a sudden temperature drop caused by opening the lid of the cooker.
Both probes have 6' (1.8m) braided stainless steel cables that appear to be quite rugged. The manufacturer rates them to 500°F and advises the user to keep the cables away from open flames. The food probe is L-shaped, allowing the probe point to be inserted about 4" (10cm) into the food. The cooker probe has an alligator clip at its end.
The computer is about the size of a pack of cigarettes. It can be powered by the supplied AC adapter (110-220VAC) or by 12VDC. The temperature scale can be set to Fahrenheit or Celsius in the setup menu. The fan attaches to the cooker using a collar that fits over the lower vents. It has a damper control to help fine tune the airflow. If power to the computer is interrupted, it will continue where it left off when power is restored without any input from the user.
My tests were conducted on an 18.5" Weber Smokey Mountain. Ambient temperatures were approximately 55°F (13°C) and there was a slight breeze. I filled the fuel tray about three-quarters full of unlit coals, and I lit about one-third of a chimney of Kingsford briquets. When the lit coals were showing ash, I poured them on top of the unlit coals, added some hickory, and assembled the smoker with the food (St. Louis-style pork ribs). I set the cooker profile to #3, closed the fan damper to about one-half, and set the top vents to about one-fourth open, as directed in the instructions. I cooked the ribs for about 5.5 hours. As you can see from the graph below, the DX3 did an excellent job of temperature control. (Click on the graph to view an enlarged version.)
All the components of this product appear to be well made. The warranty on the fan and computer is two years, and the probes are warrantied for 90 days. The documentation that comes with the product is lacking, but a quick trip to the company's website will allow you to download a well-written user's manual. Contact info for the company can be found in the manual, including physical address, telephone number, e-mail address and website.
If you are content to set it and forget it, the DX3 is an excellent choice. It comes in several kit configurations that mate the fan unit to your style of cooker. The company's website has a kit selection tool that allows you to order the correct hardware, so obtaining the right setup is easy. The unit doesn't require an internet connection, and it won't talk to your smart phone, tablet or computer, but it does control the temperature of your cooker very well at a modest price. I'm giving it a Gold Medal for its quality construction, performance, and ease of use.
Many merchants pay us a small referral fee when you click our links and purchase from them. On Amazon it works on everything from grills to diapers, they never tell us what you bought, and it has zero impact on the price you pay, but has a major impact on our ability to improve this site! And remember, we only recommend products we love. If you like AmazingRibs.com, please save this link and use it every time you go to Amazonhttps://tinyurl.com/amazingribs