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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

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 mor 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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Best BBQ accessories

Char-Broil TRU-Infrared Commercial 3-Burner

By Max Good

Manufacturer: Char-Broil

Char-Broil is an innovator in the popular gas grill arena with clever designs, low to midrange prices, and excellent customer service. For several years they have focused on infrared cooking. Starting in 2012 all new IR models were dubbed "Tru-Infrared". These grills are made with stainless steel tube burners that work in conjunction with a radiant surface to bring heat close to the food. The radiant surface shields food from direct flame and reduces hot dry convection heat rising from the burners.

As one of the biggest BBQ manufacturers in the world, Char-Broil offers a clear, low cost alternative to Weber and surpasses other price driven manufacturers like Brinkmann and Masterbulit with their infrared gas grill design innovation and focused marketing. Also in 2012, Char-Broil introduced Saber, a new, very high quality line of gas grills that goes head to head with Weber's Summit series in the premium grill space. They offer charcoal grills, smokers, fryers and a variety of accessories and tools.

Char-Broil is owned by The W.C. Bradley Company headquartered in Columbus, GA.  Roots of W.C. Bradley go back before the Civil War to The Columbus Iron Works. The first Char-Broil grill was made and sold in the USA in 1953. Now all Char-Broil grills are manufactured in China and distributed around the globe.

Char-Broil Gas Grills

Char-Broil is focused on infrared cooking. Starting in 2012 many models were dubbed "Tru-Infrared". These grills are made with stainless steel tube burners that work in conjunction with a radiant surface to bring heat close to the food. The radiant surface shields food from direct flame and reduces hot dry convection heat rising from the burners.

These radiant cookers present a clear alternative to standard gas grills. Most gas grills produce a significant amount of convection heat and usually need a sear burner to reach steak house temps. Some other brands of infrared grills can sear, but lack a low temperature range. Char-Broil feels their Tru-Infrared grills are versatile and easy to use because they are designed to produce juicy meats, prevent flare-ups, reduce fuel consumption, and offer wide temperature ranges (they claim between 250F to 700F). They are also designed and manufactured to sell for a price that's hard to pass up. For example, the new Tru-Infrared models are about $100 less than Weber's entry level Spirit line. But take note of Char-Broil's warranty which should help gauge a buyer's expectation: limited lifetime on the burners, 2 years on the lid and fire box, and 1 year on everything else. Not even close to Weber's. Of course Lowe's and Home Depot would love to sell you an extended warranty. Based on comments we have read, Char-Broil owners seem to be divided in two distinct camps: They either love them or hate them. Be that as it may, we appreciate Char-Broil's TRU-Infrared full size gas grills for economy, unique design, ease of use and solid customer service.

The new Tru-Infrared grills are offered in three full-size lines: Commercial, Gourmet, and Professional. All have battery powered ignition, heat indicators, and can convert to natural gas with an optional dual fuel kit. Burners line up from side to side which we prefer for indirect cooking. 430 grade stainless steel construction with side tables and casters. That's a good, but not great grade of SS. Tools, smoke boxes and a variety of rotisserie kits are available. Char-Broil also sells some compact gas and electric grills in the Patio Bistro line as well as a small a line of portable propane grills called GRILL2GO.

Char-Broil TRU-Infrared Commercial Grills

Formerly sold as Quantum Grills, this line is exclusive to Lowe's. The stainless steel grates lay directly on top of the radiant surface which consists of thin stainless steel plates. They get very hot and radiate evenly across the surface. The plates have several small holes per square inch allowing combustion gases up and some drippings down, both good for flavor. Most drippings hit the plates and incinerate, adding more flavor to the meat. On past models, the stainless grates corroded easily and the holes needed regular cleaning or they clogged. We have not yet had a chance to test these new models.

Char-Broil packs a special cleaner/scraper into every box that works specifically with the Commercial grills. Meathead, our founder, bought a Quantum Commercial 4-burner in 2008. After one year the factory grates corroded and clogged so he replaced them with another company's product, GrillGrates, which operate on the same principle, only better. Char-Broil claims to have improved their grates.

The construction is lightweight and rather flimsy, but Meathead's 2008 model is holding up fine in the harsh weather of Chicago. He doesn't cover it so the stainless now looks more like aluminum, but other than the grates, there are no signs of rust or corrosion. He uses it a lot, doesn't baby it and doesn't hesitate to recommend it.

Char-Broil TRU-Infrared Commercial 3-Burner

Top Ten Charcoal Grill 2014The Char-Broil Commercial 3-Burner is a decent, basic grill sold exclusively at Lowe's. The lid has an inner double layer to help keep in heat. It is capable of high enough heat for searing, and low enough for smoking. Furthermore you can create smoke easily by tossing food grade wood chips, sawdust, or pellets between the grates, right below the food or off to the side: all assets of Char-Broil's TRU-Infrared designs. Commercial grills have stainless steel burners and battery powered ignition. The 3-Burner also features a 13,000 BTU flush mounted side burner with a hinged lid.

Stainless steel grates lay directly on top of a radiant surface which consists of thin stainless steel plates. They get very hot and radiate evenly across the surface. The plates have several small holes per square inch allowing combustion gases up and some drippings down, both good for flavor. Most drippings hit the plates and incinerate, adding more flavor to the meat. On past models, the stainless grates corroded easily and the holes needed regular cleaning or they clogged. Char-Broil claims to have improved their grates. We have not yet had a chance to test these new models.

Char-Broil packs a special cleaner/scraper into every box that works specifically with the Commercial grills. Meathead, our founder, bought a 4-burner version of this line back in 2008 when they were called Quantum Grills. After one year the factory grates corroded and clogged so he replaced them with another company's product, GrillGrates, which operate on the same principle, only better.

Char-Broil Commercial Grills feature a bi-metallic temperature gauge located above each control knob purportedly measuring the temp of the cooking surface above each burner. Alas, we don't have much faith in the accuracy of bi-metal gauges so we still recommend you consider purchasing a high quality digital thermometer to check them.

Meathead feels the optional rotisserie was an afterthought on his 4-burner model. The left bracket of his rotisserie kit scraped against the lid of the side burner. He had to mount it to the inside of the cooking chamber. That was easy because the mounting holes go through, but he also had to mount the motor upside down or when the lid went down it wouldn't close. The rod came in two parts and needed to be screwed together. They kept coming loose so he had a local auto body shop weld the two parts together. Char-Broil says this is an unusual occurrence, but we have seen many complaints about the mounting brackets on the internet.

The cookbox and single door cart are a combo of stainless and painted steel. Construction is lightweight and rather flimsy, but Meathead's 2008 model is holding up fine in the harsh weather of Chicago. He doesn't cover it so the stainless now looks more like aluminum, but other than the grates, there are no signs of rust or corrosion. He uses it a lot, doesn't baby it and doesn't hesitate to recommend it.

Price: 

$399 Manufacturer's suggested retail price (MSRP), actual price may vary.

Where To Buy (Buying from these suppliers supports this website): 

Lowe's: Free In Store Pick Up

Primary Function: 

Grill

Fuel: 

Propane Gas

Natural Gas Capable

Primary Capacity: 

500 square inches ( about 24 burgers )

Secondary Capacity: 

180 square inches

Main Burners: 

3

Additional Burners: 

Side

Manufacturer claims that all or practically all of this device is made in the USA

No

BTU: 

30,000

Heat Flux: 

60. Heat Flux is the BTU per square inch and is a more useful measure of how much heat a grill delivers than BTU alone.

Review Method: 

Looked Closely At It

We have seen this product up close and we have also gathered info from the manufacturer,  owners, and other reliable sources.


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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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