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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.

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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Chasing the dogs: What to drink with a hot dog

What to drink with hot dogs"What does a White Sox fan consider a seven course meal? A Chicago Hot Dog and a six pack of beer." Anonymous Yankees fan

By Meathead Goldwyn

The whole concept of matching food and drink is to select a beverage that will wash down the solids, clean your teeth of seeds, and enhance the flavors. The idea is to make the flavors enhance each other, to make one plus one equal three.

Sommeliers who make a living by matching foods with drinks have a technique: Find the dominant essence of the food, and find something to drink that compliments or complements it. That is to say, they look for something that is similar or something that is opposite. For example, you can wear a pale blue blouse to compliment a navy skirt or a yellow blouse to complement it since yellow is the complementary, or the opposite, contrasting color on the color wheel.

So what are the dominant flavors of a hot dog? In the frank itself, salt, garlic, spices, and beef are strong. Chili dogs can be heavily spiced, usually with Greek flavors such as cinnamon, allspice, and nutmeg. In the condiments, the sharpness of the onion and mustard are factors. So are the acidity of the kraut, pickle, peppers. Relish and slaw are sweet. French fries are fatty and salty.

Nothing balances saltiness like beer. Among beers, I prefer ales because they tend to be richer than lagers and a little sweet. The local brews are always my first choices.

The carbs of the bun and fries do a good job of absorbing the sharpness of mustard, so I look for sweetness to further tame things. Lemonade is a winner, countering the salt and spice nicely.

Carbonation also cuts the richness and salt well. Among soft drinks, I lean toward ginger ale, root beer, and cream soda. There are so many locally made root beers around the nation, tasting them is as much fun as tasting the hot dogs.

Among wines, I favor the pink wines, sometimes called rosé, blush, or blanc de noir wines. They usually have a hint of sweetness, and often a slight fizziness. Gewurztaminer, which is spicy like the frank, is also a nice accompaniment.

The famous actress Marlene Dietrich is reputed to have said that hot dogs with Champagne was her favorite meal. Although I have personal rule that the beverage should not cost more than the food, I make an exception for hot dogs. I favor those labeled Extra Dry because they actually have a hint more sweetness than those labeled Brut (space does not permit me to attempt to decipher the inane label jargon of Champagne and sparkling wines). Alas, to get Champagne with your pups at the ball park, you need to be in a skybox.

This page was revised 6/25/2009


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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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