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Some Of Our Favorite
Tools And Toys

These are not ads. These are products we love and highly recommend. Click here to read more about our medals and what they mean.



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.

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Digital Thermometers Are Your Most Valuable Tool And Here's A Great Buy!

maverick PT55 thermometer

A good digital thermometer keeps you from serving dry overcooked food or dangerously undercooked food. They are much faster and much more accurate than dial thermometers. YOU NEED ONE!

Click here for more info on the Maverick PT-55 Waterproof Instant-Read Thermometer Review shown above. It may be the best value in a thermometer out there

If you have a Weber Kettle, you need the Slow 'N' Sear

slow n sear

The Slow 'N' Sear turns your grill into a first class smoker and also creates an extremely hot sear zone you can use to create steakhouse steaks.

Click here for our article on this breakthrough tool

Bring The Heat With Broil King Signet's Dual Tube Burners

the good one grill

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.

Click here to read our complete review

The Good-One Is A Superb Grill And A Superb Smoker All In One

the good one grill

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.

Click here to read our complete review

Pit Barrel Cooker Smoker

Griddle And Deep Fryer All In One

The flat top does the burgers and the fryer does the fries. Use the griddle for bacon, eggs, and home fries. Or pancakes, fajitas, grilled cheese, you name it. Why stink up the house deep frying and spatter all over? Do your fried chicken and calamari outside. Blackstone's Rangetop Combo With Deep Fryer does it all. Plus it has a built in cutting board, garbage bag holder, and paper towel holder. An additional work table on the left side provides plenty of counter space.

Click here to read our detailed review and to order

Pit Barrel Cooker Smoker

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 in the hardware stores because temperature control is so much easier. Best of all, it is only 9 delivered to your door!

Click here to read our detailed review and the raves from people who own them

The Swiss Army Knife Of Thermometers


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, (Platinum Medal winner) 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).

Click here to read our test results and comprehensive review and why it won our Platinum Medal.

Compact Powerful Sear Machine For Your Next Tailgater


Char-Broil's Grill2Go x200 is a super-portable, fun little sizzler made of heavy, rust-proof cast aluminum. The lid snaps shut. Grab the handle and you're off to the party! Char-Broil's TRU-Infrared design produces searing heat while reducing fuel consumption. A 16 ounce LP gas canister is enough to keep you flipping burgers for hours.

Click here to read our detailed review and to order

The Cool Kettle With The Hinged Hood We Always Wanted

NK-22-Ck Grill

Their NK22CK-C 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 NK22CK-C a viable alternative.

Click here for more about what makes this grill special


G&F Suede Welder's Gloves

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.

Click here to read our detailed review

Click here to order from Amazon

GrillGrates Take Gas Grills To The Infrared Zone

grill grates

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.

Click here for more about what makes these grates so special

kareubequ bbq smoker

Our Favorite Backyard Smoker

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.

Click here for our review of this superb smoker

Masterbuilt MPS 340/G ThermoTemp XL Propane Smoker

masterbuilt gas smoker

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'.

Click here to read our detailed review

Professional Steakhouse Knife Set

masterbuilt gas smoker

Our founder, Meathead, wanted the same steak knives used by steakhouses such as Peter Luger, Smith & Wollensky, Morton's, Kobe Club, Palm, and many others. So he located the manufacturer and had them stamp our name on some. They boast pointed, temper-ground, serrated, high-carbon stainless-steel, half-tang blades with excellent cutting edge ability. The beefy hardwood handle provides a comfortable grip secured by three hefty rivets. He has machine washed his more than 100 times. They have never rusted and they stay shiny without polishing. Please note that we do not make, sell, or distribute these knives, they just engrave them with our name.

Click here to read our detailed review and to order

PK 360 grill

Is This Superb Charcoal Grill A Kamado Killer?

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.

Click here to read our detailed review of the PK 360

Click here to order it direct from PK and get a special deal for AmazingRibs.com readers only

Fireboard: The Ultimate Top Of The Line BBQ Thermometer

fireboard bbq thermometer

With the ability to monitor up to six temperatures simultaneously with either Bluetooth or Wifi on your mobile phone, tablet, or computer, Fireboard is the best digital thermometer we’ve tested.

Click here to read our detailed review

Finally, A Great Portable Pellet Smoker

Green Mountain Davey Crockett Grill

Green Mountain's portable Davy Crockett Pellet Smoker is one mean tailgating and picnic machine. But it's also gaining popularity with people who want to add a small, set it and forget it pellet smoker to their backyard arsenal. And with their WiFi capabilities you can control and monitor Davy Crocket from your smart phone or laptop.

Click here to read our detailed review and to order



Meat-Up in Memphis 2020

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Light my (PBC) fire: tips on lighting and maintaining temperatures

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  • Top | #151
    When food falls off the hook, what do you guys do to save it?


    • fzxdoc
      fzxdoc commented
      Editing a comment
      What bep35 said. Never had it happen. I double serial hook briskets, pork butts, and ribs, though, just for extra insurance.


    • OneEyedJack
      OneEyedJack commented
      Editing a comment
      Have the servants bring out "the other" meat

    • Butchman
      Butchman commented
      Editing a comment
      This happened once to me when I first placed a pork butt on the rebar, I put gloves on removed rebar, reached down and removed the meat from the coals. Brushed it off, rehooked it and finished cooking that sucker. Came out great, though a few bites had a bit of a charcoal flavor!

  • Top | #152
    I had a slab of KC ribs fall apart and down into the coals. We ate it. I got lucky actually, it must have just fallen because the carmelization was really good. (Is carmelization a word?) The other lucky part was it fell over the coal basket handle so it never really got into the ashes, at least not so much that the sauce couldn't absorb it.


    • Top | #153
      I am in the middle of a rib cook on the PBC. I used fzxdoc startup procedure minus step 12 (I think, with the lid on and bars out). After the meat was hung, and lid on, it peaked at 400F and after an hour settled in at 230-240F for the duration. That makes me happy, but presents a question.

      I want to cook a turkey, or maybe a couple of whole chickens for Christmas. How am I supposed to maintain 325+ for crispy skin? Do I open the intake a bit more? The PBC is still very new to me. Advice is appreciated!


      • Top | #154
        Crack the lid around 3/4" and adjust from there. If you are going to hang the turkey as I did recently hang the turkey diagonally and leave one rebar out and if so cut back on the 3/4" cracking of the lid.


        • AZRedneck
          AZRedneck commented
          Editing a comment
          Good idea. Makes sense. I think I've read that before now that you've reminded me. Thanks!

      • Top | #155
        I was blessed with the gift of a PBC for Christmas from my SO! First cook: two racks of St. Louis style ribs.

        Note on prep: the rack was left long, and almost touched the charcoal (about 2” from touching when added raw). Dry brined 1/2 tsp/lb. kosher salt (6.5lb. total weight with bones in for the two racks), rested in fridge for five hours, rubbed with Memphis Dust (no base binder needed), hooked using 1+1 hooking method on each rack. One rack was hung upside down in the PBC from the other, just to see if one way was better than the other… no difference in the outcome. Each was pretty burned up to the first bone...

        I used fzxdoc's 15-10-10 three-stage lighting method, using Kingsford Blue, and added three chunks of apple wood at the beginning of stage 3 (small fist sized). Ambient air temp was about 30ºF, wind was blowing at 12-15mph when starting at about 2:15PM.

        Temp at end of third stage above was around 400ºF when ribs were hung, lid closed, both rebars in place. It took about 60 minutes for the temp to go below 320ºF; at that point, I wrapped foil around the ends of one rebar to block air at the barrel gap. Temps then dropped to and sat at 280ºF for about an hour.

        After about 4:30PM, temps started to drop, losing 5º every 5-7 minutes. Ambient air temps dropped, as well, and a light snow started to fall, hitting the lid for about 30 minutes, which all may have contributed to the temp drop. I pulled the foil off, and that raised the temps back up to 265ºF, but they continued to dip into the 250ºF range the rest of the cook. Cracking the lid just under a 1/4” for 5 minutes or so helped raise it back to 265ºF for 10-15 minutes. This was the yoyo effect I was hoping to never have to deal with again (after smoking on a Weber 22” kettle all summer and having to fiddle with the air vent constantly to keep 230ºF for 6+ hours).

        I finally had to pull one rebar to get it back up to 280ºF, as the ribs weren’t passing the bend test. By 7:00PM I got tired of it and tested for doneness with my Thermapen, 190ºF+ everywhere I checked. Took the ribs out, slathered them with Weber sauce (Sweet and Bold? Something like that… no high-fructose corn syrup in it, I like it, spicy), back into 280ºF for 15 minutes to caramelize.

        So my first round of cooking ribs on the PBC was not a satisfying one, though my family loved them. They ended up really tough on the outside, too much "bite" on the bone. I know the rib meat itself was OK, because I used one (of the three total I purchased at Costco) on my Weber kettle a few months ago and they were absolutely succulent. I think the main problem on this cook was that the initial spiked temp never really settled to under 300ºF quickly enough to keep the outsides from cooking too quickly.

        Today, I'm going to try something which actually needs that higher temp, a 6# whole chicken. I plan on NOT dry-brining, and just using the included packet of AP rub (aww, no shakers included!). I plan on hanging the bird, and I did just receive my H-bar hanger today, so I may just use that... or is it really only for turkeys/large birds?

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        • abandonedbrain
          abandonedbrain commented
          Editing a comment
          "Took the ribs out, slathered them with Weber sauce (Sweet and Bold? Something like that… no high-fructose corn syrup in it...)"

          Funny to say that, then see the pic with the bottle of corn syrup in the background!

      • Top | #156
        abandonedbrain Wow what a great Christmas gift! Plus it's wonderful that you put it to use right away. Those ribs look great. Too bad they didn't have the "tooth" you were looking for. I agree, the high temps for so long did you no favors, but hanging ribs so close to the fire usually results in a sacrificial lower rib or two. I usually cut long rib pieces in half and double serial hook them for extra insurance.

        About the high temperatures that did not settle down, a little wood in the PBC goes a long way. It adds to the heat output more than you might think. For that reason, the PBC folks recommend no wood be added. That said, I like the subtle flavor that wood adds on top of the charcoal/volatile fumes flavors that are part of the PBC design. I usually add no more than a 4 ounce chunk of wood for a relatively short cook, and about 6 oz of wood for a longer cook.

        Also, if the lid is not seated tight, the temperatures will stay pretty high. Some PBC lids fit nice and tight, and occasionally some do not. If you can see small wisps of smoke coming out from under the lid's rim, bang it down with a rubber mallet (I use the rubber sole of my deck shoe). After a few cooks, most leaky lids will seal up nicely.

        If the temp of your barrel still runs too high for too long (it should settle down to 270-290 or so within the first 20 -30 minutes after adding the meat) try backing down the lighting procedure to something like 15-6-6--whatever works best for your barrel.

        About the chicken, if you hang the rebar diagonally and leave the second rebar out, your temps should stay at 350 or so for the entire cook. FWIW, here's my method of smoking chicken on the PBC:


        I like to split my chickens in half like Noah shows in his PBC video, but I know several folks who use the turkey hanger too, or who hook and hang the chicken whole.

        The AP rub is delicious on chicken. Enjoy your cook, and let us know how it turns out.


        Last edited by fzxdoc; December 31st, 2016, 04:08 PM.


        • abandonedbrain
          abandonedbrain commented
          Editing a comment
          Excellent, thanks for the tips! I've had the chicken in for about 1:35 (h:mm), like Noah's vid, it's at 162 (PBC's solid at 295). Pulled the chx, 165-ish all over, beautiful smell, resting now!

        • abandonedbrain
          abandonedbrain commented
          Editing a comment
          Superb. PBC really is the "Chicken Whisperer"! It was good to use the Kingsford Comp. tonight, ambients at around 30-32ºF in MI. Chx were done so fast, didn't have time to work on crisping the skin. Will dry-brine and leave open in fridge next time.

      • Top | #157
        Welcome to the ever growing army of enthusiastic PBC users. Once you get through a relatively minor learning curve you will love it and more importantly your tasters will give you glowing praise.

        Hopefully you have a remote thermometer to be able to keep track of things from afar.

        I think all of us have thought we seated the lid properly at some point only to discover later that we did not. Now after setting the lid I will wiggle it before walking away and even then I am occasionally fooled.

        I tend to use the turkey hanger for chicken legs down as I am basically lazy and like to see those picture perfect birds in their natural form.

        A important thing to produce crispy skin on poultry, aside from a higher temp, is to leave the poultry uncovered in the fridge at least overnight as it will help dry out the skin. In this case I apply the rub and salt before putting in the fridge.

        There are a variety of lighting methods that work really well and each of us has our preferred method. I just do as Noah does and give a really liberal amount of lighter fluid douse, light, stand back, and watch the flames dance above the top of the barrel for a short period of time.

        I do bow to fzxdoc as she is the queen of PBC with all she had to say as well as the AP rub being super nice on poultry. I just recieved a large bag of AP rub this week as I definitely do not want to be caught short handed.

        Hope this helps.


        • abandonedbrain
          abandonedbrain commented
          Editing a comment
          Thanks for that. Chicken was DELICIOUS, though the consensus was that the AP rub was "too spicy". Whatevs; I liked it. Probably need to go back to Simon and Garfunkel rub. I'm keeping track of all my times/temps, learning a bit at a time. Fun!

      • Top | #158
        Cooked my first turkey Sunday, which turned out well. Reason for the post is a question, about 3/4 way through, my temps were down and I realized a good portion of my coals were done. After adding coals the cook finished just fine. Is it possible to overdo the lighting of the coals? I did 20 minutes in the chimney and another 15-ish minutes in the barrel before adding the bird. Thanks for replies.

        Sorry, didn't mean 20 & 15 coals, 20 & 15 minutes to get coals ready for the turkey.
        Last edited by PBCJim; January 4th, 2017, 12:34 PM. Reason: apologies to lschweig for creating confusion.


        • Top | #159
          For shorter normal (non poultry) cooks I use around 1/2 of the coal basket with the coal piled on one side and for poultry cooks (due to higher temps needed 325+) I will add to that. Never have counted the exact number of briquettes and just eyeball it.

          Yes, it is possible to "over" light the chimney.


          • PBCJim
            PBCJim commented
            Editing a comment
            Thanks, I'll get a little less agressive next time and see if that helps.

        • Top | #160
          PBCJim , I always cook poultry with a full basket because I want to heat to stay up there where it's supposed to. (When I load the PBC up with 3 chickens and 2 racks of sausages, I overfill the basket.) I use a regular full basket for turkey.

          Poultry can drip a lot into the fire, and that may affect the burn, especially if the basket is only partially full. Sometimes I've had to reposition the bird because the coals in part of the basket are spent while there are still plenty of hot coals in another part of the basket. That has only happened a couple of times for me, though.

          As far as the chimney goes, just let the 40 coals in it burn until the topmost coals begin to ash over. That way it's perfect for igniting the basket of coals. In some chimneys (the compact Weber, for example) it can take 20 minutes or more for that to happen. In larger or wider chimneys, it can take fewer than 15 minutes to reach the same point. So just let it burn until the topmost coals begin to ash over, whatever time that takes for your setup.

          You want to let the coals burn in the basket (after pouring out the chimney) for a while like you did to get the fire going really well before adding the cold bird(s). That will keep the temps up nicely. If you have a full basket, it shouldn't burn out.

          Also for a single turkey, use one rebar, placed diagonally, and leave the other two holes open to keep the temps up. You probably did that, but just in case, you didn't, you may want to give that a try.

          Good to hear that your turkey turned out well. Congrats!



          • Top | #161
            Thanks Kathryn! I used a reasonably full basket of coals, Maybe this was as much a fluke since you said its only happened to you a couple of times. I used the PBC turkey hanger so used both rebars also limits re-positioning the bird but an excellent suggestion.

            My original issue was that almost half the coals were spent about 3 1/2 hours into the cook so I presumed I overdid the lighting of the coals. Next time I'll start with a very full basket and I'll back off just a little on the time in the chimney and in the barrel prior to adding food and see if I get better results next time.


            • Top | #162
              Good ideas. I always try to change just one thing at a time when I'm tweaking my PBC's performance for a certain type of cook.

              For poultry, you want a hot fire, so I wouldn't encourage backing off on the time in the barrel prior to adding the food. I usually go 15 minutes in the chimney (short, wide chimney), then 10 minutes with the lid off and rebars out after I've poured the coals into the basket, then 10 minutes more with the lid on and the rebars out. I add my wood (about 4 ounces), if I'm using it in this last 10 minute period. That way I have a well-lit fire that holds its temperature pretty solidly throughout the cook.

              I'm surprised that your cook took over 3 1/2 hours, unless you had a huge bird and a lower pit temperature. If you keep the temperature up at 325 or more, a whole 12-15 lb turkey will smoke to 160 degrees in 2-3 hours or so. Take a look at the "Whole Turkey, Not Spatchcocked" section of this post:


              However, cooking at lower temperatures can certainly result in longer cook times.

              What was your PBC temperature during that turkey cook?



              • Top | #163
                Kathryn - I did not use my thermo on that cook until the end to check bird temp. But certain the temp was fairly low given the state of the coals. I cooked 3 racks of baby back ribs yesterday and did a fairly normal 20 minutes in the chimney and 10 minutes in the barrel before adding the ribs. About an hour in, things were slowing down, first clue was no smoke from the rebar holes. I spun my top vent to crack it very slightly and that was perfect. Smoked nicely from the rebar holes, coals appeared hot throughout the rest of the cook. Ribs were awesome. About 3.5 hours total cook time.

                I'm wondering why an hour into these cooks I'm having trouble but will try cracking the vent very slightly next time from the beginning and see if it maintains a more stable temp through that time about an hour in.

                Appreciate the support!


                • Top | #164
                  Sounds like a plan; cracking the vent from the beginning might result in pretty high PBC temps, though. Even a small leak in the lid can keep my PBC perking along at 300-350 degrees in the beginning instead of the 275 I like to smoke at for everything but poultry. Later on in the cook, the effect of a lid leak is not as strong, though.



                  • PBCJim
                    PBCJim commented
                    Editing a comment
                    Roger, thanks. Its funny the results are always good, the journey is the fun part.

                • Top | #165
                  Thank you fzxdoc and everyone else that contributed to this thread. I have struggled with temp control on my first two cooks and was getting discouraged. I read this thread last night and put what I learned into practice today. Steady temps and now I'm getting ready to pull a pork shoulder that took little attention. Thanks again for all the time spent giving advice.