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Big Jim, Here

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    Big Jim, Here

    Big Jim here. I'm the webmaster and lead web designer for AmazingRibs.com. I've been designing webpages and websites for over 15 years. I'm the author of the last three editions of Dreamweaver: Classroom in a Book (Adobe Press) and I'm starting on the next one soon. I've been a graphic designer and writer for over 25 years but I've been a cook since I was 12 years old, when one of my buddies would come over after Sunday school and we'd cook chili. My first real job was as a dish washer in a Czech restaurant in Chicago when I was 15. So, food has a very strong connection to me.

    I learned how to barbecue in the Chicago "wet" style, but was always curious about other forms of BBQ. I have traveled all over the country and often sought out different types of BBQ through the years but the one thing that always eluded me was this magic type known as "pit". I ate at many joints all over the south and west but never found anything that was so unusual to warrant such acclaim. Never, that is, until I went to Nashville about 20 years ago. I was teaching at a company outside the city and told my students that I was interested in finding great "pit" barbecue. One student piped up, " I know just the place."

    After class I followed him into the city to a place that looked just like someone's home. When I walked in the door I could see that the rooms were full of picnic tables and benches. There was no table service, so we had to order at the counter and, like many restaurants in the South, it didn't even sell beer. But when my number was called, the wait was over. My first taste of the ribs and brisket was all I needed to know why so many people have spent so many years trying to perfect this form of cooking. Wow. The meat was tasty and succulent and featured a bold smokey flavor that was sweet and savory at the same time. This was the taste that I had never found before that day. Unfortunately, I can't tell you what the name of the place, but that experience started my second lifelong quest, to perfect this type of barbecue myself.

    About 15 years ago I set out to do some slow cooking on my Weber kettle. I set up a two-zone cooker in my kettle and put my dry-rubbed ribs on one side and the heat and the water on the other. After about 6 hours we dined on the best ribs I had ever made. I was hooked.

    The funniest thing about the last two years is that I actually discovered AmazingRibs.com a couple of weeks before Meathead called me to redesign the site. The last two years has been a journey of discovery for both of us as Meathead is learning how to build high-quality web code, while I've been learning about "Enterprise-level" website standards and practices. (Not many web designers get the privilege to work on a site that gets over a million visitors per month!)

    We've made some important changes to the site and have already added some amazing content, but we've barely begun. For example, over the last year we've noticed that our visitors are coming to the site more and more on mobile devices. So, we've been busily redesigning the site all over again to take advantage of the latest responsive design techniques. Very soon you will be looking at a very different site. It will have all the same great content, but it will be much easier to find, access and use. Stay tuned!


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Rubs Promo


These are not ads or paid placements. These are some of our favorite tools and toys.

These are products we have tested, won our top awards, and are highly recommend. Click here to read how we test, about our medals, and what they mean.

Use Our Links To Help Keep Us Alive

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.

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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 beautifully designed, completely portable, and much easier to set up for 2-zone cooking than any round kamado.

Click here to read our detailed review of the PK 360

Click here to order directly and get an exclusive AmazingRibs.com deal

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.

Click here to see our list of Gold Medal Gifts

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.

Click here for more about what makes this grill special


Comprehensive Temperature Magnet With 80+ Important Temps

Amazingribs.com temperature magnet
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.

Click here to order.

GrillGrates Take Gas Grills To The Infrared†Zone

GrillGrates(TM) amplify heat, prevent flareups, make flipping foods easier, kill hotspots, flip over to make a fine griddle, and can be easily 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.

Click here for more about what makes these grates so special

The Efficiency Of A Kamado Plus The Flexibility Of The Slow ‘N Sear Insert

kamado grill
Built around SnS Grill’s patented Slow ‘N Sear charcoal kettle accessory, this 22-inch kamado is a premium ceramic grill that brings true 2-zone cooking to a kamado.

Click here for our article on this exciting cooker