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The Perfect Burger Status - So close but where's the juice?

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  • Sweaty Paul
    Founding Member
    • Aug 2014
    • 1360
    • Hays, KS
    • Green Mountain Grill - Jim Bowie
      (I've never regretted having too much grate space).

      Weber Genesis Gas grill
      Weber Kettle grills x 2

    Concerned and agree it might be your meat. What’s the fat content in the meat?

    With that being said I find I have considerably more juicy burgers when I grind the meat myself. I tend to favor chuck roasts that have good amounts of fat. I’m with BRic and grind on a coarse grind Twice and try not to overwork the meat too much when making the patties. Good luck!


    • Hugh
      Hugh commented
      Editing a comment
      This is starting to make even more sense! There is no labeling on the plastic tube that indicates fat content. There is some nutritional info on the store label though. It says that there are 20 grams of fat in a 130 gram burger which would approximate 15%. Yikes, that is lean. I bought a 'tube' there last year and I remember 22%? I got a juicy SV burger. Even more support for grinding my own because of inconsistency.

    • Sweaty Paul
      Sweaty Paul commented
      Editing a comment
      Sounds like your figuring it out!! Good luck. Let us all know how it turns out!

    • HouseHomey
      HouseHomey commented
      Editing a comment
      Remember 100 grams at 80/20 = 20 grams fat at 9 calories per gram. Protein gets 4 calories per gram.
  • Macktechie
    Club Member
    • Sep 2018
    • 183

    Tips for moist burgers.
    1. Limit number of touches when creating patties.
    2. While grilling add a small ice cube on top. Just be careful how large.
    3. You can add light mayo, or mustard. Keeps everything nice and juicy.
    4. I also cook mine to medium let them rest for a few mins. I like to dome them to keep them warm.
    5. I can't make a bad burger on grillgrates. It's a nice add on for your grill.


    • Bkhuna
      Club Member
      • Apr 2019
      • 405
      • Merritt Island Florida

      Don't buy chubs of preground meat. Those are indicated as sources for a large percentage of foodborne illness. It only takes a few bacteria to contaminate hundreds of pounds of ground meat.

      I, like others, think you're meat is to lean. You want juice? You need fat. I prefer 80/20. Just buy a nice chuck roast and ask the meat guy to grind it for you and tell him you want it 80/20. Hopefully, you have a clean meat market.

      Don't pack the burger patties tight. As mentioned, handle with care.

      The best part of experimenting is eating the mistakes.


      • fzxdoc
        Founding Member
        • Jul 2014
        • 4836
        • My toys:
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        Another thought about the sear: Kenji Lopez-Alt says that having a sear on one side is all the Maillard you need, tastewise. He does this when searing cubes of beef for stew. I've always wanted to try it on a burger to see how it does.

        Another another thought: for those who want their burgers well done at 160°+, I stuff them with a mixture of lightly sauteed diced onion, fried diced bacon, and shredded cheddar cheese.

        Two thin patties (about 1/3 cup meat each) stuffed with that mixture (seal the edges well) and grilled to 160° gives a nice juicy mouthfeel in every bite.

        I just made some the other night and everyone loved them, as usual.

        If I have any stuffing left over, I make fricos in a frying pan, no oil--just let the small piles of stuffing get melty then cool slightly. Those of us who love our burgers medium or so put the frico on top of the cooked cheese burger. Super cheesy and a nice texture/flavor addition.

        Last edited by fzxdoc; April 28th, 2019, 06:37 AM.


        • fzxdoc
          fzxdoc commented
          Editing a comment
          Oh Wow! That's good news, Hugh . Now you have another burger arrow in your burger quiver.


        • Murdy
          Murdy commented
          Editing a comment
          "Kenji Lopez-Alt says that having a sear on one side is all the Maillard you need, tastewise."

          All due respect to Mr. Lopez-Alt, that just seems like such a waste.

        • fzxdoc
          fzxdoc commented
          Editing a comment
          I'm with you, Murdy . I may do it but I won't enjoy it.

      • Mosca
        Charter Member
        • Oct 2014
        • 3118
        • PA
        • Large Big Green Egg, Weber Performer Deluxe, Weber Smokey Joe Silver, Maverick 732, DigiQ, and too much other stuff to mention.

        I buy my ground beef at the butcher counter. 80/20 brisket chuck mix.

        Don't bother with sous vide or reverse sear for burgers; they aren’t steaks.

        I do mine one of two ways. First is traditional: get the coals pretty hot. Salt and pepper a regular looking patty, and grill it, flipping constantly until it is done.... hey wait, that sounds really simple.

        The second way, I put the patty on a sheet of foil and smash it down really flat, to about 1/4”. Then I salt and pepper it, put it on the same hot grill, and flip it until it’s done. That’s really simple, too, except for the extra step.

        I like the really flat ones the best, and so does Mrs Mosca. They’re Smashburgers, but cooked directly over the coals rather than on a griddle. FWIW, this is what I use the SnS for the most, to concentrate the coals for cooking burgers (and steaks).

        And I agree with everyone else who says your burger wasn’t juicy because of the meat.

        Click image for larger version

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        • HouseHomey
          HouseHomey commented
          Editing a comment
          Still living those plates. We have the square casseroles with glass lids to match.

        • Hugh
          Hugh commented
          Editing a comment
          I'm trying smashburgers on my next cook!
      • Hugh
        Former Member
        • Jun 2017
        • 357

        The quest for the Perfect Burger continues...(insert sound and image of Monty Python's knights coming over the hill here cuz this is getting altogether too frustrating!).

        I'm trying to create Meatheads Steakhouse Steakburger https://amazingribs.com/tested-recip...kburger-recipe

        I'm not getting a juicy burger.

        Today's exercise was about grinding my own brisket to get a higher fat content and trying a burger without a sear to see if that has been drying out my burger. The results:

        - The flavor of 100% brisket in a burger is exactly what I have been looking for. Done deal.
        - I am definitely getting closer on the juice. 1 burger was perfect. Well done and just the right amount of juiciness.
        - You know when you bite into a good piece of brisket and there is that silky moment when the juice hits your tongue? That is what I'm talking about. It was there.

        But the rest of the results were inconsistent/frustrating.

        - I'm done trying to cook to pink/medium and then pasteurize afterwards in the oven. It didn't work again today (dry) and if I can get juicy well done then that is what I'd prefer anyway. I will try one more cooked to medium next time without pasteurizing at the end. I will cook indirect and pull it at 145 without a sear, and put it directly into a bun. Given that I boiled the meat before hand and all my equipment was sanitized, I have to think I'm pretty darn safe! Again this is an experiment only. My goal now is a 160 burger with enough juice to please my palette.
        - The burger was very crumbly - the patties didn't hold together (one totally fell apart). I think this was part because according to Kenji, brisket doesn't hold together well on its own (needs a binder), and part because I actually need to form them more. I have never worked with hamburger so 'fluffy'. I barely touched it when forming the patties. I'm going to try a panade (bread and milk) to bind it next time which will also add moisture. I don't want to add bacon for more juice at this point because I just want to taste beef.
        - The looseness also made it difficult to get a temperature read on them. Again, I think by forming them firmer I can alleviate that. I'm also going to make them thicker. They were 7.6 ounces and the size of the bun.
        - I cooked one on direct on my gasser which came apart so I couldn't take a temp. It was golden on one side and then I flipped it and just eyeballed that the larger parts of the burger were well done. This is the one that was juicy and delicious. WTF?
        - I cooked three on the kettle. The first one indirect to 145 degrees and then put it in the warming drawer at 170 degrees for 10 minutes to pasteurize. It came out looking well done and it was dry. So much for that approach.
        - I cooked the second and third indirect on the kettle to 160 with no sear. They were dry. I'm suspicious that I am over cooking these. Your probably wondering what I use for thermometers - I've got a Thermapen instant read as well as the Webber iGrill with 4 probes. All have been tested in ice water and boiling water.
        - It is still possible that I need to increase the fat content more. I will follow Meatheads recommendation of 12 ounces of brisket flat and 4 ounces of pure fat for my next cook.

        Here is a pic of the meat after being boiled and before and after the grind. I blanched the meat for closer to 30 seconds. Meathead says it needs 10. Could 20 extra seconds in boiling water have messed things up? I'll go exactly 10 seconds next time.

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        I came up with a system to estimate the fat content and created 4 groups out of the pile at the top. I weighed each group and used a weighted average to come up with the final guesstimate for fat content. I had 31 ounces of beef and I estimate I was at 31% fat content. I know this isn't accurate, but it is repeatable so I can come up with a consistent grind going forward.

        I thought if anything I had too much fat. It looked beyond a regular grind to me. But when I go back and read Meathead's article on grinding your own hamburger, his directions are to add more fat than what I did.

        Here is a pic of the burger I liked on the grill of the gasser and what is left of it on a plate.

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        This was the juicy one! See how little juice there is on the plate? If you zoom in on the photo you can see chunks of fat that didn't render/cook. I will do a second grind next time (as recommended by all). I only have a medium grinding plate and I like my hamburger course so I was afraid to grind twice.

        Here are the 3 burgers on the kettle and one finished in a bun with melted butter, melted spreadable Brie cheese and a heated bun.

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        There was juice on the top of this burger as I carried it in the house. I had high hopes when I bit into it. But no cigar. There was no juice, even when I squeezed the burger.

        I'll repeat this when I'm ready for another burger in the next few days with the changes outlined above. Net is:
        - higher fat content
        - shorter boil
        - panade
        - smaller diameter/thicker patty
        - indirect cook at 250 degrees on kettle to an internal temp of 145.
        - direct cook on SnS flipping often to an internal of 160 no sear
        - direct cook on gasser flipping often to an internal of 160 no sear (can I taste the difference between the gas and charcoal burger?)


        • Hugh
          Hugh commented
          Editing a comment
          mnavarre - no, I ground it warm right out of the boiling water. I thought cooling it was to make it easier to grind and I'm not having grinding problems. It was totally smeared. Do you think chlling the meat before grinding and then chilling again before cooking would make it hold together better or result in a juicier burger?

        • Hugh
          Hugh commented
          Editing a comment
          jfmorris and BRic - thanks for hanging in here guys. I'm learning tons. You have convinced me to try Smashburgers. I'm going to try them and Kathryn's stuffed burgers on my next cook.

        • mnavarre
          mnavarre commented
          Editing a comment
          Keeping it cool will absolutely help. Keep it cold from the grind to the grill. You want the fat to stay distinct from the lean so it melts into little pockets and stays in the patty during cooking.

          So, scald if you're doing that, cut up to fit your grinder, into the freezer for 1/2 hour or so, grind, fridge, make patties, fridge, cook. And as someone else said, don't be afraid to form a tight patty. "Don't overwork" doesn't mean barely touch it.
      • BRic
        Club Member
        • Mar 2017
        • 370
        • Winnipeg Mb. Canada
        • Napoleon bbq
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        @Hugh Found this article

        Here’s The Real Key To Juiciness

        Adding ice water. That’s right. You may be a bit apprehensive, but it works, Trust it. The ratio is 1/4 cup of ice water to 1 pound of ground beef. You can adjust that to personal preference.

        Directions. Immediately before cooking the hamburger, place ground beef in a bowl. Sprinkle it evenly with salt and ground black pepper to your desired taste. You can also add other spices and herbs. Add the ice water. Hand-blend gently until the meat absorbs the water. Be careful not to over-work the ground beef because it will have a tendency to make the burger tough and “loafy”.

        Juiciness and flavor concept. Obviously water adds moisture, It also blends the full flavor of salt, pepper or other spices while penetrating the entirety of the ground beef delivering a consistent taste with each and every bite.

        Why ice water works. It slows the cooking process which enhances tenderness When the moisture heats it creates internal steam resulting in melding of flavors with the burger’s natural juices. Keep this in mind. When cooking, sear the meat quickly on both sides at higher heat giving the burger a pleasant charred flavor. Then reduce the heat and continue cooking until it reaches desired doneness.
        Last edited by BRic; April 30th, 2019, 09:45 PM.


        • Red Man
          Club Member
          • May 2018
          • 898
          • Western Washington

          I’ve had no problems keeping my brisket only ground beef together for burgers. Make sure it’s very cold when grinding. Don’t overwork it when forming a patty, but don’t be afraid to form a tight, solid patty. I’ve never tried a binder, but I know it’s not necessary for a juicy burger and just sounds wrong.


          • Hugh
            Hugh commented
            Editing a comment
            I'll try your two suggestions, thanks Red Man.
        • jfmorris
          Club Member
          • Nov 2017
          • 2733
          • Huntsville, Alabama
          • Jim Morris

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            • Whatever I brewed and have on tap!

          Here's a question for you Hugh - have you ever tried making a "smash burger"? As described here:


          I've started doing these, and we love them. It is counterintuitive that a burger that starts as a ball of meat that you smash onto a griddle to as thin as possible would be juicy, but these are. I've been making them on my gas grill with a set of Grillgrates flat side up. Any griddle or skillet inside or out would do. I always buy 80/20 ground chuck for my ground beef here.

          I will still likely do some thicker "steak burgers" at some point, but right now I am cooking mostly smash burgers, about 1/3 pound each.


        • Potkettleblack
          Club Member
          • Jun 2016
          • 1944
          • Beautiful Downtown Berwyn
          • Grill: Grilla Original / Weber Genesis EP-330 / OK Joe Bronco Drum
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            Disqus: Le Chef - (something something something) - it changes

          The tube... I bet it was ground and then frozen at some point.

          Beyond the cooking tips noted by others, and the need to go at least 80-20 (I prefer something above 20% fat, but whatever), the quality of the beef and it's handling before you got it matter, too. The freezing of the ground beef will create ice crystals in the meat, which will tear the fibers, which have already been torn in the grinding process, to shreds... it's not exsanguination, since it's not blood, but there goes all your lovely meat juice. That's also why it's dry at 140 sous vide. You're losing all the moisture in the bag.

          If you're not willing to go lower (135 is about my peak burger temp), and maybe thicker (thicker burgers are easier to cook to juicy interior), you're probably gonna have to either grind your own, or source better ground beef.


          • Hugh
            Hugh commented
            Editing a comment
            As usual Potkettleblack, you have just enlightened me. I was going to ask why I'm getting so much purge on all my SV beef and why I am having so much dry meat SV or other. Normally everything I have is frozen. I'm grinding my own fresh brisket now and it wasn't previously frozen so still trying to figure this one out.

          • Potkettleblack
            Potkettleblack commented
            Editing a comment
            It's not as bad with frozen steaks or roasts, where freezing tends to tenderize a bit. But, with ground beef, it's already tenderized... so, a lot more destruction of the fiber walls. Brisket point or flat? Flat will be dry... it's very lean.
        • Rob Johnston
          Club Member
          • Apr 2018
          • 339
          • Pittsburgh, PA

          I am really liking this post. A lot of real good information here and things to try. I am sure I could do a search, but for the people that are grinding their meat, what type are you using? I know Kitchenaid has an attachment, but I do not own a mixer. Any favorite from Amazon or some other place? Thanks


          • BRic
            BRic commented
            Editing a comment
            Rob Johnston we use a LEM 1182 Meat Grinder .

          • Hugh
            Hugh commented
            Editing a comment
            I picked up old one from my father in law's garage. The company is no longer in business but Its a simple crank one with a wooden handle like Grandma would have had. I just went on Amazon and it looks exactly like a Weston #10 which is $30. I defer to others, but I don't see myself upgrading. Usually I've got MCS but I'm happy with it. I'm only grinding what I need for this next meal so I'm not demanding at all.
        • MBMorgan
          Club Member
          • Sep 2015
          • 6040
          • Colorado
          • > Weber Genesis EP-330
            > Grilla Grills Original Grilla (OG) pellet smoker
            > Pit Barrel Cooker (gone to a new home)
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            > Old Smokey Electric (for chickens mostly - when it's too nasty out
            to fiddle with a more capable cooker)
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            > Thermoworks Smoke
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            > Thermoworks Thermapen
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            > Anova sous vide circulator
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            > BBQ Guru Rib Ring

            > Favorite Beer: Guinness Extra Stout, Fat Tire, Anchor Steam, or Alaskan Amber
            > Favorite Wine: Klinker Brick Old Ghost Zinfandel or Matetic Corralillo Winemaker's Blend
            > Favorite Whiskey: Balvenie Double Wood Scotch or Jameson Irish

          Originally posted by Rob Johnston View Post
          I am sure I could do a search, but for the people that are grinding their meat, what type are you using?
          I quit using a grinder a few years ago preferring instead to pulse chilled cubes of meat in a food processor. Great results and much easier (for me at least) to keep clean.


          • shify
            Club Member
            • Jun 2017
            • 387
            • Westchester County, NY

            I don't quite get the obsession with the pasteurization aspect but every burger you attempt to pasteurize is overcooked. If you take it off the grill at your desired temp and then stick it in an oven or a warming drawer for 10 minutes, its going to continue to cook. Also your brisket also looks very lean, so I would add more fat next time or do 50% brisket and 50% chuck or something like that.

            I would not recommend a panade. If you are looking for juices dripping out of it, a panade will not help. you don't typically see a meatloaf dripping with juice.

            My recommendation would be to increase your fat (and freeze the meat for 10 min before grinding), pack the burger a tiny bit more so it doesn't fall apart, cook to target temp and then serve. I would personally sear too because I think a burger needs that crust, and it also helps loosely packed burgers hold together.


            • Hugh
              Hugh commented
              Editing a comment
              Thanks shify. All good advice I'll follow. The obsession with pasteurization is because of who I feed. I think its more of a Canadian thing, but folks up here won't eat pink burgers. If I'm going to get people to try them then I have to be able to say they are as safe as well done ones. Given the lack of success I'm having cooking them, I am going to give stuffed burgers and smash burgers a try as well.

            • shify
              shify commented
              Editing a comment
              Hugh - Makes sense. But in my experience no amount of data or food safety info will convince a well done eater to even eat any pink. If you are limited to cooking it completely through, I’d definitely go the smashburger route. It’s next to impossible to cook it anything but we’ll done, maybe med well at best. But the burgers are still damn delicious.
          • mnavarre
            Club Member
            • Jan 2018
            • 461
            • San Diego

            Hugh Here's a good video that goes over the whole process from grinding through the cook. This is pretty much what I do for burgers.


            • Hugh
              Hugh commented
              Editing a comment
              Good video. I enjoyed it.
          • Hugh
            Former Member
            • Jun 2017
            • 357

            Smash Burgers are a hit. Were too darn juicy! Thankyou Mosca
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            • Mosca
              Mosca commented
              Editing a comment
              They're really good, aren't they!



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          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 $299 delivered to your door!

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

          The Undisputed Champion!


          The Thermoworks Thermapen MK4 is considered by the pros, and our team, to be the single best instant read thermometer. Don't accept cheap substitutes.  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

          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

          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

          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