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The cooler weather is here and the weather is spectacular for outdoor cooking! Now, is the time to maximize your grill and savor the flavor.

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  Judging Classes

So, you may be thinking about becoming a barbecue judge ... or perhaps you just want to know what it is that the judges are looking for (and tasting) when judging great barbecue. Who are the table captains? And what do they do? Who officiates the contests? Overcooked? Under cooked? Too Salty? Too flat tasting? Mushy? Tough? and many more.

Check out the 2013 Judging Classes and find one near you!

Featured BBQ'n

Must have Tools

The Most Useful Tools for the Barbecuer

Cutting Boards

A good cutting board is a primary tool of the outdoor chef. A quality heavy duty board will provide the needed surface and durability to last for years. Select a cutting board which is at least 1" in thickness and has sufficient surface area to easily hold and manage a large brisket. Some cutting boards have a 'trench' around the outside of the surface area to catch runoff juices. See your local barbecue store, or if in a smaller community, check with the hardware store. Techniques for preserving your board

Grill Toppers

Grill TopperA grill topper is one of the newer tools available to outdoor chefs. It consists of a metal plated bottom with four slanted (45 degree +/-) sides. All sides contains 3/8 inch holes spaced approximately 1/2 inch apart. The surface is coated to help prevent sticking. The topper is used for grilling smaller portions of meat or vegetables. Think of it as a 'grilling wok'. The topper is placed directly over the heat and the food can be 'tossed' as if you were using a real wok.

Instant Read Thermometer

Inst. Read Therm.We usually cook by temperature, not time. The meat is cooked and juicy at certain temperatures and becomes dry and tough if cooked very much longer. These thermometers are about $5 to $10 and tell the temperature instantly. You always know when the meat is cooked and still juicy!

Sauce Mop

BBQ Mop The barbecue sauce mop is great for 'dabbing' or otherwise placing a marinade, basting liquid or barbecue sauce [best thinned with beer, wine or water] on the meat being cooked. It resembles a small household mob with the tassels dangling. They come in several sizes with the most common size having a handle about 18" long and tassels about 3" long. They softly coat the meat with the basting liquids to keep the food moist and not overly smoky. The cost $8.00 to 15.00 each.


Spatulas Everyday spatulas are great for lifting the meat where you do not wish to 'stick' holes in the meat. At times you may need two of them to lift the meat, i.e. turkeys, briskets, etc. Avoid using a large fork to stick into the meat. This will simply allow the moisture to drain from the meat and have the ultimate tendency to make the meat drier.


Knives Obtain a carving knife sufficient in size to do the job! Too small of a knife will make the food look like it has been 'hacked on' and too large of a knife is just too unruly to handle. The knife must be sharp and clean. Many of the better knives are carbon steel which are easy to sharpen but will rust if left wet for any length of time. Stainless steel knives will retain their edge longer between sharpening, but often are not large enough to do the job.

Heat Resistant Gloves

If you plan on cooking larger portions of meat such as briskets, hams or whole hogs, buy one or more pairs of gloves to work with. Thin latex gloves (not shown) are great for handling smaller portions of food and for placing all types of raw meet on the grill. Once the meat is cooking or has become too hot for the latex gloves, use the black heat resistant gloves pictured here. They are stiffer, can handle the heat and come up the arm to protect you. The best reason to use these gloves is to keep from sticking holes into the meat thus allowing the juices to escape and to keep from dropping the meat on the ground! The silver glove is used for handling the hot surfaces of the grill and not the food.

Carving Forks

You've see these forks. Usually they have two prongs and are plunged deeply into the meat to hold it securely. As mentioned earlier, save these forks for carving! They will hold the meat steady while you carve the meat with the large carving knife. Get one with a comfortable handle and sufficient curve on the prongs to allow a comfortable holding angle of the arm.


Tongs Tongs are great. Used properly, they allow picking, turning or removing the meat from the grill or smoker without sticking a hole in it and letting out valuable juices. We have pictured several sizes of tongs, so pick the one that is the most comfortable to use and allows the greatest utility. There is another type of tong which Smoky likes to use. It's a combination of spatulas and tong. The spatulas is placed under the meat for lifting and the tong is pressed on top to keep the meat stable when being moved. We will try to get a picture of one for you!

Chicken Holders

Sitters As the name implies, the chicken or turkey simply sits, or rests, on one of these clever devices. The chef, prepares a blend of spices and herbs in a liquid and fills the container. The chicken or turkey is then placed on top of the sitter and inserted into the smoker. Heat causes the seasoned liquid to steam and rise into the chicken saturating it with the flavoring of your choice. Don't forget to continue to baste the meat! This method of cooking can also be performed with a simple beer or coke can (but may not be as stable). Originally, the can was filled with beer, but has since taken on a life of its own with the creative barbecuers of the world!

The Barbecue Store

Bulk Wood Chips
Here's a great money saving idea.  Wood chips and chunks never go bad. So why not order them in money saving bulk boxes?  Simply keep them in a dry area and use as needed!

Click & Order Your Bulk Chips & Chunks TODAY 

Bad Weather? Too hot or cold? Know what your bbq pit is doing with these Wireless Thermometers
Bad Weather?  Too hot or cold? Know what your bbq pit is doing with these Wireless Thermometers

There's not a better BBQ glove. Stylish Suade, lined and double protected from the elements.

There's not a better BBQ glove. Stylish Suade, lined and double protected from the elements.
FlameX Leather Gloves

Get all of Smoky Hale's wisdom and become the best cook around. Learn to do it right!

Get all of Smoky Hale's wisdom and become the best cook around. Learn to do it right!

When cold, romance or just having to burn something, our designer firepits will do it all. Get free shipping on SoJoe FirePits today
When cold, romance or just having to burn something, our designer firepits will do it all.  Get free shipping on SoJoe FirePits today

Visit The Barbecue Store Today!Visit The Barbecue Store Today!
Visit The Barbecue Store Today!

FREE WINE @ The Barbecue Store


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