Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Ramblings: BBQ Gifts

Well, the holidays are upon us. With people looking for Christmas, Hanukah, Kwanzaa and party gifts I thought that I would offer up a few suggestions. If you have someone in your life who is a BBQ fan, these tips might come in handy.


1) Make up a coupon for a free grill cleaning. Some enthusiasts are control freaks who prefer to handle things themselves, but most people would LOVE to have someone give their grills and accessories a thorough cleaning.

2) Organize, type-up and print hand written recipes, techniques, notes and competition strategies. Create a binder and create multiple copies (if the recipient is a member of a competition team).

Under $10.00

1) Heat Resistant Paint: Rust-Oleum offers a heat resistant spray on enamel in a variety of colors. These 12 oz. cans retail for under $7.00 and offer protection on heat up to 1200 degrees.

Whether doing touch-ups or adding a logo to your grill or smoker, this is a gift that BBQ fans would enjoy.

2) BBQ Sauce: Peruse our site or visit for suggestions on quality sauces. Most can be ordered online.

Under $20.00

1) Chimney Starters: We recommend Weber Charcoal Chimney’s, but there are a number of manufacturers that produce quality starters. We would suggest avoiding Charcoal Companion brand due to poor customer service and shoddy products. Over time starters become weakened by stress and use and cheaper models can become rusted. A replacement or additional starter is always welcome.

2) Smoking Woods: Wood for smoking and flavoring can be found at many local stores, including Lowes and Home Depot. I would recommend supporting small companies such as Maine Grilling Woods who offer their products online. Apple, alder, peach, mesquite and oak all offer specific flavors and aromas to BBQ and small quantities are great to experiment with.

3) BBQ Books: The market place is rife with great BBQ related books. Unfortunately, there are also a lot of subpar books out there. Check our ‘Reviews’ section for suggestions. Holy Smoke would be a great sample of a book about BBQ and anything by Ray “Dr. BBQ” Lampe would make a great stocking stuffer for the cookbook lover on your list.

Under $50.00

1) Mail Order Meat: No fan of BBQ is going to be disappointed by receiving quality meat products, such as sausage from Meyer’s Elgin from Texas.

2) BBQ Accessories: Aprons, heat resistant gloves, folding tables, chairs, sanitation gloves, mixing bowls, cleaning products are all standard equipment for competitors. Adding to their arsenal would be a big help. Just know what they already have and help fill in the rest.

3) Jalapeno Grill: Grills for making stuffed jalapenos are a fantastic tool that many enthusiasts haven’t gotten a hold of yet. Check out The Iron Desert for examples.

4) Grinders: There are a number of grinders that can be purchased at varying costs and efficiencies. For the BBQ fan that makes their own rubs, this would be a valued tool. Simple coffee grinders do the job admirably (but make sure that you label each grinder separately unless you enjoy chipotle flavored coffee).

Under $100.00

1) Kettle Grill: You can purchase charcoal grills for under $100.00. The best of the bunch in this category are the Weber One Touch Silver grills.

2) Thermometers: There are some excellent thermometers that are under $100.00. Remote thermometers, multiple probe thermometers and the ultra-fast yellow thermapens are all in this price range.

3) CBJ Class: Attending a Certified BBQ Judge class gives competitors an insight into what judges are looking for and puts prospective judges at the top of the list for most competitions. You can look for classes in your area by visiting

Under $500

1) 22” WSM: This new smoker is a considerable size upgrade for the venerable and beloved Weber Smokey Mountain. For competitors, the increased capacity will help to cook multiple categories on the same unit. For backyard enthusiasts, cooking for large groups just became easier.

2) Cooking Class: Many top competitors offer classes for novices and midlevel BBQ fans to help them bridge the gap between just starting out and competing with the ‘big boys’. Classes are usually an overnight affair that flattens the learning curve as students have the opportunity to learn from those who are talking the talk because they walked the walk.

3) Contest Entry: Paying for someone’s entry into a contest is a great way to get on their good side and an excellent strategy for getting to the top of the list for leftovers. The two biggest constraints for competitors are time and money. You can’t help with time, but you can certainly assist with the monetary aspects.


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