With Christmas less than 2 weeks away, I wanted to share with you what I feel are the Top 10 Best BBQ Christmas Gifts for 2014. I’ve specifically picked gifts that range from very affordable to quite pricey…but regardless…all quality items. I’ve provided a brief overview (sometimes w/ a link to one of my video reviews) and I’ll be glad to answer any questions you have in the comments section. These are in no particular order…they are listed as they come to mind. So without further ado….
I have a bunch of cooking books in my library, some that I really love…but the new Cook’s Illustrated Meat Book is hands down one of the best books I’ve come across in a long time. The detail and instruction in the this book are top notch, including amazing photography. Now, this book isn’t specifically aimed solely at “BBQ” or “grilling”…but it covers pretty much everything you need to know about most meats and various ways to prepare them and cook them. If you’re a novice to intermediate cook, I HIGHLY recommend this book. With 425 recipes, it will be a great read while digesting your Christmas dinner 🙂
2. iGrill 2
I’m going to save myself some typing here and instead redirect you to my video review of the iGrill 2….but let me just say that with 4 probes (food and/or pit temps), Bluetooth connectivity and both iOS and Android support…the iGrill 2 has been one of the hottest BBQ tech gifts this year.
The Grill Dome Rapid-Lite is a stainless steel, 600-watt electric charcoal starter that lights charcoal within 6-7 minutes. I own one and have been using it to light both lump charcoal and charcoal briquettes for my kamados and kettles for a couple years now and I honestly say it’s the most efficient way to get your fire going. Chimneys and lighter cubes work too, just not as quickly or effortlessly. This one’s a no-brainer…
Again…to save myself some typing…have a look for yourself at my Pit Barrel Cooker videos to get an idea of what this cooker offers. In short though, this is a vertical, drum style charcoal smoker that is very affordable and produces phenomenal results. The best thing about this cooker is you don’t really need to be that familiar with “low and slow” cooking to cook some really, really good BBQ. There is one bottom vent that you adjust just once (based on your sea level) and no top vents. It’s a “set it and forget it” rig that performs very well and has a strong following in the backyard BBQ realm.
Weber Smokey Mountains…or “WSMs”…are the first smokers I got started with years ago when I began to get serious with backyard BBQ. I’ve owned both the 18.5″ and 22.5″ models and though I currently primarily cook on my REC TEC pellet grill and Grill Dome kamado, I still tell people all the time the WSMs are some of the best smokers money can buy. The 18.5″ is good if you cook a decent amount and for smaller crowds; the 22.5″ is good if you like to cook for larger crowds, or cater, or compete; but this new 14.5″ model is excellent if you want an excellent portable smoker that will satisfy a crowd of 6-10 people. It’s also a great option if you’re interested in low and slow BBQ’ing…but not sure about how serious you’ll get into it.
Easily my favorite (and most depended on…) piece of BBQ tech ….the ThermoWorks Splash-Proof Super-Fast Thermapen is a high-accuracy, quick-read food thermometer that is a must have by any BBQ’er or griller….whether you cook occasionally or every day. There are certainly other food thermometers on the market…but none come close to the quality of the Thermapen. Within 3 seconds they display an internal food temp of ±0.7°F. Time and time again they are rated the highest quality commercial or at-home food thermometer on the market. This one as well is a no-brainer.
Looking for a cheap, yet quality BBQ stocking-stuffer gift? Paul Kirk’s Championship Barbecue Sauces: 175 Make-Your-Own Sauces, Marinades, Dry Rubs, Wet Rubs, Mops and Salsas book is an amazing little resource for countless homemade rubs, sauces, marinades, etc….that will have you busy experimenting for months, if not longer…
Similar to the iGrill 2 above, the Maverick ET-733 is a wireless food thermometer, but differs from the iGrill 2 in that it communicates via radio frequency and has only 2 probes…though both of the probes are hybrid probes and can measure either food or ambient (pit) temps. Take a look at my Maverick ET-733 video review to get all the info you need 🙂
My REC TEC pellet grill has become one of my favorite, go-to cookers the past year. If you’re looking for a high quality, low maintenance, convenient, all-in-one smoker/grill…and are prepared to drop about $1K…, then this is the smoker/grill to invest in. Please check out my review as well as my cooking videos on the REC TEC to get all the info you would ever need to make a decision 🙂
10. BBQ Rubs
OK…this last one is a bit of a blend of several products I absolutely LOVE. If you’re looking to purchase some high quality BBQ rubs for a gift, then check out some of my fav’s: Oakridge BBQ, Dizzy Pig, Simply Marvelous and Mad Hunky Meats. I used to make a lot of my own homemade rubs but finally got smart and realized I just needed to buy the rubs from the guys that do that for a living…and the 4 I just mentioned are pretty much all I use on a very regular basis.