UPDATED 8-26-2015. Our best gifts for grillers brings back a few long time favorites, and a few new entries made the gift list too. Father’s Day, Christmas, birthday, or just an unexpected treat, these are guaranteed to please.
Lavatools has come on strong this year, challenging the speed and accuracy of similar
products costing up to three times as much. For about $25, you get an instrument that gives you readings in 4 seconds and at less than one degree variance in accuracy. It’s splashproof, comes with a refrigerator magnet, and looks cool too!
It’s about twice the price of my favorite basic Taylor digital thermo detailed in our review on digital thermometers, but tests with our thermocoupler show the Taylor is accurate within two degrees and it does take longer to read–up to 10 seconds. If you want a little more precision and much faster readings, we like this import and think you will too. Super Fast Lavatools Digital Thermometer
Likely to be a permanent fixture on our annual gift list (until something better comes along), I want this smoker. I have six barbecues, smokers, and grills, but I started cooking on a similar unit, cooked for 20 people on it many times, and I loved the simplicity, portability, and flexibility of the vertical design. See our detailed review of the WSM here.
The WSM is at home in the back yard, or taking Grand National Championships at KCBS contests. That’s right–the WSM has taken the top dog award in BBQ competitions.
It’s a charcoal unit, which is what’s allowed in competitions, and it’s what dad or mom needs to turn out championship quality BBQ in your back yard. This is a dedicated barbecue. You can’t grill steaks or burgers, but you can get the aroma of a brisket or tri-tip smoking to tenderness all day. It’s custom made for ribs, and it will make a family sized turkey the centerpoint of conversation for the holidays. A great bonus is the online forums with rabid WSM users, who are more than willing to help a beginner, or swap secrets with their 20,000 closest online friends.
The 18″ size is adequate for most people, but if putting out food for more than 20 or so is in your future, there’s a 22″ model. Remember, these sizes are times 2 as there are two grill plates in the WSM. I had the 18″ and it was fine most of the time. The 22″ is like having two Weber Kettles.
Make any griller happy with a WSM–and you’ll love what your gift does for the dinner table too. Weber Smokey Mountain Cooker Charcoal Smoker
Our top selling item for
four six years running is truly a “man glove,” and we like them so much our review calls them The Best BBQ Gloves on the Planet.
You’ll find them used in chemical plants, commercial food service, and in barbecue competitions. They’re not pretty, but you can pick up any food, even move hot coals, and use them while slicing or pulling piping hot roasts.
After a day of barbecuing, you can simply put the greasy gloves in the dishwasher. They’ll come out like new. The Neoprene coating will last for years, and they’re lined inside too. Don’t settle for anything less than our favorite barbecue gloves–and you don’t need to spend much money either. The Ansell Neox Fully Coated Neoprene Glove
Our top selling grill , which we have reviewed in detail and called it a Best Buy, has been a personal favorite for years. It’s very portable, has a good work area, and best of all has a built-in gas lighter, making charcoal grilling almost as easy as using a gas grill.
But, when we discovered that the Performer also doubles as a smoker, and published a step-by-step guide how to turn out world class ribs on this Weber grill, our sales went to the next level, and for good reason. For under $400 with our recommended accessories (see the review), you can grill steaks and burgers Saturday for the kids and family, and serve the best baby backs ever to your salivating friends on Sunday.
It’s one of Weber’s finest products, and if your budget allows one, the Performer is our clear #1 choice for an all around barbecue grill. Colors available in black, green, and blue. Weber Performer Deluxe Charcoal Grill
While we previously recommended the $66 Smokenator for smoking at temps from 200° -225° to turn any 18″ or 22″ Weber grill into a smoker, we’ve found the $15 Weber Charcoal Briquet Holders as described in our guide to using the Weber grill as a smoker to be such a compelling and economical alternative, we’d rather have you save your money and get those.
The Amazen Smoker fills a void they don’t
What if I told you that you could add a beautiful smoke flavor to your steaks, poultry, and your ribs before you cooked them? What if there was a product that would also smoke cheeses, nuts, even vegetables? Would you be interested?
The Amazen Pellet Smoker does all of that for only $35! Genius.
Just drop in some wood pellets (supplied), light them, and give it an hour to smoke at outside air temperature. Then, you cook your meats, or cool your cheese for the best smoke flavor ever! One of our new favorites, and I think it will be one of yours too!
Although I’ve had faint praise for Maverick digital thermometers over the years due to ongoing probe problems, they finally got it right with the ET732. Not only does it monitor internal meat temperature, it lets you know if your barbecue or grill temperature exceeds your upper and lower limits.
The remote system works up to 300′ away from your grill or barbecue. Dad can set it and get on with those honey-do’s without worrying about the grill or meat temperature. The remote will beep if the ranges are exceeded, and both internal food and grill temperatures are always displayed.
The Maverick ET732 is now something we can recommend strongly, evidenced by three years of hard use without one glitch. The analog temperature gauges that come with even the better grills and barbecues (including Webers) can be 20-30 degrees off the actual grill temperature, and when barbecuing, that difference can ruin a meal for everyone. About $60, and worth every penny.Maverick ET732 Long Range Wireless Dual 2 Probe BBQ Smoker Meat Thermometer Set
To get cast iron grills today, you’re in high end territory. Cast iron holds heat and distributes it better than any other material, but you do have to maintain it–it’s not hard. You can tell the difference when you taste your steaks, fish, even chicken that have been cooked on cast iron, and now Lodge, the remaining American foundary making cast iron outdoor cooking products, has an economical and strikingly high-quality, pre-seasoned alternative to the massive and heavy full cast iron grates.
The Lodge Cast-Iron Reversible Grill/Griddle fits nearly any gas or charcoal grill. I’ve measured the output on my Weber gasser with the stock grates and the Lodge cast iron grates; the Lodge heats up at least another 50°F over the Weber. I always use my Lodge cast iron when grilling on the gasser or Weber Performer, because I can truly taste the difference. Also, it’s definitely a man thing 😉
Story time. A couple of years ago, I get a call from Kevin Moore, who had just started manufacturing his Last Brush–named so because this all business tool will last 10-15 years or longer. He told me it’s industrial quality with a long handle, and would I be interested in running some tests on it? Sure, why not. And I did, and I liked it a lot, and did a fairly complete review on it.
Knowing bbq4dummies.com was the first major review he had, I was hoping to give him a good kick start. Didn’t happen. During the next ninety days, we sold….two. Thereafter, one a month was average. 2014 was a little better, but then came 2015. And oh man, did it, for The Last Brush. This is now one of our top sellers, and we sell dozens, sometimes hundreds of products each day. The Last Brush has been discovered! It’s a great brush, the one I use on my smoker pit when it’s hot or gets good and nasty after a few racks of ribs. It’s what I use to power scrub the Weber grills, too. With its 36″ handle, 1″ bristles, and 7″ head, this is a serious cleaning machine. And it’s only $30 shipped to your door. Seriously. Get it here: The Last Brush
I have bookshelves full of grilling and barbecue cookbooks, but my recommended list is a short one. This one is always at the top.
The Complete Meat Cookbook focuses on every cut of meat imaginable. It teaches us what cuts to use for a desired outcome, how best to grill or barbecue them, and includes some fabulous recipes I’ve used and modified over the years.
It’s more than a reference book; this is a book to be read. It’s entertaining, easy to read and understand, and is truly the meat lovers bible. Highly recommended. The Complete Meat Cookbook
This is the first time a Masterbuilt product has hit this Top Ten list, however we’ve had this one on our Best Selling Smokers list for the last two years. With this new digital controller, which is next to set it and forget it, you set your cooking temperature from 100° – 275° and the Masterbuilt takes it from there, does its job, and will shut off automatically with the 0-24 hour timer.
What this means is you now have a device to cold smoke, smoke cook, and barbecue, all in one. While the Weber Smokey Mountain has traditionally been our best selling smoker, for 2015 to date the Masterbuilt 30″ smoker is now outselling the Weber. Why? 1)price point, of course, 2) ease of use with no charcoal, and 3) a wider band of temperature range.
The Masterbuilt is a little lighter duty than the Weber, but most consumer electric smokers are; they don’t have to be as heavy as a grill because they don’t get as hot. For those who want to spend under $200 to do everything except grill at high temps, and especially for those who live where charcoal is prohibited, you should have this Masterbuilt Digitally Controlled Smoker on your deck for the season.
Do You Have Questions?
Sometimes it’s hard to know just the right gift, especially when you’re considering major items like grills or barbecues. If you’d like a personalized opinion or recommendation, just reach out to us through our Contact Form.
We get a fair amount of email with questions, but still can usually get back to you in 24 hours or less. We’re more than happy to help you so don’t be shy. The more detailed your question, the easier it will be for us to give you the best response.
Example: The majority of our questions are for recommendations for bbq grills to purchase. Let us know your budget and intended uses first–we’ll take it from there. If there’s something we don’t sell that we think is the best choice for you, we’ll give you that recommendation, regardless.