We've Made Our List and Checked It Twice
Top #MeatGeek Approved Gift Ideas for Any Grilling or Meat Smoking Connoisseur in Your Life
These 15 gift ideas are perfect for that meat-loving, grill-wielding, BBQ fanatic you know; or just anyone who enjoys eating. From Christmas, Valentine's Day, Father's Day, to the best birthday gift for the guy (or girl) who has everything.
Below you’ll find some of the best gifts for grillers we’ve come across in our eatable escapades, whether they’re nifty tools and accessories to make cooking easier, or a new grill setup to take BBQ to the next level.
All these items have been reviewed, tested, and are 100% Meat Geek Approved!
Who doesn’t like flamethrowers? Ladies, who doesn’t like a hairdryer? Yup, this has both. A flame throwing hairdryer – maybe it’s not the best composition for a hairdryer, but to light a grill, awesome.
Starting coals in less than a minute or two, charcoal grilling just got convenient. Only drawback, it has to be plugged in so don’t plan on taking it camping.
Who hates pizza? That’s right, nobody. We’re normally not one for grill modifications most of them are gimmicks. While pizza-stones are effective in making pizza on the grill (or oven), the KettlePizza works better to obtain a real firebrick oven crust. Not only is it effective in its functionality, there’s something about sliding the peel in and pulling out a perfect looking brickoven pizza.
The reason we prefer this to a pizza-stone comes down to the design. Inside, there is space on the sides for heat to transfer up around the pizza. In the back, a space for wood chunks or logs – just like a brickoven. The heavy duty steel reflector which sits above the pizza transfers heat back down onto the top of the pizza; this is really what fixes the homemade pizza problem: crust cooks, but toppings don’t get that pro finish.
A good homemade pizza is all about high fast high heat, nothing on the market does a better job using existing equipment.
This works with kettle style grills that are 18.5” or 25.5” (this covers all Webers and most other kettle style grills). Our second best gadget for homemade pizza is the Baker Stone; you may want to consider this if you're unsure if the person you are shopping for owns a kettle grill.
Weber Spirit - Gas Grill
We stacked this bad boy side-by-side against 5 other top selling gas grills – the Weber Spirit was the #MeatGeek preferred winner.
Here’s what we learned throughout the process:
We had no problem getting a nice sear on steaks and burgers. Almost all the grills we reviewed were able to do this, some more evenly than others. Where the Weber E-310 excelled was in its ability to slow cook. Our racks of ribs came out tender and smoky. It's sturdy design and quality materials make this a grill that will get the job done and stand the test of time.
The Weber Spirit E-310 is designed with durable and solid cast aluminum, the lid is built of heavy duty steel. The vent on the back is comprised of just a single horizontal slit, verses multiple scattered vents.
As for all the “important” features, BTUs and the amount of burners, really aren't much of a factor. When it comes to gas grills there’s no substitute for design and a cookbox made with heavy duty metal. Our winner, the Weber Spirit E-130 had among the least BTUs compared to the other grills we tested and only three burners. However, there were five heat bars (flavorizers) which proved to be key in distributing even heat and allowing for fat drippings to turn into luscious smoke flavors.
Additionally, the Weber Spirit E-310 comes in natural or propane gas models.
UPDATE 6/25/17: This grill has been marked down $50 in preparation for rollout of the Spirit 330. The Spirit 330 maintains the same design features that caused us to select the 310 as our prefered grill under $500, however, the 330 contains a side burner and a sear feature for quick flash searing heat up.
Salt + Gun = Dead Flies
The only problem is resisting the temptation to use it indoors – while you can, covering your house in salt may not go over so well with the Mrs. While it doesn’t work on bees or wasps, it works as advertised on flies and also other soft skeletal critters such as spiders and slugs. Flies have never been such a welcomed guest…
Slow N' Sear
This is a must for anyone who doesn’t own a smoker. A conversion kit for your kettle (Weber) grill to transform it into a smoking machine. Using this will yield better smoked ribs, pork and brisket than most electric smokers and even some designed smokers such as char-grillers. But that’s not all, this device also makes indirect cooking a breeze, effectively searing steaks then allowing for a perfect cool zone for them to finish cooking. Did I mention it bakes effectively too? There’s not much the Slow ‘N Sear doesn’t do. This is like the infomercial product that actually does what it says it can do. The Slow N' Sear will work with most any style grill.
Drum Barrel Smoker (A.K.A. UDS)
The Pit Barrel Cooker Co. has developed a kit -- to deliver to your doorstep -- the most effective smoker money can buy for under $300. It includes everything you need to quickly throw together your own Ugly Drum Smoker (UDS). Okay okay, it’s cheating – if you want the step-by-step walkthrough of what goes into truly building your own UDS smoker you can see our walkthrough here. However, the Pit Barrel Cooker Co. has collaborated all the parts (including the barrel) so you can enjoy the fun of assembling a UDS and have the right to say, “I built it myself”, all without the need for chasing down the parts and breaking out the tools. The design of the UDS is perfect for maintaining consistent temperature for 8 to 10 hours without the need for babysitting – prepare for the prefect brisket!
This is the best Smart leave-in grill thermometer on the market. Since this device talks to Android or Apple devices, the app allows for several options, as you can imagine. It doesn’t get much easier to know how done your food is from your couch. You are able to run up to four probes off the device to monitor various areas. Four probes is a bit of an overkill, but hey, why not have some fun? This isn’t just an effective thermometer, but it’s pretty darn cool too.
Update 2/1/18: See our latest reviews of the Top 5 Wi-Fi Thermometers
Master of the Grill
With so many cookbooks on the market this one reinvents them. From Cooks Illustrated, 400+ pages of grilling knowledge that only a science test lab could deliver. While all recipes have been developed with technical data and scientific method testing, they are all delivered in a way that’s easy for even a novice griller to understand; if you want to know how the recipe was perfected you can review the case study. Even a "Master of the Grill" can become a student.
Portable Infrared Grill
If you haven’t tried infrared grilling, you’re missing out. This portable, compact griller uses TPU infrared technology to cook juicy meats and delicious grilled vegetables, without the flame and smoke that usually accompany such traditions. An infrared between the propane-powered flame and the grill grates creates smooth, radiant heat, cooking your food more evenly than regular open-flame grilling, and without the flareups, scorching flames and charred meat. And with way less cleanup.
Thus, it is opportune for camping, tailgating and parties, where tons of smoke and greasy messes may not be welcome, and where you probably don’t feel like lugging around a full-size grill, and cleaning up after it later.
The Char-Broil reaches 600 degrees and gets down to a light simmer with a turn of knob, has 200 square inches of cooking space, and weighs about 20 pounds. The hefty cast aluminum build and sturdy legs ensures you take it into the woods and (gently) toss it around the car without damaging it.
CAST IRON REVERSIBLE GRILL
Craving some perfectly seared meat but don’t feel like firing up the grill? Opt for cast iron, with its natural, even heat retention. This Lodge cast iron griddle has you covered. With a ribbed grill top on one side, a flat griddle on the other side, and pre-seasoned finish that improves with use, this bad boy can create crispy chicken and superior seared steaks right on your gas stove top, and then be put right into the oven to finish it off. Grill marks included. It works with more than just meat, too whipping up fluffy pancakes and home-style eggs to go with your bacon.
To clean, simply hand wash in the sink, and rub in some vegetable to keep the seasoning fresh. The options are endless – bake, broil, grill. Bring out to the campsite for easy grilling and hot breakfast over the fire. And since it is cast-iron, you can expect it to last for decades of cooking. By far, the best, most versatile cast iron griddle set you’re going to find without spending a small fortune.
Tel-Tru BBQ Thermometer
A good barbecue thermometer is a necessity to get your smoker to the temperature it needs to be for perfect grilling and superior smoking. Metal gauges aren’t all created equal. Most, are cheap metal, and shouldn’t be trusted, especially on those cheaper, smaller grills. But not this one. This heavy-duty, high-quality thermometer from Tel-Tru is made in the USA from durable stainless steel. It measures anywhere form 100-500 degrees with +/- 1-degree accuracy, looks sweet, and has a large 3” round face – easy to read and accurate. What else could you ask for in a metal temperature gauge?
Davy Crockett Pellet Smoker
Want to get into pellet grilling, but don’t want to pay the big bucks? The Davy Crockett Grill from Green Mountain Grills is a lean, mean grilling machine that works just as well as the big-name pellet grills you see on TV, at half the price. Wood pellets are automatically fed from the 17-pound hopper into the firebox by an electric auger. The grill is large enough for two racks of ribs or 6 large steaks, or a ton of burgers at once.
At 57 pounds, it’s not exactly, but remains small and portable to throw in the back of a truck for camping, tailgating or any other occasion that calls for smoking hot meat. You can power it with either 12V or 120AC power, plugging it into both your regular outlet and your car’s cigarette lighter when on the go.
Best of all, the Davy Crocket Grill includes a meat probe and Sense-Mate, which monitors the grill’s internal temperature, and is connected to WiFi. Download the Green Mountain Grills app onto your phone, and you can keep an eye on your meat, adjust the temperature, and receive alerts when it’s done, from anywhere. You can even create custom grilling profiles to recreate your favorite grilled recipe again and again.
While we went back and forth about including this one on our Top 10 gift list, we decided it was deserving. We’re all about the process of smoking food but sometimes you just want simplicity with flavor that tastes like you’ve slaved all day. Additionally, smoking drinks, ice cream, and other unorthodox foods requires no skill. So, while we take our smoking foods seriously we know sometimes it's not possible. If you live in an apartment or area where you’re not able to own a smoker this is certainly a game changer. Lasty, this is about the most inexpensive device sold by PolyScience Culinary who is known for their commercial grade equipment.
Updated 11/15/17: Recently PolyScience released their latest model (featured here), the technology of this model has improved, while price has gone down about $70.
John Boos Butcher block w/ Pan
John Boos Co. is one of the pioneers (since 1887) of wooden kitchen tables and butcher blocks. This is the manliest of all cutting boards. 24” by 18” and 2” thick, designed of rock hard maple. Specially created to capture those savory juices and pour them back over the meat before serving; or use them to make a great pan sauce. Reversible to work as a traditional cutting board. Smaller sizes are available, all the way down to 15” x 14” inches. You won’t find a better cutting board.
Silicone Gloves + BBQ Set
Ready to take your BBQ game to the next level? Nothing feels quite like shredding pork with your own hands or grabbing it right off the grill with your own hands. But if you’re going to do that, you’re going to need this silicone set to keep your hands safe.
The silicone gloves are food grade, waterproof, stainproof and odor proof, so you can handle all kinds of juicy meat and food completely safely, even handling them while they’re still piping hot. The silicone shredder claws make shredding pulled pork and brisket superbly easy, and let you grab hot food directly from the grill. And the heat-resistant basting brush serves well to baste and brush meat with sauces without melting or leaving bristles all over the place.
The whole set makes cleaning dead simple, too. The shredder claws are dishwasher-safe, the gloves can simply be washed just like you’re washing your hands, and the basting brush detaches from the handle for easy cleaning. Add these gloves to your BBQ lover’s toolset, and you’ll be playing in the BBQ big leagues.