The older I get, the more I realize that gifting stuff just to be gifting stuff doesn’t buy anyone anything. You just end up with more stuff. That, my friends, is not a good thing.
So this is a guide to useful stuff – books, gear, foods, and websites that I’ve really enjoyed and that have helped make grilling more enjoyable.
Ruhlman’s Twenty: 20 Techniques 100 Recipes A Cook’s Manifesto by Michael Ruhlman – not so much recipes, but tools and techniques that have really improved my cooking.
High-Que Luxury Stainless Cooking Grid for Large Big Green Egg – this baby is a massive steak-searing machine. I can’t tell you how much money I’ve saved using this grate to make restaurant-quality steaks at home.
Charred & Scruffed by Adam Perry Lang and Peter Kaminsky – forget everything you ever learned about grilling meat. This book shows you how to break the rules to build more flavor into your food.
Maverick ET732 Wireless Thermometer – this remote thermometer saved my Thanksgiving bird from being way overcooked and that makes it a worthwhile tool to have.
Sweet chili sauce – I’ve used this sweet & spicy sauce as a glaze, dipping sauce and as a base for a barbecue sauce. Mae Ploy is good and ubiquitous, but The Ginger People’s Sweet Ginger Chili Sauce rocks if you can find it.
Real hoisin sauce – the kind made from plums gives you a great blend of sweet, salty and aromatic flavors. Nice as a base for barbecue sauces. This brand is also gluten free.
Allegro Marinade use much like you would soy sauce or Worcestershire sauce to give dishes a savory umami base. Also great straight up as a marinade.
Raw sugar – this minimally processed cane sugar adds not just sweetness, but an almost floral flavor. Sold as Sugar in the Raw, demerara sugar, or turbinado sugar.
Sea salt – I like to think of it as salt with flavor. I buy the coarse-ground sea salt in bulk and run it through a salt grinder (either by itself or with some added herbs and spices) to really kick up the taste of food.
Food52 Genius Recipes – this site is full of really insightful recipes. If you’re looking to make the best fill-in-the-blank whatever, this is the place to start.
Weight Watchers – I am not a joiner and I sure don’t go to meetings, but an online subscription gives me a lot of tools to help me improve my lifestyle.
Amazing Ribs – Craig “Meathead” Goldwyn is a self-proclaimed Barbecue Whisperer and Hedonism Evangelist. His site is a one-stop-shop for barbecue tips, recipes, and techniques.
Happy Holidays to you all!