OK, this is it! Your first bbq brisket, ribs, pulled pork, or chicken you are going to smoke for some guests. One can get a little bit nervous when preparing food for others. If you are new to barbecue or smoking meat, fear not. With the right tools for the job, you’ll be cooking backyard-barbecue with confidence in no time.

Here are two must-have tools for confident barbecuing without the stress of failure.

A Quality BBQ Smoker

Debate style and brand, but choosing a quality smoker comes down to preference. Some like vertical drums; others like horizontal smokers. Some use Kamado style grills; others prefer electric cabinet style smokers. Your budget and imagination are your only limits. Do your research. Look at the comments and the ratings.

My number one criteria for a quality smoker is: get one that will hold a steady temperature for a long period-of-time. You should be able to cook in all four seasons and not have to worry too much about the fluctuation of temperatures. Of course, you will want to weigh in on other factors. Find out what people say about their overall experience with the models you are researching.

I use the Pit Barrell Cooker. This smoker is my personal favorite, and I highly recommend it. This smoker has a simple design and it’s easy to use. It will hold a temperature for about 8 hours until it needs a fresh batch of charcoal. The pit barrel cooker includes great accessories and excellent instructional videos online to guide you through cooking any protein you can imagine. Very versatile.
Pit Barrell Cooker

Remote Probe Thermometer

There is no bbq tool, in my opinion, that gives you greater insight into how your meat is progressing like a digital remote probe thermometer. Most probe meat thermometers come with a digital display screen and two probes. One probe will stick into your meat to gauge its internal temperature. The other probe is placed inside the smoker for its temperature reading. The reason this is so crucial is that there is no ‘how long’ in barbecue. If your smoker’s temperature is 225 degrees (F), then it will take longer for the internal temperature of the meat to rise, therefore taking longer to cook. Good old low and slow. However, if your smoker is around 350 degrees (F), like an oven, then you can expect a shorter cook. This higher temperature is often called ‘The Hot N Fast’ method.

You will be able to monitor your bbq to the precise degree and know when your meat is done cooking from the probes that are hooked up to the thermometer display. Better models will have a remote device that you can keep closer to you in the house and are WiFi and Bluetooth enabled for app integration with your smartphone.

Check out the ThermoPro line of probe thermometers. You can remotely monitor the temperature during the cook and set alerts. You’ll have complete visibility into what you are cooking.

There are many more tools we will cover and review in future posts. However, if you try the two recommendations above, you will be well on your way to eating delicious, tender barbecue.