SpatchCock Chicken recipe in an Air Fryer

This healthy air fryer whole spatchcock chicken is plump, juicy, and full of flavor that the entire family will enjoy. Cooking the chicken in the air fryer gives you succulent, tender meat and perfectly crispy skin every time.

Ingredients

Instructions

  1. Pre-heat air fryer to 350F.
  2. Spatchcock chicken (Video Instructions)
  3. Rub chicken with Three Little Pig’s Touch of Cherry BBQ Rubs
  4. Cook for 45 minutes skin side down, after 45 minutes flip and cook for another 15-20 minutes or until the chicken is browned and the internal temperature reaches 165F.
  5. Rest the chicken for 10 minutes before carving. The bottom of the air-fryer will collect the juices, feel free to serve on the side or make a gravy!

Chris Marks CBBQE (Chief BBQ Expert) Three Little Pig’s Rubs & Sauces and Good-One Smoker/Grills

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What Wireless/Wired Meat Thermometers are right for you?

Here is What I Choose !!!!

Tappecue Wireless/Wired Products

Product Review: Wireless Monitoring

Want to feel confident in how and what you are cooking on no matter if is a smoker/grill oven, insta-pot or even a pressure cooker.  Here is a product that help you become the champion of the neighborhood.

I have used this product for a couple of years an Tappecue continually innovates and improves their already great product to now incorporate new ““Dual”” Sensor Air probes that can monitor the meat temperature as well as the chamber temperatures. The New Air Probes can run blue tooth directly to a compatible phone or a tablet with internet connectivity for cloud connection. I like using connected to the Tappecue Touch for maximum monitoring and data storage so I can review my cooks on different smokers. One of the best benefits is their Support which comes directly from the developers and is responsive and quick.

Here is a link to their website: https://www.tappecue.com/

Features:

Truly Wireless, No Internal Battery, Connects to Smart Devices, Waterproof, Color Coded, USA Supported, Dual Sensor, Cloud Connected

Amazing Ribs Website review on the Wireless Air Probes2:

See What Amazing Ribs says about other Tappecue products: https://amazingribs.com/thermometers/tappecue-touch-review

Chris Marks CBBQE (Chief BBQ Expert) Three Little Pig’s Rubs & Sauces

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Smoked Jalapeño Bacon Mac & Cheese Recipe

                    Simple/Quick Smoked Jalapeño Bacon Mac & Cheese Recipe

Bacon Smoked Mac and Cheese takes comfort food to the max. Rich and creamy macaroni with three cheeses, crumbled bacon and a jalapeno flavor is out of the world.  Using already made Mac & Cheese takes the complicity, cost, and time factor out.  And maybe we’re biased, but we think that adding smoke is what makes this mac and cheese truly exceptional.

Ingredients:

(2) Stouffer’s Party Size Macaroni & Cheese Frozen Meal 76 oz.
(1) jalapeño
(1) Cup of crispy bacon Hormel Fully Cooked Bacon Slices – 2.52oz

(1/2) Cup of Three Little Pigs Touch of Cherry Rub.

Directions:

  1. Pre heat smoker to 225 degrees.
  2. Un thaw Stouffers Mac & Cheese.
  3. Move the un-thawed Mac & Cheese into large aluminum catering pan.
  4. Add bacon, chopped Jalapeno and Touch of Cherry Rub.
  5. Mix thoroughly
  6. Add pan to smoker uncovered.
  7. Add choice of flavor wood.
  8. After 15 minutes cover in foil
  9. Finish temperature to 160 degrees in the Mac & Cheese.
  10. Cooking time 30-45 minutes.

Video Directions:

Chris Marks CBBQE (Chief BBQ Expert) Three Little Pig’s Rubs & Sauces

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Memphis Pro Pellet Grill Review

After years of fighting the Pellet grills influx I decided to step in and see what all the hype was about. I have smoked traditional on charcoal & wood for the last 30 years. So, for over the last 2 years I have purchased a Green Mountain pellet grill from Charcoal & More in Louisville area and a Memphis Pro Pellet grill from BBQ Authority in Chicagoland.  

Over the last year I have taught BBQ classes on Green Mountains, Traeger, Pit boss, Smoking Brothers, Weber Smoke/Fire and Louisiana Pellet grills.  

So, I feel I have picked up a lot of valuable experience on the Pellet grill market and what is the pellet customer looking for and how to answer the question “Why can’t my pellet smoker have the same smoke flavor as a charcoal smoker”?    

With my 30 years in Charcoal smoking and grilling I’m working on different methods & techniques that will help close that gap and bring more of that rich smoky BBQ flavor to the brisket, Butts, and pork ribs for the pellet grill customers.  

You did not see any reviews on the smoker’s phone applications or Wi-Fi setup because I’m more concerned on how the mechanics and quality of the cooking process vs the applications that take the user’s attention from the “Cooking process”. I see a lot of the sales cycles of pellet smokers concentrated on the features of the phone applications vs the features and benefits of the actual smoker itself.  I here so many complaints from BBQ dealers about how the applications aren’t working right or cannot get hooked up to WiFI by their customers that they feel like IT tech support verses BBQ support.  

YouTube Video review:

Memphis Pro Pellet Grill: $3400 (304 Stainless Steel)

With the existing experience from the GMG and pellet smoking, I jumped right into the Memphis Pellet Pro grill. I again started with high temperature grilling (400) degrees; the Memphis Pro can reach up to 750 degrees if needed. I was able to hit the power button and adjust the temperature to 400 and in 3 minutes I was ready to go.  A lot quicker than starting charcoal grill and a lot cleaner.  I grilled hamburgers and ribeye’s, but I did use my grill grates because I like grill marks.  My next step I went full on beef tenderloin smoking first at 250 degrees and then once the internal hit 120 degrees I bumped the Memphis Grill to 350 degrees (took 1 minute and 30 seconds) to reach 350 to finish in a reverse sear.   My next cook was Beef plates ribs. I also at the same time fired up the charcoal smoker to do a head-to-head cook off on flavor, textures, and timing.  That will be the next video, but I was surprised on how well the Memphis did smoking the bigger denser meat.

Likes:

  1. Quality of Build
  2. Changeable Smoking Plate/Grilling Plate
  3. Easy to clean vs others
  4. Fast start up
  5. Larger Pellet Hopper (18) Pounds I did squeeze 20 in
  6. Lid stainless steel gasket.

Dislikes:

  1. Cost
  2. Pellet Hopper behind Grill (Hard to get to in Outdoor Kitchen Set up)
  3. Cleaning the Stainless Steel.

Overall, this a fantastic smoker/grill that is high in quality and is very easy to use and maintain. You do pay for the quality but is it for the guy just wanting to get into pellet cooking probably not, this grill is for the guy who wants the “Best” and is willing to spend the money for it. Consider the Memphis Grill the “Wagyu” of BBQ grills.

Chris Marks

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So, you want to Smoke a Wagyu brisket?

Here a is a tutorial and FAQ’s on Wagyu beef and a simple recipe on how to smoke a Gold Wagyu brisket.

The key to cooking Wagyu briskets is like a typical brisket, but with a much gentler touch. Trying to maintain the delicate fat while bringing the meat into the range to break down collagen into gelatin is the name of the game here.  

What is so special about Wagyu beef?

The profile of marbled Wagyu beef is more beneficial and healthier to human health. Wagyu is also higher in a type of fatty acid called conjugated linoleic acid (CLA). Wagyu beef contain the highest amount of CLA per gram of any foodstuff – about 30% more than other beef breeds – due to higher linoleic acid levels.

The Difference Between Japanese Wagyu and American Wagyu

From this point on, there has been a select few cattle farmers in America that are regulated and certified to raise 100% fullblood Wagyu beef cattle, as well as several crossbreeds.

Is American Wagyu better than prime?

Wagyu is usually extremely marbled, more than USDA Prime, but not as much as Japanese Wagyu, and the flavor and texture is distinctive. It is also about twice the price of USDA Prime. … Do not die without having tasted great American Wagyu. Steaks can run up to 30% fat and $60 to 70 for a 12-ounce ribeye.

How old are Wagyu cows when slaughtered?

Improved through the years by crossbreeding with foreign cattle, that grouping now accounts for 90 percent of Wagyu raised in Japan, with a slaughter age of 28 to 30 months and average grade there of BMI 5.6

What are Wagyu cows fed?

Cattle are grass-fed, not grain finished. Normally grass-fed beef is much leaner; however, the intense marbling of this Wagyu still provides enough fat that you get the best of both worlds with beefy grass-fed flavor and a grain-finished level of marbling.

Do Wagyu (Japanese) cows drink beer?

Cows are given beer to induce appetite. The second is that they are massaged daily, sometimes with sake (Japanese rice wine), as a proxy for exercise in the tight living quarters and to further accentuate the marbling that Kobe beef is so well known for.

Can you buy Wagyu cattle in the US?

Yes, however, meat is still regulated under a strict quota and tariff system. You can only buy Japanese Wagyu in the U.S. in extremely limited supply. As for live animals, there was a blip in the permanent ban between 1975 and 1997, when Japan did allow the export of a handful of animals.

Where can I get Wagyu Beef in the USA?

https://www.snakeriverfarms.com/american-wagyu-beef.html

Where can I get Japanese/Australian Wagyu?  

https://www.crowdcow.com/wagyu

https://wagyushop.com/

What are the differences in smoking choice/select/prime briskets?

  • Cost is different from the standard brisket cost of $3.99-$5.99 per pound or $45-$65 per brisket to the cost of the Wagyu Gold briskets at $15.00 per pound or $210.00 per brisket.
  • Wagyu briskets tend to cook a little bit longer than their less marbled counterparts, as you want to be sure and get the extra fat rendered.
  • Some have reported finishing temperatures as high as 213 to 217 F!

How to Prep and Cook Wagyu Brisket

Ingredients:

1-12-14 pound whole packer Wagyu Gold brisket

1-Cup of Three Little Pig Mustard sauce

1-Cup of Three Little Pig’s Texas Beef rub

1/3 Cup of Three Little Pig’s Memphis rub

Instructions:

  1. Store your brisket in the refrigerator until you are ready to start trimming. Cold briskets are much easier to work with. Flip your brisket over so the point end is underneath. Remove any silver skin or excess fat from the flat muscle. Trim down the large crescent moon shaped fat section until it is a smooth transition between the point and the flat. Trim and excessive or loose meat and fat from the point. Square the edges and ends of the flat. Flip the brisket over and trim the top fat cap to about 1/4 of an inch thickness across the surface of the brisket.
  2. Cover the brisket on the top side with a coat of Mustard sauce to help bind the rub to the brisket to maximize the crusting process.
  3. Distribute the Texas Beef Rub across the top of the brisket that is going to be faced up on the smoker.  Using a Jaccard tenderizer, tenderizer the brisket and drive the rub into the brisket. Once done tenderizing distribute a coat of the Memphis rub and repeat the tenderizing process. Come back with a final coat of the Texas Beef rub to finish before going to the smoker.
  4. Preheat your smoker to 250-275 degrees F using indirect heat and hardwood lump charcoal smoke. Place the brisket on the smoker with the point end facing your main heat source. This is a thicker part of the brisket and it can handle the additional heat. Close the lid and smoke until and internal thermometer reads 210-215 degrees F (usually takes around 10-12 hours).
  5. Remove the brisket to a large cutting board and allow to rest for 30 minutes before slicing. Slice both the point and the flat against the grain with a sharp knife and serve immediately.

Chris Marks (CBBQE) Chief BBQ Expert Three Little Pig’s BBQ Rubs/Sauces

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BBQ Beat Podcast: 35 years of the BBQ life

Here is a Podcast that I just completed with BBQ Beat talking 35 years of my adventure in Barbeque with Three Little Pig Rubs & sauces.

Topics Covered Include:

– Awesome facts about KCBS History and The American Royal

– Rub and Sauce Marketing Tips (Chris Leaks Some Oil Here!)

– The Value of Catering to the Backyard Griller Market

– Choosing the Right Cooker for the Right BBQ Results

– Stepping Away from the Gadgets and Just Cooking

Click Here to listen: Three Little Pigs rubs & sauces podcast

Let me know what you think? Thanks Kevin Sandridge of BBQ Beat for listening

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Reverse Seared Thick Cut Pork Steak

After years of cooking “Pulled” Pork with pork butts comes the question, “How many ways can pork butt be pulled”?  I grew up on thin cut pork steaks grilled or cooked in a pan, always with the bone and finished with BBQ sauce usually burned.  

What can I say “I have gotten bored with pulled pork” and what you can do with it.  So, I went back to my roots and worked on a way to incorporate the very available and cheap pork butt and a new custom way to prepare the butt into a thick cut pork steak. It easy to find a 1/16th thick of an inch bone it pork steak at your local big box or grocery stores, but thicker cut pork steak is almost never seen at the local stores.

So how can we take that pork butt and take the boring out of it, here is a method and technique that will help take the boring out of “Pulled” pork.

Here is the step-by-step video on how to de bone and prepare a thick cut boneless pork steak.

Reverse Seared Thick Cut Pork Steak Video Recipe

Ingredients:

1        7/8 lb. Pork butt

¼       Cup of Three Little Pigs Touch of Cherry Rub  

¼       Cup of Three Little Pigs Championship Rub   

1       Cup of Three Little Pigs Touch of Cherry BBQ Sauce  

1        Cup of Three Little Pigs Mustard Sauce

Preparation:

  1. De-bone the pork butt if needed.
  2. Slather the de-boned pork butt with Three Little Pigs Mustard Sauce as the rub binder.
  3. Season the pork butt with Three Little Pigs Championship and Touch of Cherry rub.  
  4. Place the chuck roast on smoker, grill, at 325 degrees.
  5. Allow the pork butt to cook until it reaches an internal temperature of 160°F.
  6. Remove Pork butt and slice into ½ slices.
  7. Re-apply Three Little Pigs Touch of Cherry Rub on the slices for the reverse sear.  
  8. Get Grill hot and add the slices to the grill turning every 2-3 minutes to build the char on the outside.
  9. Glaze the top of Pork Steak after the last turn with Three Little Pigs Touch of Cherry BBQ Sauce.

Products used for the Video:

PK360 Grill

Grill Grates

Bubba Electric Knife

Jealous Devil extra large briquettes

Chris Marks (CBBQE) Chief BBQ Expert Three Little Pig’s BBQ Rubs/Sauces

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Pulled (Shredded) Beef

Shredded beef is a preparation of beef that is a feature in dishes from various cuisines. Shredded beef is sometimes prepared using beef brisket, chuck roast or even pot roast, which is also sometimes shredded.  Preparation can be on the low and slow on the smoker, oven, or crockpot. This method of preparation typically involves longer cooking of the beef cuts to create individual strands of tender meat for various food dishes the important part is to cook the beef until it is fork tender to get the right texture to pull or shred and then add beef broth, apple juice or your favorite BBQ sauce to rehydrate and add your flavor profile.

Pulled Beef Frequently Ask Questions.

What part of the cow is best for pulled beef?

Chuck Roast, Brisket

My favorite cut is a chuck roast, which may also be labeled as a shoulder roast, chuck eye roast, or arm chuck roast. Look for a roast that has good marbling (or white fat) running through it. Brisket is another great choice for shredded beef.

How do you keep pulled beef moist?

Place your shredded beef in an ovenproof dish or catering pan add in a little liquid to replace some of the lost moisture. This can be apple juice, cider vinegar, broth, or a thick BBQ sauce. Cover the dish in a double layer of foil, to lock in the moisture, and set it on a baking tray in the middle of your oven or smoker to reheat.

What can I do with pulled beef?

More dinner recipes using Shredded Beef:

  1. Beef Noodle Soup.
  2. Shredded Beef Nachos.
  3. BBQ Beef Stuffed Potatoes.
  4. Weeknight Shepherd’s Pie.
  5. Italian Beef sandwiches
  6. Cuban Beef sandwiches
  7. Tocos/Taquitos
  8. Beef enchiladas

What can I use instead of chuck roast?

Any of these cuts can be used or substituted for pulled beef:

  • ChuckChuck Shoulder, Chuck RoastChuck-Eye Roast, Top Chuck.
  • Bottom Round Roast, Bottom Eye Roast, Rump Roast, Eye Round Roast, Top Round, Round Tip Roast.
  • English Roast, Pot Roast.

How Long Does pulled beef last in the fridge?

Safely stored, cooked beef roast will last for 3 to 4 days in the refrigerator. To further extend the shelf life of cooked beef roast, freeze it; freeze in covered airtight containers or heavy-duty freezer bags, or wrap tightly with heavy-duty aluminum foil or freezer wrap.

Three Little Pig’s (Shredded) Pulled Beef recipe.

Ingredients:

1 beef chuck roast (approximately 3 pounds)

 ¼ Cup of Three Little Pigs Championship Rub 

¼ Cup of Three Little Pigs All Purpose Rub  

1 Cup beef broth

1 Cup of Three Little Pigs Competition BBQ Sauce

1 Cup of Three Little Pigs Mustard Sauce

Preparation:

  1. Coat the chuck roast with a Three Little Pig’s Mustard sauce as a binder for the BBQ rubs.

2. Season the chuck roast with Three Little Pigs Championship and All-Purpose BBQ rub. If you can, give the rub 1 to 2 hours to sweat the beef.  

3. Place the chuck roast on smoker, grill, or oven at 275 degrees.

4. Allow the chuck roast to cook until it reaches an internal temperature of 160°F. Place the chuck roast on a double layer of aluminum foil, fold the sides of the foil up to create a boat, and pour the beef broth over the meat. Tightly wrap the chuck roast in the foil and return to the smoker or oven.

5. Continue cooking the wrapped chuck roast until it reaches an internal temperature of 205°F.

6.  Remove the chuck roast from the smoker, grill or oven and carefully open the foil to allow steam to escape. Use two forks or claws to shred the chuck roast just prior to serving and add more beef broth and Three Little Pig’s Competition BBQ sauce for flavor.

Chris Marks (CBBQE) Chief BBQ Expert Three Little Pig’s BBQ Rubs/Sauces

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Double Smoked Ham

Cooked hams are extremely popular at the holidays.  Taking that cooked ham, smoking it to temperature and applying this glaze will really take your Holiday meal to the next level! That is where the classic, double smoked, names comes from.

Smoked Ham’s FAQ’s

What does double smoked ham mean?

Most hams you get from the store are cold smoked already cooked hams. This will show you how to add more flavor to the ham and smoking it again while reheating it.

Is double smoked ham already cooked?

A twice smoked ham is a pre-cooked ham that is smoked up on the grill so you can infuse it with even more texture and flavor.

What temperature do you cook a smoked ham?

Preheat the smoker or oven to 250. To heat the ham, place it on a rack in a shallow roasting pan, and bake uncovered. For a whole ham, allow 25 minutes to the pound; for a half, 18 to 24 minutes per pound. The ham will be ready when the internal temperature reaches 140°F.

PREPARING THE SMOKED HAM

We are adding big flavors to our ham, so we start by adding mustard to provide something for the rub to stick to. We then coat with a dry rub to give it some bark as we smoke it. This will also add great outside flavors and a slight crunch.

HOW TO COOK A SMOKED HAM ON THE SMOKER

I use fruit wood and smoke at a temperature between 225-degrees and 250-degrees Fahrenheit. After coating the ham with your mustard and Three Little Pigs Touch of Cherry rub, take the ham to the smoker.

What is important when cooking a smoked ham, is keeping temps low and cooking it until the ham reaches an internal temperature of 130 degrees, and then glaze it. Glaze the ham once, then close the lid and continue cooking until the ham reaches 140 degrees, and then pull the ham from the smoker. If you add the glaze too soon it runs the risk of burning.

INGREDIENTS

 10-pound bone-in ham

1/3 cup mustard

3/4 cup of Three Little Pigs Touch of Cherry

FOR THE CHERRY GLAZE

1/2 cup cherry jam

1/2 cup Three Little Pigs Touch of Cherry

1/4 cup bourbon or whiskey

2 tablespoon freshly squeezed orange juice

2 tablespoon apple cider vinegar

1 tablespoon Mustard

1/4 teaspoon salt  

1/4 teaspoon allspice

INSTRUCTIONS

FOR THE GLAZE:

In a small saucepan over medium heat, add all ingredients and bring to a simmer. Continue to simmer for 10 minutes and remove. Let cool. Will thicken as it cools. Can be made in advance. Reheat slightly before applying. 

FOR SMOKING THE HAM:

Preheat smoker to 250 degrees Fahrenheit using fruit wood (I like cherry).

Coat ham with mustard and liberally apply Touch of Cherry Rub, and place into smoker on a sheet pan or in a small aluminum pan (uncovered). Insert a digital meat thermometer temperature probe if you have one.

Smoke at 250 until the internal temperature of the ham reaches 130-degree Fahrenheit. Glaze the ham with half the glaze. Close the lid and continue cooking until your internal temperature of the ham reaches 140 degrees. 

Remove from smoker and glaze the ham with the remaining glaze. Let sit for 20 minutes and serve. 


Chris Marks (CBBQE) Chief BBQ Expert Three Little Pig’s BBQ Rubs/Sauces & Good-One Manufacturing.

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Bacon Wrapped Little Smokie Jalapeno Poppers

Stuffed jalapeno peppers are not fried, these can be baked, grilled, or smoked. These are stuffed with cream cheese, parmesan cheese, and little smokies. When making these I like to add Three Little Pig’s Championship rub. Chipotles are smoked jalapeno peppers. They give a wonderfully smokey flavor without too much heat.

You can cook these either in the oven or on the grill. When I bake these, I bake these at 350 degrees for about 30 minutes. Sometimes if the peppers are a little larger, I may bake these for a little longer. You want to cook these until the bacon is done.

Ingredients:

  • 1-pound little smoky sausages
  • 1 package softened cream cheese
  • 1 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
  • ¼ cup of Three Little Pig’s Championship Rub
  • 1/2 lb. thin cut Bacon, sliced into 1/2’s (partially cooked if you want it a little crispier)
  • 1-pound large fresh jalapeno peppers, halved lengthwise and seeded

    Directions:
  1. Preheat the oven to smoker/grill to 350 degrees F (180 C).
  2. Mix the cream cheese, Championship rub and Parmesan cheese in a large bowl.
  3. Spoon 1 tablespoon cream cheese mixture into each jalapeno.
  4. Add a little smoky sausage on top of the cream cheese.
  5. Wrap each Jalapeno with Bacon.
  6. Place the stuffed Jalapenos on the smoker/grill. (Sprinkle with more rub if desired)
  7. Smoke/grill for 30 minutes in the preheated smoker, until bubbly and lightly browned.


Chris Marks (CBBQE) Chief BBQ Expert Three Little Pig’s BBQ Rubs/Sauces & Good-One Manufacturing.

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What Grill Size Do You Need to Choose as a Starter?

You care about how you grill. Selecting and preparing your food is only half the battle of cooking perfectly-grilled food. Many beginner grillers don’t yet realize the importance of quality grills and grilling tools. We’re here to make it easier to find the right grill for your needs so you can get the most delicious-tasting meals without all the hassle.

This guide, written by your friends at Kick Ash Basket, will help beginner and intermediate grillers learn how to select the right grill and grill size for achieving the perfect meal each and every time. 

Types of Grills

There are three main types of grills: charcoal, gas, and pellet. We prefer charcoal grills, and we’ll tell you why below.

1. Charcoal Grills

Charcoal is the outstanding favorite for outdoor grilling, according to most pros. The taste associated with charcoal grilling is rich, savory, and smoky, and it’s what gives that flavor we think of when we daydream about a fun and delicious summertime BBQ. 

Here’s how a charcoal grill works: air comes into the bottom of the grill after a manual adjustment. It passes over lit charcoal, leaving through a vent at the top of the grill. The more air that passes through the grill, the hotter it gets. This means you have strong control over your temperature zone, and you can keep it consistent throughout the cooking process. This makes charcoal grills especially good for tougher cuts of meat that will grow more tender if they’re smoked long and slow.

The two greatest benefits to charcoal are the unique flavor and the enhanced ability to control the temperature. The drawbacks to charcoal are that it requires a little more skill (though it’s easy to learn), takes longer to heat up, and you have to be aware of ash discharge.

Kick Ash Basket was designed to hold the charcoal and simply shake out the ash, so that charcoal burns more evenly, no ash gets in the food, and cleanup is easier. With one of these, even total beginners can find success with a charcoal grill!

Popular charcoal grill choices include  The GoodOne Smoker/Grill The Big Green Egg (BGE), Akorn Grill, Weber Kettle Grill, Vision Grills, and Kamado Joe Grill (Check out our comparisons of the Vision with BGE and Kamado Joe with BGE).

There are three primary types of charcoal grills: kettle, kamado, and barrel.

Kettle Charcoal Grills

Kettle grills are, of course, in the shape of a kettle, usually with a diameter of 20-30 inches. The charcoal sits at the bottom, and an elevated grate allows for smooth airflow. The sphere of the grill keeps air flow consistent, so food heats quickly and consistently. 

Kettle grills are metal and relatively lightweight, so they’re portable. Plus, they typically require less charcoal and are less expensive than other types of charcoal grills. 

Check out this Masterclass article about cooking with a kettle grill

Kamado Charcoal Grills

Kamado grills, also called “egg grills” or ceramic smokers, are a little more sophisticated, but they are still doable for the novice griller. A kamado is like a kettle, but it has an egg shape and is made of a thick ceramic material (making it much heavier than the metal kettle).

This grill uses all-natural lump charcoal with a controlled heating process, so it produces less ash and cooks with the greatest versatility and control. Ceramic grills are well-insulated with a strong seal, so the air flow maintains heat well. This reduced air flow means the meat is less likely to dry out than on gas or kettle. 

Fun fact: This name for ceramic grills originates from Japan. Kamado is the Japanese word for stove or cooking range on a grill! 

Barrel Grill 

Barrel grills are longer– unsurprisingly, shaped like a barrel. Their lengthwise lid allows for more cooking space. They work similarly to a kettle grill, but they may heat up slower due to the elongated shape. We like these if you tend to grill a lot of food at one time. 

2. Gas Grills

Charcoal grills are most frequently compared to gas grills. Gas grills are easier to start and learn to use than other types of grills. With the turn of a knob, your burners are on and you’re heating up in no time. You also don’t have to worry about a grill chimney or creating temperature zones, like you do with charcoal.

Some benefits to gas grills: 

  • Gas is cheaper than coal (and you can even hook it up to your home’s gas).
  • Gas grills are easier to clean up than charcoal grills (if you don’t have the Kick Ash Basket, that is).
  • Gas gives off steam, which in some cases may add moisture to food.
  • Gas grills have a lot of optional accessories, including charcoal-like side burners.

On the other hand, gas is less controllable and doesn’t burn as hot as charcoal. Although gas grills are convenient, the gas is too “clean” to add any of that delicious charcoal or wood-y flavor you’d get with charcoal or pellet grills. Gas grills are great for novice grillers but might not be ideal for those looking for that real, homestyle BBQ. 

3. Pellet Grills 

Pellet grills are new to the scene, but they’ve quickly become quite popular. They’re very easy to use, and they’re similar to an outdoor oven. A pellet grill has a container of wood pellets on the side, and a push of a button moves those pellets into a flame to ignite with a hot rod. Fans and air vents move the wood fire around for an even cook, and there is usually a digital thermostat for precise cooking temperatures. Overall, this creates more of a wood-cook flavor, as opposed to a smoky flavor. Learn more about how a pellet grill works here

Pellet grills are easy to use. They’re consistent and efficient, which makes them a good choice for beginners. If you prefer a wood-cooked flavor to a smoky one, you may want to consider a pellet grill. Traeger grills,Green Mountain  grills  are the most commonly known pellet grills. 

To close this gap, we need to help consumers understand what a pellet grill is, how it works, and the problems that might arise. Here is a blog from Derrick Riches that helps set expectations on Pellet grills. What to expect from your pellet grills blog

Which Grill is Right for You? 

Some things to consider when choosing the right grill to purchase for your needs include: 

  1. Type of grill
  2. Grill size
  3. Taste
  4. Weather, and
  5. Portability

1. Type of Grill

Of the three types of grills listed above, most people looking to become grill masters opt for charcoal. This is because charcoal grills give food a smoky, authentic flavor while allowing greater cooking control for the griller. However, if you’re looking for an easier and faster grill, a pellet or gas grill might be the right decision for you.

2. Grill Size

If you have made the choice to go for a charcoal grill, you’ll want to decide between the kettle, kamado (ceramic), or barrel size. To make this decision, you’ll want to consider the kind of grilling you’ll be doing. Will you do it every day for your family of four, or are you more likely to be grilling at weekly Saturday BBQs for all your friends? If you tend to grill in smaller batches, the kettle or kamado are both good choices. If you want to grill more food at once, you’ll want to look into purchasing a barrel grill. 

A grill that is too small could mean you end up glued to your grill throughout your entire backyard bash. A grill that’s too large for your typical grilling needs will increase the time it takes to cook and will be harder to clean. Choose the grill size you’d use most frequently.  

3. Taste

It’s hard to beat the savory, smoky flavor that comes from using a charcoal grill. Charcoal grills just produce a better flavor than gas— it’s science. Ceramic charcoal grills create an especially strong flavor, since they can heat up to 600+ degrees. They are great for creating a fire-grilled taste (even for pizza!).

Smoking is the slowest form of cooking. You grill meat low and slow to get a tender and delicious flavor (You can only smoke meat, as it will destroy most plant-based foods). If you want to smoke your meats, you’ll need something that can retain heat and smoke—like a lid-on charcoal grill. We love that Three Little Pigs offers smoking classes to learn about this delicious and masterful form of grilling from the best of the best! 

Food prepared on a charcoal grill tastes smokier, on a pellet grill tastes woodier, and on a gas grill tastes cleaner. Supplement these tastes with award-winning Three Little Pigs rubs and sauces to create the perfect flavor for your meals! 

4. Weather

If you’re grilling in the summer only, you don’t really need to worry about which grill you pick—they’ll all work well! If you plan on grilling in the winter, you’ll want to decide if you’ll BBQ with the top on or prefer to grill with top down. Barbequing can help you maintain heat and cook evenly, even on cooler winter days, while grilling with the top off lets you crank the heat and cook faster. Charcoal grills retain the most heat when grilling in the winter

5. Portability

Do you plan on bringing your grill to a neighbor’s yard to cook food together? Are you going to a tailgate with your BBQ buddy? If you need portability in your grill, you’ll probably want a kettle grill (which is made of lightweight metal). Ceramic and barrel grills are just too heavy to move around. If you’re going to keep your grill in your backyard, though, ceramic and barrel grills are a great choice. They’re high quality and add a cool aesthetic to your backyard. 

What Grill Size Do I Need?

When it comes to deciding the ideal grill size or type, it all comes down to preference. If you’re looking to adopt grilling as a hobby for fun outdoor feasts and irresistible meals, you’ll want to look into charcoal grills. From there, you’ll want to consider portability, aesthetic, and price point based on your needs. 


There’s no one-size-fits-all when it comes to grills. Think about what you want out of your grill, and don’t be afraid to reach out to someone who can help! Your friends at Three Little Pigs would be glad to steer you in the right direction, and so would your neighborhood grillers at Kick Ash Basket! Chatting with some pros is a great way to get started on your road to unbelievably-delicious flavor!

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