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Why Pitmasters Say This Grill Accessory Is the Secret to Winter Barbecue

Food & Wine logo Food & Wine 1/17/2022 Jonathan Bender

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Many people associate grilling season with warmer weather, but winter doesn't stop pitmasters from cooking barbecue in Kansas City. It shouldn't stop you either. 

"We're hearty folk in the Midwest," said Judith Fertig, the co-author of The Gardener & The Grill who lives in the Kansas City area. "You can't just hole up indoors. If you have to shovel a path to the grill or smoker, that's what you do." 

But once you've made a path to your grill, what if you don't want to shiver while waiting on a slab of ribs? That's where a tool like the Thermopro TP20 Wireless Monitor with Dual Probes comes in handy. The wireless setup lets you know the temperature of your smoked chicken at a glance, so you don't have to step outside, lift the lid, and lose precious heat. 

Courtesy of Amazon © Provided by Food & Wine Courtesy of Amazon

To buy: Thermopro TP20 Wireless Meat Thermometer with Dual Probe, $54 with coupon (originally $57) at amazon.com 

While you might need to bundle up a bit in winter, the good news is that your grill or smoker will provide all the insulation your brisket needs. But keep in mind that just as you wouldn't unzip your coat outside, avoid peeking while cooking to stop heat from escaping your grill. 


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"The number one variable in cold weather cooking is temperature swings," said Todd Johns, founder and chief pitmaster at Plowboys Barbeque in Kansas City, Missouri. "You want to be out there opening the door [of your smoker or grill] as little as possible because if you're looking, you're not cooking." 

The ThermoPro TP20 lets you program a timer, so you don't accidentally end up with a blackened, dry steak, or pre-select a temperature range for your desired level of doneness. The wireless monitor also has a range of 300 feet, so you can be comfortably inside and know exactly what's happening with your pork shoulder cooking on the patio. 

"I want to spend as little time outside in the elements as possible," said Johns. "With a remote temperature monitor, I don't have to babysit ribs."  

Related: The Best Meat Thermometers, According to Thousands of Reviews

The pair of wireless meat probes, which you insert before you start cooking, are helpful if you're cooking both a chuck roast and a pork shoulder, which might be done at different times. And you no longer have to suffer through another dinner of dry chicken. Now, you'll know (based on the internal temperature) when to pull white meat chicken (breasts) off the grill to avoid drying it out, while letting the dark meat (thighs, legs) sit a little longer. 

"Remote temperature monitors let you cook different cuts of meat at the same time," added Megan Day, pitmaster and co-owner of Burnt Finger BBQ. "You can also see all the data about your cook and know how to perfect it and duplicate it." 

You don't have to miss good barbecue in winter. If you want to grill year-round, just get the ThermoPro TP20 Wireless Monitor with Dual Probes.

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