BBQ Santa with Grill

They say the true spirit of Christmas comes from giving. And nobody believes that until they are well into their teens. At least I didn’t get it until well beyond that. But now that I have figured that out, I’m here to help you with this Christmas Buying Guide for Grillers so you can truly appreciate the joy of giving while the recipient will get some use of what s/he received. Why should you listen to what I have to say about what to buy the griller in your life for Christmas? Because I’m the griller in some people’s lives and those people buy me grilling gadgets all the time. Some work. Some don’t. I’m here to steer you toward the former.

Let’s start off with a chance to give a great Christmas gift to the griller in your life, but also to help those who serve:


The guys over at Code 3 Spices make an outstanding line of BBQ rubs. But what sets Code 3 Spices apart from everyone else is that they give back 50 cents of every bottle to charities for first responders and military personnel. So support our police officers, fire fighters, EMT’s and the military while giving a fantastic gift. The three pack gift box goes for $19 and the five pack is $30.

The meat is seasoned, but we still need to light the charcoal. That’s where the BBQ Dragon comes in:

BBQ Dragon 2 1000x1200

Get a small fire going in your grill, attach the BBQ Dragon to the side and aim it at the fire. Turn it on and it blows air on the little fire turning it into a scorcher in no time. It will smoke that chimney starter. (See what I did there? Smoke?!?) The best part is, you can set it and forget it. It’s hands free. Clamp it down, turn it on and go get a beverage. You can also use it to kick start the fire inside in your fireplace. They run about $50 on Amazon.

But what if you don’t have a charcoal grill? Then turning on the gas grill and getting it hot is the push of a button. I hear all the time from charcoal snobs that gas grills just don’t get that smoky flavor like a charcoal grill. I may have in fact made that same claim once or twice before I owned a gas grill. Now that I’m fuel agnostic, there is an inherent problem getting that succulent smoky flavor into food cooked on clean burning propane. Yes, I channelled Hank Hill as I typed that. Then I discovered grilling planks:

Sampler Pack

Everyone’s had cedar plank salmon which is great, but that doesn’t have to be the end all be all. I love the cherry, oak and maple planks too. And I prefer alder to cedar when I plank fish. Get a variety pack from Outdoor Gourmet and try a bunch of different kinds. You can get five pack of five different types of wood for $15. And at $3/plank, that’s much cheaper than $10/2 at the grocery store. Oh, and they have free shipping.

Does your dad/husband/wife/mother constantly bring in under cooked meat that has to go back on the grill or overcooked meat that has to go under some sort of sauce to rehydrate the shoe leather? It’s time for one these:


The ThermaPen isn’t cheap at close to $100, but all you have to do is over or under cook one brisket and more than half of it is covered. I can’t tell you how much my grilling improved when I got a ThermaPen. You can get the ThermaPen for just under $100.

Giving a grilling gift for Christmas can be a bit problematic. The biggest reason is the lucky recipient is getting the gift at the beginning of winter. Two things have to be dealt with when grilling in winter that generally aren’t issues in the summer. The obvious one is the cold. I’m not going to recommend a good pair of long johns or a wool coat. But for the second issue, I’m going to suggest this:

Kuisiware Grill Lantern - 13

In the winter it gets dark much earlier. The griller needs light to grill. Sure, we’ve all got a flashlight on our cell phones, but this Kuisiware Grill Lantern is so much better than that. Two big LED bulbs and it clamps right onto the handle so you don’t have to hold the light while you tend to the grill. You can get them for under $40.

And grilling is not without a little whimsy. Yeah, I used the word whimsy. Would you prefer mirth? How about this apron for the griller in your life?

I Like Pig Butts

I have that same line on a t-shirt. You can get the apron on Etsy for about $15.

Also, there’s no better gift in the world than knowledge. Particularly grill knowledge. Good friend, Chris Grove of fame, wrote the ultimate guide to cooking on Kamado Grills:

Chris Grove

I took away so many nuggets from that book thanks to the knowledge he poured into it. It’s a must have for any griller who already has the cadillac of grills in his back yard. You can get it for less than $16 in hardback.  Oh and check out his blog too. It’s fantastic. Let’s put it this way. I’m a grill blogger. I write about everything grilling. I go to Chris’s Blog for inspiration!

Also on the knowledge angle, home town hero, Arthur Aguirre of fame, who wrote a fantastic grilling book that covers the full gambit with a latin lean. You might find a recipe of ours in that book as well:


Arthur is one of the best competition grillers I know and used to write for He really knows his stuff. You can get his book for under $18 in hardback.

Now let’s get serious when it comes to that perfect Christmas gift for the griller in your life. I’m talking about the grill itself. I use two grills for 99% of my grilling. The first is a three burner, Char-Broil TRU Infrared gas grill:

Gourmet 3 burner 4

This is the exact model I have on my deck. With three boys under six, I don’t have time for multiple hour smokes every night. This is what I call my weeknight grill. Something I can spark up and toss on some burgers or steaks to feed everyone and still have time for family stuff before the boys’ bedtime. And the beauty is that with the TRU infrared technology, the meat is truly juicier than regular gas grills. Use this discount code to save 15% on any product at CharBroil.comB15ST

Now for my weekend grill, I go with one of these babies:


I went with the red, but it was a tough call between that and the copper. These are Grill Domes. They are kamado style grills in that they are ceramic, but they are over engineered with amazing hinges and all the metal is stainless. And now you can get a Grill Dome in whatever color you want for a small fee. You could pick your favorite team colors and have the top one of those colors and the bottom the other. The price isn’t cheap, but it will last a lifetime as that’s how long the warranty is. This is the last charcoal grill you will ever buy. If you truly want to be the star of Christmas, slap a bow on one of these and slide it next to the tree. Priced similar to other high end Kamado grills, the big ones are going to cost over a grand but worth every penny.

Now if you’re wondering where to get that Barbecuing Santa figurine at the top of the page, alas it’s no longer available. But, if you nose around that site you can find other Santas doing all sorts of things here where I found that picture. But, if you find a grilling santa anywhere, let me know. I’ve been wanting one for years!

Thanks for reading and have a very Merry Christmas!

***Bonus Item***

I just received in the mail this ingenious little gadget – the iGrill2. It’s a remote probe thermometer. The coolest thing about it is it doesn’t broadcast to some sort of remote you have to carry around. It broadcasts over bluetooth to your phone which you’re already carrying anyway. It also has not one but two probes as seen in this picture:


It has the capability to go up to four probes. Use one for a brisket and the other for the grill to make sure the temperature doesn’t spike or drop inside the chamber. I have not had a chance to use it yet, but I’m eager to play with that bad boy. You can get the iGrill2 for under $100 on Amazon.

Scott Thomas

Scott Thomas

Scott Thomas, the Original Grillin’ Fool, was sent off to college with a suitcase and a grill where he overcooked, undercooked and burned every piece of meat he could find. After thousands of failures, and quite a few successes, nearly two decades later he started a website to show step by step, picture by picture, foolproof instructions on how to make great things out of doors so that others don’t have to repeat the mistakes he’s made on the grill.
Scott Thomas

@GrillinFool - #GrillPorn abounds here. All meat, all the time!
Seems I'm on a chicken wing kick (see my last post) and love this pic. Looks like a Christ… - 4 hours ago
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