Ask a Pitmaster: John Bazyk’s Last-Minute Holiday Gifts for Grillers
What is “Ask a Pitmaster?”
Ask a ________ is Grilla Grills new series of blog posts where we will ask pitmaster’s, chef’s, brewers, distillers and other grill/food enthusiasts about some of our favorite topics. We’ll cover everything from favorite foods, old school recipe’s, gift ideas, personal stories and everything in between.
This time, we’re talking with Backyard Pitmaster John Bazyk. You may recognize him from the Grilla Grills fan run Facebook page, My Grilla Grill Smoker. John started the group roughly 3 years ago because he wanted to get in touch with more people who had one. While he doesn’t consider himself an amateur, or professional pitmaster, he says he likes to think of himself as somewhere in between. A relatable position for most people who pick up a Grilla Grill.
Top 5 Best Kitchen and Grilling Gifts
1. Kitchen Thermometer
As many of our gift guide guests have stated throughout this series, like Pitmaster Dylan Lipe and Mike Southerland, John says a kitchen thermometer is something everyone, from the pro’s to the newbies need.
“I was out of town, so my dad was doing the steaks. Let’s be clear, I love my dad, but he should stay away from the grill. After I came home from my trip, my wife told me I needed to buy him an instant-read thermometer because all of the steaks were well done! ”John Bazyk
As you can tell from John’s quote, everyone thinks they know exactly how long to cook pork or steak to get the exact amount of doneness they desire. Unfortunately, that’s not always accurate. Help your loved one make sure every meal goes off perfectly with a tool that does the thinking for them.
While it’s possible to find thermometers hitting upward of $100, it’s not always necessary to spend the big bucks on a thermometer. Often thermometers around $25 can give you nearly the same quality as the expensive ones, minus a few bells and whistles like WiFi.
According to John, Thermoworks makes quality thermometers that make great gifts. He said if you are looking for a budget option that also has strong quality, look for the Thermopop. He said they are known to be more accurate than many of the options out there right now.
2. Redmond Real Salt
If you’re going to be making BBQ, then you are going to need salt. John said this brand is not only full of flavor, but also works great as an ingredient in a rub, or as a topping after cooking is finished.
“Great BBQ deserves the great salt. Salt is arguably the most common ingredient in dry rubs.”John Bazyk
John said there are few things that are more integral to every dish you make on a grill than salt, so its worth experimenting with various brands that can bring a little something different to the mix. He said Redmond is a great stocking stuffer idea for people that need a little more flavor in their life.
3. Filet Knife
John’s next gift idea is something that will speed up any food prep that requires a bit of trimming. A filet knife is a type of boning knife that gives good control and aids in (you guessed it) filleting any kind of meat at your disposal. John said his favorite knife by far is the Shogun from Dalstrong.
“No matter what you’re smoking, there’s a pretty good chance you’re going to need to trim something. I know from experience that using crappy knives to trim a brisket makes life difficult.”John Bazyk
While the Shogun is a bit pricey for those just getting into BBQ and higher level cooking, it’s generally a good idea to spend good money on knives that will last a while. It’s possible that for roughly $50 you can find a filet knife that will work wonders for years to come.
4. Grill Grates
The next gift John spoke of is something that you don’t know you need until you have them, Grill Grates. Grill Grates focus the heat from a large surface to a small surface, providing a significantly higher temp that is more ideal for searing. In the simplest terms possible, grill grates give your meat and vegetables those awesome looking grill lines that will make your food look magazine-cover worthy.
“Teams like Swine Life BBQ are winning competitions across the country using the Silverbac and Grill Grates. If they can make steak good enough to win money, you can kill it in your backyard.”John Bazyk
The Grilla Grills store has custom made grill grates that will fit any of our grills perfectly so you can start putting lines on everything you cook. John said if you know what you are doing, it’s easy to hit 600 degrees on a Grilla Grill using grates to sear your meat. He said one of the most frequently asked questions he gets is “Can you grill steak on a Grilla Grill?” to which he says “With grill grates, the answer is yes!”
5. Rubs & Sauces
The final gift we have on John’s list is a perfect stocking stuffer for anyone, because it’s something people are constantly running out of. Sauces and rubs! He said with the thousands upon thousands of flavor combinations out there for every meal, this is a gift that could spark a new love for a certain flavor a person may never have tried otherwise.
“I ALWAYS have Grilla AP, Beef, and Kongo Kick in the house. The AP is obviously intended to be all-purpose so that I can use it on anything, and the crowd loves it. I’m not just saying this because I’m posting this on a Grilla website, it’s the truth.”John Bazyk
While Grilla Grills signature line of sauces is always available for people to enjoy, with a new chicken rub to be released soon, there are others out there to try as well. One in particular he spoke of is made by Grilla Grills associates Swine Life BBQ. He said their Mississippi Grind is one particular rub he’s fallen in love with recently.