Forward this to your wife: a Father’s Day gift guide
My favorite cookers, thermometers, rubs, sauces and accessories.
Father’s Day is coming up. Let’s talk about the perfect gifts for the grill dad in your life. Everything listed below can get to you by June 20 if you act fast!
I’m sure I’ll devote entire write-ups to many of these individual items in the future, but for now I want to arm you with information on the products I use the most.
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Note: I have first hand knowledge of all the products below because I am a customer, not because of paid promotions. I don’t have business relationships to promote these products unless otherwise specified.
Go big and get him that new cooker
I can say this with confidence: your grill dad deserves something great for Father’s Day this year. Nothing beats getting him a new cooker. Consider these ones.
If your grill dad is still cooking on a propane grill, he deserves an upgrade. And it’s not just for him — you will immediately taste the superior quality of cooking with charcoal, too.
Or if his kettle is getting old and rusty, it’s time for him to have something new to work with. Pull the trigger on PK Grill’s Original Grill and Smoker.
If you follow me on Instagram you already know that I use my PK Grill all the time. You’ve seen it work wonders with direct grilling (like steaks or chicken thighs), indirect grilling (like bacon-wrapped pork loin), two-zone grilling or reverse searing (like tomahawk ribeyes), and smoking (like pork belly burnt ends, mac & cheese or queso).
Get him this cooker and start enjoying the benefits right away — and if he’s using the same grill I am, following along with my recipes is as easy as it gets.
Pit Barrel Cooker
This charcoal-burning barrel smoker is the perfect cooker if you’re looking to get into smoking. It’s affordable, takes up limited space on your deck or patio, is easy to learn and produces killer results.
It has an impressive capacity for a pretty small smoker — I’ve cooked nine racks of ribs in it at one time without a problem. I use it anytime I am cooking for a crowd or have a longer cook. It’s my go-to for bbq staples like ribs, brisket and pork shoulder, but it’s also incredible at smoking whole chickens, prime rib, beef cheeks, and more.
Get him a griddle
There’s probably no more versatile cooker out there than a flat-top griddle. It has all the conveniences of a propane grill by heating up quickly — it’s my go-to recommendation for anyone looking for something to use on weeknights — with way more versatility.
Want to cook breakfast outside? Use it for bacon, eggs, pancakes, or french toast. Want the perfect fajitas? Use it to cook up the perfect peppers and onions, char your meat and toast your tortillas. Have leftover pulled pork from your Pit Barrel? Use it to make quick and easy pulled pork quesadillas or grilled cheese. And do all of this on a single device with easy cleanup and no bacon grease spattering your backsplash inside. Most importantly, a griddle is the perfect cooker for the perfect smash burgers.
I use a 28 inch Blackstone Griddle at home and a 36 inch at the lake during the summer, but the Pit Boss and Camp Chef versions are well regarded, too.
Temperature check: get him a great thermometer
One thing I use with every single cook on any of the devices listed above is a reliable thermometer (or two!). That’s because the only way to know that you’ve absolutely nailed a cook is to check meat temperature throughout — and, when grilling or smoking, monitoring cooker temperature along the way.
In my experience, the most reliable thermometer brand for home chefs and backyard warriors is Thermoworks. Here are the devices from them I use regularly:
Thermapen Instant Read Thermometer. This thermometer is really reliable and crazy fast - you’ll get an accurate temperature reading in less than a second. And if you’re trying to nail a perfect steak, the difference between medium rare and medium can be a matter of a few seconds. Every grill dad needs a good instant read thermometer, and this is the best one.
Signals BBQ Alarm. This multi-probe thermometer is the perfect way to track internal temperature of your meat during longer cooks and grill or smoker temperature at the same time. It’s Bluetooth and WiFi connected, so you can monitor your cook’s progress from your phone, and if you’re especially nerdy you can graph temperature progressions and save them to consult on future cooks.
Industrial Infared Gun. Thanks to Covid, everyone is familiar with infared thermometers these days. But pre-pandemic, I was using this one to read the temperature of my griddle before and during cooks.
Let’s talk seasonings, sauces and more
If the dad in your life is already squared away with cookers and thermometers, let’s talk about other ways he can up his backyard cooking game.
I will devote a lot more real estate in the future to breaking down my favorite rubs, sauces, injections and brines — including options of the homemade variety — but as you can imagine, most companies in this space are running Father’s Day promotions for a great gift made easy. Here are some of my favorites:
Kosmo’s Q. This brand has it all: BBQ rubs (I use their SPG all the time, Dirty Bird is incredible on chicken, Honey Killer Bee is killer on pork), sugar free, clean eating seasonings I use often while cooking for my family, insanely flavorful Wing Dust that will take his wing game to the next level, plus an incredible selection of sauces, rib glazes, injections and brines that will make his day this weekend. Check out their Father’s Day Gift Guide for inspiration.
Note: I’m a Kosmos Q Brand Ambassador, which means I get free product in exchange for posting about them. They found me because I was a customer first.
Fire and Smoke Society. This brand is the seasoning arm of PK Grills, and have a delicious (and growing!) line of rubs and sauces. Perhaps most conveniently, they are available in Walmarts everywhere, so if you’re reading this on Friday night and need something fast, here’s your solution. I like “The Usual” as a great all purpose seasoning, and Chicka-Licka-Bam-Bam is a great, somewhat spicy chicken rub.
Hardcore Carnivore. This is the seasoning brand from Jess Pryles, one of my go-to sources for instructional videos on YouTube, and she has mastered delicious rubs that produce insane color on your meat. My two favorites are Red (on pork) and Black (on beef).
Still need ideas? Here are some accessories I use
You can get lost pretty quickly in the world of outdoor cooking accessories, but here’s a quick list of things I use often:
Pit mitts, for protection when handling hot grates or pans.
Spatulas, basting covers or a burger press to go with that griddle.
Disposable cutting boards, to do prep outside and keep the kitchen clean — include these with your Kosmos order!
Aluminum pans, for prep, basting, catching drippings, resting and serving.
Carving knife, for brisket, ribs and more.
Fillet knife, for trimming.
Brine bags, for mess-free brining.
Picture of the week
Beer can chicken is a staple of any backyard cook, but recently I changed it up and finished it with an Alabama white sauce. It was my first time trying it, and it did not disappoint. Here’s the before picture, plus a video summarizing my cook. And one more gift idea for dad: a beer can chicken stand.
Thanks for reading! Be sure to forward this to your wife and kids so they know what you want for Father’s Day, and subscribe if you don’t already. Happy Father’s Day, grill dads!
Hey CGD, nice write-up! I've already purchased a lot of these items off of your recommendations! Talk to me about your thoughts between 28” and 36” griddles. I have the 28” side grease tray, but I’m strongly considering upgrading to the 36” rear grease version. I find myself wanting a little extra space, but I’d be curious as to whether it’s a game-changer between your house griddle and the lake griddle?