By the ManBQue Stuff-Listing Staff
Holiday shopping for the food-loving beer geek can be difficult. Sure, you can always go the cliché route–pack of underwear, gift card to their favorite brewery, some “As Seen on TV” gadget that you know won’t last–but this year we challenge you to think of something better.
And also, it just so happens we put together a great list of our favorite things from 2016.
None of the items were given to us as freebies–we are not nearly swanky enough to get that sweet, sweet paid shill money from companies. So there’s your assurance that this is stuff we legitimately love.
Well, except the first thing. But that’s only because because it is the best street food cookbook in the world. And also we wrote it.
What? You didn’t think we’d promote our book that came out this year? We cover dishes from tacos to empanadas to pizza to hot dogs from around the world. These are dishes you can eat with one hand and have a beer in the other (we even provided pairings).
If you’d like to learn what tacos were like before awful hipsters started cram-jamming them full of spaghetti and kimchi, you can’t do better than the English-language translation of this incredibly popular guide. It’s unpretentous, informative, and covers an astounding array of styles and sub-styles. Al pastor? Covered. Lengua? Totally. Crickets? Actually yes.
Chimney of Insanity/BBQ Dragon Fan ($30/$32)
A chimney starter slashes the time to light charcoal compared to lighting it in the grill. But what if you could light it even faster than that? This beast of a chimney works with a clip-on fan called the BBQ Dragon to speed up the time to seared steak as much as humanly possible. We love these and you will too. Get em.
Dexter-Russell Walnut Spatula, 8-by-3-Inch, Stainless Steel ($24)
It was at a pop-up restaurant we ran this earlier this year, gazing at the flat top grill laid out before, us that we knew we needed a Dexter-Russell spatula. Luckily, John Carruthers never leaves the house without one. The spatula is thin enough to slide under your burgers yet strong enough properly flatten griddled patties. We also recommend the smaller 4 x 2.5-inch model for your skillet-based work.
Your flower-patterned pot holders are adorable, but they’re also going to melt into your skin if you need to pull a cast iron out of the oven or remove a grill grate to refresh the coals. These gloves are practical, effective, and since you’re not actually welding, the cheap ones will do just fine.
Mini NES ($60)
It’s the classic Nintendo shrunk down to a very cute size loaded with 30 classic Nintendo games. Our expert product tester, Lukas Gelman, looks forward to his continued video game dominance over John Carruthers.
Alpha Grillers Garlic Press ($19)
When you cook like us, you need a lot of garlic. After many broken, shitty, and cheap garlic presses, we decided to research and found a workhorse of a press. This one comes with a lifetime guarantee and a satin lined box. Which … sure, why not? Just remember to throw away the silicone tube that comes with it, because you already know how to peel garlic.
Chef Works Bronx Bib Apron ($27)
Last year, we showcased an apron that cost $100. This year, let’s talk about one on the other end of the spectrum, because no one bought us the hundred dollar version. The Chef Works apron looks as good as a high-end apron, protects you just as well, and comes in under 30 bucks. We especially like the small pockets on the chest for thermometers and the side strap on the hip for hanging towels.
Field & Stream Men’s Classic Plaid Flannel Shirt ($45)
Flannel shirts are always in style to us. What can we say, we loved the 90s. Our Field & Stream flannels have handled dozens of washes, brew days, weekends camping, and plenty of cooking, and it still looks as good as the day we bought it.
Draft Top ($45)
The Draft Top is designed to remove the top from beer cans, turning them into cups that deliver the full aroma of your beer. This baby also opens bottles if that’s your jam.
Cicerone Certification Program Beer Style Cards ($25)
Need to study for your beer degree, or just pair some recipes with the perfect beer? This 71-style beer card set (from John Scholl’s fine employer) can fit in the pocket of your Chef Works apron (callback!) to always be handy when you need a quick reference for a beer’s flavor profile.
Anker Bluetooth Earbuds ($40)
The Anker SportBuds NB10 sound good, are comfortable and won’t fall off you head even if you decide to exercise sometime in the future. The battery lasts a long while and they charge super-fast. If you want Bluetooth headphones but don’t want to pay for the ones Dr. Dre sold Lebron James, then these are for you.
We had a great year, but some of you have expressed (very understandable) disdain for 2016. It happens. Some people like to air out their feelings to a professional, but others prefer the therapist in a bottle. Stare into the darkness long enough and it’ll start to stare back. So instead, savor that sweet burn and remember that tomorrow’s another day.