The smart home employs wireless technologies to give you greater control over your everyday devices—but that technology has been slow to move into the kitchen, probably because our kitchens are already pretty high-tech. However, there is one area where we’re still only a few strides away from the Dark Ages: outdoor cooking.
The lack of significant technological evolution in outdoor cooking has made grilling, smoking and frying a prime place for innovation. That’s great news for those of us who don’t love being stuck next to a grill while cooking—and not-so-great news for those who use it as an excuse. (“I can’t come help you set the table, honey, I’m watching the grill!”)
Here’s a look at some of the best “smart” gadgets to help you master your outdoor cooking.
This handy little gadget is basically a meat thermometer, but you don’t have to stand next to it to keep an eye on it. Pair it with your smartphone via Bluetooth courtesy of the free iDevices app (IOS and Android) and monitor your probe temperature remotely within a 150-feet range. You’ll also get an alert on your phone when your food reaches that perfect temperature, meaning no more overdone steaks or undercooked chicken. Some models come with up to four probes and can monitor multiple meats at once.
You’ve got friends over, the meat is ready, you go to turn on the propane tank and … nothing. Save yourself that last-minute dash to the hardware store with the Refuel system. This smart solution is a connected propane tank gauge that syncs with your smartphone wirelessly to monitor your propane supply. You can track tank usage and get alerts when it’s time to refuel. A magnetic sensor also displays the gas level, so you can easily see when you’re running low, even without the app.
Weber’s On The Grill App
Speaking of apps, we all know how tricky it can be to perfect your grilling technique. The grill masters at Weber have packaged their combined decades of knowledge into a handy app (Android only). Search and browse over 250 grill-tested recipes, enhance your techniques with more than a hundred tips and instructional videos, and use a built-in timer based on Weber’s grill guides for all the different meats, fish, fruits or veggies you might be cooking.
We can all agree cleaning the grill is the least fun part of the whole outdoor cooking process. How many of us just crank the grill up high, let it burn for a few minutes and leave it at that? Well, surprisingly, that’s not the best way to clean and maintain your grill. You really should be using a good grill brush. Here to take all the elbow grease out of that endeavor is the Grillbot.
Like a Roomba for your grill, the Grillbot does all the work for you. Just put it on the grill, press a button and watch it do its magic. Using a computer-grade chip to control the movement, speed and direction of its replaceable wire brushes, the Grillbot moves all around your grill to leave it spotless in under 30 minutes.
Digital Pellet Grill
Wood pellet grills are the hot new thing in grilling—pun intended. Pellet grills use wood chips fed into the grill automatically, combined with a convection fan, to maintain a consistent heat while your food absorbs the unique, rich flavors of hickory, mesquite, pecan or apple wood chips. But this isn’t the only thing that makes pellet grills great—it’s their thermostatic digital controls that set them apart. It works almost like your oven, only outdoors. Set a temperature, put in your meat, close the lid and forget about it until a few hours later when your meat is cooked to perfection.
Digital controls and LED displays make most modern pellet grills stand out from the crowd and bring high-tech cooking to the backyard. Some models also offer Wi-Fi controls, so you can monitor your meat, turn the grill on or off and control the internal temperature, cooking temperature and timer from wherever you are.
Guest Author Bio: Jennifer Tuohy is a tech enthusiast who writes for The Home Depot in addition to several other publications. She provides info and tips on the newest technology, including the latest in grilling apps and pellet grills.