With one of America’s more barbecue-centric holidays, Memorial Day, fast approaching we’ve identified a range of smart culinary products that will transform even the most fire-averse fledgling chef into a celebrated grill master.
Life’s a Gas
If you’re looking for a smart grill with all the trimmings, you’ll need to go gas-powered as the flexibility of propane tanks allows manufacturers to work more technology into the grill itself.
Regular readers of this column know we’re fans of the Lynx Smart Grill ($6,999 to $9,499).
The top-of-the-line cooker comes with all the features you’d want from an intelligent barbecue—Wi-Fi capability, voice command, remote monitoring, app-based ignition and control and on-device alerts to flip or remove meat. And it’s a fairly stylish grill to boot.
But Lynx isn’t the only game in town when it comes high-tech heat sources.
The Char-Broil Smart Chef ($799) promises total mobile control of your grill—and at a significantly lower price point as well.
The Smart Chef provides two different cooking modes: Control, a set-it-and-forget-it mode and Manual, which provides the conventional, hands-on cooking experience.
Whichever mode you choose, the Smart Chef will keep you well-informed on the device of your choice, as to grill temperature, burner status, food doneness, cooking times, internal meat temperatures and even the gas level of your propane tank.
Smart Chef also offers myriad recipes regardless of protein type, eliminating what can be the toughest job for any chef—deciding what to cook.
Where There’s Fire, There’s Smoke
For some BBQ fans, flame-broiled meats simply taste better when they are cooked over a charcoal-fed fire.
Fortunately for admirers of classic cooking techniques, contemporary technology can still lend a hand.
The Chef Smart by MyGrill (Not to be confused with the Smart Chef by Char-Broil) is a full-service charcoal smart grill. While Chef Smart doesn’t have all the bells and whistles of its gas-powered cousins, it does offer some intelligent automations that make barbecuing easier and encourage experimentation, in terms of technique and menu.
The Chef Smart is built with an embedded thermometer that monitors the charcoal-based heat and adjusts the grill equipment accordingly—elevating or lowering the grill from the flame and accelerating or decelerating the automatic rotation of the grill’s many spits.
Equipped with seven selectable pre-programmed recipes, based on a range of popular grillable proteins, the Chef Smart offers users the ability to set their menu and step back while dinner is prepared. Or grill masters can take a more hands-on approach, mixing their personal preferences with Chef Smart’s technology to control elevation, rotation and temperature.
If the Chef Smart has you salivating, head to MyGrill.com for more info on pricing.
But perhaps you’re quite happy with your current (and classic) charcoal grill, and simply want to introduce a little technology to ease the burden of frequent barbecuing or improve your culinary skills. Here too, you have options.
The Looftlighter ($79), an ingenious device that looks something like industrial strength curling iron, sets your charcoal ablaze in 60 seconds.
Employing super-heated air, the Looftlighter provides fire in under a minute without the use of any distasteful, and environmentally detrimental, lighter fluid.
Once the fire is roaring and cooking has commenced, the Weber iGrill 2 ($99) can come in handy, providing the same insight afforded by the most high-end gas grills.
The Bluetooth-based, app-connected meat thermometer will track the temperature progression of your roast from raw to well-done, with all the rarities along the way so you can serve you guests a perfectly cooked cut of meat.
Best of all, the iGrill 2 is discreet enough that you needn’t share your secret, and you can allow your friends and family to labor under the delusion that your are some sort of grilling savant.
— Mansion Global (@MansionGlobal) May 16, 2017
A Distasteful Duty
There is one aspect of barbecuing that is entirely too much effort, regardless of the grill you select—cleanup.
Fortunately, Grillbot ($119 to $139) offers freedom from the tyranny of scrubbing grilling grates.
The Roomba for your barbecue, Grillbot cleans your grill at the push of a button, enabling you to enjoy a post-steak, hammock-based slumber.
Roasting on a Rainy Day
Because the weather may not always accommodate your desire to barbecue, it’s best to have a back-up plan.
For rainy days (or really, any day), the Cinder is more than capable ($399).
Employing an array of tiny heating nodes to achieve precision temperature control, the Cinder offers the purest set-it-and-forget-it grilling experience. Simply calculate the target temperature and cook time of the meal you are preparing (via Cinder’s accompanying app), place the protein on the grill, program the prescribed target temp, and continue to live your life. The Cinder app alerts you when your meal is ready.
Cinder also works well with frozen food products, allowing grilling to become a spur of the moment decision.
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