Memorial Day weekend is coming up, and then it’s full speed ahead to summer. I’m gearing up to do some serious cooking— we’re renting a little place by the beach for the long weekend, and I’ll be assembling some lobster rolls, making some killer coleslaw, and grilling everything that isn’t nailed down. I’ve wrangled a few grilling gadgets that will help you BBQ like a VIP— some of them are fantasy purchases (um, check out the dreamy voice-activated grill?!), but others can affordably improve your grilling chops (see what I did there?). Happy cooking al fresco.
Coal Range Smart Thermometer
The right tool can take take dinner from done to well done. Coal Range smart thermometer is an incredibly accurate thermometer that you can leave in your meat while it cooks on the grill. It talks to your iOS or Android app via Bluetooth to keep you informed of your dinner’s temperature throughout the cooking process. Just pop the probe into your burger or steak, and as long as you’re within 150 feet of the grill, you’ll receive updates, and get alerts when the food is ready. The 54” silicone cable gives you space to keep your iPhone out of harm’s way in your kitchen.
It huffs, it puffs, it’s… no, not Uncle Stan! It’s an electric BBQ Dragon. ($59.95). This hands-free electric bellows gets charcoal ready for grilling in five minutes—a much faster alternative to using a charcoal chimney. It’s super-portable and clips onto the side of your grill. When it runs out of power, simply recharge it using your cell phone charger.
Roasting marshmallows over the fire is nostalgic, but how about taking things up a notch and enjoying a freshly baked thin-crust pizza while camping? The Pizzeria Pronto Outdoor Pizza Oven ($299.95) is portable, fueled by propane, and ready to turn your campsite into an Italian restaurant al fresco. Lest you think the Pronto can’t match the high temps of a wood-fire oven, it climbs to a cooking temperature of 700 degrees in 10 minutes. It includes a pizza stone, weighs 26 pounds and runs on a 20-pound propane tank, so, while you won’t be schlepping this in your backpack while you traverse the Pacific Crest Trail, it’s still a great addition for picnics, tailgating or easy camping.
Refuel Smart Propane Gauge
Next to rain, there is no bigger barbecue bummer than discovering the host is out of propane. Avoid this foodie faux pas with a Refuel Smart Propane Tank Gauge ($24.98). Here’s how it works: Slide the base under the propane tank, and then attach the sensor portion to your grill. (Caveat: The grill needs to be positioned in range of your wifi network.) Then you download the Wink app (free, iOS or Android) and the system can monitor the level of propane in your tank, giving your phone an alert when the fuel starts to run out.
It’s Wifi-enabled. It’s voice controlled. And it’s almost $9K. Let’s hope it’s going to make the best damn hamburger you’ve ever had. The Lynx SmartGrill will act as your cooking assistant throughout any recipe you choose— just select a recipe using it’s app, and tell it which burner you’re placing the food on. Then it will adjust the temperature as you go, telling you when to flip, and when food is done. Other fun features include backlit blue LED knobs, so you can see them at night, and a hood assist that helps the lid close gently. It will even suggest what to start when so that all your food is ready to serve at the same time.
If the Olympics in Brazil have you craving a churrascaria-style steakhouse experience—where an endless bounty of meats are served off of a skewer—then the Carson Rodizio Kit ($398) will bring it into your backyard. It’s a metal rotisserie that sits on top of either a gas or charcoal grill and rotates up to six skewers using an AC power supply. Plug that sucker in and turn your house into an all-your-can-eat Brazilian steakhouse.
Steak Time App
Sure, you can drive to butcher shop to select pork chops, burgers, and top sirloin… or, you can tap in an order using the Steak Time app (free, iPhone or iPad). It’s from meat-delivery service Omaha Steaks, which will gladly ship you some proteins, stat. The app also has a handy grilling timer; enter guests’ names so you can keep track of if Aunt Bernice wants her food rare, Joey wanted his entree medium and Ava prefers hers well-done. The app also contains how-to grilling videos and plenty of recipes— not one of the grilling gadgets, per se, but it just might make your phone the most important one.
Hungry for more? Check out my story Grill Talk for recipes and other great grilling gadgets.