Summer cookin': Your guide to the best smart BBQ tech

Get that grill ready

The best smart BBQ devices

It's summer time. That means plenty of awesome beach days, park picnics, outdoor gigs and plenty of opportunities to fire up the grill and cook up a storm. Toss in some cold drinks and great music and you've got yourself a wonderful time.

But could that wonderful time be even better? It's certainly possible. There's a range of smart devices that you can use to craft the perfect summer BBQ. You'll never have someone complain about you overdoing the steak or burning those burger patties ever again.

Read this: Everything you need to know about smart AC

So listen up, grillmasters. Let's get down to it and dive into the world of smart BBQs.

Smart BBQ: Why?

The appealing thing about barbecues is that they're simple. You get a grill, you put it outside, you get some cold drinks, turn on some music, grill and you're ready. Throw in the odd bit of salad to appease the vegetarians and you're away. So why would you need to get a whole bunch of smart devices to streamline the BBQ experience?

It turns out that one of the oldest forms of cooking in the world, simply putting meat on top of fire, is also one of the most difficult. Cooking is a delicate art, and it's easy to either overcook or undercook certain meats.

For the most part, the worst that can happen with that is some upset guests. You know, people who prefer well done steaks over a medium-rare. However, for some meats – like chicken – that difference becomes much more important.

Undercooking chicken brings the risk of making people sick, while overcooking chicken turns it into a chewy, stringy disaster. Smart devices can help lessen both of these risks by telling you how hot your meat is and whether it's close to being ready for human consumption.

Plus, it can help you actually deliver what your guests want. You'll be able to show off your skills when you can give some people medium-rare and a couple of other people well done without missing a beat.


Summer cookin': Your guide to a great smart BBQ

Smart BBQ: What you need to know

The number one thing to remember about smart barbecuing is that in the end it's all about the food. What you're going to cook and what you want to come from that cooking is all that matters.

If you're more interested in making sure the inside of the meat is cooked well, then maybe an expensive grill isn't your best bet. Maybe you need to look into a smart sous vide, which you can then pair up with a dumb grill to sear your meat and give it some added flavour.

Similarly, if you're looking to just smoke your meat then you're not going to need a big grill. The other thing to consider is space. Not everyone has a big back yard or what have you where they can place a giant grill and not worry about it. Some people live in an apartment complex and just have a small balcony where they can do things.

Others don't have any outdoor options and have to rely on grilling things on a conventional oven or stove top, rather than a giant grill specifically made to handle as much meat as possible.

Understanding your space needs, as well as how you want to cook your meat, are essential questions you need to figure out before you set out to buy a bunch of smart devices.

The best smart BBQs


Quirky Refuel smart propane gauge

$35.99, wink.com | Amazon

Imagine this: You're out buying some hot dog buns and you suddenly remember that you forgot to check how much propane you have left to power your grill. If only you had a way to quickly check how much you have. Or, imagine getting ready to grill only to find out that you're all out of gas.

The Quirky Refuel smart propane gauge is your solution to that. It connects to your propane tank and magnetically sticks to your grill. A quick tap of the device and you'll get five LED lights showing you your propane levels. Alternatively, if you open up the app you can see a visual indication of your propane levels – allowing you to quickly find out if you need to buy some more before coming home.


Summer cookin': Your guide to a great smart BBQ

Char-Broil Digital Electric Smoker

$299.99, charbroil.com | Amazon

A good option if you don't have a lot of space – or you prefer to smoke your meats instead of outright grilling them – the Char-Broil Digital Electric Smoker comes with a handful of neat smart features.

The main status screen on the companion app will let you know all the information you need, from timing to temperature. You'll also get notifications when your meat is done, and if you're a beginner to smoking there's a guided cooking mode that'll walk you through how to do it all.


Summer cookin': Your guide to a great smart BBQ

Traeger Timberline 1300

$1,999, traegergrills.com

Here we go: this is the big boy. This is what you invest in if you're a pure grillmaster. You've got a massive cooking capacity of 1,300 square inches – that'll get you 12 chickens, 15 rib racks or 12 pork butts. All of this with an added wood flavour, as the Timberline uses wood pellets with various flavourings to add something to your meats.

Thanks to Traeger's WiFire smart features, you can also set custom timers and alerts. There's a super smoke mode that you can enable from the app too. You can even take advantage of Traeger's community of hardcore grillers and choose from over 1,000 recipes and cook cycles to use on your own grill. Just select and the grill will take care of the rest.


Summer cookin': Your guide to a great smart BBQ

iGrill Mini smart thermometer

$49.99, weber.com | Amazon

The iGrill Mini is a good solution if you can't quite go grilling outside. It's a small smart thermostat that you can pretty much take anywhere, and all you have to do is stick the sharp bit into your meat.

It'll monitor how done your food is from beginning to end, and once it's fully ready you'll be sent a notification that it's time to stop cooking or grilling your meat. Simple, easy and convenient.

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