With the summer weather well and truly here, it's time to tidy up the garden, dust off the grill, and get cooking, and these high tech gadgets and tools are designed to create the ultimate backyard barbecue. Of course, barbecues at home are going to look a bit different in 2022, with social distancing measures still widely in place. But that shouldn't stop you and your household from lighting the grill and having a cookout.
Here are some of our favorite smart BBQ gadgets to help make grilling that bit easier. There's everything you could need, from a powerful cordless fire starter, to a smart grill with Wi-Fi for Alexa and Google Assistant control.
Cordless butane fire lighter
Lighting the barbecue can be a real pain. To help out, the AirLighter 420 by Bison is a cordless, butane-powered fire starter that works equally well with charcoal and wood.
The 420 boasts a flame temperature of 2,600 degrees, making it quick and easy to light wood and charcoal, and the tank lasts for ten minutes of constant use, so should help you light several grills before needing a refill. It also costs only $59.95 and is available on Amazon or company site. The company also has a newer cordless fire starter, AirLighter 520 by Bison but you will have a hard time finding this product. It's not available on Amazon or Best Buy today. And the company site is saying it is on backorder.
Our recommendation is to get the AirLighter 420 by Bison. It's available and there is not much a difference between the two lighters, especially at the price point for the 520 ($99.95).
Smart grill with Wi-Fi, Alexa and Google Assistant
Smartphone app-controlled Traeger outdoor grillTraeger
If you have a larger budget for your backyard cooking, then all of Traeger's outdoor grills come with digital displays and Wi-Fi. With that internet connection, they hook up to a smartphone app for controlling them remotely.
That way, you can fire up the grill outside while preparing food in the kitchen, then keep an eye on the temperature and make adjustments without being stood over the fire the entire time. Internet connectivity also enables Alexa and Google Assistant control, so you can speak to either assistant to start and adjust the grill, ask for the current temperature and when the food will be ready.
The app also includes recipes and timers, and provides live temperature information from integrated meat probes, plus an estimate of how many wood pellets are left to burn.
Finally, Traeger promises regular software updates to improve the performance of its grills. As an example, a recent update increased the maximum temperature to 500 degrees across the entire product range. You'll just need to make sure your Wi-Fi network reaches the garden, so that the grill stays connected. For that, you might need a Wi-Fi booster or network extender.
In addition, there are new smart grills available from Weber and Masterbuilt that allow you to control temperature and cook time with the digital control panel or with smart device control using WiFi or Bluetooth. The Masterbuilt Gravity Series 560 Digital Charcoal Grill + Smoker is perfect for those who want to smoke their food. This smart grill can smoke, grill, sear, bake, and roast your food to perfection every time you BBQ. But what makes this smart grill is the price. It costs only $499.99 which is much less than Traeger Smart Grills. You can pick one up at Walmart or it's available on Amazon.
Weber has the newly designed Weber GENESIS E-435 Gas Grill with Weber Connect Smart Technology. Weber Connect Smart Technology is the company's smart food thermometer (probe) which you can buy individually too. The company is not integrating this technology into their gas grills to help users get the perfect results every time they grill. The new Weber GENESIS E-435 Gas Grill costs $1,649, which is up in the Traeger Grills price range. Weber grills are available on Amazon and The Home Depot.
Smartphone food temperature probe
The Meater and Meater+ are smart probes for monitoring the internal temperature of meat as you cook. They connect via Bluetooth (or Wi-Fi with the Meater+) to a companion smartphone app, which shows current temperature, target temperature (based on what you've told the app you are cooking), and the ambient temperature of the grill. A timer then indicates how long is left to cook.
If the Meater is out of your budget, there are plenty of other cooking probes available at lower price points. These include the Inkbird IBT-4XS, which has four probes and Bluetooth for sending the temperature readings to a smartphone app for iOS and Android. The control unit itself also shows the current temperature of each probe.
Yet another option is the Weber Connect Smart Grilling Hub, which is compatible with any grill, has an integrated readout as well as a smartphone app, and alerts you to when food wants flipping, and when it's ready to serve.
Rotating drinks cooler
The Cooper Cooler claims to chill wine bottles in six minutesAmazon
If your backyard BBQ is a spur-of-the-moment thing, you'll need a way to quickly cool down some drinks. This is where a rapid drinks cooler like the Cooper Cooler comes in, which quickly chills bottles and cans by rotating them while spraying ice water.
Its makers claim the cooler can chill a bottle of wine from 77 to 43 degrees in six minutes, a beer bottle in 3.5 minutes, and a can in 60 seconds. There's also a no-spin option for chilling delicate wines more slowly. The device is powered by a regular wall outlet, but can also be bought with a 12-foot-long 12v plug for powering from your car lighter socket.
Robotic grill cleaner
Finally, once you're done cooking you can employ the Grillbot to make a start on the cleaning for you. Essentially a Roomba for your grill, the Grillbot drives itself around, removing burnt food and grease from the grill with its spinning stainless steel brushes.
The Grillbot is available in red, blue, black and orange, and is powered by a rechargeable battery.
And don't foreget to check out The GearBrain, our smart home compatibility checker to find other smart outdoor devices like smart grills. it can also help you find other smart compatible products that work with Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa enabled devices if needed.
The GearBrain, First Compatibility Find Engine for Smart Devices www.youtube.com