BBQ season is now in full swing, and with the July 4th holiday nearly upon us, many grill masters are gearing up for their biggest and best cookouts of the summer.
For your holiday blowout, you could just opt for the traditional grill and tongs setup, but if you're the type who is always searching for the newest and coolest tech at the office, why settle for old standbys on the weekends? Some clever companies have come up with incredible innovations to supercharge your backyard BBQ. I've sifted through recent reviews to bring you five of the most impressive.
I bet you never imagined there was such as thing as a Roomba for your grill, but I also bet that now you know such a thing exists, you're dying to have one. You're in good company. The device is called Grillbot, and everyone is raving about it.
BBQ maniac and Business Insider writer Tyler Lauletta took it for a test drive, pitting the bot against years of accumulated grime on his family's grill. "To be honest, I thought it might be an unfair fight," he writes, but "it is safe to say that I was thoroughly impressed with the final result." Gizmodo, PC Magazine, and Digital Trends are equally enthusiastic. "Grill maintenance can now be performed by a robotic slave," says Digital Trends. "Just pop this little bugger on top of the grates when you're done cooking, and he'll go to work picking up all the baked-on burger bits you left behind." ($135.24 on Amazon)
2. iGrill Mini
One of the keys to perfect BBQ is cooking the meat just right. And unless your outdoor chef skills are exceptionally strong, if you're determined to avoid raw centers or shoe-leather steaks, you're probably going to need a thermometer. Both Gizmodo and Lauletta like the $39.99 iGrill Mini. This "Bluetooth meat thermometer allows you to ensure all the fine meats you throw on your grill are cooked to perfection, alerting you through an app on your phone when your meal has reached medium rare, well done, and every temperature in between," Lauletta claims.
There are few bigger BBQ buzz kills than having your friends show up and then realizing your grill is out of gas. Avoid this dread fate with a gizmo called Refuel. "It's basically an intelligent, app-enabled propane tank scale that keeps tabs on how much you've got left," explains Digital Trends. "When you're running low, you'll get a smartphone alert, so you'll know well in advance that you need more gas."
4. The Beer Machine
You take pride in the home-cooked perfection of your grilled meat, tweaking your favorite recipes and insisting on the finest ingredients, so why settle for a lukewarm can of Coors Light as a beverage then? (Sorry for knocking Coors, Dad.) Gizmodo recommends the Beer Machine, a little homebrewing contraption that will run you $89.99 on Amazon.
"If you're willing to wait seven days, you can make your own homebrew and sip on it while you flip burgers," says Gizmodo. "You can adjust the amount of CO2 in your beer and pour it just like a proper beer using customizable taps. It's even the perfect size to fit in your fridge once the brewing is done."
5. Rapid Beverage Chiller
Not into homebrewing but still love a nice, well-chilled beverage? Then consider beating the heat with the Cooper Cooler Rapid Beverage Chiller. "Simply fill the device with water and ice, place the beverage of your choice inside, and it will spin rapidly to accelerate the cooling process," PC Magazine explains. "The Cooler can chill a can of beer in just one minute, or an entire bottle of wine in six minutes." Six minutes! That's almost worth the $50-plus price tag (depending on the model).