Barring any other ridiculous late-season snowstorms on the East coast, barbecue season will soon be in full swing across the country, so we figured we’d round up a few of our favorite high-tech cookout contraptions for you and give you ample time to get your grilling situation in order. Feast your eyes on these feast supplies:
Grilling is awesome, but cleaning all the blackened, caked-on food goo afterward? Not so much. Thankfully, however, we live in a time where where robots can perform most of the menial tasks we hate doing, and much like vacuuming and cleaning the gutters, grill maintenance can now be performed by a robotic slave. 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.
If you’re of the mind that gas grills just can’t compare to charcoal, but also hate waiting for for your briquettes to get hot enough to cook over, BBQ Dragon is just what you need. It’s basically just a heat-resistant, high-velocity fan that clips onto the side of your grill and blasts the charcoal with air, providing extra oxygen to get it started faster. It’s even got a flexible neck so you can direct the blast wherever you need it.
Technically this badboy isn’t available for purchase quite yet, but it’s still fun to gawk. Lynx equipped this sucker with more tech than you’ll know what to do with: temperature sensors that keep track of the food for you, Bluetooth connectivity so you can start it with your smartphone, and even voice commands that let you bark orders at it like Siri. We were lucky enough to get a hands-on demo of the grill at CES earlier this year, and after seeing it in person, we can say with confidence that it’s totally worth the exorbitant price tag.
Until the Quirky community pulls itself together and makes this awesome smartphone-connected propane gauge a reality, you and I will have to settle for more basic means of tracking our gas levels. Trust me: If you grill with gas, you need one of these gauges. There’s nothing worse than inviting over all your buddies for a cookout, only to discover that you’re out of propane and have to make a half-drunk trip down to the supermarket to get more.
Cooking your food over an open flame generally imparts a little bit of smoky flavor into it, but if you want more of that delicious smokiness, you need to get yourself a smoker box. Fill this sucker with dampened wood chips and toss it on the grill, and after a while it’ll begin to smoke and fill up your grill hood with smoke. It’s not quite as good as putting your meat in a full-on smoker, but any extra smoke is better than no smoke at all!
If you can muster up the courage to leave your meat off your perfectly seasoned grill grates, we highly suggest you try cooking your next meal on a block of Himalayan rock salt. It might just be our favorite new way to prepare food. The idea is fairly straightforward. You start by slowly heating a slab of salt on your grill, and once it’s up to temp, you just drop whatever you’re cooking on top and watch it sizzle for a few seconds. Because of the block’s unique composition, it imparts your food with a subtle hint of mineral saltiness that’s absolutely fantastic.
For certain meats, there’s a fine line between cooking something to perfection and endangering everyone at the cookout; so if you’d rather err on the side of caution and know for sure that your food has reached a safe temperature, you need to snag yourself a grilling thermometer. This particular model from Maverick is designed give you accurate readings in the blink of an eye, so you don’t have to hold your hand over the grill for too long and burn the hair off of your knuckles.
Don’t get us wrong — robotic grill cleaners like Grillbot are all well and good, but as the old adage goes; if you want something done right, do it yourself. In addition to stainless steel bristles and a long handle for extra leverage, this Grill Daddy brush comes equipped with a water reservoir and steam nozzle to blast off all that caked on chicken skin and burnt barbecue sauce faster than ever before
Truth be told, this thing performs basically the same function as BBQ Dragon, but minus the lighter fluid and matches. It’s also got more of a lightsaber-style form factor, which makes it just that much more aweseome. Invented by a company from Sweden, Looftlighter uses a continuous blast of super-heated air to ignite your charcoal without using lighter fluid and can also be used to “fast forward” your charcoal briquettes and start grilling in just a few minutes.
If you’d rather not toil with charcoal briquettes or propane tanks at all, and also happen to live in section of the globe that has fairly reliable sunlight, check out this awesome solar grill from Solsource. The product of a successful Kickstarter campaign, the grill is basically a large semispherical mirror array that collects sunlight and directs it all to a central point. Just pop a skillet on top and you’ll be grilling in no time!
Did we miss any of your favorite grilling gizmos? Feel free to share them with us in the comments!