For many people, Memorial Day is a time to remember those who have fought for our country, enjoy a nice three-day weekend, and celebrate the unofficial start to summer. But for others — aka my family — Memorial Day sparks a summer-long "battle of the barbecue." (Read that last bit in a professional wrestling announcer's voice for full effect). While I can't give away all of the top dog's prime pit boss secrets, I happen to know first hand that a few high-tech tools and gadgets can make the difference between a ho-hum hamburger and the holy mother of all mouthwatering mega meals.
If you have an iPhone, iPod, or iPad, the iGrill is the easiest and most affordable high-tech way to get your grill on without missing the party. Paired with a free app, this multiple meat thermometer gives you a dashboard gauge of how the cooking is coming along, from as far as 200 feet away. It sends an alarm when you need to check the grill, and helps you cook like a King, even when you're totally distracted by the poolside cannonball contest.
BBQ Guru CyberQ Wifi
Like the iGrill on steroids, the BBQ Guru CyberQ Wifi includes a control station that you can connect with via wifi from any mobile device or PC. It also has a fan that mounts inside the grill to automatically fan the flames or simmer the heat down to a slow burn. The CyberQ basicallly does it all for you, then keeps you updated via e-mail or text message. That's right — your grill emails you. This is a serious cyber cooking "two-fer" for any master-chef who wants to have full bragging rights on their food and their high-tech hook-ups.
Roullier-White Hamburger Press
If you've ever bitten into a burger that was charred on the outside and raw in the middle (and didn't ask for it extra-rare) or had it crumble to pieces on you, you definitely need this gadget. The Roullier-White hamburger press smashes meats (or vegan alternatives) into perfectly packed, round, even, tight patties. No muss, no fuss, and no crying over spilled meat.
Chef'n Herb Wand
A lot of the barbecue buzz this summer is around healthy food. No, that's not an oxymoron. Type in "healthy grilling recipes" on Pinterest and you'll see thousands of food porn pics of low-fat, low-cal, high-taste grilled foods. And that brings us to this little wand that helps add flavor like magic. All you do is stick woody herbs, like rosemary or thyme, into the Chef'n Herb Wand and brush them over your chicken, pork, veggies, or whatever else you're cooking. Rather than basting your food with butter, you're really basting them with herbs and the tiniest bit of oil. It adds tons of flavor and couldn't be easier to use. I also like that you don't get chunks of herbs stuck in your teeth when you're eating a meal brushed with herbs, instead of covered in them.
Stake 3-in-1 BBQ Tool
Don't pick the dang hot dog up from the grill with your fingers, no matter how superhuman you think you are. Yes, I actually have to say that at least once every summer, mostly to myself. This handy-dandy hybrid tool let's you grip it, flip it, and serve it. The Stake tool has a spatula, tongs, and a little barbecue fork all in one wooden-handled grill gadget. It's really easy to use, even with a beer in one hand. You'll be the Houdini of the hibachi.
S'more to Love S'More Maker
Using the S'More to Love, you can make six perfect s'mores in a matter of minutes with no mess. Just stack up the classic ingredients — graham crackers, chocolate bars, and marshmallows — close the cover, and you're all set for a sweet melted treat. Need I say more?
Grill Daddy Steaming Grill Cleaner
Cleaning the burnt, stuck-on chunks of meat off the grill at the end of the day can be just plain gross. Here's another hybrid tool for making the job easier. You fill the Grill Daddy's handle with water, scrub the grates back and forth a few times with the wire bristles, and voila, you're done. Then just put the grill brush in the dishwasher and go to bed.
Price: $0.99 for iPhone and Android
Great grilling? Of course there's an app for that. In fact, there are several apps out this year to help you earn that title of Grill King. The Grill-It! app (download for iPhone and Android) contains detailed information, including recipes and high quality photos for just about everything you could imagine cooking over an open flame. You can even search foods by ingredient, category, or key words, and save your finds as a list to bring to the grocery store.
Get your grill on
What are some of your secrets behind the best barbecue ever? What tools do you covet? Be sure to join the conversation in the comments section at the bottom of this story, and happy grilling!
[Image credit: Family on vacation via Shutterstock]
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