Outdoor grilling is a timeless activity and (clearly) out favorite way of cooking just about anything. But just because roasting meat over an open flame used to be primitive doesn’t mean it has to stay that way.
Ever-changing techniques, technologies, and accessories have shaped and continue to shape the way we grill. We’ve got our eye on new grilling technology, gadgets, and more and we want to share all of it with you.
Grilling: Constantly Evolving
It wasn’t until the 1950’s that backyard grilling as we know it really caught on. Before then, most grilling took place at campsites or picnic grounds and utilized minimal tools. For a long time, charcoal grilling dominated the market, though eventually the world was introduced to gas and electric grills. The pellet grill followed and the innovation continues today.
Smart grills, infrared grills, and more tech accessories than you can count are shaping the future of grilling. Here are some of the ones we think you need to know about today.
Smart Grills are becoming more and more popular and come with an ever-growing variety of features, functions, and flair. Modern smart grills will do most of the work for you, monitoring temperatures and time, managing fuel levels and usage, and remembering settings and preferences from cook to cook.
When looking at smart grills, we need to highlight the Lynx line of SmartGrills, which currently comes in one built-in size…36”.
It’s no secret that we think highly of Lynx’s outdoor kitchen products and the Lynx SmartGrill is no exception. This grill is an intelligent, connected gas grill that automatically cooks foods based on user preferences.
Among its features, the SmartGrill is voice activated and includes an automated cooking platform that takes the guesswork out of grilling. It possesses the ability to remember recipes and repeat cooking performances based on past experiences. A connected grill, the SmartGrill app will notify you through your device to let you know about changes in temperature, timing, and when your food is ready.
In addition, the Lynx SmartGrill uses MyChef technology, which, according to the Lynx website, provides four significant advantages:
“1. The interactive connectivity of the grill means that the user doesn’t have to hover in the vicinity of the grill – SmartGrill will notify the user when the grill is ready for the next step.
2. The learning algorithm of SmartGrill allows the SmartGrill to remember the personal tastes of the user and customize the doneness to their personal preference.
3. The SmartGrill will automatically shut down if it does not receive a command within 30 minutes for safety and energy conservation.
4. The SmartGrill acts as an “assistant” for the chef, tracking various aspects of the grilling process, following recipes, and helping even novice cooks become grilling masters.”
Finally, the Lynx SmartGrill features new infrared burner technology (another topic we’ll focus more on below!) that produces efficient, even, and direct heat.
Lynx isn’t the only brand embracing new smart technology in their grills, either. Weber, Traeger, Char-Broil, REC TEC, Dyna-Glo, and more have all joined the smart grill revolution.
Infrared technology in grills isn’t necessarily new, but it is still relatively unknown, especially among those that are fresh to the subject of outdoor grilling. In fact, a lot of people ask us "Do these burners use gas?" The answer is yes they are fueled by gas.
Infrared grilling uses radiation to cook your food, allowing for lightning quick cooking while maintaining taste and flavor.
Among grills using infrared technology, most fall into three main categories of infrared burners — Ceramic Infrared Burners, Radiant Glass Panels, and a Heat Emitter System.
- Ceramic Infrared Burner systems feature a stainless-steel burner topped with a ceramic surface. The cooking grid rests just a few inches above that and can range in temperatures from 600 to 1000°F. This is the most common type of infrared burner. A version of this style is Lynx’s patented Trident ceramic infrared burner, which allows for an expanded temperature range of 300 to 1,000°F.
- The Thermal Engineering Company, or TEC, developed infrared grilling for commercial use in the 80’s and re-invented the infrared burner with its Radiant Glass Panel system. With this system, grills can reach temperatures ranging from 200 to 900°F while providing incredibly even heat with no flare ups. While not as hot as a ceramic infrared burner, the glass panel system does more than enough to ensure quality grilling.
- The Heat Emitter System is made up of a stainless-steel burner with a metal panel on top and a cooking grid directly on top of that. These products tend to be more affordable than the other options, but allow for less flexibility in terms of temperature, ranging from 300 to just 650°F.
In addition to TEC and Lynx mentioned above, many other brands feature infrared grills in their lineup, including Saber, Char-Broil, Solaire, Twin Eagles, Alfresco, and more. Many of them are available right now from the BBQ Depot.
As the technology has continued to develop, many brands have developed hybrid infrared grills. These grills, primarily gas or electric, rely on classic convection cooking while incorporating an infrared burner for infrared cooking at the same time. These hybrids tend to feature a pre-installed infrared burner, an infrared burner than can be purchased separately, or a side-burner that utilizes infrared grilling.
Grilling Gadgets for Your Arsenal
Smart Grill technology and Infrared Grilling innovations are changing our actual grills, but maybe you aren’t looking at replacing or upgrading your outdoor grill just yet. Luckily, you don’t need a brand new SmartGrill or Infrared grill to incorporate the newest in grilling technology into your outdoor kitchen. There are countless new technologies developing alongside our grills that are changing the way we grill. New gadgets and devices are available every day, including these five that you should consider adding to your outdoor grilling arsenal right now.
Grillbot Automatic Grill-Cleaning Robot
Keeping your grill clean is one of the most important things you can do for both your food and to ensure safe grilling. But sometimes you just need a break from the scraping and brushing before and after every grill use. Luckily, the Grillbot Automatic Grill-Cleaning Robot is here to help.
The Grillbot is a small robot that works like a Roomba for your grill. Measuring eight inches in diameter, the Grillbot comes in multiple colors and has a rechargeable battery to re-power between uses. Most importantly, the Grillbot has three brass brushes powered by three small motors and can run in multiple time cycles for quicker or longer cleaning sessions.
While the Grillbot is great at clearing the surfaces of your cooking grates, you’ll likely still need to get in there with your handy brush to get into the corners and between the grates. That said, for casual cleanings between your regular deep grill cleaning, the Grillbot is an excellent piece of technology that you can add to your outdoor kitchen today.
Smart Wireless Propane Tank Scale
There is no worse feeling when it comes to propane grilling than realizing mid-cook that you’re running out of gas. While our first recommendation is to regularly refill your propane cylinder and to have a full back up on hand, the Smart Wireless Propane Tank Scale is an easy and safe way to monitor your propane levels.
The Smart Wireless Propane Tank Scale sits under your tank and is sleek enough to fit almost anywhere your tank can. It is compatible with 20, 30, and 40-pound propane cylinders and lightweight enough for travel yet sturdy enough to support a heavy tank. The scale is also battery powered and, with regular use, will last up to three months on just two AA batteries.
The scale has a companion app that is easily downloadable on your phone or other device and syncs seamlessly. Once connected, the app will give you a full reading, providing a percentage remaining as well as an estimated time of use available.
The Smart Wireless Propane Tank Scale is by no means the only option available when it comes to digitally and wirelessly monitoring your propane levels. Whichever brand or product you opt for, this piece of technology is a must-have for your outdoor gas grill.
Looft Lighter Grill and Fire Starter
The Looft Lighter Original Grill and Fire Starter is a must have piece of grilling technology for anyone who cooks with charcoal with any kind of regularity. No more manually stuffing a chimney starter and certainly no more dousing your charcoal with starter fluid.
In the simplest of terms, the Looft Lighter fire starter is a super-powered hair dryer, blowing hot air to light your charcoal. And it’s fast, hitting temperatures of 1100°F in as little as 60 seconds. And while it heats up quick, it cools off just quickly, cooling down seconds after use. While originally designed for charcoal, it also works for other fuel sources, like fireplace wood and briquettes.
The Looft Lighter is electric, so you will need a nearby power source or outlet, but you won’t have to worry about dealing with any gas, lighter fluids, or flames as you get your coals burning. This also means it is clean, with no CO2 emissions or other harmful fumes or flavors.
We’ve been recommending Chimney Starters over lighter fluid forever, but the Looft Lighter is a technological step forward that is a perfect addition to any outdoor grilling supply list.
ThermoPro Wireless Digital Meat Thermometer
A meat thermometer is a must-have addition to any outdoor grilling area or outdoor kitchen and while there are countless options, the ThermoPro Wireless Digital Thermometer is an exceptional piece of grilling technology for your set up.
The ThermoPro is a two-unit thermometer. The grilling thermometer features dual food grade stainless steel probes for monitoring two cooks at once. The probes can measure temperatures over 500°F and can withstand temperatures over 700°F. It comes with preset temperatures for nine types of meat (as determined by the USDA), though they can also be changed for personal preferences.
The phone-sized receiver is easy to carry with you and fits in your pocket. It displays temperatures in both Fahrenheit and Celsius and will read temperatures accurately up to 300 feet away while also featuring a timer that can be set to count down or up per personal preference.
One of our favorite things about the ThermoPro — in addition to its affordable price point — is that it doesn’t rely on a mobile app for your phone or tablet, removing the need for unreliable syncing and connections. It is battery powered and even comes with three AAA batteries included.
Napoleon Universal Handle LED Light
Grill lights are certainly not new technology, but in our opinion, they are one of the most necessary pieces of technology you can add to your grill. Luckily, the Napoleon Universal Handle LED is bright, affordable, and easy to use.
The Napoleon Universal Handle LED light is designed to be flexible, fitting multiple styles and sizes of grill handles. One of the best parts about this light is its portability, easily moved, removed, and replaced. Its clips can also attach to your tools and includes a built-in magnet, providing additional support and stability. The price is also hard to beat, coming in at just over $10.
As we mentioned, grill lights don’t technically count as “new” technology, but there’s no disputing their value when added to your outdoor grill.
Add the Latest and Greatest to Your Outdoor Kitchen Today
Now that you’re familiar with some of the latest in grilling technology, let us help you find the right new additions for you. Whether it’s a new Lynx SmartGrill for your outdoor kitchen or just a set of new Napoleon lights, we are ready to help bring your outdoor kitchen to the next level.
At the BBQ Depot we pride ourselves on our vast knowledge and experience when it comes to choosing a grill that will last. We’ve been selling and repairing grills for decades and we know which ones can be relied on and which ones cannot. Let’s make this the year you finally buy the grill you’ve always wanted.
Contact us today with any questions and we’ll help you find the reliable grill you’re looking for.