By Tracey Dowdy
Summer is winding down and Labor Day is almost here. Many of us will spend our weekend enjoying one last summer barbecue with friends and family before we head back to school. These tools will ensure this year’s last hurrah is your best yet.
One of the trickiest parts of grilling is knowing when the meat is properly cooked. Avoid making your barbecue memorable for all the wrong reasons by using Weber’s iGrill Mini, an app-connected thermometer that monitors your food’s “doneness” and notifies you via text once the food has reached the perfect temperature. Another option is the Maverick Pro-Temp Commercial Thermometer PT-100, a wireless, commercial grade meat thermometer that ensures your food is cooked to perfection. It’s water, dust and shock resistant, and has a temperature range of -40F (-40C) – 450F (230C).
The Brookstone Handle-Mount Grill Light is perfect for the guy who doesn’t want the party to end. This weather-resistant grill light has a pivoting, adjustable clamp that clips on to the grill’s handle. It uses battery powered LED bulbs and has two settings, one of which allows the lights to automatically shut off after six minutes so you don’t have to worry about accidentally running down the power.
There’s a great debate over charcoal vs. electric smokers, but for many it comes down to personal preference. If you’re a die-hard traditionalist, a wood smoker like Char-Griller’s Premium Kettle Charcoal Grill & Smoker is a great option. If, however, the thought of constantly monitoring the coals is more work than you’re willing to sign up for, the Masterbuilt Bluetooth Digital Electric Smoker may be the answer. Use your smartphone as a remote control via Bluetooth to power the smoker on/off, monitor and control the cooking temperature and duration, switch the food light on/off, and monitor the internal temperature of the foods you’re cooking.
Everyone knows having the right tools is important, so say hello to the Grill Wrangler 3-in-1 BBQ Tool, which combines three essential BBQ tools in one: tongs, spatula and fork. They’re definitely low-tech when compared to the other tools in this list, but trust me, sometimes simple tools are the most effective.
Raise your hand if you hate cleaning the grill after a cookout. I see a lot of hands, including both of mine. Well, the barbecue gods have heard your cry and sent you the answer to your prayers: the Grillbot, an automatic grill cleaning robot. To use, you simply place the Grillbot on the grill, press a button, and voilà, that’s it. Grillbot’s bristles clean the grates, so no more scrubbing! Features include a built-in LCD alarm and timer and a “brain” that regulates the speed and direction; it operates on a rechargeable battery via an (included) AC adapter.
Tracey Dowdy is a freelance writer based just outside Washington DC. After years working for non-profits and charities, she now freelances, edits and researches on subjects ranging from family and education to history and trends in technology. Follow Tracey on Twitter.