By Chef Ron Spaziani
It's my favorite time of the year: grilling season! Every weekend is spent outside over the grill making something different...from portobello mushrooms to steak. So whether you're a novice or an expert, you'll want to check out my list of the newest and coolest BBQ technology below.
1. Relic Oven
There's no need to build an expensive brick oven in the backyard when you can try out a portable brick oven. The Relic is a brick oven that's designed for everyone's favorite blistered-crust pizzas, charred ribs, chicken or even home-style breads. It’s shaped like the real, igloo-style, brick oven but sits right on top of a stand like a home grill. While I love the idea of this grill, and the claim that you can turn out a pizza from it in "90-seconds," there's no explanation on their Kickstarter page on how to actually use it. Presumably, the fire goes in the back and the pizza slides in beside it—but being just 22 inches wide I'm skeptical that there's enough room inside for all the parts.
Tired of looking for the matches when it’s time to get the BBQ going? Try this new handheld wand that ignites charcoal, briquettes, wood or pretty much anything else you need to get grilling in 60 seconds using super-heated air. You'll need an electric outlet to use it, but the Looftlighter has a 9-foot cord, so there's some flexibility. It also has an integrated bottle cap opener because aren't we all cooking with a beer in hand?
3. iGrill Mini
This is ideal for the lesser skilled grill masters. Stop burning items and start grilling the perfect meat. Of course the best way to be sure is to check for temperature because there's nothing worse than pulling something off a few minutes too late. The iGrill Mini from Weber is a wired probe to measure the temperature of a piece of meat while it's cooking. You don't need even need to stick around the whole time to watch the numbers rise, since it connects with an app on your iOS device to let you know something has reached its desired temperature when you're up to 150 feet away.
4. SmartGrill by Lynx
Are you struggling with becoming the Grill Master you dreamed of being? Well don't give up hope just yet...I found this high tech grill as a solution. It’s a little pricey, but The SmartGrill is a connected gas grill that automatically cooks foods based on your preference. You can connect your iOS or Android device, select one of hundreds of recipes from the SmartGrill app, and follow the on-screen instructions, which tell you where to place each item on the grill for the best result, and have everything ready to eat at the same time. It even supports voice commands and can talk back, telling you when it's time to flip over a steak of perform the next step in a recipe. You won't get that same charcoal-y taste, though, so keep that in mind.
5. On the Grill App
If you're looking to get creative on the grill then try out this app from Weber. It's has over 280 classic recipes, along with 40 recipes for marinades, rubs, and sauces. You can tag your favorite recipes, use it to create a shopping list, and email your favorite recipes to others.
This has probably happened to most of you. You invite people over, have a ton of food and then come to realize you have no more propane left. Refuel avoids this unexpected disaster. Many grills come with a built-in gas gauge, but in my experience, you can’t read the gauge because it’s either dirty or cracked. Make sure you never run out of fuel again with the Refuel, a connected propane gauge that can send updates on the status of your gas tank straight to your smartphone
7. Otto’s O.F.B. (Over-Fired Broiler)
This product is one of my favorites. This grill can reach up to extremely high temperatures around 1700º Fahrenheit. No need to go to a fancy restaurant...this product will flash-sear anything and even brulée some crème. The heat, interestingly, comes from up top (that's the "over" in "over-fired") by way of two side-by-side infrared burners, so it's more of an open-flame broiler that has to plug in to a gas source.
8. GoSun Grill
Everyone has been going solar so it was just a matter of time. Just sit back and use sunshine to fire up the grill this year with GoSun, it requires no fuel to operate. This solar-powered and portable oven is part of their initiative to lead at the "fuel-free frontier," by making it more efficient to cook food anywhere. The real technology is a battery that charges during the day but can power the grill even at night; at 80% efficiency, they're calling it "probably the best solar energy converter yet." The grill can also be used as an oven. It comes with loaf pan-shaped baskets that are inserted into an interior, insulated cooking tube. Not only it is used for grilling, but you can also roast, steam, boil or bake.
9. Smoker Box
I find this Smoke Box ideal for the beginner looking to learn how to smoke foods. It's simply a metal small box that you fill with wood chips, along with any herbs or spices you're planning to add. You then lay the box on the grill for the perfect wood-smoked flavor.