Barbecuing would be so much more enjoyable if the results were more predictable, right? Whether you're using propane, mesquite charcoal, or hickory wood, it can be tough to keep the temperature just right. And the fact that different foods require varying degrees of doneness complicates the issue even further. You can get away with undercooking a good steak or high-quality ground-beef patty, but you do that with pork or chicken at your peril. Now that I've grilled a few times with iDevices' iGrill Mini, I can't imagine cooking outdoors without it.
The iGrill Mini communicates with your smartphone or tablet via Bluetooth (iGrill says it has a range of 150 feet). Plug one end of its temperature probe into the iGrill and plunge the other into whatever you're putting on the grill, call up a recipe on your device, and the app will alert you the instant your food reaches the internal temperature called for in the recipe. It's that easy.
Peel the adhesive off the provided magnet, and you can mount the coin-cell-battery-operated iGrill Mini to your barbecue or any other surface (don't put it where heat will melt the adhesive, obviously). The probe connects to the iGrill with a 48-inch armored cable and it has an insulated rubber grip, but use caution when handling the probe as it still gets very hot.
Once you've paired the iGrill to your Bluetooth device, a green LED square lights to let you know it's communicating with the app (I used an Android smartphone, but there's an iOS version of the app, too). The larger iGrill 2 can monitor up to four probes and display the temperature on its face, but it's priced at $100, where the model reviewed here costs just $40.
The iGrill app has temperature presets for various cuts of beef, lamb, and pork; several classes of poultry, including game fowl; and six types of fish. Choose the cut you plan to barbecue, select the degree of doneness you seek, and the app will monitor the probe until it registers the desired internal temperature. At that point, it will produce an alert to let you know your food is ready.
For some foods, such as chicken, there's just one target temp, because that's when that food is safe to consume. But for steaks, you can choose rare, medium rare, medium, medium well done, and well done. The app identifies USDA-recommended cooking temperatures, too.
Once you've selected a target temperature, you can let friends and family know what you're up to with a post to your social networks of choice, including Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest. You can also send emails and text messages right from within the app.
Sign up for CIO Asia eNewsletters.