For many of us, nothing says summer like firing up the grill and cooking outdoors. During a heatwave, it's a great alternative to warming up the house with the oven, and some people swear that food cooked outside just tastes better. Whatever your reason for flame broiling your favorite meal, we've got some grill gadgets that should make your summer grilling easier, as well as some tips and recipes submitted by our readers.
"My favorite tip is check the propane before you start grilling. Nothing worse than running out of propane in the middle of cooking." - Matt G.
The only thing worse than going out to start up your grill and finding your propane tank empty is getting halfway through cooking your burger and having the flame go out. While some grills come equipped with a propane gauge, it's often the first thing to malfunction. But the Refuel propane monitor can save your cookout. Just connect the device to your propane tank and use the handy app to monitor your fuel levels. It even comes with alerts that will warn you via your mobile device when your propane levels are low, so there's no excuse to run out.
"Use your thumb to make an indentation in the center of each hamburger patty before cooking - it stops some of the juices from running over the sides. Also, only flip each burger ONCE. cook fully on one side, then flip and cook the other - watch the side of the patty to tell when to flip; when the brown reaches the midline of the patty, flip it over." - Todd K.
If you prefer to cook with charcoal rather than gas, you probably know the challenges of getting the fire going. But check out the BBQ Dragon. It's a cooling fan that attaches to the side of your grill and promises to light a charcoal grill in 10 minutes. It's also handy for more than just grilling (like your fireplace) and it uses standard USB cables for charging.
"Cook with a 2 zone setup, have a hot side and a cooler side. This helps so you can keep food warm with out over cooking it , while you wait for the rest to get done." - David M.
The two zone setup is good for maintaining temperatures, but a good thermometer is a must for serious grillers to ensure meats cook properly. There are wired and wireless thermometer options and the latest ones come with apps that let you monitor your temps on your smart phone. Weber's iGrill model includes temperature presets for most of your favorite grilling options with the ability to add custom settings. It's a great way to save yourself from overcooked meats.
"Keep the grill clean to help avoid flare ups." - Cathy W.
Everybody knows it's important to keep your grill clean, but nobody loves the task of actually scraping off the dried up, burned on mess after a successful BBQ. If you ever wished there was someone else to do the dirty work, you're in luck. The Grillbot is like a Roomba for your grill. Just place the colorful cleaner on your grill and let it get to work. There are three electric motors that propel the Grillbot across your grill while wire brushes scrub your surfaces clean. A chip inside controls the speed, movement and direction of the brushes and it doesn't require babysitting. Grillbot will alert you when it's done by sounding an alarm.
"Keep some water next to your grill in case of a fire." - Tiffany H.
If the thought of a grill fire scares you, or propane tanks and charcoal just aren't your thing, check out this solar powered grill. This versatile alternative to classic grilling allows you to roast, steam, bake, fry or boil your food, provided you have enough sunlight. It boasts the ability to cook your food in minutes without requiring constant monitoring. So for a cookout on the go, it's a great option.
"My tip is to make my husband do it while I relax and cheer him on." - Lana W.
If you're looking to have someone to do the grilling for you while you relax on the patio or if you have to have the latest in smart home tech, this Lynx grill might just be the thing for you. Like other smart appliances, the Lynx grill responds to voice commands and has a variety of high tech features, including temperature sensors, automatic heat controls and voice recognition. But with a price tag around $10,000 you may want to stick with ordering your cell phone around and cooking your own steak.
"I like to put my veggies in foil with a little bit of water and make it into a bag. Easy steamed veggies." - Jessica K.
Grill Recipes App:
There are a bunch of great recipe apps out there, but for grilling, you can't go wrong with the Weber Grill app. Designed by the famous grill manufacturer, it features over 300 well-tested recipes with full-color photos, grocery lists, reviews, the ability to save recipes to your favorites and keep notes or share recipes with others. And while you're waiting for the app to download, check out these recipes from some of our readers:
- "Cube potatoes and season with Lawry's and garlic salt. A lot of Lawry's. Roll out some heavy duty aluminum foil and put the potatoes on the foil... Make sure you roll out enough to wrap up the entire pile of taters. Put some pats of butter on the taters. (Think Paula Deen.) Cover and seal the foil to make a pouch. Place it on the grill before your meat. Cook well. Even if they cook long, you'll get some nice crispies." - Christy S.
- "Grill up some pineapple slices = YUMMY dessert! Or try laying some large lemon slices on the grill & then cooking your fish (or chicken) on top of that - adds some great flavor & makes it easier to flip." - Julianne N.
- "My favorite quick summer recipe is marinate chicken in Italian Dressing overnight (or at least 3 to 4 hours). Throw on the grill." - Nicole P.
- "My favorite grilled chicken recipe is very simple : equal parts maple syrup and BBQ sauce (we use a 1/4 c. each but you can make bigger batches if needed) and a squirt of mustard. Stir that all up & baste chicken while it grills!" - Laura S.
- "I grill a turkey every year now. (See the recipe here.)" - Ryan F.