With its combination of a beautiful screen, bluetooth and integrated technology like geolocation and Internet access, the Apple iPhone has spawned a new generation of interesting technology ranging from the very futuristic Sphero to the iRadar (the latter of which we awarded a Best of CES 2012 award). While the IPhone is a handy timer, it never really crossed my mind that it could also be useful when cooking on the grill, but it turns out that the iGrill remote meat thermometer – with accompanying iPhone app – is a great addition to your BBQ efforts, and a perfect gift for any guy who isn’t a master of the grill…
Somehow guys are supposed to just innately be good at grilling foods on a bbq. I don’t know whether it’s supposed to be because of our caveman ancestry or that there’s a particular DNA strand that is focused on cooking meat over an open fire, or what, but the sad reality is that I know a lot of men who purport to be experts at grilling but admit that they guess and sometimes the food’s undercooked, but often it’s overcooked. I know from my experience, by the time I pull food off the grill, it’s rather torn apart from all the times I split and test, trying to gauge whether it’s properly cooked or not.
A meat thermometer is a great idea — one that I’ve never really thought of for grilling — but the wrinkle with it is that you’re then stuck having to constantly open the grill to check the temperature if you have a modern closed-top BBQ. That means it’s going to take longer to cook because every time you open it, well, all that lovely heat just dissipates.
The iGrill solves this in a very innovative manner: it not only has a temperature probe with a wire that connects it to its base unit, but it’s also a Bluetooth device and pairs with a handy iPhone / iPad app that actually tells you when the food’s cooked properly. How awesome is that?
Once you put the batteries in the iGrill and pair it with your device, everything’s surprisingly easy. I tested the device by cooking up some chicken shish kabobs, and pushed the probe into the thickest part of the chicken to start.
As you can see from this first screen capture, the meat started out cool, just a few minutes out of the fridge:
By default, it tests for the meat to hit 125F, but chicken actually needs to get hotter to be properly cooked, so to specify the type of meat I was grilling, I tapped on “iGrill Device Alarm Setting” and it showed me a long list of possible meats and desired cooking levels:
I choose “Poultry – Chicken” and it reset the desired temperature:
You can see even in those few seconds the chicken continued to heat up, as I’d expect since it was on a big Weber BBQ!
Some time passed and…
I suppose if you like your chicken semi-rare you could pull it off then, but I’m a bit paranoid about undercooked chicken so I let it get all the way up to the desired 165F. Just a few moments later it gave me the good news:
Interestingly, I was watching and I swear it went from 164F to 166F without stopping at 165F, but that’s okay. I turned off the grill, took a picture of dinner:
Pulled the chicken off the grill and it was delicious, not dried out (rather unusual with my approach to cooking chicken) and quickly eaten.
The iGrill also has some amusing tools you can examine, including a graph of how long it took for the meat to come up to the desired temperature (which makes very clear the times you open the lid to flip the meat or otherwise lose the heat) and it can also work with two probes, if you’re cooking a steak and some fish, or another combination of meats.
I was impressed with the iGrill, it’s more fun and entertaining than I expected it to be. At $79.99, it’s not the cheapest meat thermometer in the marketplace, however, and there are analog temp probe alternatives for as little as $20, but if you’re looking for a really slick gadget that, yes, would be a very nice Father’s Day present, I have to say I’m looking forward to having another chance to try out to the iGrill on my own BBQ.