Follow Slashdot blog updates by subscribing to our blog RSS feed


Forgot your password?
Technology Idle

Grilling For Geeks 169

A lot of us are going to be standing over a grill today cooking for friends and family. Here's an article that lists some of the best gadgets to help you grill like a geek. Whether you want some high-tech tongs, thermometers you can monitor from your phone, or a complete grilling station with wi-fi, there is bound to be a tool here that will make your day easier and a lot more fun.
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Grilling For Geeks

Comments Filter:
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday May 28, 2012 @10:57AM (#40135051)

    Do it online instead!

  • Amazing (Score:3, Funny)

    by ccguy ( 1116865 ) on Monday May 28, 2012 @10:57AM (#40135053) Homepage
    Loved the list! There's even some iGrill apps for your iPhone. It's always a great idea to have your smartphone close to the grill when you are cooking. Why didn't I think of this before?
    • Re:Amazing (Score:5, Insightful)

      by LateArthurDent ( 1403947 ) on Monday May 28, 2012 @11:03AM (#40135093)

      It's always a great idea to have your smartphone close to the grill when you are cooking.

      Right up until you said that, I thought you were serious, and got actually worried there was a large market for the items in the article among slashdot readers :)

      Seriously, being a geek isn't about using electronic gadgets. It's about obsessing over a subject and seeking to become very knowledgeable in it, to a fault. If you're a grilling geek, you're going to be very interested in grilling, and wouldn't want to be distracted by smartphones and wi-fi.

      And if you're a gadget geek who is forced to grill, the only thing you want is a gadget that will do the grilling for you, without your intervention.

      • by hazah ( 807503 )

        It's about obsessing over a subject and seeking to become very knowledgeable in it, to a fault.

        The chinese called this "Kung Fu" or "Gong Fu". A very old, and very facinating topic.

        Though I'm unsure about the "to a fault" bit. Maybe I over analized but it seems to suggest that something else, that is ncecessary, is neglected. The two do not have to corelate. I tend to call it balance, I think they did too.

      • by Hatta ( 162192 )

        You don't even need to geek up the grill in order to do it right. The most complicated machine you're going to need is a timer.

        • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

          by Anonymous Coward

          No, a thermometer. A timer will tell you when it should be done, given a set of conditions. A thermometer will tell you when it is done, regardless of the food thickness, flame temperature, using an unfamiliar grill, etc.

          • With experience you don't even need a thermometer. With experience and practice you can tell how done meat is by poking it with your finger to see how firm it is. It does take a fair amount of practice. Also for best grilling results don't use a fork to flip the meat, use a spatula or tongs as they won't pierce the meat. This will keep the juices inside the meat so even if you have someone who likes their steaks well done they will still be juicy. This is also why I don't like using a thermometer.
      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward

        Seriously, being a geek isn't about using electronic gadgets. It's about obsessing over a subject and seeking to become very knowledgeable in it, to a fault. If you're a grilling geek, you're going to be very interested in grilling, and wouldn't want to be distracted by smartphones and wi-fi.

        I disagree whole heartedly. I am in many many ways a geek, in my career and in my home life.

        in my home life, I _LOVE_ to grill.

        But when I'm doing an 18+ hour beef brisket, I would _love_ to have a (wifi) device that I could work with to get temperatures on my linux box, and send me alerts if the temps go outside of bounds so I can fix the problem. I don't spend 18 hours staring at the temp guage, as I like to enjoy life. I would also love to be able to graph my temps with cacti, particularly my meat temp

      • Never really got why one would use thermometers, timers and stuff like that for grilling. On a low-temp slow roast, perhaps, but mostly just poke it with your fingers. They are great sensors. Shitload of nerves in your fingertips, they will tell you all you need to know as long as you actually care to learn how to read the data. Well, you probably have more sensory nerve endings in the glans penis, but I don't think poking grilling steaks with your dick is a prudent idea....
        • Damn right.

          The burgers ain't done till I hear my brother scream "FUCK! Honey, get me the aloe!"

        • by gmhowell ( 26755 )

          I don't think poking grilling steaks with your dick is a prudent idea....

          Guess you're eating vegetarian if you come over to my house.

        • Damn straight. I only use the thermometer when cooking a roast in the oven. I use the finger poke method for steaks and burgers, for brats they are done when you can feel them boiling on the inside when you pick them up with tongs (they vibrate).
    • Yeahhhhhh... :) As soon as I saw 'iGrill' I hit the back button and stopped reading the article.
  • by gallondr00nk ( 868673 ) on Monday May 28, 2012 @11:02AM (#40135081)

    I grill my food using a Prescott P4 with the heatsink off.

  • Paid advertisement (Score:5, Insightful)

    by chepati ( 220147 ) on Monday May 28, 2012 @11:03AM (#40135087)

    Slashdot, please have some journalistic integrity and label these advertisements for what they truly are. Don't insult our intelligence by trying to pass them off as true stories.


    • And the site itself is just horrible. I think I finally found some competition for the most annoying website ever (it's time to add some new features,!)

  • Not very innovative and geeky. Let's see a gyroscopic pig roasting spit or a hack for my parabolic Weber turning it into antenna.
  • Not so geeky, imo (Score:5, Insightful)

    by TheGreatOrangePeel ( 618581 ) on Monday May 28, 2012 @11:05AM (#40135101) Homepage
    Some iPhone apps and a couple of gimmicky products ... Where's the Arduino based TC4C with LCD readout to use programming and thermocouples to tell you when your food is done. Where's the PID controlled BBQ smoker from a couple of flower pots and electric stove heating element? These are just the things from the top of my head! I'm probably burning some karma with this post, but I'm very disappointed.
    • Re:Not so geeky, imo (Score:5, Interesting)

      by drinkypoo ( 153816 ) <> on Monday May 28, 2012 @11:08AM (#40135125) Homepage Journal

      I'm probably burning some karma with this post, but I'm very disappointed.

      Well if you are, then I'm right there with you. Hell, I remember seeing the guy with what looked like a homemade PID controller for his cheap smokers on that BBQ "reality" show, winning competitions and so on against people with stupendously expensive equipment and thinking "I've seen code for that." Indeed, I've been thinking harder about doing some PID projects since they're so simple (once someone else has done the hard parts.)

      • :) - magic idea. I've been wanting to get a BBQ smoker but thought it too much bother to have to cook something for hours. What do you call the "hard parts"? maybe those are the easy bit for me.
  • by hey ( 83763 ) on Monday May 28, 2012 @11:08AM (#40135127) Journal

    Get the heaviest BBQ you can afford (and fits into you space).
    Pay attention first hand - don't use an app.

  • by nozzo ( 851371 ) on Monday May 28, 2012 @11:08AM (#40135129) Homepage
    .. there was not even one mention of an Arduino controlled grill with bluetooth temperature sensors that tweets when it's done. I want my click back.
  • by DeeEff ( 2370332 ) on Monday May 28, 2012 @11:11AM (#40135145)

    Really guys? Slow news day would be one thing, but this is ridiculous.

    At least show some honesty for what this is.
    P.S. in case you don't know what this is, I'll remind you that I check off the disable ads button, and use ad block. Still I read this and get upset. Wtf slash dot?

  • by The Stranger ( 24022 ) on Monday May 28, 2012 @11:13AM (#40135157)

    Personally, I think most of these gadgets are worthless. Yes, a thermometer is useful (but I prefer the instant-read kind like the Thermapen for quick checks in multiple locations). Otherwise, you really only need a good pair of extra-long tongs (that 3-in-1 thing in TFA looks clunky as heck) and a spatula.

    If you really want to grill like a geek, check out Kenji Alt's Food Lab [] posts over on Serious Eats. He's got a nice guide up right now on how to grill a steak the right way [] (complete with explanations based on food science and his own experiments), and he's been doing a series on the best inexpensive steaks (at least, inexpensive compared to porterhouse and tenderloin).

    • by Anrego ( 830717 ) *

      I'll second the Serious Eats recommendation. Some very good advice and presented in a very digestible (hah) way. As a grilling newb, I’ve put a lot of the info to use and actually seen results.

  • The submission is an ad. True geeks aren't just about gadgets, but rather they focus on being knowledgeable in a particular field.

    When it comes to grilling (and real BBQ) this is the ultimate geek reference:
    BBQ FAQ []
  • Protip (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Mashiki ( 184564 ) < minus caffeine> on Monday May 28, 2012 @11:16AM (#40135179) Homepage

    To my fellow geeks, if you've never grilled now's the time to start! If you fail, don't worry. This is how you learn, like learning how much you hate java but don't mine C#. But the secret? The secret is to find a sauce, or make a sauce that's all your own. But grilling in itself? You don't need hightech junk, you need patience and the want to learn.

    My personal recipe: All done to taste,
    Ketchup, yellow mustard, parmesan cheese (powder or bricked shredded), garlic powder, pepper(varieties are your friend), dried sweet red pepper, sweet dried onion. Dash of milk or cream, dash of sugar(icing, brown or white to sweeten, can also use honey), then 1/3 to 1/2c of your favorite beer or 1 to 2 shots of your favorite hard booze.

    • by mrjb ( 547783 )
      Nice, but you forgot the geeky bit. Slow-cook chicken bits (legs/drumsticks/wings) for several hours at 70-75C in a marinade of water, honey, sweet soy sauce, tomato puree, pepper, garlic, ginger, chillies and onion. Pat dry, then grill on coal. Meanwhile reduce the marinade into a sauce. Use for basting and pour over the chicken after grilling. The low slow-cooking temperature is high enough to kill off bacteria, yet low enough to prevent the collagen in the chicken to contract to the point where it gets
      • Indeed. That's proper food geekdom - not some gadgets of marginal use. I'd throw in a few slices of lime and a bit of chopped cilantro for the marinade, but hey, you can play with the taste.
    • I believe in two simple principles in cooking - heat & proportion.

      Get it right, you've got a dish.

      bon apetit

    • You should try it without sauce, putting coarse salt on the meat before cooking. When I grill, I know people are in it for the red beauty, so I cook something pure and leave dressings for the salad or potatoes.

  • by sjbe ( 173966 ) on Monday May 28, 2012 @11:20AM (#40135213)

    The only "gadget" that is really necessary is a decent thermometer appropriate to the task at hand. I say it is a gadget because if you really know what you are doing a thermometer is optional. (I'm not that good so I use thermometers heavily when cooking and have a wide variety of them - the most gadgety one I have is an infrared thermometer for non-contact temp readings) A good grill, a fire extinguisher, some tongs and possibly a spatula are pretty much the only requirements. You really shouldn't be walking away from the grill while cooking for safety reasons so I don't really understand the point of remote monitoring except for really low & slow cooking like BBQ. The best "gadget" you can get is a geeky cookbook like the ones Alton Brown writes.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by zerro ( 1820876 )
      +1 I picked up Alton Brown's Good Eats: The Early Years a while back and like the TV show of its namesake, it is as informative as it is entertaining.
    • Shouldn't be walking away from the grill due to safety reasons? What kind of condition is your grill in? Do you recommend I stand there for hours while something cooks? A quality grill in good condition should be as safe as a gas stove. Even safe if you're using charcoal. While you probably shouldn't take a nap while you're grilling, I don't think it's a bad idea to go back into the kitchen while something is cooking to prepare other parts of the meal.
      • Shouldn't be walking away from the grill due to safety reasons? What kind of condition is your grill in?

        Doesn't matter. Mine is in excellent condition but I still wouldn't walk away from it for more time than it takes to grab something from my kitchen. Just like I wouldn't leave an active stove or oven unattended inside the house. I'm not saying you can't take your eyes off it for a few minutes if the situation seems reasonably secure but leaving it alone long enough for remote monitoring equipment to become useful is probably a bad idea.

        Do you recommend I stand there for hours while something cooks?

        In most cases yes. (It's ok if you sit down but don't go far away)

        • Maybe if you are roasting a whole turkey but you probably aren't doing that on the grill anyway.

          I do a beer can turkey at least once or twice a year. ~4 hrs, indirect heat, no flareups, good grill. Start checking temps after a 2 hours or so. No reason to stand there watching it.

          Beer can chicken (~2.5 hrs) at least once a month. Again, no reason to sit there watching it.
        • You are probably the kind of guy who wont let his clothes dryer run when hes not home either.
      • by Khyber ( 864651 )

        "Shouldn't be walking away from the grill due to safety reasons? What kind of condition is your grill in?"

        NEVER leave a fire unattended.

        Especially if you're using mesquite wood for grilling.

  • by sed quid in infernos ( 1167989 ) on Monday May 28, 2012 @11:29AM (#40135261)
    Hamburgers should not be made in a press. If you're going to do that, you might as well use pre-formed patties. They should be carefully formed, with as little pressure as possible from 4 to 5 ounces of beef - 6 at the most. The center should be slightly thinner than the edges - use your thumb to make a small depression on each side. Mashing the burger together in a press will make it harder to break apart on the grill, but a little care and a CLEAN grill will make it unnecessary without sacrificing texture and juiciness. If you want to be really obsessive about it, line up the strands of ground beef vertically in a ring mold and then press them lightly together, but that can be a bit of a pain.
    • by mrjb ( 547783 )

      If you want to be really obsessive about it, line up the strands of ground beef vertically in a ring mold and then press them lightly together, but that can be a bit of a pain.

      Ah, the old Blumenburger.

  • Really? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by koan ( 80826 ) on Monday May 28, 2012 @11:31AM (#40135277)

    Why not take a day off from hardware/software and computers, regress to your caveman days and grill some meat, take a digital sabbatical.

    • No rest for the wicked. Some of us CANT turn it off, btw. If we could, we wouldnt be geeks.
      • No rest for the wicked. Some of us CANT turn it off, btw.

        That just means you don't have self-control. In fact, I'd say it indicates you have a compulsion, which is a little bit unhealthy.

        If we could, we wouldnt be geeks.

        Speak for yourself.

  • Real Geeks Hack (Score:4, Informative)

    by Bob9113 ( 14996 ) on Monday May 28, 2012 @11:42AM (#40135341) Homepage

    Real geeks hack their tech. And when it comes to cooking, you can buy something that is half as good as what you can build, for twice the price -- as this ridiculous article handily demonstrates. Food hacking (or Modernist Cuisine, if you prefer) is a very big field these days. Want a great steak? Start with sous vide immersion cooking to get the perfect medium rare, then hit it with a flamethrower for the char. Play with your food.

    Immersion Cooker (about $100 all-in): []

    Weedburner Charring (about $35 at Harbor Freight): []

    Here's some more info on building your own meat jacuzzi: []

  • Geeks should keep to hacking away at code and circuits and not hacking at the carcasses of dead critters.

  • Grilling steak (Score:5, Informative)

    by DoofusOfDeath ( 636671 ) on Monday May 28, 2012 @11:47AM (#40135375)

    This is low-tech, but it's yielded consistent, good results for me:

    Texture and taste are best when it's medium-rare on the inside. Once I accepted this, everything fell into place and everyone now loves the results I get.

    And, to get my results:

    - Use high heat on the grill.

    - Judge done-ness by how much resistance the steak offers when you push on it with tongs or whatever. I'm sure this could be measured, but it only takes a few steaks to developed your own judgment.

    - Letting the steak rest for 5 minutes before serving really is a good idea. It's when the final internal cooking occurs (so you can avoid over-cooking the outside), and it seems to reduce how much juices leak out when you cut it.

    - It's worthwhile to spend your money on a smaller cut of good steak, than a bigger cut of cheap steak. (If you're serving the steak on its own merits, as opposed to in a chili, stew, etc.)

    • For steak, I go for rare. Body temperature on the inside, lightly grilled on the surfaces. For everyone else, they usually go medium rare to medium. I cook theirs to their whims.

      As you said, go for better foods, than quantity. There's usually a happy medium. I like filet minion, but a good sirloin cooked properly tastes great also.

      The only adjustment I'd make for your instructions is to cook both sides fairly quickly.

      - cook the first side for

  • . . . the grilling is finished.

  • Better geek grilling (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward

    These are some pretty piss poor "Geek grilling gadgets"

    Those that get their geek on grilling want the best information gathering for the experience. How about this top 5?

    1.) A good IR thermometer. I use this for everything from candy, to my grill, to my pizza oven, to my forge, to my fire pit:

    2.)A meat grinder. I personally prefer a manual one, as I had two electric models burn out on me. I know there are plenty

    • I will geek out about knives: []

      I own a sushi, a santuku (chefs), a deba (cleaver) and a pairing knife. All for about 15 years. Long before "santuko" knives were all the rage.

      They take care to use and maintain. Cutting acidic foods means an immediate cleaning or use the "wedding gift" set. Especially onions.... I will coat the iron blade in oil before I start and it will still flash rust.

      But, you can damn near shave with any of them, except the deba, but it will cut a froze

  • Not at all geeky, and admittedly contributing to the shameful advertising nature of this story, but of all the grilling gadgets I've bought Grill Grates have hands down been the best investment: []

    The marketing seems more or less accurate, though I haven't personally done a controlled scientific comparison.

  • by Gordonjcp ( 186804 ) on Monday May 28, 2012 @12:12PM (#40135487) Homepage

    For those of us in the northern hemisphere, it's summer. It's far too hot and sunny to have a barbecue.

    I mean really, who in their right mind wants to go and stand outside on a hot day, cooking hot food on a pile of hot burning charcoal? It's stupid.

    Have your barbecue in the winter, when you can stand round a big hot pile of burning charcoal eating hot things and there are no annoying midgies or mosquitos.

  • Good grief. Why did you wait UNTIL THE DAY they should be used to actually post about useful gadgets that require time to purchase, set up, and check out before use?

    Now any of us who would have liked to obtain and use one of these gets to fret about how much BETTER the holiday could have been, rather than actually having the gadget operating and ENJOYING it.

    TFA was updated two days ago so it obviously had been up for at least that long. A week or two lead would have been ideal.

    This is right up there with

  • You've got to be kidding! The way to make grilling fun is to get good results, and that means understanding what you're doing. I use an app called BB Meat Master which has an odd name and looks basic but the info on it is absolute gold and I haven't grilled a steak wrong since. You can spend $100 on a wireless something or other or you can spend $1 on an app. Your choice!

  • Having had a near disaster barbecue propane incident occur at a friends house, I highly suggest at least one fire extinguisher. Nothing boosts geek cred like swearing at fire department telephone dispatch while calmly knocking down a 12 foot pillar of roaring flame from an openly venting propane tank.

    Discharge the extinguisher at the base of the flames, and using a glove, turn off the tank valve.. it will be freezing cold and the tank will be covered in ice. First aid for flash burns is to immerse in coo
  • It's 1020 now; I wonder if Amazon can deliver by 1600 today?

  • Whoever wrote this article needs a smack upside the head. The BBQ Guru controllers are intended to control the temperature of charcoal smokers, and won't do anything for you if you're grilling. I s'pose you could get one to work on a Weber kettle if you really wanted to, but at that point you're cooking with a grill, not grilling.

    Anyway I'm using BBQ Guru's PartyQ unit on my Weber Smokey Mountain. I'd recommend the thing almost as much as the WSM itself.

  • I am surprised that programmers are still coping at all. All these summer times, winter times, changing start and end dates at will.

    It is like a quicksand.
  • Reel geeks grill with the sun.

    But they wouldn't use this pre-made contraption: []
    A reel geek would build his/her own, probably fixing the flaws in commercially available products.

  • To be fair, I thought that "S'more Maker" was a clever little device, for only $15 or so. I don't really know anyone who wanted to make those on a BBQ grill in the first place? But doing it the old-fashioned way, over an open flame with a stick of some sort, always leads to messy s'mores with random tree bark bits or other junk on them, from the stick you used. It might be a way to do it pretty well on a grill, and I'd probably try it just for the heck of it.

    Most of that other stuff seemed pointless or to

  • I enjoy the Kamado [] type of cooker.

    It's low-tech in that you don't need any fancy apps to keep the temperature just where you want and you can make some really great food. If basic air-control is too low-tech you can buy one of these []. And yes, it is hackable.

    But the KomadoKamado is high-tech in the dual-layer isulation and CNC machined parts. (And there are *plenty* of geeks on the forum).

  • Sorry, these are just "pretend" gadgets for gadget-buyers. Just the kind of overprized gadgets you can get for any hobby. Usually, they say things like "for the serious foo lover", or "for the real foo conoisseur". Bullocks.

    And gadget-buyer and geek is not the same thing. Even though gadget-buyers are the kind of people who run around telling everyone that they are real geeks.

    This [] is a geek barbecue

    This [] is a geek barbecue

    And so is this []

  • This is typical of the rubbish found on Digg. Please lets not allow slashdot to be gamed by stories involving the ten best (insert topic) lists. This is just affiliate advertising disguised as an informative article.

  • The spelling error in the URL bothers me way more than it should...

"If it's not loud, it doesn't work!" -- Blank Reg, from "Max Headroom"