Some cooks pride themselves on their mastery of the grill and are happy to spend hours tending to meats. However, if you love barbecue but hate the idea of being stuck next to one all afternoon, Char-Broil’s new SmartChef gas grill connects to a smartphone app so you can monitor your dinner while doing anything else.
As barbecues go, the SmartChef TRU-Infrared Gas Grill sounds like it has most of the bells and whistles that even an experienced grill-master could need, including stainless steel burners, a sideburner for pots and pans, porcelain coated grates for easy cleaning, and even glowing LED knobs so you can keep on grilling into the night.
But this $800 grill might actually be more appealing to barbecue amateurs who haven’t quite developed the obsession needed to tend to a rack of ribs for hours, or who don’t know how to give a steak the TLC it deserves. Using built-in sensors and temperature probes that can be inserted into various foods, the SmartChef grill connects to your home’s wi-fi network so that it can talk to an accompanying iOS app and provide continuous feedback on how dinner is coming along.
The SmartChef app can provide updates and notifications on grill temperature, when it’s time to flip a steak, when it’s time to take food off the grill, an estimation of how much time is left, and even other status updates like warnings when the propane tank gets too low.
As someone gets more comfortable with grilling, the SmartChef TRU-Infrared Gas Grill has different modes that start off by walking an amateur through every last step for a specific dish they’ve selected and include more advanced modes that simply provide details on the grill’s status from afar so you can instead spend time socializing with the guests you invited to your barbecue, and not the barbecue itself.
Do you really need to spend $800 on a barbecue just because it’s joined the smart appliance club? The answer is probably no for casual grillers who aren’t perfecting their rib recipe every weekend. And the wi-fi hardware on the SmartChef grill isn’t powered by propane, so you’ll need to make sure you have a place to plug it in outside, which could be inconvenient. But if you’re obsessed with something like brisket, which takes even longer than a few hours, a wi-fi enabled grill might finally give you your life back.
Update, 2:37 p.m. EST/EDT: A Char-Broil representative has reached out asking to point out that the SmartChef grill’s accompanying app also allows users to remotely monitor, and adjust, the cooking temperature to ensure nothing gets overly charred or too well-done.