Toys are fun. Toys that can actually make your life easier, well…
A FedEx box arrived. Everybody likes it when a FedEx box comes to their house. Especially, if it’s not even close to Christmas, your birthday or any other gift giving occasion. This being the end of February, it was to late for a Valentine’s Day whatever and a little on the early side for a vacuum packed corned beef and cabbage.
Once I tore into it, I discovered what could possibly be the coolest BBQ gadget of all time. The nice folks at iDevices had sent me the most talked about cooking tool at this years Consumer Electronics show. The iGrill. This would be fun.
Like every guy on the planet. I love to grill. It’s been said that the urge to grill is woven into the DNA of every man alive. I won’t dispute that. I know from my own personal experience that I can smell a grill being lit or a juicy burger cooking from a half mile way. And, once I smell that smell, the urge to participate is overwhelming.
The contents if the iGrill box is pretty simple. Thermometer unit, probe and a short instruction sheet. It doesn’t get any easier than that. Oh, they even include 4 AA’s in the box. What a pleasure not to have to root around in my kitchen drawer for batteries that still had some life in them.
You’re looking at the whole thing right there. Simplicity.
Once unpacked, I was determined to put the iGrill through it’s paces. I thought about a roast of some kind for it’s maiden voyage. Maybe chicken. It probably should be something that didn’t need flipping or too much moving around on the grill. A beer can chicken would work great.
I downloaded the latest iGrill software from iTunes and was ready to check things out.
I seasoned up a 4 pound roasting chicken with some Memphis rub from a recipe in the BBQ Bible by Steven Raichlen. This is a fantastic mix of spices. Great on beef, chicken or pork. I thought this would give my chicken a little extra zip. You should try it.
I inserted the temperature probe into the breast making sure not to have it touching the bone. I found a can of Old Style. Opened it, drank half and used the remaining beer and can for the recipe.
I started pre-heating the grill and paired my phone with the iGrill base unit. A simple procedure. The phone found the iGrill with no problems. I placed the chicken on the grill and was ready to have some fun.
The iGrill’s phone interface is great. Simple to use and super easy to understand what’s going on under the hood of your BBQ.
Check out the display options. From left to right. The first is what I called the master display. You have target temperature, current food temperature, a time until complete approximation and a graph on top of the temperature history. Lots of info. Next there is a traditional meat thermometer display. It has the temp in digital form and an old school thermometer reading that we all know and love. Lastly there is a timer. I wish it had the option of count up as well as count down. I like seeing how long something has been cooking, not just the time to completion.
As the cooking got underway, the temp started working it’s way up. Things were going great until I hit a small snag. I powered on my phone and couldn’t get the app to connect. It wouldn’t show any of the three screens above. I went out to the grill to check the base unit. It had the temperature displayed just fine.
My Bluetooth connection said it was working. I re-started my phone. After it finished re-starting the display came right back on and with the correct temperature. If I kept the phone on it was fine. If I turned the phone off without first closing the app and turned it back on again it was OK. But, if I closed the app, then turned off the phone. No connection. If I re-started the phone all was fixed and all of the up to date temp details were accurate.
It’s a little glitch in the program. I’m not even certain if it might just be an isolated incident. In any event, it’s something that I am sure will get smoothed out in a future update of the software. And, the problem isn’t big enough to consider not purchasing the unit. Even with that minor blip, the operation of the device and it’s reporting of the temperature was right on. The convenience of not having to wonder what was really happening to your soon to be meal was liberating.
When my chicken reached my target temp I was ready to see if the internal temperature of my bird matched the what the device was reporting. After sampling a couple of different locations on the chicken with an instant read, I am happy to report that the temperature was right on the money.
The Bottom Line
If you like grilling and you like gadgets the iGrill is for you. It had a small hiccup in the Bluetooth handshake, but, I think that’s something that will get resolved quickly. The accuracy was great and the clear, readable displays let you “look under the cover” of the grill as it’s cooking. This would be perfect for monitoring something on the smoker. It seems the smoker is even more mysterious than the BBQ. I’m going to give that a whirl next. Can someone say pulled pork.
I know one gift giving occasion that is on the horizon that the iGrill would be perfect for. Father’s Day. And, it’s closer than you think…