Tag Archives: iPad apps

Review: iGrill Cooking Thermometer

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For my birthday, my wife and mother-in-law went in together and got me an iGrill Cooking Thermometer.  I finally had the opportunity to use it this weekend and wanted to share my experiences with you.

iGrill Remote Thermometer

iGrill Remote Thermometer

At its core, the iGrill cooking thermometer is an excellent cooking thermometer.  It has two built-in-alarms for monitoring cooking temperatures and a very simple and sleek interface.  What sets iGrill apart from other remote thermometers is the remote monitoring is done via a Bluetooth connection to your iPhone, iPod Touch, or iPad.  It has room for two probes and boasts a range of 200 feet.

There are currently two apps in the Apple App Store for the iGrill — the iGrill classic app and the iGrill pro app (listed as just “iGrill” in the Apple app store).  My experiences have only been with the iGrill pro app, so if any of you have used the iGrill classic app, I’d love to hear about your experiences.

My test for the iGrill remote thermometer was on a pork butt.  I set the initial alarm for 185 degrees on the device, inserted the probe into the pork butt, and walked away.

The iGrill in use

The iGrill in use

As you can see, the display on the device is easily visible.  There are no mechanical buttons — the iGrill utilizes a touch interface with no visible seams.  The device can be set to be in a lying down, propped up, or hanging position.  After about 5 minutes, the on-screen display turns off, but any existing Bluetooth connections are maintained to allow for continued monitoring.

The iGrill app is available for the iPhone, iPod Touch, and iPad.  I downloaded the version for the iPad.  The interface has a dark color scheme with white and red lettering for better nighttime visibility.

As you can see, the left side of the app will show temperature information for probes that you have connected to the thermometer.  The right side of the app is for different tools contained within the app.  Those 2 tools are timers and graphs.  The timers do pretty much what you expect it to do.  What really intrigues me is the graphing capabilities.  The graph keeps a running track of probe temperatures against time.  It even allows you to export the graph results to PDF or CSV format (for custom manipulation within your favorite spreadsheet program).

So… back to the butt…  I injected the butt (appx. 7 lb) with a mixture of apple cider vinegar, BBQ rub, cayenne pepper, and tenderizer.  Then I rubbed the butt with a BBQ rub sent to me by Mick Chessor of Rub Won Out BBQ (thanks a bunch!).  Then on to the cooker at 11am.  The cooker was cooking hot today, so I decided to go with a hot and fast approach.  The average temperature ranged between 275 degrees and 325 degrees.  After about 5 hours, I pulled the butt off, let it rest for about 30 minutes, and then pulled it.

Butt's done!

Butt's done! Sorry about the blurry pic -- you get the idea...

All in all, I was very pleased with the results.  The pork was very tasty, and the remote thermometer was just really cool to use!  This is a great tool that is worth the investment, although I suggest spending the extra money to purchase the version with 2 probes included.

The website for iGrill is http://www.igrillinc.com.  There is a link at the top of the site to purchase the device.  The iGrill is listed at $99.99 for a single probe iGrill and $104.99 for a dual probe iGrill.  It is also available for purchase through Amazon.  The iGrill and iGrill Classic apps are available as free downloads from the Apple App Store.


App Review: GrillStar – BBQ Timer and Guide

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In addition to being a BBQ and grilling fanatic, I’m also a bit of a techno junkie.  It comes with the territory of working as a web and software developer during the day.  So when asked if I wanted to try out a grilling app, who am I to refuse?  So let’s dive in and take a look at GrillStar — BBQ Timer and Guide.  It’s available for 99 cents in the Apple App Store.

GrillStar Initial Screen

GrillStar Initial Screen (on the iPad)

The premise of GrillStar is to have the user emulate on the app exactly what he or she is doing on the grill, and GrillStar accomplishes this by presenting its primary interface as grill grates.  There are three different zones presented — a sear zone (denoted with a red background), a direct heat zone (yellow/orange background), and an indirect heat zone (black background).  These zones can be toggled on and off as well as be adjusted in size.

Adjustable heat zones

Adjustable heat zones

To add a meat to the grill, click the “Add” button at the bottom right corner of the app.  You’re then presented with a graphical interface to allow you to choose between traditional meats, seafood, and vegetables.  After making your selection, you can choose from various items to place on your virtual grill.  When you make your selection, you’ll be presented with the screen below.

Selected item screen

Selected item screen

From here, you can name the particular piece of meat you’re about to cook, set the flip timer (in minutes) and done timer (in minutes), and add it to the grill.  Not sure how long to set the timers?  That’s okay too.  Just click “Ask GrillStar”, and you will be given suggestions for flip and done times (as well as temperature at which to cook).  You can either accept the suggestions by the app or edit them for your food.

"Ask GrillStar" screen

"Ask GrillStar" screen

After adding items to your grill, just click and drag them onto the grill grates to start the timers for each item.  When it’s time to flip or to pull off the grill, you’ll get both visual and audio notification that time is up.  To flip an item, just double-tap on it and select “Flip item”.  To remove an item (or edit its settings), press and hold on the item until a context menu appears.

Here are five things that, in my opinion, make this app stand out from other apps:

  • Each item on the grill has its own timer, so multiple items can be timed at once.
  • The timers continue to run in the background even after closing the app.
  • There is a very good selection of meats and vegetables available in the area to choose your item to put on the grill.
  • You can “add a minute” or “add two minutes” to items already placed on the grill.
  • Even though the app is meant for the iPhone/iPod Touch, the app’s graphics upscale adequately for the iPad.
GrillStar (on iPad, upscaled graphics)

GrillStar (on iPad, upscaled graphics)

Here are two things that would add significant value (in my opinion) to the app if implemented:

  • Add the ability to take multiple items ready to be put on the grill and automatically schedule  when to place them on the grill so that everything comes off at the same time.
  • Add the ability for a user to add his or her own meats to the app to choose from.

For 99 cents, this app is a steal!  It has many features that make the app worth more.  If you are grilling multiple items and need to track when to flip each item, then this app is a must-have for your iDevice!