12 Expert-Level BBQ Gadgets to Buy This Summer

Giang Nguyen/istock via Getty Images
Giang Nguyen/istock via Getty Images

Outdoor barbecues are a beloved tradition, but that doesn’t mean you have to use traditional equipment. Grill masters and inventors are always cooking up new gizmos for the rest of us to play with. If you want to up your BBQ game, get your mitts on these 12 nifty items before the summer’s end.

1. Char-Broil SmartChef TRU-Infrared 420 3-Burner Cabinet; $644


This high-tech, Wi-Fi-connected grill lets you control your cookout from your phone. You can adjust the burner temperature and monitor cook times on your mobile device with the SmartChef Gas Grill Mobile App, where you can also access a whole library of delicious recipes. If you so desire, the grill will also remind you when it’s time to flip the meat and insert the temperature probes (among other tasks). The burners can also be operated manually, in case you want the occasional experience of cooking with a conventional grill. Whether you're using your phone or controlling temperatures manually, though, the infrared cooking system heats evenly and prevents flare-ups to keep your meat juicy.

Buy it: Walmart

2. Looftlighter Original Electric Fire Starter; $80


Never buy lighter fluid again. In just 60 seconds, the eco-friendly Looftlighter Electric Fire Starter can superheat air to set your charcoal ablaze, no flammable liquids required. Briquettes, natural coal, and wooden kindling can all be easily ignited by the handheld wand.

Buy it: Amazon or BBQ Guys

3. Grillbot Automatic Grill-Cleaning Robot; $100

An automatic grill cleaning robot on a charcoal grill
Grillbot, Amazon

Scraping the crud out of your grill is a nasty chore. The good news is, now you can outsource it. Grillbot is an automated cleaner—like a Roomba for grills—that removes charred residue with swiveling, removable brushes. Heat-resistant plastic allows the Grillbot to operate on sweltering surfaces, so it can be used whether your grill has cooled down or not. Just plop it on top of the grate, set the timer, and close the grill lid. Then grab a cold one while your new best friend terminates some grill scum.

Buy it: Amazon

4. Royal Gourmet 8-Burner Gas Grill; $366


Anyone throwing a big company party or family gathering will want this massive eight-burner grill on standby. It can cook more than 120 hot dogs (or upwards of 60 hamburgers) at the same time. If feeding that many hungry guests all at once doesn’t make you a summertime superhero, we don’t know what does.

Buy it: Amazon

5. Meater Smart Meat Thermometer; $70


The time has come to toss your simple meat thermometer in favor of something a little fancier. MEATER's wireless thermometer probe has two different sensors to ensure your meat is perfectly cooked. One sensor gauges the meat’s internal temperature, and the other measures the ambient heat. Status updates are sent to the free MEATER app, which you can use to keep an eye on your food from pretty much anywhere. (Webber’s iGrill2, $60, is another good option for backyard chefs seeking an app-connected thermometer.)

Buy it: Amazon

6. BBQ Grill Light & Fan; $90

Kill—or should we say, “grill”—two birds with one stone with Sharper Image's barbecue-top light/fan combo. The unit’s adjustable LED fixture gives you a light to cook by after the sun goes down. And no matter what time it is, you’ll want to take advantage of its other key feature: a pair of smoke-clearing fans. The clamp is designed to fit most grill hoods.

Buy it: Sharper Image

7. Stingray 7-in-1 BBQ Grill Multi-tool; $15


Barbecues are busy events—you’ve got burgers to flip, red-hot sausages to pull off the grill, and a six-pack of beer bottles to open. Normally, you’d need at least three separate tools to get everything done. But that’s the beauty of this stainless steel multi-tool from Stingray. It’s an ingenious cross between a BBQ fork, a pair of tongs, a spatula, and a bottle opener. And here’s the best part: You can operate the whole thing with one hand.

Buy it: Amazon

8. Bear Paws Shredder Claws; $13


Able to withstand temperatures as high as 475°F, the Bear Paws are a slick replacement for more conventional cutlery tools. They’re versatile, they’re easy to wash, and they’re just plain cool. Use them to lift, pull, and shred hot meats—all while embracing your inner grizzly.

Buy it: Amazon

9. Chef's Kitchen 7-Piece Outdoor BBQ Apron and Utensil Set; $13


You'll have no more panicked searches for misplaced BBQ tools with this apron and utensil set from Chef's Kitchen. For under $20, you can get a set of salt and pepper shakers, three stainless steel grilling tools, an oven mitt, and, of course, a durable apron with enough pockets to hold all those things.

Buy it: Amazon

10. Grillaholics Stuffed Burger Press; $15


What’s better than a hamburger covered in delicious toppings? A hamburger that’s stuffed with ‘em, courtesy of Grillaholics' stuffed burger press. Take some patty meat, put it at the bottom of this press, and use the inverted cup on the lid to make an opening for your favorite ingredients. Then put the remaining meat on top and close the contraption. With a simple squeeze, you’ll have the makings of a perfectly round, goodie-filled burger. Included with your purchase is a digital recipe book worthy of Bob Belcher.

Buy it: Amazon

11. Charcoal Companion Stainless Grill Clips; $10 for Four


Grilled veggies are a welcome addition to any BBQ spread, but flipping individual pepper slices or asparagus spears one-by-one is a pain. Fortunately, Charcoal Companion offers game-changing clamps that’ll save you a bunch of steps. Once you’ve secured a handful of vegetables inside one of these clips, you can flip them all in unison.

Buy it: Amazon

12. Camp Chef Woodwind Pellet Grill with Sear Box; $900


You don’t have to micromanage your fuel supply to grill meats with that perfect, wood-smoked flavor. The Woodwind automatically burns just enough wooden pellets to reach and maintain whatever cooking temperature you set. Inside, you’ll find 811 inches of cooking space. And next to the main grill, there’s a propane-powered sear box that gets as hot as 900°F.

Buy it: Amazon or BBQ Guys

Mental Floss has affiliate relationships with certain retailers and may receive a small percentage of any sale. But we choose all products independently and only get commission on items you buy and don't return, so we're only happy if you're happy. Thanks for helping us pay the bills!

Friends-Themed Monopoly Lets You Invest in Central Perk

Amazon/Hasbro
Amazon/Hasbro

Central Perk was a key location in the hit sitcom Friends. It’s where Rachel Green got her first job, where Phoebe performed the hit song “Smelly Cat,” and—most importantly—where the group of six New Yorkers spent an exorbitant amount of time sitting on the cafe's well-worn orange couch drinking coffee. But now, you can play as one of the six characters and finally invest back in Central Perk with Friends Monopoly, which is available on Amazon for $25.

In the box you’ll find six tokens, each one representing a different "friend." The purse is Rachel, the sweater-vest is Chandler, the pizza is Joey, the chef's hat is Monica, the acoustic guitar is Phoebe, and the dinosaur is, of course, Ross (though we would have settled for the Holiday Armadillo).

The game operates like regular Monopoly but with a few key Friends twists: To start, rather than invest in hotels and houses, players invest in coffee mugs and orange couches. The train stations have been replaced by modes of transportation from the show, such as Phoebe’s grandmother’s taxi, the boat Joey accidently bought at an auction, and the (slightly creepy) Relaxi Taxi. You’ll also pick up the Central Perk tab rather than pay an “income tax.” And as players go around the board, they’ll find squares with iconic moments of the show, like when the gang fashioned a "very long poking device" to check on Ugly Naked Guy across the street.

If you can't get enough of the fictional Friends cafe, you can always check out this LEGO set that allows you to build your own Central Perk, complete with six mini-figures of the whole gang—plus Gunther.

Mental Floss has affiliate relationships with certain retailers and may receive a small percentage of any sale. But we choose all products independently and only get commission on items you buy and don't return, so we're only happy if you're happy. Thanks for helping us pay the bills!

This Book of New York Times Articles Celebrates Over 150 Years of Historic Women

UncommonGoods
UncommonGoods

For well over a century, The New York Times has reported on countless historic moments in the fight for women's rights. And while there’s still plenty of progress to be made, you can look back on how far we’ve come with New York Times - Women Making History, an 87-page coffee table book that reprints articles on the major milestones in the women's equality movement just as they appeared in the paper over the decades. The book is available on UncommonGoods for $50.

This title has more than 150 years’ worth of articles detailing major marches, laws, and social movements, from coverage of the Equal Rights Convention of 1866 and suffrage marches of the early 20th century, all the way through the #MeToo era and the Time's Up movement from 2018. (You can check out the rest of the table of contents online [PDF].) The book also features an introduction by Susan Chira, a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and Gender Issues editor at The New York Times.

Women Making History book from UncommonGoods.
UncommonGoods

But this book won’t just help you learn more about important historic figures and events, because $5 of every purchase goes to Women for Women International, a nonprofit that advocates for women around the world. Started back in 1993, the organization helps women in eight different countries that have been afflicted by war or conflict. Their outreach enables women to earn and save money, get access to better healthcare, and much more. To date, they’ve given aid to more than 478,000 people.

Mental Floss has affiliate relationships with certain retailers and may receive a small percentage of any sale. But we choose all products independently and only get commission on items you buy and don't return, so we're only happy if you're happy. Thanks for helping us pay the bills!

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