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

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Shake Shack’s DIY ShackBurger Kits Can Be Delivered Right to Your Door

In the Shake Shack meal kit from Goldbelly, you'll find all the ingredients necessary to make the chain's signature ShackBurger.
In the Shake Shack meal kit from Goldbelly, you'll find all the ingredients necessary to make the chain's signature ShackBurger.
Scott Olson, Getty Images

While it started as nothing more than a lone hot dog stand in 2001, Shake Shack now has locations all over the United States, with countless devoted fans that flock to the restaurant for fries, shakes, and, of course, their burgers. Now, you can try your hand at grilling up the chain's famous burgers with an official Shake Shack meal kit ($49) from Goldbelly, delivered right to your door.

Inside the box, you’ll find all the fixings to make a real ShackBurger. As you'd expect, it all starts with eight 100 percent Angus beef patties from Pat LaFrieda Meat Purveyors, which is the same beef blend used at all Shake Shack locations. You’ll also find eight potato rolls from Martin's, eight slices of American cheese, and the chain’s signature ShackSauce, along with tips on how to achieve that authentic Shake Shack flavor. The only extras you'll need to provide are toppings.

Shake Shack isn’t the only famous restaurant that offers their own meal kits. You could also whip up a cheesesteak from Philadelphia landmark Pat’s King of Steaks ($99); a lobster roll from McLoons Lobster Shack ($108) in Maine; and many others.

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!

9 Delicious Food Subscription Services That Help You Avoid the Grocery Store

Blue Apron's meal plans can be adjusted to meet your nutritional needs.
Blue Apron's meal plans can be adjusted to meet your nutritional needs.
Scott Eisen/Getty Images

While grocery shopping can be a time-consuming hassle during an average week, it can be nearly impossible to get what you want, when you want it, while social distancing. But before you give up on your meal-prep goals completely, consider the healthy (and cost-effective) hack that could help make cooking way more convenient: a food subscription service.

These services—which deliver boxes of snacks, wines, and complete meals straight to your door—give you new, tasty treats to try on a regular basis, so you can get right to the fun part (a.k.a. eating!). Whether you want to try new foods from around the world, recipes that will up your boxed mac and cheese game, or tasty beverages to help you unwind after a long day, these subscriptions are the perfect solution for any foodie with a busy schedule. After choosing one of these, you’ll never want to go to the grocery store again.

1. HelloFresh; $62-$98/week

A delivery from HelloFresh
HelloFresh has plans designed for two or four people.
HelloFresh

HelloFresh is a flexible meal subscription service that offers a two-person or four-person plan. The two-person plan gives you the option of two or four different recipes to try each week, while the four-person plan allows you to try two or three. The plans range from $7.49 to $9 per serving and have a standard shipping fee of $8.

HelloFresh's menus cater to your dietary preference, so in addition to the standard “meat and veggies” option, meals can be vegetarian, low calorie, or “family friendly” (a.k.a. easy, kid-tested recipes that make even the pickiest eaters happy). Each recipe is tested by the HelloFresh chefs a whopping 45 times, so you know what you’re eating is delicious. With the option to skip deliveries whenever you want, HelloFresh is the answer to the always-dreaded question: “When’s dinner?”

Try it: HelloFresh

2. Splendid Spoon; $65-$135/week

If you’re a vegan who hates cooking—but loves good food—Splendid Spoon is the answer to your daily meal woes. Not only does this service send you new meals to try each week, but they’re pre-prepared, so all you really have to do is pop your kit into the microwave. Splendid Spoon gives you three different weekly options: a Lunch plan that gives you five lunch bowls ($13 per meal), a Breakfast + Lunch plan that gives you five smoothies and five lunch bowls ($9.50 per meal), and a Breakfast + Lunch + Reset plan that gives you five smoothies, five lunch bowls, and one full-day reset, which includes soups to aid with digestion ($9 per meal).

Splendid Spoon allows you to choose their default meals for the week or choose from all 40-plus to customize your menu, so variety is never a problem. You can even make note of any ingredients or flavors you dislike in your Splendid Spoon profile to ensure you’re always getting what you want (and avoiding what you don’t). Best of all, these meals are all vegan, gluten-free, soy-free, and low in sugar and sodium, so they’re healthy in addition to being easy.

Try it: Splendid Spoon

3. Universal Yums!; $15-$39/month-to-month or $165-$429/year

If you’re a snacker with a taste for adventure, Universal Yums! is like a flavor passport. A subscription service that delivers snacks from a different country to your door each month, Universal Yums! lets you try international bites without ever having to leave the comfort of your own apartment. The month-to-month plan allows you to choose from three different-sized boxes, ranging from $15 for six-plus snacks to $39 for a pack of 20-plus. If you choose to dive in for a full year, the price per box is reduced, effectively giving you a month for free.

Each box comes with a booklet filled with trivia and games that celebrates the featured country, allowing you to learn while you snack. After trying your first box, you’ll (almost) never need to go on vacation again.

Try it: Universal Yums!

4. Art of Tea; $65-$215/subscription

A cup of tea.
The Art of Tea allows you to try tea from all over the world.
Timothy Dranov/ iStock via Getty Images Plus

If you’re more of a tea drinker, the Art of Tea has a subscription package that lets you taste test teas inspired by recipes from around the globe. Available in three-, six-, and 12-month subscriptions, this tea club features five different packages to choose from: the Caffeine Free collection, the Classics collection, the Single Origin collection, the Explore collection, and the Pyramid Tea Bags collection.

Each box comes with detailed information about the teas inside so you can learn more about them—including each one’s health benefits—while you wait for your beverage to steep. A great gift for yourself or someone else, this subscription package perfects the art of treating yourself.

Try it: Art of Tea

5. Urthbox; $15-$45/box (with a 12-month plan)

Urthbox is the perfect subscription service for anyone who believes in sustainable snacking. Delivering non-GMO, organic, and all-natural products, Urthbox includes healthy snacks, beverages, and more in their monthly packages. The boxes—which range from $15 per box to $45, depending on the size—only include products that have passed Urthbox’s strict standards. The company evaluates everything from sourcing to nutrition to manufacturing, so you can feel good about the products you’re munching on. And if you're on a specific gluten-free or vegan diet, you can specify that when you order, so your snacks will always be in line with your nutrition goals.

Although most boxes are snack-based, some also include supplements, skincare items, hair products, and more as a fun bonus each month. Each box is a surprise, but even though you don’t know exactly what you’re getting each month, you’ll know that it will always be good.

Try it: Urthbox

6. Blue Apron; $48-$120/week

The menus available from Blue Apron.
Every Blue Apron meal kit comes with background information on the dish and simple instructions to follow.
Carl Erwich/Getty Images

With Blue Apron, you choose from three different plans—a two-serving Signature plan, a four-serving Signature plan, or a two-serving Vegetarian plan—that allow you to customize how many recipes you’d like to receive each week. The prices range from $7.49 per serving to $10, depending on the plan and the frequency, and shipping is free for all options.

Blue Apron’s Signature plan allows you to personalize your menu each week based on your dietary preferences. You can have the standard meat and fish options delivered regularly, or you can opt for Weight Watcher-approved and diabetes-friendly meals, depending on your needs. Recipes are chef-designed and perfectly portioned, and with easy step-by-step instructions to follow on each recipe card, you’ll start feeling like an accomplished chef the moment you turn on your oven.

Try it: Blue Apron

7. Naturebox; $30/yearly membership

Whether you’re looking for a low-calorie option, something that’s keto-friendly, or just a downright tasty treat, Naturebox has everything you need for a fully stocked snack drawer. While you can purchase individual snacks (ranging from $4 to $20 with your membership discount), you can also buy snacks in bulk, ranging from $35 to $150, leaving you with more than enough to eat through every month.

Naturebox also gives you the flexibility of putting a box together whenever you want it, meaning there’s no need to worry about managing your subscription. And if you don’t like one of the snacks you choose, the company has a “don’t like it, don’t eat it” policy, where you can receive a store credit for any snack you don’t like within 90 days of receiving it. Now that’s some smart snacking.

Try it: Naturebox

8. igourmet, $100-$684/club subscription

Although you can buy individual gourmet products through igourmet, their Food-of-the-Month clubs deliver a selection of standout products in a single category, like cheese, bacon, or coffee, with options for three-month, six-month, and 12-month plans.

Each box comes with a newsletter to guide you through each product, including its history, the region it came from, and more. Shipping and handling is completely free, and if you aren’t a fan of your subscription package, igourmet will reship and refund your purchase hassle-free. This subscription is a great gift—whether for a family member, a friend, or yourself!—and it will make you a certified gastronome in no time.

Try it: igourmet

9. California Wine Club; $41-$231/shipment

A group of people enjoying wine.
There are a lot of ways to customize your California Wine Club plan.
ViewApart/iStock via Getty Images Plus

If you’ve ever wanted to do a wine tasting in your pajamas, a subscription to the California Wine Club is just what you need. Featuring selections from family-owned wineries, you can choose from six different plans: the Premier series (starting at $41 per shipment), the Signature series ($134), the International series ($71), the Aged Cabernet series ($231), the Pacific Northwest series ($77), and the Case Club series ($162). These clubs allow you to explore wine regions you’re curious about, expand your palate, or simply enjoy the wines you already know and love.

No matter which level you choose, you have the option of a monthly, bimonthly, or quarterly package, and each club subscription comes with a guide to all the wines included in your box, a personalized online profile to help you track your favorite wines, VIP tours at featured wineries, and more. Some of the series even allow you to mix and match the types of wine and how many bottles you get—giving you flexibility in addition to great wine.

Try it: California Wine Club

At Mental Floss, we only write about the products we love and want to share with our readers, so all products are chosen independently by our editors. Mental Floss has affiliate relationships with certain retailers and may receive a percentage of any sale made from the links on this page. Prices and availability are accurate as of the time of publication.

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