Delicious meat on barbecue grill with coal on balcony. Grilling food on a balcony or a terrace with wonderful view. Small cheap BBQ grill at home.

Barbecue Apps: How the smartphone becomes the chief master barbecue assistant

16. June 2022 Published by Jana Greyling

The world remains in a bad way, but the weather’s improving. As a result, the pandemic is abating, and we also have to heat the home less. So just take a deep breath and get the barbecue on. We’ve earned it. Who doesn’t pine for grilled food? And now is the season for that. Germans love barbecuing meat and sausages, writes the German business magazine Wirtschaftswoche and explains the barbecue market with charts and figures.

Graphic: Wirtschaftswoche

Germans are on fire when it comes to barbecuing. Almost 90 percent of households had a grill at home in 2020 and 97 percent of Germans like to barbecue. According to a Statista survey, most Germans feel that a summer without barbecuing isn’t a real summer. Yet barbecuing has long ceased to be a male preserve – only 35 percent of Germans agreed with the statement that men grill the food and women prepare it. And Germans are willing to splash out on barbecuing – the market volume for grills and equipment is put at around 1.2 billion euros a year. However, barbecuing involves a bit more than grilling food. More than 140,000 tons of meat end up on German barbecues each year – that’s hard work and you’re grateful for every helping hand. And that’s where the smartphone extends a helping hand and takes care of entirely new tasks in the heat of the charcoal. Thanks to suitable apps and smart barbecue tools, it will become the chief master barbecue assistant in the summer of 2022. A barbecue app, whether for great recipes, smart timers or cool tips – our blog article shows you the apps that are bound to make every barbecue dinner a success.

Smart barbecues

The barbecue is not only a favorite in family gardens. Grilling on the balcony, in the city park or at the campsite is also very trendy. Small gas and electric grills have made a major contribution to that. They’ve made barbecuing flexible and mobile and, thanks to their quality, they can easily match big grills. And they’re especially popular with barbecue fans in cities. The barbecue community has also been keen to adopt the trend toward digitization and smart networking. For a long time, grills tended to be more of a “Cinderella” than a front-runner in that regard, but that’s changing. Equipped with plenty of digital and smart technology, they are now ushering in a new era of barbecuing. Although the classic kettle charcoal grill is still the best-selling model from the prestigious U.S. manufacturer Weber to this day, the market is developing rapidly and digitalization offers exciting new opportunities. There’s a steadily growing selection of digital aids to help you grill food to perfection.

Touch & Grill

App support for barbecuing has been a hot trend for some time now. While you lounge in the hammock or attend to your guests, your smartphone lets you keep tabs on how the food is coming along at all times. Networked sensors measure the heat on the grate or the core temperature of the grilled food and inform you in real time on your phone via Bluetooth. High-tech manufacturers, such as Vaustil with its “El Primero” model, show where things are headed and what money is spent on. Its smart barbecue technology is installed in the grill itself and can be conveniently controlled remotely via app: Five sensors measure the grate temperature and tell you when the right heat has been reached. With the matching Vaustil app (for iOS and Android), all relevant information is displayed on your smartphone while the food is being grilled. The Loxone Touch & Grill solution works in much the same way. Its highlight: Controlling the grill can even be integrated into the manufacturer’s smart home system. You can then keep an eye on the timer, temperature display, clock and alarm using the touch display or the Loxone Smart Home App.

The grill listens to what you have to say

“Alexa, when’s my steak done?” Some smart grills can also answer that question. Thanks to voice control, you can take your eyes off the barbecue with a clear conscience and relax while waiting for Alexa to respond. The smart pellet grills from Traeger show how that’s done. They’re compatible with Alexa and Google Assistant and can be controlled using a smart home hub like Amazon Echo. That means every barbecue enthusiast can query and change the temperature on the grate or in the cooking chamber by voice command, check whether there are enough pellets, set the smoke level and grilling time, or find out when the food is ready. But digital technology comes at a price – and that tag can soon run into four figures. But if you don’t want to spend so much money, you can use a smart thermometer to monitor your steak or fish via a radio, WLAN or Bluetooth connection.

The all-rounder

If you don’t want to invest in a new smart grill right away, you’ll find what you’re looking for from the American grill expert Weber. The company has developed a cutting-edge, AI-based technology that is suitable for any grill. Weber Connect is the name of the solution. It’s a grill hub that acts like a digital grill master, guiding the user step by step through the entire barbecuing process. It consists of a meat and ambient temperature probe that determines when the grill is hot enough for your food. When the probe is inserted in the meat, the device tells you when the meat is cooked – exactly the way you like it. You can also use your smartphone to check at any time how the steaks, sausages, chicken drumsticks or potatoes are coming along and when it’s time to turn them. There’s also a step-by-step guide to preparing and serving the food.

The MEATER Plus is likewise a smart and wireless BBQ thermometer and according to the manufacturer has a range of more than 50 meters. What makes it so special is that all the technology is installed right in the probe. Instead of having its own receiver, the smart barbecue thermometer sends the data to the smartphone via Bluetooth and displays the temperature data in the MEATER app.

Apps for the perfect barbecue experience

In the jungle of countless cooking apps, there are also some that are dedicated solely to grilling. The German magazine Stern has examined a few that we briefly present here. The Grillrezepte 2 app (iOS / Android), for example, offers more than 6,000 recipes for little money. Whether meat, fish, poultry, side dishes or pizza from the grill – there should be something for every taste. Rare, medium rare or well done? The SteakMate app (iOS / Android) helps you cook your steak just the way you like. After you select the type of meat, cooking method and thickness of the steak, the free app displays a timer to help ensure that the end result exactly matches the guest’s preference.

The online community grillsportverein.de has been amassing barbecue recipes and expertise for many years and now offers all BBQ enthusiasts the largest database of grilling recipes. Many of the over 5,000 recipes even come with pictures, and all of them are accompanied by detailed instructions. The Grillrezepte app, which is published by the Deutscher Grillsportverein, a German association dedicated to barbecuing, provides inspiration for a lifetime of barbecues. The recipes also include exotic dishes such as kangaroo fillet, roasted pheasant or bacon-wrapped shrimps. To avoid the abundance of ideas turning into a confusing array, the recipes can be sorted according to different characteristics such as region, main ingredient or preparation method. Grillrezepte is available free of charge from the Google Play Store. You can download the app here: Download Grillrezepte as an Android version.

The Grillen Rezepte BBQ app also offers a lot of recipes from the categories meat, burgers, etc. A practical feature of the app is that you can put missing ingredients for the selected meals and side dishes on a shopping list. The required amount of ingredients is automatically adjusted to the portions you previously enter in the app. You can save your favorite recipes and call them up quickly and easily the next time you’re grilling. Here’s a link to “Grillen Rezepte BBQ” for Android. You can find a good overview of a number of barbecue apps at android24.com.

If you prefer grilling vegetarian alternatives, you can pick up some ideas for recipes here at springlane.de. You’ll find lots of super tasty vegan recipes that make the barbecue party for non meat eaters a real treat and might even make the one or other steak fan envious. Barbecuing without meat doesn’t mean all there is to eat is just raw vegetables or leaf salad. A really tasty range of barbecued food without any animal products whatsoever should be versatile. You can find unusual barbecue recipes from past years at SWR3, for example.

Smartphone and barbecuing

If you want to use your smartphone as the chief master barbecue assistant, you should first check what really counts. Let’s start with the most important thing: the battery. A barbecue party usually lasts a few hours, including preparations, the actual grilling and the celebrations afterwards. The battery has to deliver top performance to make the embers glow. The Gigaset GX290 plus is just the bundle of energy and powerhouse you need. A battery with a long life and a powerful processor ensure total reliability even in harsh conditions. And if its strength should happen to wane: Thanks to MTK Pump Express+ (PE+) technology, the battery is quickly recharged and can even be used as a power bank to control the LED lighting or power the mobile Bluetooth speakers, for instance. Even extreme conditions such as high heat, splashes of grease or sudden downpours can’t deter the Gigaset GX290 plus. Thanks to its metal frame and reinforced injection-molded, two-component TPU housing, the smartphone is water-proof and resilient to dirt and knocks. The optimized display lets you see everything with complete transparency, even in direct sunlight or the wet – so you keep track of what your steaks are doing on the grill at all times.

Where are you allowed to grill?

If you don’t have a garden or balcony to hold a barbecue party, you have a hard time: Good places to grill are popular and often known only to insiders. Above all, you should find out in advance where grilling is allowed, because not every secluded spot by the lake, away from the tourist crowds, can be used for it. So always bear in mind: “Barbecuing in the great outdoors is only permitted in designated areas in Germany. Public barbecue areas exist in every federal state and they are managed by the city or municipality. Barbecuing is allowed there provided the relevant instructions are heeded. Depending on the facilities available, you have to bring your own grill or you can use a brick one provided at the site. Barbecue areas in cities can mainly be found in parks, while in the countryside there are spots by lakes, in forests and elsewhere. It makes sense to register in advance if the barbecue area is large and popular and has a permanently installed grill. And to ensure that the barbecue party doesn’t cost a few thousand euros in fines, try looking at the schedule of penalties for illegal barbecuing before you start enjoying yourself. However, such a high fine is not usually imposed right away; instead, you can expect a far lower warning charge for a first-time offense.

But what about barbecuing on the balcony? It is prohibited or permitted? Here’s a quick fact check: It’s generally allowed on the balcony of rented apartments. However, residents are required to show due consideration toward each other. Accordingly, smoke and noise that disturbs the neighbors should be avoided. If the tenancy agreement specifies that barbecuing on the balcony is banned, tenants must comply with that.

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