Feel the Heat

Fireboard

Digital thermometers use a probe to monitor the temperature of your meat and your grill, and they use Bluetooth connectivity to send alerts and updates to a remote hand-held monitor or to a mobile app that’s available for Apple iOS or Google Android devices. We found 28 digital thermometers (starting at $20), compared with 12 before (starting at $40). Today’s digital thermometers typically also have a 40-foot range, compared with 25 feet before. A distance of 15 feet makes a big difference when it means that the Bluetooth signal can reach from your grill to your kitchen.

In general, we found that digital thermometers provide you with a more accurate reading than do conventional analog thermometers, which typically are mounted near the top of a grill’s hood. The problem with those hood-mounted thermometers is that no one cooks near the top of the grill’s hood. You cook on the grates, which is where a digital-thermometer probe measures grill temperature.

“Digital thermometers are way more accurate, and you want something that accurately measures the grill and the meat temperatures,” says Max Good of AmazingRibs.com. “You don’t want to pull your steaks off and have them all gray and dry and find that you’ve wasted meat.”

In 2016, Fireboard introduced its Extreme BBQ Edition thermometer system ($249), which monitors the cooking temperatures of as many as six items. Other digital thermometers measure two or three items. Fireboard’s new model also uses Wi-Fi to upload cooking information to a dedicated app, so you can review your previous cookouts to compare cooking times    and smoker performance and perfect your technique. We found that the system is useful and easy to use.

Digital thermometers typically are made by nongrill manufacturers, but that’s starting to change. Weber-Stephen Products bought iDevices’ iGrill brand, which was one of the first Bluetooth-enabled grilling-thermometer technologies, in February 2016. In January 2017, Weber launched its Genesis II gas grill line (starting at $599), which includes a front-mounted docking station for the iGrill 3 thermometer (sold separately for $99). The iGrill 3 sends alerts, food-temperature readings and propane-level reports to an app. Experts tell us that they expect to see iGrill docking ports that are included on more Weber grills in the next 3 years. Representatives at Weber wouldn’t tell us the company’s plans.

“Right now, we’re focused on the launch of Genesis II,” says Melissa Enos of Weber. “[iGrill 3] reinforces Weber’s commitment to this type of connected grilling and our passion for making grilling as fun and seamless as possible.”