For those who believe that the main purpose of fire is to make meat taste better, the quest for the holy grail of grilling never ends. In the past half decade, advances such as infrared cooking and remote sensors have made the summertime tradition a bit more scientific. Here are four hi-tech systems that will turn any backyard BBQ into a sizzling success.
Kalamazoo Gaucho Grill
Kalamazoo disrupted the grill game with its flagship Gaucho, hand-built in Michigan. Superbly engineered, the original model included a whisper-quiet motorized rotisserie big enough for a suckling pig, heavy-gauge 304 stainless- steel construction, and a double-walled firebox. Starting at $31,855, the Gaucho has recently been upgraded with orange-glowing LED bezels, allowing you to check the status of each burner at a glance, and, to meet stringent global safety requirements, integrated valves with flame sensors that won’t allow gas to flow unless fire is detected.
TEC 44-Inch Sterling Patio FR Island
After more than 40 years perfecting the technology, the inventors of the infrared (IR) grill only keep improving on their innovation, as seen with TEC’s 44-Inch Sterling Patio FR Island. The advantages that IR grills offer are manifold: They get insanely hot, incredibly fast, reaching max searing temps in under 10 minutes compared to 30 for charcoal. They also use half the energy versus gas, and yet still generate heat as high as 1,200°F compared to a gas grill’s ceiling of 750°F. The quickness and intensity of the IR temperature blast are ideal for steaks—give a Wagyu tomahawk a go on TEC’s $11,999 beauty, and you’ll be an instant convert.
Traeger Timberline XL
Traeger continues optimizing its famed wood-pellet grills to set the market standard in precise, consistent temperature control. In addition to unprecedented customization options and patented engineering to bathe your meat in delicious woodsmoke, the $3,799 Timberline XL features a full-color touch screen offering a “set-it-and-forget-it” mode, and will even perform regular maintenance checks. Loaded with two Meater wireless thermometers, an improved 360 Wi-Fi antenna, and the Traeger app, the top-of-the-line Timberline XL (when connected to the internet) allows cooks the freedom to monitor and control every aspect of their weekend BBQ from nearly anywhere—including the couch on NFL Sundays.
Kenyon Texan Electric Grill With Intelliken Touch
Designed and built in Connecticut, Kenyon’s latest model is fully electric. And while purists may bemoan the absence of wood or fire, the $3,370 Texan Electric Grill is perfect for locations where open flames aren’t an option, including boats, RVs, and apartment balconies. The maritime-grill specialist recently upgraded its IntelliKEN Touch system, doubling the number of heat settings—up to 16—on its waterproof touch-control, for sharper precision. Yet the Intelliken Touch’s most tech-forward innovation is Kenyon Kitchen: an Alexa Skills feature that offers recipes, tips, and other instructions via simple voice commands.