How cool is this? WiFi-enabled barbeques that allow remote control and monitoring from your phone. That’s what Green Mountain Grilles is offering. And they use neither electric nor gas burners, but actual wood pellets.
WiFi connectivity and control doesn’t mean much when it comes to regular barbequing. You’re standing there, tongs in hand, flipping those sausages from moment to moment, so you don’t need special controls or additional information. But these are the kind of barbeques which allow you to close the lid and slow cook tough cuts of meat for half a day. You don’t want to be hovering for a dozen hours, but you do need to know what’s going on.
And that’s where the smart stuff happens. The app communicates with the BBQ via your home WiFi network, or remotely over the Internet via Green Mountain Grille’s servers. You can see what’s happening, and you can adjust things.
That’s fair enough. Conceptually, the whole control thing is like that used for the Dyson Pure Hot+Cool Link we reviewed some months back.
Except that for the Dyson, everything is electrical. With these Barbeques, it’s wood being burnt.
They use wood pellets made, says Green Mountain Grilles, “from clean, kiln-dried sawdust, with the flavor molecules totally intact”. It argues, not unreasonably, that “the food simply tastes better when cooked over real wood”. Which is why there are devices on the market made for the sole purpose of injecting wood smoke flavours into food.
The Green Mountain Grille barbeques have a hopper which you fill with pellets. Underneath is an auger, or screw conveyor, which automatically feeds the pellets into the “firebox”. A fan underneath blows the heat and smoke up into the food compartment. There’s a drip tray for gathering fat. Looking at the various diagrams, there doesn’t seem to be a system for collecting or disposing of ash, so I’m figuring that they must burn pretty much one hundred per cent, something that can be done when you’re designing the fuel as well as the burner.
Speaking of which, there are three varieties of pellet blends, each priced at $44.95 per 12.7 kilogram bag. One is a mixture of red oak, white oak, hickory and maple, another is a cherry, breech and pecan wood, and then there’s the “big taste” Texas Blend with black oak, hickory and mesquite.
There are three models. The semi-portable Davy Crockett WiFi has “EZ Fold & Carry Legs”, comes with a stainless steel hood, and costs $949. The larger Daniel Boone WiFi model has fixed legs and wheels, and is available for $1399 with a black hood and $1549 in stainless steel, while the larger still Jim Bowie WiFi adds a thermometer to the hood for manual monitoring. It is priced $1799 (black) and $1949 (stainless steel hood).