Real men can grill the perfect steak with nothing more than an open flame, a grate, and some tongs—or if they’re particularly tough, their bare hands. But for the rest of us, a few tech advances don’t hurt.
The following five high-tech machines will cook your meat more evenly, avoid charring, and augment your barbeque-master reputation. Remember: There’s no need to tell family and friends you got some help from the grill.
Fuego Element FELG21C ($300)
Best for: Neighborhood Parties
With a 250-degree slow-cook mode for cooking corn on the cob or warming buns, and interior shielding that raises the heat to a whopping 700 degrees, the Fuego Element is one fantastic gas grill. The 6.5-inch tall hood has a built-in thermometer, while the heavy-duty cooking grate can hold 16 quarter-pound burgers.
Memphis Wood Fire Grill ($1,500)
Best for: Impressing Your Significant Other
Tiny pellets automatically drop into a chamber to create an open flame on this wood fire grill. Its key feature is called Intelligent Temperature Control, which essentially regulates the temperature for you as you cook. Nice touch: the grill is very easy to clean thanks to a chamber below the grate that holds all the ash.
Viking Professional 5 Series Outdoor Grill (Starting at ~$1,500)
Best for: One-upping the Joneses
When only the best will do for your backyard, install this commercial-grade gas grill. You’ll cook on high-intensity 25,000-BTU burners or with the 15,000-BTU rotating rotisserie. The control panel and knobs use LED lighting for nighttime cookouts. There’s even a side-burner stove, a wok cooker, slide-out warmer drawers, and a refrigeration unit in a cabinet.
Lynx Smart Grill ($7,800)
Best for: Tech Nerds
Available later this year, the Lynx is the first smart grill that lets you cook with a smartphone app. Once synced over Wi-Fi, you can monitor meat temperatures from inside the house and get an alert when the steak is fully cooked. You can even command the grill to raise and lower the temperature thanks to a voice-control feature. It’s so advanced, the machine will text you when it’s time to flip the burgers.
Char-Broil Tru-Infrared ($269)
Best for: Infrared Grilling
Infrared grilling abolishes the uneven temperatures you normally have to deal with on a grill’s surface. This two-burner version lets you drop wood chips directly into the burners to add extra heat. Two large dials help you control the temperature, and the grill converts to a natural gas hook-up.