Used to be grilling was a dark art. The coals had to be just so, the sauce made from a recipe handed down through the generations. It made for good eats, but it was time-consuming and, frankly, a little intimidating. Like most everything else, however, tech is making it easier. “Nowadays,” says Max Good, owner of Black Swan, which produces a line of premium sauces, “you can throw some meat on the grill and check the temp with your phone.” Indeed, a host of new devices—not to mention Bluetooth everything—allow you to orchestrate an entire Fourth of July cookout from your deck chair: set the lighting, mix the tunes, light up a cozy firepit, even operate the ’cue. Here’s a look at what’s outfitting this summer’s high-tech patio parties.
Coolest Cooler ($450)
A 55-quart, battery-powered behemoth with a wireless speaker, a USB charger, internal lighting, a bottle opener, a cutting board, and—no joke—a full-size blender? Damn right. Because Lord knows you’re not going back inside for any of those things.
Celluon PicoBit Projector ($429)
Screen movies on any surface. The five-inch HD PicoBit syncs with your phone and has enough battery power to accommodate indulgent summer CGI fests.
BioLite SiteLight Mini String Lights ($20)
You want enough illumination to see without achieving a floodlight effect. You can control the intensity of the SiteLight Mini from your phone when it's paired with the BaseLantern.
Bose SoundLink Revolve Speaker ($200)
Bose’s latest Bluetooth box radiates your tunes 360 degrees. It’s also a good listener: a built-in mic lets you talk to Siri and other voice-activated software on your phone.
GrowlerWerks UKeg 128 ($257)
This bit of steampunk ingenuity is a handheld version of the commercial keg at your favorite bar. Vacuum sealed and pressurized, the 128-ounce copper UKeg keeps your IPA carbonated and fresh for weeks.
Primus Kamoto OpenFire Pit ($164)
This 21-inch-tall steel grate folds flat and lets you set up a campfire anywhere. Wind guards and air vents make getting the fire roaring quick and easy.
Lynx SmartGrill Barbecue ($10,359)
The Tesla of barbecues. With enough real estate to satiate a block party and an honest-to-God rotisserie, this propane-fueled wonder can be run from your smartphone or via voice commands.