Summer is approaching, and it's time to start cleaning the grill for this year's outdoor parties. This year, you can take a virtual companion along to make the planning and grilling process easier. No matter whether you plan on cooking up steaks or grilling pineapples, there are apps to help you out. With recipes, timers, grocery lists and more, these mobile apps take the stress out of every aspect of the BBQ, so that you and your friends and family can really have a good time.
iGrill is a wireless Bluetooth thermometer ideal for cooking meat or fish. It works as a stand-alone device, or in conjunction with the free iGrill app. After downloading the app, you can check up on your food from up to 200 feet away. The "remaining time" feature will always tell you how long your food still needs to cook, and alert you when time is up. This way, you can multitask in the yard while being assured that nothing is burning on the deck. Better yet, the iGrill device can keep track of the temperature of two items simultaneously, so you can grill burgers and chicken at the same time, for example. It monitors temperatures up to 400°F and comes with a series of standard recipes.
Weber's on the Grill is an interactive app (from a grill maker) that can help you out with just about any aspect of a successful barbeque. When you're starting to plan the big party, consult the 280 food recipes for inspiration. If you need help for sauces, marinades and/or rubs, there are 40 additional recipes just for that. In addition, the Weber app allows you to create a grocery list, which you can then share with friends and family. Should you need help preparing the food, there are videos and an extensive grill guide, including a timer, to come to your rescue.
BBQ Planner ($0.99 for Android)
Need help planning your barbeque? The BBQ Planner app comes pre-populated with 360 different tasks to prepare for your grilling party. Tasks are organized into categories such as what you need to do the day before, and tips related to the actual cooking. For each category, you will always be able to see the number of tasks you have yet to complete. The lists are reusable and you can add your own items and personalize the categories as you wish. This way, once you have planned a successful barbeque the first time, you can simply repeat it again next weekend.
No matter whether you're planning to grill chicken, beef, lamb, fish or any other food, the Grill-It! app has detailed information, including recipes and high quality photos. You can search foods by ingredient, category or other key words, and save your finds so that you'll bring the list to the grocery store. Updates are free and every time you launch the app, it will check whether there are any new recipes available for you to try.
BBQ ($0.99 for iPhone)
While the other apps in this roundup deal with recipes and planning, this weather app addresses just one question: whether or not you should have a barbeque in the first place. When you're grilling outside, there is nothing worse than rain or a full-on storm -- or extremely high heat or humidity. Taking into account your location (you enter it in the settings menu) and your weather preferences, this app will give you a "yes" or "no", along with the expected temperature, wind speed and precipitation in the given location. This way, you'll know whether to grill, or not to grill -- or whether you should bring the party inside.