I am, by profession, in the food biz. If you've ever watched food porn on TV, Chopped, Iron Chef, and the like, you know just how much Chefs love their toys, (err, tools). It's true; I love my shop tools, but cool stuff for the kitchen runs a close second, so when I heard about the SmartGrill from Lynx Grills, I was pretty excited.
There have been Some pretty slick grills around for decades now, but in essence, the improvement were limited to more or better mechanical options and heavier duty construction - Both good things, but not enough to ignite the blood of a tech nerd like me. The SmartGrill, on the other hand, looks like a tool that might just change the game. What this thing does differently is fairly comprehensive, and very cool.
In a world where many grills could be classified as disposable, something well built is a solid plus, but it doesn't come cheap; a 36" freestanding SmartGrill will set you back around $8,500, so consider them kinda like buying Mercedes or BMW - If you have to ask the price, it's probably not for you.
At the heart of the SmartGrill is a seamlessly welded, stainless steel body. Cooking grates are also stainless steel, and lifetime warrantied. The burners are patented, variable heat and infrared. There's also an internal, 16,000 BTU powered rotisserie, (also infrared). There are even electro-mechanical valves to automatically maintain preset surface temperatures. Add backlit control knobs and halogen grill surface lights and you'd have one very sexy grill, but the Lynx is just getting warmed up.
I live on the ocean, so there's always wind; I found out quickly that my grill would have to live out back, by the carport. Grilling there means a lot of trips back and forth, and ample opportunities for things to go wrong - That's the kind of situation where a SmartGrill really shines.
In addition to all that cooking hardware, there's some serious SmartGrill technology to consider. Within a weatherproof case under the hood of this beast, there's a 1.5Ghz Intel processor, 64GB of storage, and 802.11N Wi-Fi, supporting both iOS and Android operating systems. You control the grill by smart device or voice activation; rather than heading out back, all I need to do is flip out my iPhone, open the SmartGrill app, and I'm off to the races. You configure the SmartGrill like any other LAN - set up an account with Lynx, and then pair your device(s).
Once you're connected, you have multiple cooking options - You can use timer mode - controlling time and temperature, recipe mode - choosing from several hundred preset configurations, party mode - queueing up as many recipes as you want, or even meal mode, wherein you can program the grill to cook several things at the same time, configured to finish in a certain order, or all at once. Naturally, if you're standing right by the grill, you can control it manually, or by voice.
Once you've told the grill what you need, it starts preheating, and then sends an alert when it's ready for your food. Fail safe systems require you to be within the LAN to start the SmartGrill, but you can shut it off from a remote location, and if you forget, it'll do so automatically. You can add your own custom programs to your library, of course. Tweak a preset the way you like it, and the grill will remember your changes and perform them next time around. Your personal library of recipes is cloud stored via your Lynx account, and there's plenty of room for expansion, according to the maker. Naturally, there's a SmartGrill community up there in the ether, so you can swap great ideas as you see fit.
My only regret is not being able to try one these babies personally yet. I want to formally state, for the record, that if Lynx needs me to go the extra mile, I'll answer the call.
Written by Eben M. Atwater