Few things say “summer” more than lighting up the old barbecue grill for a cookout. It’s a tradition that goes back to the days when early man first learned to master fire.

That said, there’s no reason for your next barbecue to look like something out of the stone age. Progress marches on, and your grilling experience deserves to do the same.

Time to Upgrade Your Barbecue Grill

Grilling is an art, and a masterpiece deserves the finest tools. From sparking a flame to packing your grill up at the end of the cookout, these high-tech gadgets make every step in the process easier. The end result: perfect burgers, meats, and more every time you break out the barbeque grill.

Light it Up

Where there’s smoke there’s fire, so you won’t be enjoying a tender, savory steak without a flame. If you’re of an old-school bent, this means lighting up a bed of charcoal.

But lighting charcoal with matches is easier said than done. You could use lighter fluid or other accelerants, but then you risk tainting the taste of your meats.

Fortunately, Looft Industries has a solution. Their Looftlighter advertises itself as the fastest way to light a charcoal grill in the world. Using a stream of super-heated air, the Looftlighter can light charcoal or wood briquettes in about 60 seconds.

And since it doesn’t use any chemicals or fluids, you can count on clean, pure flavor every time you use it. The only drawback is that it does need an electrical outlet. Fortunately, it’s 9-foot length gives you a little latitude.

For precision flame control, you have the BBQ Dragon. Basically a specialized fan, the Dragon clips on the side of your grill and brings a fresh flow of cool air at a low velocity. This helps ignite the coals without snuffing them or blowing ash all over the place.

It can get your fire going in just a few minutes, and its variable speed settings let you manage how intense you want your flames.

If you’re a propane proponent, you may think none of this applies to you. But have you ever rolled out the grill only to realize at the last minute that you need to make a gas run?

Refuel can help prevent these time-wasting supermarket trips. It’s an app-enabled smart gauge that tracks your gas level and sends you alerts when you’re running low. You always have your phone handy, so now there’s no excuse not to remember when you need a recharge.

Grill it to Perfection

Cooking a cut to perfection is both an art and a science.

The most basic tool is the humble thermometer. As far as conventional thermometers, the Maverick Pro-Temp is probably as good as it gets. It gives you an accurate read almost instantly, minimizing how long you have to sweat over the grill.

But since pretty much every gadget comes in a smart variant these days, there’s Weber’s iGrill Mini. It used a probe to keep a constant temperature of a piece of meat while it’s cooking.

And since it’s smartphone-enabled, you can plug it in and forget it. You’ll get a notification straight to your phone when your cuts are ready.

But if you really need to impress your guests, you might invest in the Anova Culinary Precision Cooker. It’s an immersion cooker, bringing water to a precise temperature and holding it there. The process ensures each cut is cooked to perfection every time.

Once the Anova cooker alerts you that your steaks are at that perfect medium rare, toss them on the grill for a quick sear. Presentation is key, after all.

And for the ultimate, high-tech barbeque grill, there’s the Lynx Grills SMART30F. This iOS and Android-enabled grill comes with hundreds of recipes on the accompanying app, gives step-by-step instructions for prepping, and then cooks to your preferences.

It also supports voice commands and gives you alerts through every step of the cooking process. It’s about as futuristic as grilling can get.

That’s all very high-tech, but what if you want to take your barbeque grill on the road?

An elegant solution is Front Runner Outfitters’ Spare Tire-Mounted BBQ Cooking Grate. As the name suggests, it’s a simple, stainless steel grate that mounts onto an external spare time. It’s an ideal solution if you decide to check out some of Florida’s beautiful campsites this summer.

But as this is the sunshine state, why not capitalize on that fact? Go Sun’s Portable Solar Cooker lets you grill on the go without having to mess around with charcoal or fire starters.

It can produce up to 550 degrees of heat, making it powerful enough to cook just about anything. And it only weighs in at about eight pounds, making it much more portable than your standard barbeque grill.

Smoke ‘Em if You Got ‘Em

A cookout doesn’t need to be all about the grilling, though. Most would agree that there’s plenty of room at the table for a tender rack of ribs.

On paper, smoking seems like it would be the simplest way to cook anything. Light fire, let smoke waft upwards.

In practice, anyone who has ever fiddled with a charcoal or wood smoker for hours knows that it’s anything but simple. Gas smokers are somewhat easier but still require constant supervision.

Hence, more people are coming around to the electric smoker. Char-Broil’s Digital Electric Smoker does the hard work for you. With its SmartChef features, all you need to do is load it up, punch in your desired settings, and kickback.

Are you dedicated to your gas range but still want to savor that smokey flavor? Well, you can throw out those bottles of liquid smoke. Grill Pro’s 00150 Cast Iron Smoker Box will give you the results you want.

All you do is fill it up with dampened wood chips put it on your barbeque grill, and a few minutes later your hood will be filled with smokey flavor. Purists might argue that it’s not quite as good as a traditional smoker. But for everyone else, it’s an economic and easy-to-use alternative that gets the job done in a fraction of the time.

Cool it Down

What good is a perfectly seared steak off the barbeque grill without anything to wash it down? But with all the fridge space those chops are taking up, there’s hardly any space to chill your beer.

Luckily, Cooper Cooler’s Rapid Beverage Chiller has you covered. All you do is fill the machine with water and ice, place the beverage to be chilled inside, and the Chiller takes care of the rest.

The machine spins the ice water around your beverage to accelerate the chilling process. It can perfectly chill a can of beer in about a minute, or a full bottle of wine in six. Great if you found that perfect pairing for your steaks or ribs.

Even with the ability to chill on demand, you might need a little extra space. But it’s high time to ditch those awful Styrofoam coolers.

On a hot Florida day, you’ll appreciate a cooler that chills you alongside your drinks. The IcyBreeze Portable Air Conditioner and Cooler aims to do exactly that. With its powerful fan, the IcyBreeze uses chilled air from inside the cooler to drop the surrounding temperature by up to 35 degrees.

And for the ultimate, almost excessive cooler, there’s the Nipi Smart Cooler. It has USB chargers for your devices, a lockable dry-storage area for valuables, and can keep ice frozen for up to six days. And it’s solar-powered, which means it can do all of this in your backyard or on your next camping trip.

Clean it Up

The downside to using a barbeque grill: the cleanup. Wouldn’t it be great if you had someone you could delegate all of that too?

Enter the Grillbot. With its three motor-powered wire brushes, this little guy will make short work out of all that gooey black crust while you wait.

Grillbot is basically a Roomba for your grill. A chip controls its direction and the brushes, and an alarm lets you know when the job is done.

Of course, you could stand to make the job a little easier for your robot buddy. Keeping your grates good and oiled will make the clean-up job easier. Steven Raichlen’S Grilling Grate Oiler makes the task simple.

It’s essentially a grill brush with a reservoir for oil, letting you apply an even coat with a quick brush of your grates. And it’s made from heat-resistant plastics for quick, mid-grilling reapplications.

Preparing for a Party

It’s time to spend some quality time with your barbeque grill. But if it’s been a while since your last backyard get-together, it’s probably time to upgrade some of your furnishings with an outdoor grilling company.

Watson Brother’s Patio and Hearth has everything to get you ready for your next cookout, from furniture, to fire pits, to grills and accessories. The Watson team even has a few new recipes for you to try out on the grill.

View here for more ways to liven up your backyard this summer.

Are You Ready for the Summer?

With the last chills of winter dissipating, it’s the perfect weather for a barbecue. Or for a camping trip. Or for all-around exploring and adventuring.

Whatever your pleasure, check out these tips to help you make the most of everything Florida has to offer.

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