Everybody loves a good BBQ. Getting your family and friends together on a long summer day and evening, cooking delicious food and having a great time as smoke drifts through the air — it’s the perfect weekend activity.
BBQs can also be stressful, however. Anyone who has ever tried to host one will know the challenges of managing multiple meats at once, trying to avoid any overcooking (or undercooking) disasters, and keeping track of all that equipment.
Automation can help run your BBQ much more smoothly, minimizing any mishaps and making sure everyone has the best experience possible. In this article, we’ll look at how home automation can improve the BBQ experience and share some examples from Arduino’s Project Hub.
How home automation improves BBQs
- Keep track of different items. Automation makes it easier to manage multiple meats and other food items at the same time, notifying you when something is ready so you don’t get overwhelmed by tasks and neglect any of your cooking.
- Stay on top of temperature by measuring each piece of food and ensuring it’s at the perfect point.
- Create a more welcoming outdoor area with things like automated lighting, heaters, and even a smart garden.
- Easy cleanup with robots and other tools to leave your grill and other tools sparkling clean.
Some project examples from Arduino
Arduino community member Duncan Barbee knew that the most flavorful way to grill is to use charcoal to heat your smokers. While propane and electric smokers give you better temperature control, they lose that unique and delicious charcoal flavor.
But charcoal heaters present many challenges. You need to constantly stay on top of the temperature, adjusting the vents on a regular basis to make sure everything is just right as the charcoal level changes in the smoker.
Barbee wanted to build a project that gave him the best of both worlds — the tasty charcoal flavor with the ease and convenience of an electric or propane smoker. He developed a controller that monitors the temperature in the smoker and automatically adjusts the airflow to the charcoal to maintain the correct temperature at all times, allowing him to sit back and relax as the perfect charcoal-based BBQ unfolds.
Robert Korn had already created a sous vide controller using Arduino and a handful of other components, with great success. He chose to apply the same model to a smoker and devised the Smokerduino, which ensures perfectly cooked meat every time with minimal effort from the chef.
Roger Theriault and his wife enjoy making cheese and yogurt at home, but this is a long process involving a thermometer and lots of waiting around. To cut some steps out, he built his own smart thermometer to monitor the temperature of the food and beep when a specific temperature was reached and it was time for the next step.
However, when the device stopped working, Theriault decided to upgrade it instead of simply fixing it. The new iteration of the thermometer uses Alexa devices too, enabling him to easily monitor and control everything cooking in the kitchen or outside in the smoker.
The way it works is fairly straightforward — just give Alexa an instruction and it will find the recipe and instruct the given device to start from step one of that recipe. It also draws on the data from the recipe to monitor the temperature and make any notifications or adjustments needed.
Better BBQs with Arduino
Monitoring and controlling cooking is one of the most useful and rewarding use cases for home automation. Arduino’s products make it possible to assemble detailed and advanced projects to take your BBQs to the next level.