Cooking may be the thing we do every day that is affected the least by technology. Some of the cooking techniques of the stone age still make tasty food, and what tastes good doesn’t automatically change because new techniques are available. On the other hand, technology can be both time- and labor-saving in the kitchen, and can help you achieve levels of perfection just like the professionals. Today, we’re going to look at four quick tips for successfully integrating tech into your cooking.
1. Modern Thermometers
One of the most important and essential appliances in your kitchen is easily overlooked: the thermometer. If you’re new to cooking or have years of experience, even slight changes to your setup can change how you cook a piece of protein. Moving the knob up half a click on a gas stove; moving the rack up a space in the oven; using a different thickness or material for a pan or baking sheet—all of these modifications can affect the expected internal temperature of the meat you’re cooking. This can be a safety concern for some proteins (that need to achieve particular temperatures) but it can also just give you an undesired level of doneness. And if you and your family have different ideas of how a steak should be cooked, you know how particular people can be about doneness.
When you try out a new method, or new cut of meat, you’ll want to use the thermometer to get exactly to the desired temperature. I use a simple one like this everyday to check internal temperatures, but a less neurotic cook may use one to learn how to execute a new dish—that is, use the thermometer to learn the doneness of a particular technique. The simple design here is a great feature because you don’t have to worry about replacing the battery often; mine has delivered five years of battery life with daily use. It also lets you set targets, which is great for roasting in a slow cooker or oven.
If you’re ready for the next level, you can upgrade to a Bluetooth-connected thermometer with up to four probes. These are really useful for those big grilling and smoking events where you want to check four different proteins that you have going on the grill. The wireless part lets you check the temperatures on your mobile device, meaning that you don’t have to keep walking to the grill or smoker to see your meat’s progress. That’s especially helpful if you’re watching a game or entertaining guests while cooking.
2. Traeger: the Best Value in Grilling and Smoking
Crown CEO Sean Goss’ favorite grill is the Traeger, which he gives an emphatic endorsement to: “It smokes salmon, makes the best chicken you will ever eat, cooks steaks like nothing else, and is simply an amazing way to add awesomeness to your food life.” Taeger’s grills use wood pellets for their fuel, which makes them especially good for hardwood smoking. While smoking usually involves a lifelong commitment to the craft, Traeger steps up the technology to help you get it right every time you fire it up.
While we talked about using internal temperature thermometers, Traeger has an app that lets you track and set the cooking temperature as well. So if you need to change the temperature at different times in the grilling or smoking process, you just have to open the app. Combining the external control with an internal reading gives you exacting precision with your temperature.
Some Traeger models include Super Smoke Mode, which helps you get a lot of smoky flavor into your meat. It can be activated between 165°F and 225°F degrees, and it generates “blue smoke,” which is generated in this lower temperature range and infuses food with more smoke flavor than other methods. Super Smoke Mode can be activated from the app, so if you’re working out the perfect brisket recipe, you can turn it on or off as necessary without leaving the house.
3. Don’t forget: Alexa’s Listening
The kitchen is the perfect place to get in the habit of using your voice assistant (Google, Alexa, or Siri). If you need a quick clarification on complicated measurements, you can simply ask Alexa a question like “how many tablespoons are in ⅓ of a cup?” This is especially helpful if you find yourself occasionally needing to convert units between British imperial, US customary, and metric units, which I find myself doing a lot when making recipes from Mexico or Denmark. If some basic facts slip your mind in the chaos of the kitchen (which happens to me often as well), like cooking times or temperatures, Alexa can give you a quick refresher.
You can connect all three of these tips to suit your kitchen and grill workflow as needed:
Meater is an advanced thermometer that uses its own app or an Alexa skill to track internal temperatures of your meat as it cooks.
There’s an Alexa skill for Traeger grills as well, so you can speak directions to Alexa to control the grill, or set timers.
-Written by Derek Jeppsen on Behalf of Sean Goss and Crown Computers Team