It may seem unnecessary, but WiFi has become an essential barbecue tool. Companies like Traeger have been equipping pellet grills with the wireless connectivity that allows you to control and monitor your grill remotely -- even when you're not at home. The feature is very helpful for longer cooking sessions, so that you don't have to constantly check on a brisket, or stay near the grill, for the entire 12 hours it takes the smoked slab of meat to finish.
Back in November, grilling giant Weber joined the WiFi-connected pellet grill game when it announced its upcoming SmokeFire grills. A fancy pellet grill is a nice thing to have, and while they're versatile, not everyone wants to pay several hundred dollars, or even over a thousand or more, to buy one. At CES, Weber is introducing another tool that will bring wireless connectivity to any grill. With the Weber Connect Smart Grilling Hub, you can use four food and ambient temperature probes with the grilling gear you already have.
Like the SmokeFire pellet models, the Grilling Hub works with the Weber Connect app: a step-by-step sous chef that will let you know how to prep the grill, when it's time to flip a steak, how long to rest your food and more. It can even provide an estimate for how long it will take something to cook. The software component is powered by JuneOS, from the company behind the June smart oven. Additionally, the Grilling Hub packs in both Bluetooth and WiFi, so you can choose the connectivity that best suits your needs on a given day.
The Grilling Hub sends real-time temperature info to the Weber Connect app on either and Android or an iOS device. There's also a display on the Hub itself that will show the temperature data for the selected probe. The app also houses a library of grilling info, and Weber says it will continue to add more over time. The company plans to continue to add new features to the software as well. Alexa integration is in the works for later this year.
This isn't Weber's first time offering temperature monitoring on your phone. The company has the iGrill line of devices that sends grilling info to your phone via Bluetooth. It allows you to pick the type of meat your cooking and your desired doneness, or you can choose to simply cooked to a specific temperature. Those devices are handy (I use the iGrill Mini often), but the companion app doesn't provide anywhere near the detailed guidance that the Weber Connect app will offer. This new Hub is the logical evolution of the iGrill devices, and it gives aspiring pitmasters some of the tools of the SmokeFire grills without having to make a big investment.
The Weber Connect Smart Grilling Hub will be available in over 30 countries when it goes on sale "in early 2020." When it does, you can expect to pay $130 to equip your favorite grill with WiFi smarts.