With the summer sun shining down, it’s time to get out and enjoy yourself. The summer barbecue with friends is the very image of relaxation, but chilling out doesn’t mean you have to be stupid. Even the most enjoyable task is improved with a little thought and the right tools, and if you’re prepared to put extra effort into your work, don’t you deserve the same effort?
Making things better for your friends makes you a better person in spirit, and filling yourself with meat (or the grilled vegetables of your choice) make you stronger in body. The barbecue is the best self-improvement plan since Charles Atlas decided to put on a bit of muscle.
A truly smart life is one you enjoy, which is why we’ve found six smart accessories to turn that barbecue (or grill, for the pedantic) into a truly effortless joy. From the Internet, normally the opposite of outdoor fun for those who fear the daystar, to stabbing implements which make people happier, we’ve found a whole range of impossibly wonderful things.
1. The Thermapen
An unspoken rule of any party is: “Try not to end up with everyone throwing up and suffering from diarrhea.” (You can see why it’s unspoken — speaking it is unappetizing.) The standard counter to fears of food poisoning is advanced food carbonization, where “playing it safe” means cooking things until you’re “playing at eating shoe-leather.” That’s where the Thermapen saves the day.
This fast-acting thermometer can be stabbed into the juiciest steak, the thickest burger, or the scariest chicken legs, to read out the internal temperature in only three seconds. No more hacking holes in your food to find out if things are definitely ready, nor will friends have to crunch through a black outer shell to eat meat that’s been grilled past “well done” into “very, very badly done.”
2. The Swashbuckling BBQ Sword
The chef deserves special treatment: he or she is the font of filling food, the master of ceremonies, the person who has to drink less because they’ve got one hand an eye on the grill at all times. There is no crown for this royal position, and the only cloak is a series of unfunny “Kiss/Fear/Other-verb the chef” aprons. That’s why ThinkGeek has created a royal weapon to celebrate the position.
The Swashbuckling BBQ Sword is functional fun, skewering wild animals of all descriptions! The fact said animals were never wild, are already dead, and have in fact been so thoroughly defeated many are now covered in delicious sauces, only makes it more fun!
3. The Cookout Calculator
The Cookout Calculator may be the only website to truly encourage outdoor fun. While everything else online sucks you back indoors (or worse, has you waving smartphones at people during what’s meant to be a party), the Cookout Calculator’s only mission is to make meat easier for you. And it’s free!
A few minutes with the website saves hours of breathless scurrying around, organizing even the most epic outdoor eat-a-thon into a simple timeline. Lighting the grill, thawing the meat, how long to leave everything sizzling in the sun — all you have to do is turn up, flip, and eat!
Sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic, and the Grilliput is a magic wand of +5 Summoning Delicious Meat. The tiny stick is probably the most easily packable object since socks, and far more appetizing after a long hike.
The small stick opens and unfolds into a 10-inch grilling platter. Why sacrifice your precious meat to the gods of the campfire (as all campers have done at least once, cursing as they watch their sustenance turn to ash), when even the most amateur fire can turn into a professional cooking surface? An essential for any outdoorsperson.
5. The SmokinTex Smoker
At the opposite end of the size spectrum, the SmokinTex Smoker couldn’t sound manlier and meatier without tearing a charging bison’s head off. This isn’t just a way to prepare meat, it’s an unapologetic shrine to the stuff and how good it tastes when combined with fire. The basic model can smoke 38 pounds of anything.
That’s not just something to build a summer party around, that’s an icon to build an entire lifestyle around. And if you messed up Father’s day this year, you now know what you have to do in 2012.
6. Flip-down Barbecue
The Sigmafocus is sheer sizzling style. There isn’t a better combination of aesthetic appeal and appetite anywhere because fashion models aren’t allowed to eat. The Sigmafocus simply flips down when you want some meat.
The heavy wall-plate means you won’t burn your brickwork, stainless steel means easy cleaning, and the built-in nature has a wonderful effect on your lifestyle. Because when your backyard always has a grill ready, you’re always ready to grill. The Dalai Lama doesn’t offer such a guaranteed path to contentment.
Image credit: petebax / iStockphoto