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A simple piece of kit that'll transform an ordinary barbecue into a high-tech grilling machine

The ToGrill Barbecue Thermometer

We’ve had the Togrilll barbecue thermometer in our possession for a good few weeks, but the English weather has so far conspired against us, delivering a deluge of rain, overcast skies and even near gale-force winds (which tipped our barbecue down the steps, so you’ll have to excuse the coating of ash that has ruined our photographs).

We make no secret of our love for chargrilled food (and we can regularly be found in the garden, telling anybody within earshot that we were taught by a world champion barbecuer), so grilling gadgets will always pique our interest, but this thermometer stood out for its ability to transform a regular barbecue into a high-tech device.

This review would undoubtedly have been more effective had we opted for our preferred al-fresco cook-up: A low and slow smoking session that requires careful temperature assessment and regular checks on the progress of the meat.

But given the aforementioned weather problems and our desire to bring this review to you before the summer, we were forced into a last-minute decision to crack open the grill as soon as the sun poked its heads through the clouds.

With that in mind, we opted to cook steak instead - in our opinion, one of the toughest ‘quick cooks’ to perfect. With a short grill time and a minuscule window between perfection and a ruined piece of meat, it turns out to be a good gauge of the ToGrill’s effectiveness.

The ToGrill thermometer fixes the outside of the barbecue, in place of your factory-provided thermometer

What is the ToGrill thermometer?

In short, the ToGrill is a Bluetooth thermometer that connects with your phone, providing real-time updates on your meat’s progression and the temperature of your grill, allowing you to achieve perfectly cooked food without being chained to the barbecue all afternoon.

Set-up is easy: Just unscrew the thermometer from your barbecue’s lid, slide the ToGrill into its place and turn it on. Then, all you’ll need to do is pair it with your phone (the ToGrill app is available on Google Play and Apple Store for free), and voila, your basic barbecue has just become a high-tech grilling machine.

It takes less than five minutes to get it all working and the app presents us with a choice of meats - we select beef and then choose how well we want our steaks to be cooked. The temperatures are all pre-set (though can be edited), meaning all we have to do is push the probe into the meat and close the lid.

If you’re the type of person who likes to hold court at the barbecue - as we do with the steaks, due to it being such a short cook time - then the main thermometer does the job perfectly, providing ambient temperature (the heat in the barbecue itself) and cooking temperature (the internal heat of the steak). As soon as we hit the optimum temperate, an alarm sounds and we’re ready to pull the meat from the grill.

But while the ToGrill thermometer is a handy tool for quick cooks such as this, it really comes into its own for our favourite kind of barbecue - those long, low and slow smokes that can take up to 8 hours.

Seasoned cooks will know the stress of having to memorise multiple cook times and temperatures, with various meats having to be pulled off, wrapped and marinaded at different points during the day.

The ToGrill comes packaged with three probes, each of which can be separately programmed for different types of meat. Guests who want everything from rare to well done steaks? No problem! Put them all on the grill at the same time and your app will tell you when to pull each piece of meat from the fire.

Cooking for a big crowd? Easy! Slap a big ol’ brisket on to the grill next to a pork butt and a lamb shoulder - each will be looked after by the ToGrill thermometer.

The beauty of a digital thermometer is that it allows you to leave the smoker and socialise, carry out other tasks in the kitchen or just relax in the garden without having to worry that the barbecue has dropped its heat.

Options for cold smoke, hot smoke and barbecue smoke allow you to fine tune the process and an alarm will sound on your phone to let you know when the barbecue needs a fresh load of coal, or if it’s too hot and requires a little vent-maintenance. Experienced barbecuers will know all about the dreaded 'Texas Crutch' - when meat slows its progress for seemingly no reason - and a handy graph will let you see when it's time to wrap your brisket. A second alarm will tell you when dinner’s ready.

The end result is a dream barbecue, where you can be sure the meat is perfectly cooked (no food poisoning at your house this summer!) while being the perfect host, pouring drinks, preparing sides or just chatting with friends.

The thermometer can look a little clunky, but it's small enough that it doesn't get in the way when you're grilling

How does it work in practice?

We’re not new to the digital thermometer world and were able to pitch the ToGrill against our Inkbird, which we’ve been using for a few months.

The ToGrill comes in at £49 - a touch under £15 more than the Inkbird - and offers a different set-up that will be preferable to one-grill homes, thanks to its screw-in installation that effectively makes it a part of the barbecue.

The Inkbird offers a magnetic attachment and sits on the outside of the barbecue, which works well if you’re the kind of cook who likes to switch between a kettle barbecue, ceramic and smoker for different feasts. Switching the ToGrill is only a five minute job, but if you’re a big BBQ switcher you might want to consider an option that clamps on in seconds.

But where the ToGrill really comes into its own is its bluetooth coverage. Unfortunately, the range on our Inkbird falls just short of our house (despite promising 100m range), meaning an afternoon in front of the telly while dinner cooks isn’t on the cards.

The ToGrill comfortably reaches our lounge and rarely drops connectivity during our tests. And the meat? Well, it’s perfect. What more could you ask for?

  • Fair price to transform your barbecuing experience

  • Great build quality

  • Three probes included in box

  • Excellent broadband coverage

  • Screw-on set-up might not work for everybody

  • Slightly cumbersome appearance when attached to the barbecue - could sit more flush against the lid

ToGrill thermometer from Bar-Be-Quick, £49. Buy now

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