April 20, 2024
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April 20, 2024
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Linking Northern and Central NJ, Bronx, Manhattan, Westchester and CT

Summer is always an amazing time for families. It’s always a challenge to find tech with summer themes.

My sister was married last week, and one of the events was a barbecue at my uncle’s home. My uncle is an accomplished IT professional in addition to having a PhD and his own consulting company.

One of his passions is barbecuing; I say that term lightly as he is recently a grillmaster in his own right. His home is a veritable panoply of grills, Big Green Egg (kamado), Green Mountain Grill and multiple smoking devices. Preparing for this column, I spent at least an hour on the phone hearing the styles and techniques of grilling meats, chicken, hot dogs, burgers, fish and even pizza.

My uncle recommends cooking by temperature and spending the money on a proper thermostat that can read back to a smartphone.

So, what will be the tech spin? The days of dads (I know this is also a mom thing, but just for this column, bear with me) taking out the grill, scorching the food on a black, wired, rusting grill with smoke everywhere is over.

With barbecue being a new gourmet foodie craze, barbecue and grilling has worked its way into many a high-end palate, not to mention even ultra-Orthodox glatt-kosher homes.

Most of these cooking implements now come with a Bluetooth or WiFi device that can help monitor the temperature of the food. Most of these devices can be retrofitted into the grill, and with a smartphone app can help the grillmaster cook.

Some ideas I discussed is using this barbecue tech while traveling. Long gone are the days of one station wagon with the kids in the back facing the rearview window with nothing but games and car sickness to deal with. Most new vans come equipped with built-in DVD players. It’s probably the last real use for DVDs. With the WiFi headsets, the driver can listen to music while the kids watch an Uncle Moishy DVD. The most common question when you have teenagers is: “What is the WiFi password?” Some vans come with built-in WiFi to manage devices.

With Waze or Google Maps, a family traveler can take trips unheard of years ago. As I referenced above, the Green Mountain Grill comes with wood pellet cooking. This is some serious wood cooking. The only drawback of the Green Mountain Grill is there is a power plug to operate the Bluetooth and temperature control.

I wrote in past columns that no car should be without a portable battery. There are so many to choose from; the ones I described have ports for a car battery boost if needed. Multiple smartphones and laptops and even vans come equipped with a port for a standard power cord just for these purposes.

Most of my research is pretty classical; I am old school in terms of making phone calls to experts, etc. But there is a wealth of amazing how-tos and experts, all free, on YouTube. Two great YouTube barbecue pitmasters to follow are the BBQ Guru and Meathead. Many of the amazing products that IT can add to your barbecue grilling needs can be found on their YouTube videos.

With all of the above in mind, my family with a small budget has gone on some lifelong memory-creating vacations. What I do is find a hotel that is near an attraction. In New England, there is a Six Flags in Springfield, Massachusetts. There are some amazing hotels in Entin, Connecticut, very close to one particular Holiday Inn that used to be a five-star Intercontinental but none of the rooms were changed. The staff lets you barbecue in the parking lot and are very nice. Same with the Greenwich Hyatt, which is very close to Stamford, Connecticut, with many kosher options. The rooms are very nice, and they have a great indoor pool.

As the summer approaches with all this IT, my best advice is to put the IT down. Spend time with the kids, barbecue on whatever grill, and sit by a pool.

Enjoy the weather and happy summer!

By Shneur J. Garb

 

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