Smartphone-controlled Bright Grill gives grilling an IQ

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The all-new Bright Grill

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Grilling may be one of the most primal forms of cooking, stripping modern cooking right down to the basics of man – meat and fire. But that doesn't mean it's not slowly evolving into a more intelligent, refined creature, as evidenced by the development of numerous wireless smart thermometers like the BBiQ and myriad other innovative grilling gadgets and accessories. The Bright Grill brings app-based wireless monitoring and control to the grill itself, and it does so in a package built for every type of grill enthusiast, including those that live in small apartments and condos.

The Bright Grill isn't the first smart grill we've covered. That honor belongs to the aptly named Smart Grill, which Lynx previewed last year and has since gotten to market in various sizes and styles. At over US$6,000, that gas grill doesn't exactly have mass market appeal. And if the large size and price don't scare you off, community rules banning propane grills just might.

Consider the Bright Grill more of a "people's smart grill." In fact, it looks virtually identical to the most famous electric "people's grill" of our times – the George Foreman Grill, specifically the Foreman Indoor/Outdoor standing grill. Like that grill, the Bright Grill has 240-sq in (1,548-sq cm) of non-stick cooking grill area and can be mounted on the included pedestal or removed and used on a tabletop. We're almost inclined to call it "George," just like every other Foreman male offspring.

While the Bright Grill's power cord works against its claims of being "wireless," it gives it the flexibility to be used in areas where gas and charcoal grills are banned, including inside. Where the Bright Grill takes things a step beyond Big George and other electric grill competitors is in its integrated smart platform. The grill itself is equipped with temperature sensors, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and a CPU, and it syncs up with the accompanying iOS/Android/Pebble app to give you remote grill control. You can turn the grill on and off from your phone, adjust the temperature and grilling time, and monitor your meal.

The Bright Grill also serves as a sort of sous chef. Enter in your own recipe or use one from the "crowd grilling" community, and the grill will update you with instructions, automatically adjust temperature as called for in the recipe, and alert you when your meal is ready. It even has an auto warm function that will drop the temperature down but keep the food warm while you make your way to your finished meal.

Since it doesn't actually monitor the internal temperature of your food, like a wireless thermometer would, the Bright Grill is sure to be less accurate. It's really just using the predesignated cooking times and grill temperatures from the recipe, not the actual real-time temperature of the food. In other words, you might end up with some overdone or underdone food if you rely too heavily on grill notifications.

With functions like a "steak wizard," which lets you enter the size and desired doneness of your steak, the Bright Grill may very well prove more accurate than the chef, though. It seems like a cool option for those that aren't all that grill-savvy and/or love their wireless technology. You can use it on your home network or connect to your phone via Bluetooth and wander up to 30 feet (9 m) away. It can be used for your home grill-out, tailgating, picnicking and camping, assuming you have a nearby outlet, hookup, generator or other available power source.

The Bright Grill designers are hoping to raise just north of $41,000 of seed money on Kickstarter. It doesn't look like they'll meet their bold goal of surpassing Kickstarter darlings like the Pebble Time or Coolest cooler, but they're off to a solid start at around $7,500 with 54 days to go. The Bright Grill is available for pledge levels starting at $149, and deliveries will begin in March 2016, if all goes according to plan.

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