Cook outside the box with these creative kitchen appliances

Innovative kitchen gadgets are nothing new, and as anyone who's seen an infomercial can attest, these kinds of small appliances often come with bold promises of revolutionizing the way we cook. However, with the occasional exception (I'm looking at you, Crock-Pot), that kind of ubiquity never quite seems to arrive.

But if you aren't getting a revolution, what are you getting? That all depends on the specific product, but more and more, we're seeing intriguing options that actually live up to their performance claims. Whether they're introducing powerful new cooking methods like steam baking and … Read more

Level up with Weber Elevations Tiered Cooking System

The fight for prominence on the grill can be a vicious one. The steak mauls the chicken while the vegetables argue on. And who knows what the pork is planning. How is such troublesome behavior ever to be overcome? The first answer, of course, is to give them their space. Even though everything gets all mixed up in your tummy anyway, that doesn't stop us from overcrowding the grill -- especially those first few grill sessions of the season, as we reacquaint ourselves with outdoor cooking.

There is a second solution. Look up. And skewer.

The Weber Elevations Tiered Cooking System grill rack and skewer set ($54.99) (… Read more

Darth Vader's BBQ tongs flip burgers with Force

If you've been searching for the perfect grilling accessory for your Bantha burger cookouts, take a look at these: "Star Wars" Lightsaber BBQ Tongs from The Fowndry. These geeky tongs are modeled after Darth Vader's own lightsaber hilt from "A New Hope."

These officially licensed lightsaber tongs have a removable transparent red cover and even make the signature sound effect that left many a Jedi quaking in his boots. Conveniently, though, these lightsaber tongs are powered by AA batteries instead of the Force. … Read more

BBQ smarter with the iGrill Mini meat probe

The $39.99 iGrill Mini from iDevices is one clever thermometer probe. You can pair it to your iPhone or iPad via Bluetooth Smart and let it handle dinner while you enjoy some down time. As you lounge, you can track the doneness of your food from the free app and receive alerts when it reaches the desired temp. It really removes the guesswork and some of the effort from the grilling process, which I love. I highly recommend this meat probe to anyone who wants to cook something to temperature, but would rather avoid the periodic temperature checks that … Read more

Bring the food to the fire with Gaucho Grill

The quest to tame fire takes on different shapes and sizes every time the backyard grill gets fired up. At least one characteristic, however, can be counted on to remain the same: fire is hot. Of course, it's this defining characteristic that makes our food taste good, but it's what we do with it that makes all the difference. Some like a raging fire, some like it low and slow. And some like to let fire just do its thing, and bring the food to the flame.

The means to save food from being burnt to a crisp … Read more

The voice-activated Lynx Smart Grill prototype talks back

Lynx sells expensive built-in and free-standing grills. Although these professional-grade grills are all full of fancy features, none of them offer connected features. But Lynx made an announcement at CES 2014 that's about to change all that. It's a new product called the Lynx Smart Grill. Basically, it does everything except put your food on the grill for you.

This thing comes equipped with what Lynx calls My Chef technology. That's a voice-recognition feature that allows you to chat with your grill. Before you start grilling, it will ask you a series of questions about your recipe (… Read more

The iGrill2 keeps track of the temps inside your grill

LAS VEGAS -- Backyard barbecuers rejoice. At this year's CES, iDevices announced the release of the iGrill2 Bluetooth Smart Meat Thermometer. This device helps you keep track of the temperature of your food as it cooks. Using the iDevices app, the iGrill2 monitors the food in your grill from up to 150 feet away. The app is currently available only in the iTunes store and is supported by iPad (3rd Generation or newer), iPhone (4S or newer), and iPod touch (5 and up). Android users can expect an app release sometime in 2014.

Key features include an LED display … Read more

T-fal OptiGrill keeps an eye on the steak

The kitchen has no shortage of mysteries. But for every eternal question like who ate my lunch or if the refrigerator light really turns off when the door is closed, there are an equal number of down-to-earth considerations to ponder. For example, when that expensive steak is cooking, just where in the spectrum of rare to well-done does it fall? Unlike questions of evil co-workers or refrigerator gnomes, knowing when to pull the steak is of great practical concern. (Well, stolen sandwiches are, too, but let's move on.)

Nothing can substitute for experience, except maybe a bright multicolor light. … Read more

The Perfect Pizza Grilling Stone is like summer Part 2

Just when you thought it was safe to back away from the grill. (Not that one would ever necessarily want to.) Here we are at the end of summer and it is back to school time. The grill has enjoyed a nice season of delivering flame-licked food and soon it will be time to start cooking in the kitchen again. But that big ol' box that we call an oven can wait, because there are still recipes to explore outside.

Making pizza on the grill is one of those activities that combines a bit of necessity with a smidge of … Read more

Cuisinart Griddler Deluxe takes the kitchen counter further

Kitchen appliances that overachieve are always welcome on the countertop. It hasn't quite gotten to the point where one appliance can cook absolutely anything and everything in any type of way (microwaves don't count), but when it comes time to properly prepare a meal, one can only ask for any particular appliance or gadget to do so much. And maybe perhaps a bit more.

The Cuisinart GR-150 Griddler Deluxe ($159) offers the ability to cook up a batch of practically anything. Building upon the popular Cuisinart Griddler name, the countertop appliance combines an indoor grill with a griddle … Read more