Whoever said technology and cave-man methodologies don’t mix has obviously never used their smartphone or tablet to plan and carry out the ultimate barbeque cookout! For 8 examples of how you can do this, thus creating the perfect unity between hard fast data and seared animal flesh, check out our roundup of Android BBQ apps below — but be warned. Reading this article is guaranteed to ultimately result in more than a few extra pounds.
BBQ Planner ($0.99)
First things first. Before you choose your meat and before you fire up the gas grill or set your briquettes aflame, your first step should be to plan your summer barbeque gala like a pro. Trouble is, not everyone’s an expert planner — and if you’ve ever found yourself scrambling around at the last minute, racing across town to pick up some forgotten essential, odds are you fall into this category too.
Forget about spending two hours of your precious time building a to-do list you’ll probably lose before the Big Day. Instead, just cough up 99 cents and download BBQ Planner. With 364 reminder checkpoints that cover everything from sending invitations to stocking up on bismuth for guests with touchy tummies, you can pretty much rest assured your bases will be covered. BBQ Planner offers a simple interface with straightforward functionality that’s even prepped for outside-the-box thinking, enabling you to add your own categories if necessary; but you probably won’t need that.
BB Meat Cuts Pro ($0.99)
There are a lot of people out there who don’t know squat about how to pick good meat, and if you count yourself among their number, this app’s for you. Complete with full-body diagrams for beef, lamb and pork, this is a handy reference that answers questions about the consistency of meat cuts and tells you the best methods of preparing them. The built-in buyer’s guide is a comprehensive and — dare we use the word? — educational inclusion that’ll serve to propel your summer barbeque from a “decent” rating to a full-on “delicious.”
The best part about this is that you can impress people by pretending to be a meat expert, so long as you don’t let on that you’ve got the answers plugged right into your tablet. There’s also a free demo version of the app available if you want to try before you buy.
If you’re cooking to impress, the last thing you want to do is just slap a few cuts of meat on the burner and call that good. You probably won’t get many complaints if you do (especially if you’re the one providing the meat), but you may not get as many rave reviews as you would if you were to throw down with a few choice recipes.
As far as grilling recipe apps go, you can’t do much better for the price than this. Grill-It! covers everything including beef, lamb, pork, poultry, seafood, veggies, and even has a respectable wealth of recipes for appetizers and side dishes. Whether you’re into trying new stuff like grilled cabbage or you just want to know how to make the ultimate burger without turning that patty into a charred meatball, there’s bound to be something in here for everyone.
Omaha Steaks Steak Time (HD) (Free)
If you’ve ever tasted an Omaha Steaks cut of beef, you’ll know that these folks don’t mess around when it comes to preparing excellent food. Fortunately, they’re not information hoarders, and by downloading this free app you can pull off equally succulent culinary feats and pass them off as your own. Omaha Steaks Steak Time comes with dozens of recipes, a library of how-to videos, and a grilling timer with audio alert sounds. It also wins the much coveted “going the extra mile” award by not only offering up enough tips and info to convince everyone you ought to have your own cooking show, but also by having a bonus “conversation cards” feature.
Ever worry the cookout party might suddenly dead-end into one of those awkward silences where everyone’s staring at one another not knowing what to say? Now you won’t be at a loss for what to say next. There are actually two versions of this app, and both are free: Omaha Steaks Steak Time and the HD version. You’ll want the latter if you prefer to operate from a tablet, as it’s automatically oriented to landscape mode. Ah, convenience.
Steak Timer (Free)
If you’re already stocked up on killer recipes and only need an effective timer to remind you when to flip that steak depending on its thickness and desired “doneness,” check out the free app Steak Timer. This is a no-frills down-to-business app that won’t win any aesthetic design contests, but it’s perfectly effective and comes with a full screen countdown timer that keeps running in the background so you can multi-task while you slave over the fire. It also gives you information on what internal steak temperatures should be so you don’t have to worry about getting hit with a lawsuit or winding up in the emergency room yourself with e-coli.
Cocktail Flow Tablet ($2.95)
One of the pricier apps on our list is also one of the best looking, a tablet-optimized beauty that’s configurable for two languages (English and German) and five different themes (Bahamas, Christmas, New Year’s, St. Patrick’s Day, and Valentine’s Day). But it’s not just all about good looks and crystal-clear images, there’s also a wealth of information here that’ll tell you more than you probably will ever need to know, especially if you’re partying it up with a bunch of people whose idea of a high-brow time is buying a case of micro-brews.
One of the app’s coolest features is called Barstock, which tells you what drinks you can make with the ingredients on hand. The extensive library of cocktail recipes can be searched by drink name or browsed by base drink, type, color, and event. If you’re going to be spending the afternoon behind the bar tending to your guests’ beverage whims, you could do a lot worse than to load this app into your tablet and keep it by your side for the duration. Also available in a free, non-tablet version that’s got loads of information but lacks the cool HD display.
Panda BBQ (Free)
If you’ve got little ones you’re interested in keeping occupied while you slave over a hot grill for nothing more than slaps on the back, here’s a barbeque-themed game that’ll accomplish that without costing you a dime. The object of the game is to spear your kabob with as many matching food items as possible within a given time limit. For those youngsters who don’t do well with the stress of impending countdowns, there’s also an endless gameplay mode that might end up killing your smartphone or tablet battery, but at least it’ll dramatically decrease the number of “child down!” incidents.
Pandora Internet Radio (Free)
What’s a backyard barbeque with no music? Infuse your “partay” with a little oomph and groove by piping in some free tunes courtesy Pandora, the preeminent free streaming music app. You’ll still have to put up with the occasional annoying car ad, but at least you don’t have to pay to stream the music through your smartphone or tablet as you do with both the Last.FM app and the standard Spotify app.
What’s more, you don’t have to spend a fortune stocking up on a bunch of CDs you’ll probably never listen to again. Just make a single selection to start with and Pandora will do the rest, using algorithms courtesy of the Music Genome Project to build off your choice and creating a feed of similar music. If you’ve got a speaker setup in your backyard, you can even connect your smartphone or tablet to them and pump up the volume to ear-damaging decibels. Just don’t wonder why those neighbors you didn’t invite are giving you dirty looks the next day.