By Scott Baughman

Summer has arrived and with it the most important aspect of your vacation attitude – no, not the sun tan or hitting the lake to go cruising in your boat. I’m talking about one of the last bastions of manly prowess, a hallmark of unmistakable flavor and a work of art that still takes time to do right.

The art of grilling.

But, Scott, you say, how can a technology column be related to grilling? Ah, dear reader, this is the 21st century. You can use technology to enhance anything, and that includes the time-honored tradition of grilling in the summertime.

Here are four tech tips on how to get the most out of your grill this year:

First off, you can’t get any great flavor without great fire. Now, personally I love a fine, ashen, glowing charcoal fire. But if you’re not a fan of lighter fluid, or you’re trying to get a spark going amidst a windy day on the lake, look no further than – the Looftlighter! For just $79 on Amazon, you can light your charcoal grill in a safe, environmentally friendly way that far outperforms a charcoal chimney or propane torch. The Looftlighter was designed and originally marketed in Scandinavia for lighting grills in extremely low temperatures and damp environments. The Looftlighter is able to ignite even the densest, dampest hardwood charcoal using superheated 1,250-degree air in only a few minutes.

Second, you can’t have any repeat performances of the greatest grilling ever if you don’t clean the thing in between uses or at least before the next session. Sure, you can heat up the surface and scour it clean with a wire brush or steel wool pad. Or you could just heat it up and try to scrape off the residue from last weekend’s BBQ with a blade or spatula. But why do that when you can harness the power of technology to get it sparkling? Enter the Grand Grill Daddy Steam-Operated Grill-Cleaning Tool! For just $45 on Amazon, you can own this steam-powered grill cleaning system that includes a three-row cleaning brush and several replacement/specialized brush heads.

Third, you can’t have well-done meat if you aren’t aware of the internal temperature of the protein in question. Enter, the Bluetooth, smartphone-compatible iGrill meat thermometer. With a hyper-sensitive meat probe, and the ability to connect to your smartphone via Bluetooth and interlock with the free Weber grilling app, the iGrill can give you utter precision in your meat temperature readings. And thanks to the range of the Bluetooth you can keep an eye on the temps of your burgers, steaks, chops and chicken from several feet away, basking in the sun or just catching a few moments of relaxation in the hammock. The iGrill starts at about $40 on

Fourth, you’ve got to have the best tools for flipping, scraping, positioning and grabbing. Enter the Maverick AK-01 BBQ Tools – just $35 on Amazon these quality, easy-to-clean BBQ tools are a stainless steel and rubber-coated BBQ accessory kit that includes a spatula, tongs, basting brush, and grill-cleaning brush, as well as a fast-read LCD fork probe thermometer. Yes, another thermometer because you can never have enough ways to check the internal temperature of your meat. Seriously, you’ve got to make sure it isn’t dried out and also make sure you reach the correct temperature to eliminate the danger of any food-borne illnesses like those caused by e.coli or salmonella.

Fifth, and finally, the best way to embrace grilling tech is with – a new grill, of course! But this is 2016, people. We’re not going for mono-tasking cooking situations here. We need a grill that can get the job done in a variety of ways. In keeping with my personal preference for charcoal, I like the Weber Smokey Mountain Cooker. It’s not just a great charcoal grill from the best company in the charcoal game – Weber, famous for the iconic black kettle charcoal grill – it’s also a smoker! Once you start using this smoker, you’ll never have to eat sub-standard BBQ smoked chicken, sausages, ribs, or pulled pork ever again. For just $299 on, the Smokey Mountain is the rig of choice for any serious amateur and not a few professionals. This thing is all about cooking low and slow over burning charcoal and fruitwoods, at temperatures of around 220-250 degrees for several hours, until the smoke from the fire has penetrated the meat and formed a pink smoke ring. There isn’t a thing on this Earth that tastes like that, or will evoke more primeval emotion in a hungry male. In fact, if you find a female who is all about that smoked meat from the Smokey Mountain, do what you need to keep her. Come to think of it, just keep the Smokey Mountain rocking and you’ll probably keep her!

And there you have it, the key to making your summertime meal one for the ages is to mix the old school principals of barbecuing low and slow with the high-tech advantages of your smartphone! Until next time, download complete!