How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Grill

How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Grill

Here's how a Smart Thermometer helped me beef up my cooking and overcome my fear of grilling

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I’ve always loved hosting dinner parties, but not barbecues. Grilling has always seemed tricky.

But recently, that's all changed. I was feasting on barbecued chicken a few weeks ago when my bestie called. Chewing as quietly as possible, I told him I was busy working — because that was the truth. I was reaping the fruits of my labor, the bird I’d just grilled using my brand-new Yummly® Smart Thermometer.

Let’s be real — playing chef and trying out gadgets is a major perk of working at Yummly. The months leading up to the launch of our Smart Thermometer proved particularly exciting. We were testing our first-ever Yummly-made piece of hardware: a totally wireless Bluetooth-enabled meat thermometer controlled through the Yummly app. Pretty much everyone at the office signed up to participate right away — except for me.

The Smart Thermometer project started way before the lockdown. So, with each round of testing, more and more of my coworkers shared the food they’d made using their Smart Thermometers — and the epic tales of helping fine-tune them. I felt I was missing out on all the fun. A few months (and pounds) later, the last call for sign-ups lit a fire under my round steak. Finally, I was ready to dare. Well, almost.

The thing is — I’m more proficient at enjoying barbecue than at making it. I often have trouble telling if my pork chops are done or if my rack of lamb is a perfect medium. My bestie, a grill-master to the bone, often roasts me for lacking that special skillset.

On top of that, whenever I’m cooking, an important email will pop up, and my son will need help with homework while our puppy eats his way through a full bag of garbage. It doesn’t take all that much for me to burn lunch.

I’m also technologically challenged. I mean, my nine-year-old had to teach me the timer function on the oven we just bought. This time, however, my son wasn’t getting dibs on my cool new toy. It was a test not just for the Smart Thermometer, but for me too.

So, several weeks ago, I hid out on the backyard like a mad scientist in a lab. I’d looked up a quick Lemon Chicken recipe. My Smart Thermometer twinkled in the sun as if winking at me while charging. Meanwhile, I prepped the chicken and preheated my gas grill. Pairing (that word makes me want wine) my Smart Thermometer with my tablet turned out to be as straightforward as connecting Bluetooth in my car. Next, I picked the “Poultry” option in my trusty Yummly app. Now, everything was fired up, and so was I.

The rest of the procedure struck me as unusual:

  1. Insert the Smart Thermometer.

  2. Scratch my head.

  3. Answer a couple of messages on work chat.

  4. Play a video game with my son.

  5. Heed the phone alert to flip the chicken.

  6. Walk the dog.

  7. Set the table (I actually got my son to do it).

  8. Take the chicken off the grill when the app says it’s done.

  9. Let the grilled bird rest following the app's instructions.

  10. Pretend-guilt-trip my family into sitting down at the table.

My Lemon Chicken turned out perfect: crispy skin, juicy flesh, and an aroma fit for the new line of Yummly household fragrances I’m thinking of proposing.

The point is — it was me versus the chicken, and I won. This time. But was it a one-off, or could I recreate my meatsterpiece every time?

I repeated the experiment twice more the following week (my fourth-grader fed me the idea). For consistency’s sake, I stuck to my now-signature Lemon Chicken, and my loved ones never complained. I also double-checked the temperature on a manual meat probe — my Smart Thermometer was spot-on.

My bestie called during my third stab at the bird. At that moment, the world consisted of the chicken and me. After I’d told him I was working, I went on chewing. I savored triumph — it tasted like chicken. That’s when my son asked for seconds, and my bestie inquired if I now ate for a living. Apparently, I’d forgotten to hang up.

I can’t wait to have him over for some barbecue.

Now that I’m not worried about butchering dishes, I’m going to try some of the recipes my co-workers raved about during testing.

Grilling Recipes

Grilled Pork Chops with Basil-Garlic Rub

Honey Mustard Grilled Salmon

Grilled Balsamic Flank Steak

Roasting recipes

Slow Roasted Chicken

Yummly Original

Slow-Roasted Beef Tenderloin with Red Wine Mushroom Sauce

Yummly Original

Bourbon-Honey Glazed Ham

Yummly Original

Roast Leg of Lamb

Roasted Tomatillo Salmon

Stovetop Recipes

Lamb Chops with Garlic-Rosemary Sauce

Garlic Butter Pork Chops

Pan Seared Steak with Garlic Butter Sauce

Pepper Filet Mignon with Flambe Butter Sauce

Learn more about the Yummly Smart Thermometer.