BBQ 4.0: Apps that simplify your outdoor party planning
You’d best keep your smartphone well charged because technology has digitized our summertime barbeques. Technology has become such an important part of our lives that we don’t always realize how much it’s changed the things that families have enjoyed for generations.
Businesses are feverishly working to provide services for every aspect of our lives. Like Oz behind the curtain, Checkerboard helps companies stay on top of the technology trends that ultimately make our lives easier. We build websites for today’s technology and social needs to help companies reach consumers. As my wife and I were preparing to have a family BBQ, it occurred to me that savvy marketers have even made our backyard patios a big part of their 4.0 world.
What are the ingredients for BBQ 4.0?
- Get inspired by some great recipes. If you’re a die-hard outdoor cook, you might want to try Grill-It! Grilling and BBQ Recipes. You’ll automatically get new recipes every month. The Barbeques and Grilling app is good for the novice because it has easy-to-follow, step-by-step instructions. Ribs aficionados will want to download BBQ Ribs Recipes by Dr. BBQ, a champion griller.
- Avoid one of the classic BBQ blunders. The meat is ready to cook, your guests are enjoying their appetizers, and then you’re horrified to discover that you’ve run out of propane. That’s happened to me! I’m fascinated by The BBQ TankMeter. It acoustically measures and then displays the amount of propane in your tank. You just hold your Android device about six inches from the tank and launch the app.
- Organize your grocery list. Who hasn’t shopped for a party, only to discover that they forgot to buy a crucial ingredient? My wife likes the Anylist – Grocery Shopping List, Recipe Manager & Meal Planning Calendar because she can share her list on my phone while I’m at the supermarket. If you have an Android phone, Our Groceries lets you sync your grocery list with other people, so if one person thinks of something to add to the list, they can do so and it will sync with the person at the grocery store. I’m also a fan of the Pahl’s Market Community Supported Agricultural program, which is local to the Minneapolis/St. Paul area. You can sign up to get a bushel box of farm-fresh produce once a week for 20 weeks, so you always have something fresh to serve.
- Brush up on your grilling techniques. Anyone can become their neighborhood grill master with some of these apps. The free Steak Grilling Timer & Recipes is a good starting place. If you’re lucky enough to have an Apple Watch, you’ll definitely want the GrillTime – Grill Timer for Steak, Chicken, & BBQ, which is Apple Watch compatible. You’ll see the timer on your wrist. To make sure everything is cooked to the perfect temperature, the MeatTemps app is also very simple to use.
- Install a professional party planner on your phone. Party planning comes easily for some people. But for those who need a little guidance, I like the Pro Party Planner app because it organizes the guest list, the budget and all of the other logistics. If you’re someone who might forget to pick up the cake, or you need to remind your friend to stop for ice, the Errands To-Do List app is ideal.
- Pre-plan the fun. There are numerous party game apps. Depending on the energy level of your typical outdoor gathering, you might want to try What if … or Heads Up!, which is a game Ellen DeGeneres plays on her show.
- Gather the whole gang. I don’t know many people who use paper invitations anymore. Evites is one of the easiest party invitation apps, which is why it is so popular. Another fun app is Invitation Maker because it really lets you express your creativity.
- And for the beer lovers out there … Barbecue and beer are a classic combination. If you want to serve something beyond American lagers, The Beer Buddy Barcode Scanner gives you ratings and a flavor description when you scan the barcode. Untappd, for Android, helps you find nearby retailers who carry trending beers. In my opinion, one of the ultimate beer apps is Pintley Beer Recommendations. It learns your personal tastes and suggests beers that you might like. It’s sort of like having a personal beer sommelier in your pocket. It will even alert you to nearby beer-tasting parties. But that’s another subject altogether.
But there’s no app for this
Once your BBQ 4.0 is in fully swing, you won’t need an app to enjoy the food, laughter and comradery. Some things are best experienced the old-fashioned way.
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