These tech gadgets make it easy to enjoy the game.

This is a great time of year to be a football fan. Everyone starts the season with hopes of a conference or national championship. If the season doesn’t start well, it’s still a great time to enjoy fall Saturdays and Sundays with friends at tailgate parties or backyard get-togethers. Most of those parties during football season involve the grill. To get the perfect burger, steak or grilled chicken breast you need a meat thermometer.

It’s the one thing grillmasters all want. 

I’ve been trying out the Thermapen IR by ThermoWorks. This meat thermometer uses both a traditional probe for internal temperatures and infrared to get accurate readings on any surface. As my wife asked, “why do you need to know how hot the grill is?”

I find the IR helpful when I use a cast-iron skillet on the grill to get a good sear on a steak or, and I’m doing this a lot lately, grilling burgers. I want the skillet to get good and hot, upwards of 400-500 degrees if possible. When I know the skillet is that hot, I also know the steak only needs to sit on each side for about a minute before taking it off and putting it directly over the coals. The Thermapen IR gives an accurate reading of the surface without touching it. Just hold the pen a few inches from the surface and press a button. 

The traditional probes work very fast too. When I fold the prong back into the thermometer pen it shuts off to save battery life and starts again when I pick it up. Best of all, I think, is the Thermopen IR does not require me downloading an app onto my phone. 

Another thermometer I’ve been using is the Weber iGrill2. This one is for the busy griller who’s going back and forth from the grill to the TV so as not to miss a play. The iGrill2 comes with probes you insert into the meat your cooking while it’s on the grill. Leave the probes inserted and you can walk away from the grill. Once the meat reaches the proper temperature you will get a notification on your phone using the iGrill app. You can also look live at the temperatures on the app without needing to lift the BBQ grill lid. 

Another perfect addition to tailgate or backyard parties is a television. Today’s TVs are thin and light enough to take from one place in the house to another. Got people coming over to watch the game? Chances are some will want to pay attention to multiple games. Just bring the TV from the bedroom out onto the porch or box it up and put it in the truck for the tailgate party in the parking lot. 

The 43″ Toshiba Fire TV has smarts and is now under $200

Attach an antenna and you can probably get at least one game live and for free. You can also plug in a Roku or Amazon Fire Stick and log into one of the streaming services to watch games on ESPN or another cable network. A Google Chromecast plugged into an HDMI port on the TV allows you to stream whatever is playing on your phone or tablet to the big screen.

One piece of advice: if you’re buying a new TV that you could move from one place to another, save the box it came in. Today’s TVs are so thin just a little pressure from a finger can ruin the screen.


Enjoy the games this fall!