Best BBQ, Cocktail, and Cooking apps for iOS and Android

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Want some food for thought regarding your next tech purchase? Check out Know Your Mobile’s handy list of the top technologies for the budding chef then. Honestly, it’s the best thing since sliced bread…

BON APP-ÉTIT

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From restaurant recommender systems to digital recipe collections, there are plenty of apps for both iPhone and Android to keep the budding “foodie” happy. Slightly more interesting, however, is the iOS app known as Matthew Kenney’s Raw Express. Offering more than fifty unique and award-winning food recipes, Raw Express goes further than most rival apps by offering nutritional information and images of over 130 ingredients, along with full-length videos from professional chef (and best-selling recipe book author) Matthew Kenney demonstrating a range of handy hints.

The most interesting thing about the app is the part we haven’t commented on yet: the fact that all of the food it shows you how to make is raw. The nutritional benefits of raw food are well known, but for many would-be chefs (including this one) knowledge of tasty raw recipes don’t go much beyond dips and carrot sticks. As you would hope, this app goes the extra mile: suggesting a range of appetisers, soups, salads, smoothies, entrees and desserts — all complemented by attractive, full-color photography.

Each recipe is designed to take less than thirty minutes, and there’s even a handy “search by ingredient” function that lets you separate the wheat from the… wheatgrass.

KNOW YOUR SPEAKEASIES

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Technologists like to claim that by bringing their products to the masses they are democratising everything from employment to the way we communicate with one another. That’s all well and good, but if there’s one area Know Your Mobile never thought it would find subject to the “democratisation” of technology it is the fiddly and meticulous process of making designer cocktails.

Well, thanks to Jim Meehan and Joseph Schwartz — creators of the Speakeasy Cocktails app for iOS and Android — that is no longer true. “During Prohibition, getting a stiff drink required passwords and secret passageways,” the app designers’ sales pitch reveals. “Now two of the world’s top bartenders and leaders in the speakeasy revival … share their secrets with video tutorials, instructional graphics, and more than 200 recipes, culled from the world’s best.”

Alongside the fact that you constantly feel in good hands with your expert mixologists (yes, that’s a real word!), it is Speakeasy Cocktails’ ability to pick cocktails from around the globe to supplement the classics that makes this app shine as brightly as it does.

WHERE GEEKS GO TO MEAT

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A “smoking gun” is normally considered an admission of guilt. Well, with the PolyScience Smoking Gun the only thing you’ll be guilty of is *ahem* great cooking.

For all its “real man’s man” imagery, there’s always been a bit of geekery about smoking meat, which pretty much classifies as a science in its own right. Since food smoking generally requires the creation of (surprisingly enough) smoke, those of us who live in flats without easy access to the outdoors can now get in on the act with this nifty handheld device. Your selection of available combustibles includes a number of types of wood chip, teas, herbs, spices and even hay and dried flowers, while the “gun” itself runs on four AA batteries.

It may not be a true substitute for real cold smoking — which takes hours or even days to properly flavor food — but this gadget is perfect for adding a unique smoke infusion flavour without the process and time it usually takes for smoking. The price (between £55 – £60) might be on the steep side, but that’s no more than you’ll be paying for a good, mid-range kitchen knife. And, hey, didn’t The Beatles once sing that happiness is a PolyScience Smoking Gun? Or something similar…

CAN iGRILL IT? YES YOU CAN

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“iGrill is revolutionizing the way we cook & grill today,” reads the company’s enthusiastic sales pitch. Making its case for being among the best multitasking apps around, the iGrill is a Bluetooth-enabled wireless cooking thermometer that lets you pay attention to your dinner guests while your food is sizzling away on the barbecue.

To use the iGrill, simply insert the supplied probe into your steak as it cooks and then take advantage of the tool’s 200 feet range (around 60 meters) to go and do something else, while checking your iOS or Android device to monitor temperature. When it’s cooked (measured in both time and optimum temperature) your phone will alert you that food is ready to eat.

What could be better than that?

Cooking on Glass

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Okay, this one is something of a cheat being that it is not out yet (and being based on a research project may never be released), but its mere existence in the digital ether offers a vision of what technologies like Google Glass could one day mean to the budding chef.

Created by computer scientists at Japan’s Kyoto Sangyo University, this “virtual kitchen” is kitted out with ceiling-mounted cameras and projectors which overlay cooking instructions as you prepare your food. Fancy filleting a fish? Just lay it on the chopping board, at which point the projectors will overlay the image of a virtual knife with a line showing you where to cut.

As if that wasn’t enough, there’s also a miniature robot kitchen assistant called Phyno who sits on the countertop and advises on what to do next. When movement sensors show that the chef has stopped moving, Phyno asks for confirmation that a particular step in the recipe is complete. Answer “yes” and move on to the next step. Answer “no” and the instructions will be repeated.

Sure, it comes with a slew of questions (do we really want chefs to be reduced to robotic instruction-followers?), but it’s a neat idea — and one that could well signal what the kitchen of the (near) future might look like.

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