I recently had a grill mishap. No, I didn’t accidentally blow my face off, or anything terrible like that. But I did ruin some ribs, which is a lesser but still severe catastrophe. I left the grill unattended for a few moments, not knowing that a small grease fire had started. When I returned, the ribs were, “charred” to put it lightly.
Cinder, who just presented at Y Combinator Demo Day, wants to make mistakes like these an antiquated artifact with high precision temperature monitoring, app connectivity and smartphone notifications.
The Cinder Sensing Cooker is a countertop smart grill that makes the George Foreman Grill look like a primitive medieval torture device. The grill features a set of aluminum non-stick cooking plates, and the temperature of these cooking plates is constantly monitored by software within the grill – the sensors are accurate to within 1/10 of a degree. By maintaining such precision with heat, Cinder allows users to cook food to exact specifications.
Users can set the grill temperature using the dial on the grill itself, or they can use the accompanying smartphone app. Within the app, they can select the type of food being cooked (strip steak, chicken breast, onions, etc.), the “doneness” (medium, well-done, etc.), and whether or not the food is frozen. Based on the selections, the app automatically sets the appropriate temperature for the grill.
If users aren’t sure exactly how much they want their food to be cooked, the app provides a large selection of photos showing food cooked rare, medium, and well-done.
A small sensor is placed into the middle of the food to ensure that the internal temperature doesn’t rise too far. Then, the grill uses a specific algorithm to ensure that the target temperature is always maintained, meaning that overcooking or undercooking just doesn’t happen.
Especially when an alert is sent to your smartphone or tablet once the food has been cooked to perfection.
Sometimes we talk about this as the third generation of precision temperature cooking. You had a crock pot, to cook at a low temperature over time but it’s not as precise, and sous vide, which has very nice results. What we’ve done is keep the precise temperature, but kept it very approachable and convenient.
Perhaps one of the coolest features of Cinder is that after the food is cooked, the grill can automatically lower the temperature to keep it warm without overcooking it.
Cinder is currently in pre-order status, with the first units scheduled to ship in Summer of 2016. The starting price is $189.
Stephen Altrogge is a freelance writer based in Tallahassee, Florida. He writes about tech, marketing, faith, and lots of other things. He’s married to Jen and has three young girls. Every day he consumes more coffee than the entire population of Colombia. He knows more about Star Wars than any respectable man should, and he runs more than any sane man would. He once attempted to eat a 2 pound hamburger in under an hour. He failed.
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