Hacker News new | past | comments | ask | show | jobs | submit login

I saw from another thread that this is actually for the temperature of a meat thermometer, that you can constantly monitor and without having to open the grill (which is undesirable).

So actually not a crock of shit, and pretty useful if you're grilling/smoking over long periods of time before/during a big party or something. Not all grilling is quick searing.

Sometimes new features aren't just gimmicks, you know?

What are the chances that it's also sending the temperature over the Internet to be logged by some server in the cloud, so they can gather usage metrics and other analytics? This is literally "telemetry" in the original engineering sense, and I wouldn't be surprised at all if it did.

On a lighter note, Weber does sound like a good name for a web browser.

I get that privacy is important, but I'm struggling to understand why I'm supposed to care about a company logging data on the temperature of the beef I'm cooking. If they want to badly enough to secretly add telemetry code and not tell me? Great, have fun. Enjoy. I'll not lose any sleep over it.

In other words - the backlash over excessive data storage and retention is very much good thing, but let's be careful to try keep things in perspective a bit. Otherwise we run the risk of people not taking us seriously when it actually matters.

> I get that privacy is important, but I'm struggling to understand why I'm supposed to care about a company logging data on the temperature of the beef I'm cooking. If they want to badly enough to secretly add telemetry code and not tell me? Great, have fun. Enjoy. I'll not lose any sleep over it.

as we learn time and time again with this kind of thing, the scary things don't come from the data and metrics that they want, the scary things come as a form of collateral damage that occurs when the company does whatever they have to do in order to harvest the metrics that they're interested in.

Here's a devils' advocate leap that isn't too far from the realities of IoT devices: Company X's telemetry function is broken, allowing arbitrary remote code execution. The IoT device receives a command that causes property or personal damage -- or it becomes a node in a much larger destructive network.

These things happen when features get packed in faster than the security can follow.

Yeah, yeah, the Weber product is just a thermometer. It can still be a node in a malicious network, given attacker incentive.

This is a poor example -- it's an interface that accepted and expected inputs -- but I think it serves as a good example of IoT doing security wrong.


An example: I decided to build a simple temperature monitor to see what I could do about energy use. Simply put, it's the easiest way to tell when the heating system is kicking in and for how long when you're dealing with decades old technology. What I discovered was interesting. In addition to telling me the expected, it showed things like: when I went to bed at night, when I got up in the morning, and even when I got up in the middle of the night and for how long. The times weren't exact, but it provided pretty good estimates for an indirect measurement using a very crude instrument.

Now imagine what could be inferred from your meat grilling data.

I am not saying that that people go around doing nefarious things with your meat grilling data. In fact, there is a very good chance that it is not even being collected. Yet we live in a world that is hungry for data of virtually any type and in any form, which makes both data collection and nefariousness a possibility when that data is being handled by an Internet connected device. Personally, I find that possibility creepy - even if no harm is being done.

Would you feel comfortable with a health insurance company buying that dataset and charging higher premiums for those who habitually undercook their meat?

They cannot charge you more for being morbidly obese, or riding motorcycles, out preexisting conditions, or anything at all but maybe smoking, so I’m not too worried about doneness.

Or who eat meat "too often".

I guess grilling vegetables is off the table, then?

The problem is that if the majority of people who use grill thermometers are using it for meat (probably true), and the health insurance's actuarial tables show that eating meat is associated with higher payouts, your premiums will go up. This isn'tat court of law. Even if you really did use it for grilling vegetables they won't care. As long as they're right in aggregate they'll continue doing it.

Why would you want them to know this? Do you not think of privacy as being a desirable default in your life? You might be thinking of just some random logs getting stored somewhere, but I think of a person being able to access those logs. Do you want me, Joe Schmoe, to be looking over your shoulder every time you grill? You might not notice, but surely you'd be creeped out to learn that some guy has been peeping through binoculars at your thermometer whenever you're in the backyard. It's not just the temperature data either - it's the fact that they know what you're physically doing at a certain time and location.

My grill spying on me strikes me as being equal parts unintentional self-satire, and terrifying dystopia.

Everyone in this thread is debating lid vs meat vs "do we need this at all?" when the problem I have when I cook on a (gas) grill is that half the grill is cold and the other half is a raging inferno and I can't understand why. Seems to me like I need multiple thermometers to figure out why there is such uneven cooking. Ironically, I have a much easier time cooking on wood / charcoal.

To address your problem, check the size of the flames on your gas lines first. Those do rust, and it may just help to give it a few knocks and clean the ports with a wire brush.

Some of your valves may be stuck, resulting in low output. Check all areas for rust, and clean it out if it's evident.

Gas grills are too often engineered for low cost builds. They rust easily, and require regular maintenance.

Good luck!

Someone I know bought an inexpensive Bluetooth thermometer controller with support for 6 probes, so you may be able to find what you want.

I just bought some GrillGrates that supposedly help with that. Good reviews, but I haven't yet tried them out.


a guage. On the bbq lid. No, i can't check it while i sit inside, this is true, there is, however a very good argument that says, maybe i shouldn't actually be inside while the bbq is on though.

There's a barbecue recipe guy I like, big proponent of leave-in thermometers (the kind with leads that snake outside the barbecue). He likes to say that the in-lid thermometers are just fine, provided you're planning to eat the lid.

I still probably wouldn't use an IoT one, though.

It’s quite amazing how wrong those lid thermometers can be - I ruined my first brisket trying to use the lid thermometer and then bought a Thermoworks Smoke (the kind with the two wires like you describe, where you stick one reader in the meat and the other goes laying on the floor of the smoker). When the Thermoworks thermometer read 250F the lid thermometer read 400F.

Why would an IOT thermometer be any better than one that just has a readout on the lid?

I understand that if the thermometer is on th lid and not actually measuring the meat it's crap, but if it's measuring the same way as the IOT version, then the readout is fine on the lid.

Because you plug it into a thermocouple device that you poke inside the middle of your roast, which is a completely different temperature than the air in the grill. This is an addon Bluetooth thermometer Option for Weber grills - I have a Weber but didn’t get this option.

I think the others are missing your point a bit.

I use an IoT thermometer so that I can monitor smoking progress over 13 or so hours and still do things like go to the hardware store.

Placement. Either you want a probe thermometer measuring the internal temperature of the meat or an air temperature probe on the indirect side of grill. The gauge on the grill is likely to be off 50-100 degrees F. They're often cheaply made and not as high quality as something like a probe themometer from Thermoworks, or presumably this Weber device.

i'm gonna level with you here, i've never eaten meat in my life, so am out of my comfort zone here, but i can't help but feel from reading this that the HN crowd have a propensity for over-engineering that is coming to the fore here.

Fire, knives and an apron with a pithy slogan - c'mon, how hard can it be?

A business built to sell grill gadgets to the HN crowd sounds like a guaranteed recipe for failure.

Anyhow, folks who are serious about preparing smoked brisket, ribs, etc., are very particular about the temperature of both the air/smoke and the food. Two thermometers and maybe a computer-controlled fan or damper are not far outside the norm.

> A business built to sell grill gadgets to the HN crowd sounds like a guaranteed recipe for failure.

Haha, gadget as in IoT crap, maybe, but we're for-sure the market for: aeropress, sous-vide devices (yes some do them DIY but...), dedicated pizza ovens, and so on. You got a gadget to prepare food or drinks that already have other ways to prepare them, HN's not a crazy place to market it. Bonus if it's "sciency" or can be described as more "authentic".

But of course we're not like the stupid plebs falling for those silly devices we don't like.

(mind, I'm far from immune to this, so I'm not just casting stones at others—oh I am getting one of those pizza ovens at some point. That's happening.)

Heh. I mean only that HN'ers are too fussy to sell to. People do indeed love gadgets and other vehicles to try to fill the void. Why is why I intend to build a domed brick and clay bread/pizza oven in the backyard when time and knowledge permit...

You have not the experience to even make that claim in a valid way. Being snarky doesn't compensate or hide your ignorance of the topic.

It's ok to not know something about a topic and not disingenuously comment about it.

Perhaps think of it like the way people perform agriculture now, and even on the garden scale.

Sure, you could go with a standard soil composition and add water on a schedule, then harvest when it feels best.

Or, you think of it as a system with inputs and outputs. If you can observe the system and manipulate the variables (soil composition analysis, moisture measurements, temperature control and sunlight optimization, etc) accordingly, then your yield can improve dramatically.

Any nursery sells a multitude of tools to measure and manipulate those variables, and farms are a whole other beast of systems design.

It's much the same with cooking meat. Control the variables, improve the result.

How do you know when someone’s a vegetarian? Just wait, he’ll tell you.

Harder than you think if you want good results. BBQ is the hardest form of cooking I’ve encountered and I’ve tried most things.

It's not an HN thing. Cooking meat well is actually tricky.

Cooking meat well is easy, just throw it in until it looks and chews like shoe leather. Cooking meat properly on the otherhand.

Jokes aside, cooking meat properly should almost always have a leave in thermometer for anything that isn't being seared.

Remote temperature monitors are often used for low and slow smoking that lasts for 10+ hours. There are many smokeboxes designed to be used unattended, a great deal of them have pellet driven hopper systems to keep delivering fuel so there's consistent heat and smoke.

Personally, I wouldn't use an app for this and instead just use a remote sensor and dedicated monitor, but I don't fault anyone for using an app.

I switched from a pretty sweet thermoworks probe with remote reader to an app and the app is so much better. It’s cleaner and easier, doesn’t require an extra device in my pocket, and lets me manage the temperature on the smoker.

Others have pointed out that this is meat temp, not grill temp.

But even if it were grill temp the gauge on the BBQ lid is more of a guide than an actual temperature. They are highly inaccurate, more like "cold, warm, hot" than "400 degrees".

For most stuff just dialing in the temp comparatively is fine, so the grill gauge works. You know you want to grill your steak when the thing reads 600 degrees, and your chicken at 400. But those temps are certainly not remotely accurate.

For some other things (e.g. BBQ/smokers/etc.) getting exact temps correct is key. In those cases you'll require something much more accurate than the grill gauge even just to measure grill temp. Having something wireless is pretty handy in this case, so you can watch a movie in the basement and check on your meat temps without walking upstairs every 15 minutes.

The temperature gauge on the lid is a terrible judge of what the actual air temperature is inside your grill. It's often low quality and not in a proper placement for your indirect heat. Depending on placement, it can be off by more than 100 degrees F

I didn’t realize people used it for anything but checking if the grill was on and if it was safe to put the cover back on.

Not the grill temp... the meat temp.

Connecting the thermometer to a gauge could support either grill or meat the same way a (now-too-many-moving-parts) iot device would.

A meat gauge connected to the thermometer on the lid then.

This whole attitude to cooking is also weird. Cooking is in large part experimenting, seeing what works and what doesn't, learning and iterating. Sometimes the results will be bad, often they'll be sub-optimal but the variance is part of what makes it and we lose something by trying to turn it into an exact science. If you want something precisely timed and always the same I suggest McDonalds.

> If you want something precisely timed and always the same I suggest McDonalds.

Actually, if you want something precisely timed and always the same I suggest a Michelin-starred restaurant.

If you've ever eaten at McDonald's you'd know the quality control, well, leaves a lot to be desired.

Your comment tells me you don't really know anything about cooking at all.

Using a meat thermometer (leave-in probe or instant) is a fantastic element of modern cooking, and a huge advancement in food safety. I can't imagine cooking without it. It doesn't mean I don't enjoy experimenting - but it does mean my chicken doesn't dry out or come out undercooked.

> No, i can't check it while i sit inside, this is true, there is, however a very good argument that says, maybe i shouldn't actually be inside while the bbq is on though.

This is an awesome feature for a smoker, which needs fairly consistent temperature for like 10-14hrs.

You haven’t even scratched the surface of the bbq world if it’s not including a things that require an overnight cook (brisket).

Yes that's useful but it its too bad you need an entire app for the BBQ. If it could push that info on your your home's info bus along with the other IoT stuff then you would just need one app for all.

Which you almost certainly can do with Home Assistant

I don't have one of these grills, but I'm willing to bet that you cannot monitor the grill temperature without a connection to the Internet. Because even though it's trivial to set up a wifi LAN-only connection, Internet-of-shit products never, ever work that way.

why does that need to get sent to Utah and back, though? Why not a good old radio signal to a nearby device that displays the temperature?

It's easier to do it over the internet with all the HTTP-oriented infrastructure we have nowadays. If I were the developer and just want it done quickly and reliably, I'd do a central server thingy as well.

So that when the manufacturer goes out of business (or decides that continued support isn’t profitable) it becomes a paperweight.

I'd be fairly confident that Weber will be in business selling grills 5 years from now. Still supporting some little Bluetooth gadget experiment, on the other hand...

This isn't IoT, it's bluetooth, and works fine without an internet connection.

Why does the thermometer require an embedded WebView? Couldn't they, you know, use a View?

What ever happened with just placing a gauge on the outside? It sure would be cheaper.

Guidelines | FAQ | Support | API | Security | Lists | Bookmarklet | Legal | Apply to YC | Contact