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Apps That Help Take the Guesswork Out of Grilling | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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A steak is put on the grill of a barbecue. MIGUEL MENDEZ/AFP

New York-Cooking with fire is a technique dating to our prehistoric ancestors, but today it can feel high tech with the many apps that take the guesswork out of grilling.

Cooking starts with a recipe, and one of the most sumptuous grilling recipe apps is Photo Cookbook — Barbecue Grilling. It contains fewer than 100 recipes, including delicious meals like flank steak with cherry tomato sauce and bream with avocado salad, but each recipe begins with a photograph and a guide to the grill setup and temperature to properly cook the food.

The recipes are well illustrated, with photographs of all the ingredients, which you can tap to learn more about their history. Attractive photos also illustrate each step of the preparation and cooking process, which may help cooks follow the instructions to achieve a great-looking and delicious meal.

The recipes are easy to follow, and the app includes nutritional information and space for writing notes if you tweak a recipe to suit your taste. Photo Cookbook is a great option if you usually cook the same range of food and are seeking inspiration. It costs $4 on iOS.

Grill It is another popular recipe app available for iOS and Android devices. The app is slightly simpler than Photo Cookbook, with handy illustrations and a wide variety of recipes in categories including beef, seafood and vegetables. The recipes are not fussy, and a search option lets cooks look for recipes that include a particular ingredient.

The app has not been updated recently, so its design looks dated. But it works well, is intuitive (which is handy if you have greasy fingers) and costs only $1.

Whether you are cooking a steak on a grill or barbecue, the one thing to get right is timing, to avoid over- or undercooking. GrillTime, which is $2 on iOS, is an excellent tool to help with that issue.

The app is a clever timer with preprogrammed information on cooking times for foods as varied as steak and vegetables. You select an item, and if it is a steak, you then tell the app how thick it is and how well done you like it. Then the app sets up a new timer for you.

You can set multiple timers for different items at once, which is helpful when cooking for a group of people with different preferences. You can add custom timers to help monitor the cooking time of your recipes. The app is simple to use, elegant looking and includes basic cooking instructions, including temperatures. It can also remind you when it is time to flip a steak.

The app includes Apple Watch integration to get timer alerts on your wrist without being distracted from the grill.

A simpler timer option is Steak: Timer by Ira D for iOS. It is limited to timing the cooking of steaks on the grill, but has options for doneness and thickness and is ready to go with only one or two taps on your phone’s screen. Steak: Timer is free.

Android users should check out BBQ Timer by Jerry M (free) for a similar no-fuss, no-frills barbecue timer app. It has one neat twist: It can show its timer counts on your phone’s lock screen so you can check on your cooking schedule with a glance.

Grilling enthusiasts are enthralled with Japanese Kamado-style grills, which have closed ceramic lids. The Green Egg Nation app, free on iOS, is aimed at owners of Kamado grills made by the Big Green Egg, a leading brand. The app has recipes from around the world, including details on preparation, cooking temperatures and times.

Green Egg Nation is free, but for a $5 annual membership fee you can add personal notes to recipes, set timers, build shopping lists and delete ads. A lot of promotion for Big Green Egg products is featured, but most of the advice can be used for any brand of Kamado grill.

The New York Times