Update: As of March 20, 2017, the Flame Boss 200-WiFi will be replaced by the Flame Boss 300-WiFi, which has the same capabilities but can accept up to 3 meat probes.
Once solely the domain of traditionalists using tried and true methods passed down from generation to generation, BBQ has become increasingly tech savvy the past few years, rolling out smart gadgets and grills that make it easier to achieve the perfect cook. Now with Flame Boss' announcement that the Flame Boss 300-WiFi is Alexa-compatible, BBQ has gone cutting edge, officially becoming part of the the Internet of Things.
BBQ has long been defined by patience and waiting. The perfect brisket requires 12 hours or more of smoking at steady low temperatures. Any fluctuation could throw off the cook and adversely affect the food. For BBQ lovers that has meant spending long hours by the pit, ensuring temperatures remain consistent every step of the way. While many purists continue to stay true to that traditionalist ethos, many of today's aspiring pitmasters gladly embrace modern technology that eliminate the need to babysit the smoker.
One company that has wholly embraced technology in BBQ and worked to keep pushing it forward is Flame Boss. While the Flame Boss wasn't the first automatic temperature controller, it revolutionized the field by introducing the industry's first and only variable speed fan, allowing you to automatically maintain your smoker's temperature, within a few degrees, at the touch of a button. Furthermore, their Flame Boss 300-WiFi redefined simple, bringing intuitive design and connectivity to WiFi temperature control—in a few easy steps, even the most technology-challenged user can control and monitor their cook via phone, tablet, or computer from anywhere there's internet access. Really, how much easier could it get?
Much easier, it turns out. In November, Flame Boss announced another industry first: the Flame Boss 300-WiFi is now compatible with Amazon's Alexa.
For those not familiar with Alexa, it allows you to control devices by voice command. It's part of the ever-growing Internet of Things, or IOT, that refers to smart devices networked together wirelessly via the internet and cloud technology. Sending and receiving information, these smart devices can be controlled even when we're not there to operate them. Recently, Amazon announced that Alexa was compatible with its Fire Tablets. So, you can now literally tell the Flame Boss to lower the temperature on your Kamado Joe or Weber Smokey Mountain, hands-free, without having to navigate screens or enter any numbers. Just hold the Fire's button and say "Alexa, ask Flame Boss to raise the set temperature to 275F."
While using the Flame Boss with Alexa on a tablet is certainly exciting, and definitely convenient, Alexa is most impressive when used with Amazon's Echo, a voice-enabled speaker which can be called to from across the room or from several rooms away (It's also compatible with the Echo's smaller siblings, the Tap and Dot). Using the Echo, it's possible to ask the Flame Boss for the temperature on your pork butt without ever touching a tablet or going near your smoker or the Flame Boss. Just ask Alexa as you would any close personal assistant. Perhaps the best news is that, because the Alexa feature is part of a software update, it's available in all existing Flame Boss 200-WiFi and Flame Boss 300-WiFi controllers.
With this announcement, Flame Boss continues on its track as a leading innovator in BBQ and grilling technology. While the BBQ world waited for other automatic temperature controllers to catch up to their sleek design and advanced algorithms, Flame Boss took another leap forward, putting even more distance between itself and BBQ Guru, the original smoker controller and the biggest name in the game, but one that hasn't updated its products for several years.