Now that the weather has officially turned and weather forecasts are consistently calling for temperatures 70-degrees and above, let it be known that barbecue season has commenced. The beauty of bbq is that there’s no wrong way to do it but if you opt for smoking your various cuts of meat as opposed to grilling, you can thank Harvard engineering students for the perfect mechanism.
Professor Kit Parker’s Engineering Problem Solving and Design class works by solving problems posed by clients, in this case cookware retailer William Sonoma. Students were tasked with designing and building “an easy-to-use, software-enabled, ‘smart’ smoker that could be marketed for under $1,000 and would out-perform the industry-leading product,” according to Harvard.
What they came up with is an hourglass shaped smoker modeled after cooling plant towers that cooks meat at a lower, more consistent temperature resulting in a perfectly cooked product.
While you were holed up in your home during Boston’s record-setting winter snowfall, Parker’s students were cooking more than 200 pounds of brisket at 13-hour-clip testing sessions in hopes of discovering a uniform method of cooking thick chunks of meat.
Often a bbq cook’s biggest downfall is the inability to cook it the entire way through.
Their prototype “increases the structural stability while producing a cyclonic airflow around the cooking surface, consistently bathing the meat in the flavor-imparting smoke,” added Harvard. It also features a side chute that allows the smoker to be refilled without disturbing the smoking process.
And, as if that wasn’t enough, the smoker includes “a temperature- and weight-sensitive cooking surface and fuel gauge notify the user, through a smart-phone interface, of the status of their meal.”
Leave it to Harvard to build a spot-on culinary device that also includes mobile alert technology.