Smart Grilling: How Tech Helps Cook a Better Brisket

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

People have been cooking meat over a fire for millions of years. But until recently, they haven’t had the benefit of using grills infused with smart capabilities. 

And that’s a crying shame.

Jason Baker, Business Development at Green Mountain Grills, explains how the smart pellet grill works and the process that went into creating it.

We discuss:

- How the technology works

- Three ways it makes grilling easier

- Developing tech with a non-technical background

- Lessons learned throughout the process

Follow @Green Mountain Grills on TikTok. 

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They really started to get a feel forhey. This is this is the real deal like this actually helps me cook better? Ithelps me not ruin really expensive, but to me you are listening to over the Air Iotconnected devices and the journey brought to you by vary in each episode. We have sharpunfiltered conversations with executives about their IOT journeys,the mistakes they made the lessons they learned and what they wish they'd knownwhen they started welcome back to over the Air Iotconnected devices and the journey my name is Ryan Prosser, CEO vary andtoday were joined by Jason Baker of Green Mountain grills. Today we'regoing to be talking about infusing technology into a product thathistorically has had none in this case barbecue grills Jason, thanks for beingon the show, thanks for having me so all right. Let's, let's start with thebig one, the contentious one. So grills people have been cooking meat overfires for Millennia, with zero technology. Here comes Green Mountaingrills and they're. Saying Hey. We've got a great idea: Let's, let's infusesome tech, some some connected capabilities into this. Let's start with with that, what waswhat was? The thinking was: What's The science in play here that led you guysto believe hey, there's a real opportunity to do something big hereyeah. So I have to go back to two thousand and ten to start that thinkingprocess because it really started about then, when we put an R F controller ona barbecue Rome. So we put this controller. That was just like a radiocontroller to talk to the grill, and you had maybe fifty seventy five feetMax right. So you're you're utilizing this device to raise and lowertemperature, see the temperature in...

Turl temperature me probe, so itstarted there just a very simple kind of let's see how this goes right,because our whole thought process was you've got the folks in South Dakotawhen it's minus ten out there, they don't want to go outside. Maybe it'sgoing to be cool for them to just have a remote control, take a look and seewhat's going on side the grill without having to go out there or in Phoenixwhen it's about twenty of being able to just utilize. This RF type remote, sothat's where it all started and we got a lot of people hating on US earlypeople say why would you do that so goofy, you know Blah Blah Blah, so thatwas the first kind of easy tech that we started to do and then two thousand andeleven we started going. Let's. How do we do this? How do we create moretechnology in this? How do we? How do we actually get more distance? So thenwe started to talk about Wifi and connecting the grill through an APP anda server right. So all of those discussions started off early late,late, two thousand and eleven two thousand and twelve came out with ourfirst product in two thousand and thirteen and kind of introduced this inphases, and it was so funny early on because there are all these forms and Iwould sit on those forums and take everything. Very personally, peoplewere like look at g MG, they're, putting a a Wifi on a Peloro like. Whyare you doing that? It's so goofy it's! They would call you all kinds of namesand we just kept it up. We just kept going and because we realized that meatchanges through temperature and time, and if you really understand that,there's a way to replicate this, to where you nail your briskets,specifically briskets very easily right, I mean even try tips or or porkshoulders, a making certain that you're going through that stall at a highertemperature really helps it just it just does it helps that meat evaporatequicker? That's really what taking place you have this kind of evaporatedcooling, that's this taking place and it's sweating the meat sweating throughthat process. So when you can tell somebody okay, I have a product herewhere you can take a let's say: a...

...fifteen pound brisket and go at hundredand fifty for a couple hours really hit it with some hard smoke and then crankit up to to twenty five until you hit the stall at one D, Fifty, let's say,and then crank it up again to o o D and seventy five. All of that in atechnology piece right, just a profile step that you're just taking from thefrom the actual APP and sent it to the grill, and the rolls is running throughit all day and now by the way, tell me when it reaches two O two and then coolit down right. All of that is technology that helps you cook a betterbrisket. So once I think people started buying these and started playing withthem. You know two thousand and thirteen, two thousand and fourteenthey really started to get a feel for hey. This is this: is the real deallike this actually helps me cook better? It helps me not ruin really expensivecut to me yeah. So you know I've raised in Texas and competitionbrisket.Smoking is very near dear to my heart, but let's assume for a moment that someportion of our audience is hearing the term stall for the first time, unpackedunpacked, the stall. So you know for folks out there a TV lad. This is justlike any other hurdle to be solved. Product is aimed at hey. Let's, let'saddress this key issue, the stall has caused more hair to fall out of moreheads of more Pitmaston, I think than probably any other hurtle. What is thestall, and how did you guys think about this and work about solving it? Well,so so the briskets are vesical right here in the four four leg of the cowbetween the chest and that fore leg, and so, basically, you know there's alot of interconnected muscle there right a lot of interconnected, a tissueand what has to happen as you have to break that down in order for it to towork its way out of there and really get that meat to really start toseparate and moisten up. If you will...

...watching, as I did early on in this inthis business, I focused on guys like Harry Su and mocasins and SterlingSmith, and all these guys that were big in the early stages of this even Myronand Hank Baden. These guys are big in the barbecue world, watching those guystake that temperature up through the stall and that stall is usually hittinglook if you're cooking at two. Twenty five you're going to eventually getthere it's going to stop at hundred and fifty and kick it there for hourssometimes before it gets to crank it up to where you want it to get to that twohundred internal. But you can actually do this faster through a coupledifferent ways you can do what's called the Texas Crutch Right, you're,utilizing, foil or butch paper, both some people, everybody has an idea, Inever say there's one way or the other. Everybody has their feelings, and Idon't ever want to get into that. But you do that at the stall portion andsometimes folks even crank up the temperature to get that stall movethrough quicker. So you can get into the the real cooking of that meat. So itcan. It can break down and tender eye, and that's that's the the that's thestall, that's what it is you're working through that stole and- and so you guys,your thesis was Hey. If we can build a product that allows people theirsmoking, brisket they're cooking barbecue to produce a superior, wouldyou say it was important, was more important to produce a better outcomeor to produce the same outcome more easily or you know both at the sametime, was there a something you s were petitive optimized for yeah? For us itwas real, simple again being around all these barbecue competitors and watchingthese guys in the field. We just thought about. How do we make this easyfor the every day, backyard cooker right? How do we make this easy? So theperson is not intimidated by this big chunk of meat and they're, not like yousaid having all sorts of issues around being concerned about how they're goingto deliver this. When you can add...

...technology to this process, you'regoing to have great product, I'm not going to say you have better product,it's going to be equal right and you're not going to fail at this, because thetechnology is really going to help you through it and that's what it does.That's. What people learn is that the technology helps you through it. Yeahthat's been. My observation is that by demystify this process, you're makingbrisk it a lot easier to approach for first timers. You know because you'vegot even guys like Aaron Franklin, you know kind of considered like the Jesusof Brisket, and you know he's saying hey. My first brisket was terrible. Youknow, everybody's first brisket is terrible. Green Mountain thesis is Hey.Your first brisket doesn't have to be terrible. You just need to have a goodpartner crime. What specifically from a technology standpoint, did you guysintroduce that has made it easier? What are the things that you're helping toconcern into the process that were once quite difficult to now? You've said:Hey, look. It doesn't have to be so difficult if we infuse this technologyinto the process. Well, there are three things so. First, it's the actualtemperature control so having the ability to really control temperature.A lot of the folks burly on would do these feet a grama pellets and that'sgoing to hit a certain temperature and what that does is those are. Those arearticulations to temperature control if you're programming, a control panel towith the firm, were to just do this you're, not taking into account outsidetemperature right so you're doing this, based on the fact that, at seventydegrees, we're going to push this mount of pellets in there and it's going tohit this temperature and when it drops this much you're going to do more well,all of that goes out the window when you're extremely cold or extremely hotright. So the first thing we did was we thought about that. We said we need tomake calculations based on ambient er, so we put an Avian Air Center on there.Early on the ambient air censor gave us light into e to programming thecountless driven algorithms that are in...

...there, which are all pid algorithms,that just basically it's the same thing as a WHO's control on a car right, youput it seventy and you're going up a hill. It knows it needs to accelerateright so, and those calculations can be off from cartar right you can. You canfeel that work different in a Chevy, maybe versus a Honda. It just it acts alittle bit different. It's the same thing in the pellow barbecue business.We saw companies that were struggling with this and so you'd have thesemassive fluctuations right. Fifty seventy five degree fluctuations, butyou wouldn't know it because your dial just says you know undred and fiftyhundred and seventy five two hundred right. So if you, if that's all youit's, if that's all you see on your dial, you've got a big span of oftemperature variance, and so that was our first thing. How do we solve that?Ambien air censor helped us do that. We also inside the APP put a whole privateslighter. So we would tell the customer hey based on where you are: here's avery icy climate center climent setting here's a very hot climate setting, andthere are a few in the middle based on temperature. You can do it in based onwhere you're at humidity. All of this plays a role in how your grill is goingto react. So again, it's technology and then, on top of that, it's the meat proright, getting focused on the internal temperature of your of your food, sobeing able to see what your meat props are doing from the apt is a big deal,but if those, if those meat probes are off, you need to be able to calculatethem. So we went in there and said: okay, we need to be able to give thecustomer the ability to say. Okay, I've had this and we've heard it right. Thecustomer says I've had this meat probe since e thonne hundred and sixty twoand it's dead on. I know it's Teton, okay and yours is for de Gres off okay,perfect well, go ahead and mind us that out lust that out so giving that againutilizing technology. Super Simple to change in the am giving me the customer,the ability to to hone in on that that...

...meat pro that they trusted. That wastoo and then the final thing is just the profile steps having a sectionwhere you can go in there and write he Ryan's Brisket, and this is what we do.We do undred an fifty for two hours and then when it hits an internaltemperature of x that we're going to do this and then, when it gets the stallwe're going to go. You know up to t twenty five to fifteen and then we'regoing to crank this thing up. Even more Oh and tell me alert me when it's doneor you can put notes in there and say hey, you need to be spritzing everythirty minutes here in this stage. All of that so that you can write all thatdown in the APP hold that profile forever and repeat it every time right.That is what it's all about. All of those things give that back yardconsumer the ability to not be intimidated by this cook. You mentioned, I thinkyou call them, may sayers you know, but the there's always folks that are what,especially in a space that drives as much passions barbecue. You know such apersonal thing. You mentioned that there was a lot of folks with bigopinions. Many of them not positive talk about product development in anenvironment. You know- maybe some folks out there are are in a space where theconsumers are quite opinionated and not always right. You know this idea of thecustomers. Always Right, I think, is being very like rethought in ourgeneration. I maybe the customer is actually frequently wrong. What did itlook like to develop a product where you had to kind of develop in the faceof the people that you want to sell to a lot of times are the biggest newarsand you're going to have to win them over you're going to have to not listento them, because you guys have an inkling that maybe you know better andthat, if you you know, if your vision is realized, they're going to beimpressed, they just don't realize it now. How do you develop product in thatworld? We hear so many other companies talk about interviews and getting closeto the consumer. It feels like almost there's a counter current of that atGreen Mountain, where you guys needed...

...to prove the consumer wrong. Is theresomething to that? There's something to that, but I would say that it when itstarted off with that remote control, just as many Nay Sayers as there asthere were, there were just as many people going well done. You know givingyou that that applause and saying we like this, what if you did, how couldyou do more right, almost almost kind of pushing us to get to that next stepof how can you do more? How can you give us more technology? So I think,even though they were the smaller pieces that hustle you have, the peoplewho are dead set on the offsets they're dead, set on Chart Colter dead, set onwhatever their way of cooking. Is You have to tune that out just have to,because you know there's so many of us right that we're just early on going.This is so much fun like this makes it easy we're spending more time talkingto family and talking to friends, then then messing around with all thedifferent steps that you have to do on one of these offset cookers or or someother cooker. So when you start to fall in love with it yourself, you have tobelieve it. You have to just believe that you need to force yourself to doit more, and I really believe that it's, the essence of Steve Jobs mentioned himearlier. Jobs was one of those guys that he knew what you needed in your liferight. He knew that you needed something more in your life to makecommunication different, maybe not easier but different, and I think thatwe tried to think about that in the same way that we wanted to make cookingmore fun, a D, an easier process, utilizing technology without thenaysayers, just just forging forward. I can't say it any simpler than that. Youjust you just go ahead. You just move forward. So all right, you mentionedSteve Jobs, one of the great I called non technical founders and innovatorsof all time. Let's talk about, you know one of the other great founders indebators, Volta, Jason Baker, all right, so our guests. Today, you know we wereone of the reasons I was really excited...

...to have you on the show number one. Ilove barbecue that is a like near dear to my heart. Passion live in Montanaand God bless Montana, but this is a barbecue desert. There is no thebarbecue culture here is not vibrant, but your background stood out to us aswe were researching guests, because your educational background is you'vegot a degree. Political Science does not scream this guy is you know, goingto be a fantastic technical innovator and yet, in our pre interviews, in someof the conversations we've had time and again, you know you've demonstrated areally deep granular understanding of of what you guys are trying to achievehow best to achieve it. Technically, if you were to give guidance to a friendor someone out in the audience that saying Hey, look, I'm interested intech. I want to take this my company in a in a tech driven direction, but Idon't have that background. I'm not an engineer. You know, I'm not a TEC. Whatguidance would you would you share like how have you gotten to this place? Youknow, starting from you know this non technical back on getting this place.What can you fear about your journey? What lessons could you share with thatperson out there saying hey? This is interesting to me. This is what I wantfor myself. How do I do it? I think it's. If you have a dream in your mindand- and you have a dream where you say this is what I want and if you're atall afraid of how to get there, don't be just seek out the right people.That's the key to everything, seek out the right people to be around and forceyourself to learn right, learn the terminology understand what they'redoing have them dumb it down for you sometimes right I mean that's, that'sreally the key to all of this. When I go back to the time spent with withbetween hardware and software on this going back and forth, it was, it was aconstant battle of I've got to figure this out. I've got to understand itwell enough to where I can immerse myself in here and get the result thatI want. It all comes down to the dream. I think when you, when you really havethat dream in your mind of what it is...

...your, what you want out of your product,what you want your consumer to to be able to play with you have to just goin hard and learn this stuff. It's that simple! It really is. You don't need toagree on this. You just need to get in the heads of some of these some ofthese guys, who are obviously a lot smarter than you, and that's the keyfinding the right people that can help you carry out your vision and that'sthat's where it all it all starts. I mean I think back to. I was on my wayto law, school and a buddy of mine called me up and said: Hey what do youthink about taking over this bar and at Arizona State University, and I saidthat sounds like a phenomenal idea right. I don't think everybody else wasthat thrilled about it in my family, but at the time I wasn't ready, Iwasn't prepared mentally to go close for not three years well. At thatmoment, I looked at that from the standpoint of how do we make thiseasier? We started doing things from a technology standpoint with with Pos and utilizing you know, text on screens andand utilizing ways in which we could we could blast out information to thestudents around there. We started doing things early on that really took thebar industry that everybody does now. Everybody does everything, but it wasearly on in kind of podunk bar where we started to learn that technology helpedpeople in a lot of ways. So at that point,then, moving on into solar solar was a big part of my journey as well. Westarted to Sol a solar company here in Arizona and started integrating solarpanels on roof tops. Well, you learn real quick that there's a lot oftechnology involved in this and when you put them in schools there are theseinterfaces where the the information's being gathered and put on these screensfor these kids to learn. I love that stuff. So I just again Iwould would get on the phone with these engineers. I'd learn everything I couldso that when I was in a sales type of situation, I could talk as an engineerthat was important to me. Never saying that I was just saying. I understandhow this works. Oh and by the way I can.

I know how to Hook all these things upto there's not a lot to it. So it graduated into Green Mountain grillswere there's just a massive comfort level around technology. So anybodythat you just dream: it's that simple you just you dream it up. If it's inyour mind, go go tackle that vision just go. Do it so said differently? Ifyou feel, if you're kind of reflecting on yourself, if you have a passion for innovation and a passion for theunderlying subject matter, those are the pre wrecks that matter most andthat the playbook is identify your gaps and surround yourself with people thatare strong in those areas. Is that a fair? You think summary of Jason'sapproach on this thing very, very fair summary, and I would add to that, makesure that you are a mediator and make sure you are focused hyper, focused ongetting to your goal and knowing understanding where those stoppagesmight occur because hardware and software two different worlds. Whatlooking backwards now, your time, a Green Mountain, are there things yougot? You wish you had approached differently. You know a lot of thingshave worked out. Well, I think you guys are really well positioned. I think,there's a huge market for what you're doing that. I don't think there's anyargument about that. Are there opportunities you feel like you guys,missed or got to too late, and lessons you've learned through that process yeah. I think there are a lot oflessons you learn. You learn that why business is a tough thing and yourealize that there are a lot of pieces out there that that you need tofocus. Look in hindsight. I tell people to surround themselves with very goodattorneys that can help them navigate through anything you might face in thefuture and always just put it out there and just really make sure you have allyour bases covered. I think that's the key to...

...if I were to do anything different. Itwould be go back to those times when we first started talking about all thisstuff and make sure you're protected and make sure that that you can holdthat technology and not let it go so easily, because that's that's somethingthat I don't know from me for me. I've always thought about Elen Musk and whathe's done in that space? I love the fact that there's a open source for allof this and that we're moving so quickly to the to the electric carworld and it is open source anybody can kind of grab whose technology they wantand do what they want, and our business is a little different.It's very driven on profits from other companies, and so patents are importantand people are there's a lot of copying. There's a lot of you know, figuring outwhat what everybody else is doing and I think that's if I were to go back intime. That's the one thing I would change it's that we probably shouldhave protect ourselves. A little bit better are. Is this our has likeChinese knockoffs? Is this the type of threat it's all over the place, yeahjust just everything I it's just having an attorney to to really that's hyperfocused on protecting your Ip enough to where it doesn't it doesn't enter intointo someone else's product? It's thatsimple on everything I mean it goes from your firm ware to you know whatyou're doing your a there are a lot of things that you can. You can fattenthat we didn't know. We had no idea that that we were just blind to thatworld and I think that if we, if we were to go back in time, we would dothat differently. So, let's, let's transition awkwardlyfrom you know the lesson learned being protect your good ideas, so they don'tbecome other people's good ideas. What's next for Green Mountain, whatare what are folks going to see, or can they expect to see as we roll intotwenty two? What are some things you guys are excited about, then have to besecret sauce, but just kind of broad strokes. We Er some things you guys areexcited about the folks out. There should know about Yeah Ryan, we'reworking on something that nobody ever...

...has ever seen in the barbecue world,we're working on something that I'm obviously not going to talk aboutclearly here, but I'm going to tell you it's going to be something that peoplelook at and they go those guys did it again, they innovated again and theydid something in a way in which disrupted the market disrupted barbecue.That's what we're always focused on it. There are some things about Peligrosthat we don't like and we want to make them better and so very cool. That is-and I think that is the greatness of not being too big of a company or notbeing a publicly traded company. I think it's nice to be able to talkamongst a group of people who all have the idea of we want to make betterproducts for the backyard griller and we want everybody to feel part of ourcommunity man. This is a very strong tight knit community who we will. Wewill bend over backwards to take care of, and I think that doesn't happen inE. I don't know where those levels are in business, but I see it diminish asyou get too big and I think that's where we're lucky to still have thatthat fire that passion to create things that people may be not necessarily knowthat they need yet. But that's our goal. We think they're going to need this andthat's going to be fun to put out there. So if somebody is listening to thisit's October of two thousand and twenty one, when should they be on the lookoutfor this information and, I think probably q two, I would say, Q to oftwo thousand and twenty two that's going to be about when we're going tostart really stepping up the marketing andshowing people something they've, never seen a barbecue before all right folks.So if you are looking for a grill for for summer, twenty two don't make yourmove until you've checked in with green mountain grills q to that's the that'swho you want to be checking out Jason, one of the things we were talking aboutin the Creator view. Is You know your this higher t space, something youwatch closely and obviously we're neck...

...deep ended as well, who out there inIot land, is doing good work, especially if it's in barbecue worldthat you guys are impressed with that. You think others. You know coodershould know about M. I don't think of anybody actually in the barbecuecommunity outside of ourselves who have really done crazy technology driventhings. But you know outside the barbecue community, so cool to see justa fold disruption take place. You see all these. It devices that are allconnected devices for pets, right automatic, pet feeders and videocameras for pets. I look at that space and I'm blown away by it. I think it'ssuper cool to see a company like will better. There are a couple of othernames they're escaping me, but they're doing a phenomenal job of you're being able to communicate withyour pet. Even though you're not there right- and I think that's that's a coolspace, it's a it's an entity that needed disruption and that's fun towatch Jason, one of the products that I've used. So I'm a I'm one of thesepurists that you know, I'm not sure Green Mountain grill loves so much, butI've got a middle skilled smoker at home. You know these guys out ofLockhart Texas. I've been using the meter meat pro its appone Ted pro. Doyou have any experience? What is thoughts on these guys? They do a goodjob. I mean it's cool. There are a lot of products out there like it so thereI see a lot of knockoffs of that product, but it's a great idea. I don'tknow how well they work over time, time and temperature for blue tooth insidethat piece. I'm always curious how that works, but same thing with Egro I meanwhen I grill came out what a genius idea right to be able to do that. Thatwas really. That was a neat thing to watch for those that don't know whatdid they do? Yeah. It's just monitoring again: Monitoring Grille temperaturefrom anywhere being able to stick a meat probe into a hunk of meat,and it didn't matter what Y R, what kind of barbecue you had it could havebe a propane rill. I could be a...

...charcoal grill and it's broadcastingthrough I find giving that information back to a server, given it back to yourphone and so being able to do that same thing with like a flame boss. All theseguys were doing all this with all these independent controllers. Flame bosswould go a step further or fireboard those kinds of deals where you haveseven probes. You know multiple meat probes, that's because there aredifferent temperatures inside the meat. I thought that was neat to see more andmore probes figuring out. The actual internal temperature, but I grow did agreat job innovating in that space and whoever picked them up and they'redoing well with that interesting and last question, so you know, I said:Barbecue you know brings the passion, I think out of a lot of people for folksthat have enjoyed the episode here today. How can folks keep up with yourstory? You know where's, a good place is linked in or what do you want topoint the pot, the people at Yeah? We love, I mean facebook. We give a lot ofinformation to facebook. We we're pretty good on instagram as well. GreenMottin wills same thing with tick, Tock we're starting to get more involved insocial media side of things, but the website. We really do keep up with thatGreen Montan Gillson as well, and I think we tried to to give everybody aclue as to what's coming pretty consistently through website as wellgreen mountain girls on Tick Tock. I love it. You know almost a hundredpercent of guests, just saying Hey, follow me on linkedin. I know you onyou, man, Jason. I joined it today, thanks for thanks for being on the show,absolutely remember on your briskets as they as they. If they have moremarbling. The key is is that you can go higher temperatures right so if lessmarbling choice, grill choice, type of product. That number is in that hundredand ninety six, two hundred and ninety eight range, but as you have moremarble and educate a prime and Wago, you can go up to that two or a five twohundred and six range. It really can't happen. I all right folks, you heard ithere more marbling war temperature,...

...that's it for today. My name is Ryan.Thanks for being on the show, Jason thanks, everybody for listening willsee you guys on the Internet. Thank you right. You shouldn't have to worry about IOTprojects dragging on or unreliable vendors. You've got enough on yourplate. The right team of Engineers and project managers can change a pivotalmoment for your business into your competitive edge. Various close knitcrew of ambitious problem, solvers, continuous improvers and curiousbuilders know how to turn your ideas into a reality on time and up to yourstandards, with a focus on mitigating risk and maximizing opportunity willhelp you build an Iot solution that you can hang your hat on. Let's bring yourIot idea to life, learn more at very possible. You've been listening to over the AirIot connected devices and the journey, if you enjoy to day's episode, makesure to hit subscribe in your favorite podcast player and give us a rating.Have a question or an idea for a future episode. Send it to podcast at verypossible com. SEE YOU NEXT TIME.

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