Weber Connect Smart Grill Hub
Speaking from experience, it’s not always easy to grill backyard barbecue favorites like burgers and steaks to the perfect temperature, both indoors and out, every time. Variables include what type of grill (gas, charcoal) you use, tuning the heat, and other factors.
If you burn the meat, that’s wasted money. On the other hand, underheating can cause even worse problems and make someone sick.
Temperature probes have long been a way of grilling without all the question marks, but you may not know that one is a bit smarter than the other with features like Bluetooth and Wi-Fi connectivity – and it comes from a very well-known brand. The question is whether this smart grill hub is worth the extra cost.
Weber Connect Smart Grill Hub
Weber Connect Smart Grilling Hub (left) shown with optional Weber Connect storage and travel case (right)
The Weber Connect Smart Grilling Hub isn’t exactly a brand new product, as it first hit the market in January 2020. The hardware hasn’t changed in those more than two years, with the goal of turning any grill into a smart one and to be your grill assistant. Here are the product highlights:
Consists of a smart grill hub, two temperature probes (for food and grill respectively), a USB-A to Micro-USB charging cable Can be remotely connected to the companion smartphone app via Bluetooth or Wi-Fi App provides flip & serve notifications, readiness countdowns, recipes and step-by-step grilling instructionsAlerts can be customized based on grilling preference (rare, medium-well, etc.)Weber Connect Smart Grilling Hub sells for under $140 but goes on sale from time to time Add up to two additional food temperature probes for under $18 each Optional accessories include the Storage and travel case and 6-piece mounting kitfor about $40 each
Add some extra time for setup
Weber sent the grill hub and travel case for review. Unboxing was the easy part, and you can see everything below.
The hub is not very large and comes out at about four by three centimeters. The two temperature sensors are even smaller. The charging cable, with its Micro-USB connector, seems a bit dated.
From there, it was time to download the Weber Connect app. There the installation process took a little longer than I expected.
I was able to easily connect the hub to the app via bluetooth but when i tried to add wifi the app couldn’t see my network. I think that’s why they always say to reboot your phone after installing an app. That did the trick.
Everything was seemingly connected and good to use, so I turned it off, charged the hub to 100% and put everything in the travel case until the next day when I was ready to test it out.
The first test would be the simple backyard classic: burgers. I prepped the food, turned on the grill, and turned on the Weber hub. Then I opened the app and realized that a software update was waiting and it could take up to 25 minutes.
Undeterred, I decided to wait, and that update took about 15 minutes. Now we are cooking! Except the app told me it needed another software update. wait what?
You can see the screenshots side by side below, showing the back-to-back software updates. Why it couldn’t update to the latest version right away I really don’t know.
With some hungry people waiting, I decided to give up the first test and grill the burgers without the help of the hub. That second software update was completed at some point while I was cooking outside, so I’m not sure if it took more or less time than the last one.
So I decided to try again in a few days, this time checking well in advance if the software was still up to date.
Time for take two. The hub is charged, the app is open and connected, and the software is ready to get started. I’ve looked at a number of recipes and there are quite a few to choose from. See an example of those app options below.
An example of one of the recipes in the Weber Connect app
After making my choice from one of the preset options, which is beef tenderloin, I followed the preparation instructions on the app. When you tap the top of the hub to turn it on (with the probes detached), you will see the battery charge level.
Fire the grill to the recommended temperature based on the recipe chosen. Then attach the probes to the hub. The blue probe with the dull tip monitors the grill’s ambient temperature and connects to the grille with an included metal clip.
Insert the red probe with the sharp end into the thickest part of the meat and then follow the directions in the app. Be sure to keep the actual hub away from the heat.
Yes, it takes a few minutes to get everything up and running, but after that the process was easy. The app informed me when it was time to turn the steak and again when it was time to remove it. These were quite thin steaks so it didn’t take much time.
I used a second thermometer to check if the results were close enough. Stay tuned for updates as I test the smart hub on more complicated recipes.
Verdict: Is This Grill Hub Worth It?
Make no mistake, it’s a pretty steep price to spend $140 on a temperature probe that you can check in with your smartphone. It also involves a lot more prep work to set everything up.
However, if you’re looking for a meat thermometer and some of the other smart features described above, it’s still much more affordable than dropping hundreds of dollars or more on a real smart grill. And while it’s a Weber product, it will work on just about any grill out there, regardless of who built it. That also applies to smokers.
The software was a little buggy at first, but was mostly hassle-free after the initial install. As for hardware, make sure to follow the cleaning instructions. Make sure the hub is not too close to the heat. Do not expose the problems to direct flame and do not put them in the dishwasher to clean them.
I know many who consider themselves masters of their grills and would scoff at adding a gadget that would only interfere with their natural abilities. I can see that. However, I can recommend this to novice grill owners or others looking for a little more consistency in results. I consider myself to be in the latter category.
If you’re serious about spending more time using the grill as the temperature heats up, the Weber Connect Smart Grill Hub could be for you. If you’re going to pay that much for the hub, you might as well add the case to protect your investment. As you can see, everything has its place. See links for hub and other accessories below.
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