Top ways smart tech can save Thanksgiving dinner
Thanksgiving is approaching and, for many people, that means hosting the big event. While some may find hosting the holiday meal to be stressful and chaotic, you’re not worried. Because you’re a smart cookie, you know you can use tech and gadgets to streamline everything and have your kitchen run like a Gordon Ramsay-approved assembly line. If you need ideas on how to make things easier and more efficient, you’ve come to the right place. Here are the top ways smart tech can help you plan, organize, and execute the best Thanksgiving dinner.
Amazon Echo Show 15
Let your digital assistant help
- Huge 15.6-inch screen
- Widget functionality makes it easy to see tasks, smart home, and more at a glance
- Different orientation options
- Visual ID swaps between users
- Lacks customization and personalization options
- Software crashes without explanation
Before the Party Starts
A successful Thanksgiving starts with the planning. In the days and weeks before the big day, and as you’re going in and out of the fridge or cupboards, use your digital assistant like Google or Alexa to help you manage grocery lists and to-do lists. Just shout out things you need and by the time you get to the store, you’ve got a full shopping list that’s easily shared with other family members. The Amazon Echo Show 15 can be a family hub for you or you can pick up the new Echo Dot with Clock for a smaller footprint.
Think about next year
Didn’t plan ahead? Next year, invest in a fridge with a built-in camera (both Samsung and LG have models with this feature), so you can check your food supply while at the grocery store and save yourself a trip back.
Roborock S7 Max V Ultra
Don’t clean – get a robot!
- Self-emptying, self-cleaning
- Simple setup
- Great mopping performance
- Decent obstacle avoidance
- Lackluster pet hair pickup on carpet
- Large dock
There’s no point in spending a lot of time cleaning when you can have your robot vacuum do it while you’re prepping food. Many of the new models can also act as mops. Take it from a frequent entertainer and robot vacuum expert: run the vacuum/mop the day before to do the heavy cleaning, then send it out the morning of as you begin the preparations. When the party is over, run it one last time before you go to bed. It won’t help with the dishes, but at least it will clean up all the table droppings.
Our pick is for the Roborock S7 Max V Ultra, which is a dual vacuum and mop that does a top-notch job.
Philips Hue Lighting
Color and ambiance – all from an app
- 16 million colors with adjustable output to 900 lumens
- Weatherproof operation in all conditions
- Freestanding or screw-clip mounting options
- Simple installation with extension kit available for longer runs
- Support for Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant
- Strips can’t be cut to size
- Drab silicone cladding
There’s nothing like making a great first impression. Try using smart outdoor lights to keep the entrance bright and welcoming. Use the app that accompanies most smart lights to add color to make things pop. We’re big fans of Philips Hue smart lights, and their outdoor lights are durable even in the most frigid climates.
Use your Ring doorbell to answer the door and let your guests in without leaving the kitchen. You can even set the Ring doorbell to play a festive chime to set the stage before your guests enter. If you have a smart lock, you can even set a temporary passcode guests can use if your layout has the front door far from the kitchen.
Weber Genesis II 3-Burner Gas Grill
Cook the perfect turkey and free-up the oven for your sides
- Nice design
- Durable build
- Easy to light
- Smart technology built in
- AC or Power bank option for smart module
- Lots of storage
- Extra burner is handy
- Learning curve with Weber app
- Assembly takes a while
If you’re grilling your bird, think about using a smart thermometer like Weber iGrill or Weber Connect to keep tabs on the turkey. Weber’s remote options cover the bases nicely. You can also get a wireless smart thermometer like the TempSpike that will let you know when the turkey is cooked to perfection.
Anova Nano Sous Vide
Cook your veggies like a pro
- Compact size
- Touchscreen display/controls on the device
- Sleek design
- Durable construction
- App control
- Lacks Wi-Fi connectivity
- Clamp is small
- Tends to sit too high on the pot, requiring higher water
Stovetop crowding and other factors can create havoc on even the best-planned meals. Use a sous vide cooker like Joule with its app to manage the veggies. You can even precook things like carrots and turnips, then just leave them in a vacuum-sealed food storage bag until ready for use. Before dinner, put them back in a hot water bath in a container set on a trivet away from the stove, so your veggies can return to the perfect temps while you use the stovetop for other more urgent needs.
Try a new side dish that cooks itself
- 20 different cooking functions in one device
- Easy to use
- Thousands of recipes available
- Nice big screen
- Automated cooking modes in addition to recipes
- Yearly Cookidoo recipe subscription required
If your cooking skills aren’t up to snuff, consider a cooking robot like the Thermomix TM6 to automate some side dishes. It weighs, measures, cooks, and times things all on its own and makes amazing whipped potatoes. Want to do something different than potatoes this year? Browse the app’s thousands of recipes to find something new. See what else it could handle in our full review.
Bose SoundLink Flex
Music is the key to a memorable Thanksgiving feast
- Good range and volume level
- Optimization technology based on surround spaces
- May not be big enough to fill large spaces
Plan ahead and create playlists to relax your guests. That way, you won’t have to worry about what to have playing when your guests arrive. You can use your smart speaker to swap playlists and control volume when you’re up to your elbows in turkey and dressing. If you don’t have a smart speaker, you can use a simple Bluetooth speaker, like the Bose Soundlink Flex, to play DJ.
Amazon Smart Thermostat
Keep your house cozy
- Control with voice or app
- Subtle design
- Works with Alexa Hunches
- Takes a bit to install
No one likes a hot room that makes their guests fall asleep — the tryptophan in the turkey can handle that! Use a smart thermostat to keep the temp in check. When you get enough people in one room and a stove that’s been working all day it can warm up fairly quickly. Simply ask your digital assistant to raise or lower the temperature as needed, or be a little more subtle and change it via an app. The Amazon Smart Thermostat is subtle in design in that it doesn’t scream out “smart thermostat” but it’s very effective. Plus, with Alexa Hunches, it can operate with a degree of artificial intelligence too.
When the evening is done, but people are still hanging around, you can subtly convince guests to leave by using your apps to slowly increase the brightness of the lighting — and you can even play songs that suggest leaving.
If you’re taking on the task of hosting, it just makes sense to make things easier on yourself. Think about the aspects that concern or scare you, and plan out how you can make them easier or avoid them altogether with a smart gadget. Your guests will be raving about your amazing dinner and inviting automated home, and you’ll be wondering what worried you in the first place.