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Grilling by numbers

The Intelligent Grill uses electricity for clean, efficient grilling.

Grilling can be a messy thing. We all know that. Just using charcoal and lighter fluid is sloppy enough, but when you consider the myriad of sauces, glazes, and marinades, it really becomes clear just how much of an ordeal it can be. Many opt for propane as a means to cook, thereby limiting at least some of the standard requisite mess.

Hammacher Schlemmer

Personally, for me, it is almost always worth it to suffer through a little mess for delicious grilled meats and vegetables. Messy or not, a good barbecue provides a unique way of cooking that's ingrained in all of our DNA.

However, no longer are charcoal or propane the only games in town. For those who want the easiest possible grilling experience (short of take out), there is the Intelligent Grill from Hammacher Schlemmer.

The grill is programmable and cooks food to your specifics. Just enter your cut of meat, thickness, and desired level of doneness via the keypad and LED screen. All of this means one very important factor: yes, it is an electric grill.

The grill uses two levels of heating elements to approximate the grilling experience. One produces direct heat, capable of searing grill marks, with the other designed to produce radiant heat. The 216-square-inch cooking surface, along with the stainless steel construction and storage shelves, certainly make it look like a grill, but something inside of me still yearns for flame-scorched food--no matter how messy it can be.