Nerding out your Roasting

Thinking back to the old Kitchen Computer idea of yore, one of the important aspects of it is being able to monitor, in depth, the temperature of, well, everything in the chain of the food. So, obviously the food itself should be monitored, the cooking environment, the cooling environment, and the resting environment. This will not only let us know whether the food is done, but how quickly, what path it takes, whether it should be safe to eat or not, and if cooling it down made everything in the fridge go bad.

I've explored the topic of temperature control in the past, but I had never found quite the right sensors to use. I've been playing around with the other aspects of the computer interface, such as the microprocessor and the communications, but the temperature sensors were never quite right for me.

Fortunately, I am not the only geek in the world, and someone else has done much of the legwork (and, really, all of the work) for tracking these temperatures. Enter the Turkey Tracker, which was live-casting temperature updates for a turkey, the smoker, and the outside environment. There was even a video stream, photos, and everything. This is a project by, according to the list of authors on the blog, Robin Parker, Michael Weinberg, and Chris Chen.

The Turkey Tracker Blog has plenty of words describing what's went into the process. What Went Into the Turkey Tracker describes some of the hardware and software, including the ideal, high-temperature thermometers that I'll need to use for my setup (though I may have to have separate probes for low-temperature sensing). There's even a FAQ, that gives answers on cooking and temperature sensing techniques. To see what it all looks like, you can check out this Flickr set about Project Wirebird.*

Obviously, I'll be learning much from this example, so that I can build a strong and powerful kitchen computer. There is talk of open-sourcing the code as well as having multiple turkey-trackers next year, so perhaps I'll get in on the fun then.

via Make.

*- The image I used for the preview of this article was taken from that Flickr Set, and is released under a Creative Commons Attribution, Share-Alike License. So, as with my stuff, feel free to use that image or its source, but be sure to give attribution. Also, if you use that image, be sure to license whatever you use it in similarly.