Raft Of BBQpad Improvements!

Recently we have been working hard to improve and refine the BBQpad experience so it is easier than ever to track your cooks, share them with others, and refine your ‘cue. If you are new to BBQpad, go and find out more about what it is. Go on, we will wait.

So what have we been up to?

Well, we have been doing some user testing. In other words, asking for volunteers to let us watch them use the pad and then we can find usability issues and get them fixed up so BBQpad is as simple to use as possible. We also used this as an opportunity to add some additional features too!

Remember too that BBQpad works on your Desktop, Laptop, Mobile (such as iPhone and Android) and Tablet (such as the iPad) and supports browsers such as Firefox, Chrome, Internet Explorer, Safari and others.

Let’s roll through the juicy updates…

Cooks Are Now Easier Than Ever!

We have now refined cooks on BBQpad so that they are easier than ever to update.

Firstly, we used to have two different buttons for making updates to your cook (adding a general update (e.g. spritzing) and adding a temperature update). We have simplified this so you only need to hit a single button to update your cook:

With a single click you can update your cook with any changes, temp readings, and whether your food is on or off the cooker. You can even select a photo to show your cook right now (or the beer you are chugging).

Simpler Food Summaries

We have also simplified the food summary on each cook page. Instead of burying the juicy photos in the food information section, we now display them proud and upfront. We have also made it more intuitive to access details of the rubs, sauces, brines, marinades, rest time and other prep – just click/tap the information symbol and it appears (as you can see expanded below for our second butt):

Adding Photos Now Easier

Not only have we made the photos on your cooks more visible, but they are easier than ever to add. Simply click the grey thumbnail icon to select a file from your computer, phone, or tablet.

We have also fixed uploading photos from iPhones so they are not lop-sided and made both uploading and download photos more efficient than ever!

Streamlining How Cooks Are Completed

Traditionally when you had completed a cook in BBQpad you would rate each food item and then click the End This Cook button. Well, we never really liked this button. In fact, we didn’t like it so much that we killed it.

Now, as soon as you have rated your last item we will end your cook for you automatically to save you doing it.

Although the cook is ended, if you want to go and change something (such as a rating) later you can still do so.

BBQpad Pro: Choose Which Cooks Are Private/Public

For our BBQpad Pro users who can make their cooks private, you can now choose this on a per-cook basis. Want to make a cook that you are prepping for a competition private but then have another cook with the family and share it with the community? No worries, this is just a click away on the cook page!

Significantly Expanded About Information

We have also added a number of pages on BBQpad that explain what the site does, what features are included, and more:

We hope you enjoy the updates, and as ever, if you have any comments, questions or queries, be sure to get in touch!

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First BBQpad Cook Off Is Complete! The Winner Is…

A little while ago we posted about our very first scheduled online cook off, with the food category being ribs. The idea was simple: there will be a number of cook off events on BBQpad in which everyone is welcome to join and participate in. The cook off will happen on a specific date period and cover a specific food, and pitmasters from around the world will all cook together, tracking their cooks on BBQpad.

To take part you simply go to the event page on the date(s) of the event, create a new cook as part of the event, and track your cook in BBQpad. As you and others cook you can see the latest cook updates from these different cooks all in one place, as well as discussion from those watching the cook off. We also encourage those of you who tweet to tweet about your cooks with the #bbqpad hashtag, and those tweets appear on the cook off page too. This provides a great way of cooking together and having fun with the cook off.

Well, we did our first cook off this weekend and Jason Perlow, Adam Balla and BBQpad’s own Jono Bacon took part. This was a great chance to test the new feature on BBQpad in action. It was a furious weekend of cooking with everyone putting in their best and some truly mouth-watering results showing up .

With the results in the BBQpad team reviewed the cook offs and picked a winner and runner-up. We excluded Jono as he is part of the BBQpad team. The winner was picked based upon the visual quality of the food (we take a look at the pictures of the food and judge which ‘cue looks the most flavorful and tender) and the capabilities of the pitmaster (we review each of the cook logs and judge how well the pitmaster was able to control and react to their cooks, such as controlling temperature changes, keeping the food moist, inventive approaches to their cooking, interesting rubs/marinades/brines, maintaining a detailed log on BBQpad, and other areas).

We are pleased to announce the results:

  • WINNER: Jason Perlow – we decided to nominate Jason the winner for a few reasons. Firstly, the quality of his cook results look incredible. The ribs were cut well, looked moist, had a fantastic smoke ring, and a great mahogany color. It was clear from the photos also that Jason applied just the right amount of caramelization to the ribs, and that they were not over-sauced. His choice of rub and sauce was interesting, and the marinade was an interesting combination. Finally, from a cook control perspective, it was clear that Jason faced some testing conditions with the wind, but his temperature control was impressive given the conditions. Congratulations, Jason!
  • RUNNER-UP: Adam Balla – Adam came in as runner up and we were impressed with him doing his ribs on a smaller Weber kettle. The ribs had some good pull back and his choice of the glaze was interesting. He also demonstrated cook temp control on the kettle.

To go and see the results, discussion, and cook logs, see the cook off event page here!

Jason’s Entry

Always Improving

As with everything in BBQpad, we want to continue to improve and extend how well the site works. With this being our very cook off we want to hear your feedback how we can make cook offs more fun, more exciting, and more inclusive. Some questions:

  • How do you think we could improve judging?
  • How can we make the event page more interesting and useful?
  • How can we better publicise and encourage people to join?

Please share your comments and input, and thanks in advance, and congratulations to Jason and Adam!

BBQpad Community Summary Now Available

BBQpad is all about the community.

BBQ is social cooking and we want BBQpad to be as social as the cooking itself (beer and friends required). Remember, the site is free and open to anyone to use – go and find out more and get started.

Although we have been seeing some fantastic cooks (and mouthwatering photos) going on in BBQpad, it has been difficult to see all the activity happening in the community in a single place.

Until now!

Today we added a new feature to the site called the Community summary. It looks like this:

See cooks, active pitmasters, photos and more with just a click!

The page provides a quick overview of the activity going on in the BBQpad community. It shows lots of different things:

  • Latest Cook Photos – the latest photos from the latest cooks are displayed, and you can click a button to check out the cook that the photo is part of.
  • Cooks Happening Now – see the latest active cooks and see what the pitmaster is doing, and feel free to go and leave some comments in the discussion part of their cook page to discuss the cook, offer tips, and other discussion.
  • Newest Pitmasters – see who is new around these parts; here are the latest five members who have registered.
  • Most Active Pitmasters – curious to see who is smoking and grilling up the most? Here are the most active ‘cue-ers by order of fully completed and rated cooks.
  • Recently Completed Cooks – check out the recent cooks that have been completed and rated – be sure to go and leave a few comments on the cook to let the pitmaster know your thoughts and tips!

The page also shows up-coming cook offs – such as the rib cook off this weekend (be sure to join us!), as well as the latest news items on this blog and links to our social media communities.

As with everything in BBQpad, your feedback is essential to us, and we want to continue to refine and improve the site, so be sure to share your thoughts!

See the Community summary!

Our First BBQpad Cook Off!

When we built BBQpad, the very first goal was to create an awesome tool for tracking all the details about your cooks. This modern replacement for the venerable cook’s notebook helps you get a better idea of what you are doing in your cooks, your temperature control, track photos of how your food looks throughout the cooking process and at the end, and other details. BBQpad makes tracking and reviewing your cooks dead simple, and helps you to improve your ‘cue.

Another goal of BBQpad though is to make it as inherently social as BBQ cooking itself (friends and beer required). With BBQpad you can share your cooks with others, and other pitmasters can offer comments and feedback and more.

Well, I am pleased to announce a new feature in BBQpad that continues this social theme – online cook offs!

Joining the cook off simple and a fun way to cook together!

The idea is simple: there will be a number of cook off events on BBQpad in which everyone is welcome to join and participate in. The cook off will happen on a specific date period and cover a specific food, and pitmasters from around the world will all cook together, tracking their cooks on BBQpad.

To take part you simply go to the event page on the date(s) of the event, create a new cook as part of the event, and track your cook in BBQpad. As you and others cook you can see the latest cook updates from these different cooks all in one place, as well as discussion from those watching the cook off. We also encourage those of you who tweet to tweet about your cooks with the #bbqpad hashtag, and those tweets appear on the cook off page too. This provides a great way of cooking together and having fun with the cook off.

At the end of the cook off the BBQpad team will then review all of the cooks and pick a winner and runner-up based on the following criteria:

  • The visual quality of the food – we will take a look at the pictures of the food and judge which ‘cue looks the most flavorful and tender.
  • The capabilities of the pitmaster – we will review each of the cook logs and judge how well the pitmaster was able to control and react to their cooks, such as controlling temperature changes, keeping the food moist, inventive approaches to their cooking, interesting rubs/marinades/brines, maintaining a detailed log on BBQpad, and other areas. Importantly: this doesn’t mean you have to have a perfect cook, but it is more about your technique and approach when cooking and reacting to changes. As an example, if your smoker jumps in temp quickly and you manage to get it back under control quickly, you will be given points for this competent reaction to the temperature change.

The whole idea here is to have some fun cooking together, watching each others cooks, and sharing discussion, feedback, and tips.

Our First Cook Off!

Our very first cook off is going to take part from 2nd – 3rd March 2013 and will be a rib cook. You are welcome to cook any kind of ribs you like; baby backs, spares, St. Louis, beef ribs…all are welcome in the cook off!

Everyone is welcome to perform their cooks anytime that weekend, whenever is convenient to you.

How To Take Part

The cook off is open to anyone and all you need is a free BBQpad account. Click here to register.

When you have registered and logged in, click here to see the event page. All you need to do is come back to the event page on 2nd – 3rd March 2013 and click the button to create a cook as part of the event.

Now start cooking and be sure to take some awesome pictures while you are cooking and of the end result!

Are you ready to bring it on in the rib stakes?

When you have completed your cook, be sure to click the End Cook button on your cook page to complete the cook. Also be sure to click the Rate This Item button next to each completed food to provide your own personal rating for taste, tenderness, and appearance of your food.

We will then review all the cooks and announce the winners right here on the BBQpad blog a few days later.

We look forward to seeing you in the competition!

Keeping Up To Date

Be sure to follow us on Twitter, Facebook, and Google+ to keep up to date with the cook off and other BBQpad related news.

Join The Cook Off!

Adding Photos Is Now Easier Than Ever

Photos are an integral part of BBQpad. You can not only add photos of the finished product at the end of your cook, but also photos throughout the cook to show how your food evolves. Photos provide a fantastic way to see into a cook on BBQpad.

Unfortunately, until recently adding photos was a bit of a pain. You needed to upload the photo to an image service such as flickr or imgur, and then copy and paste the URL of the photo into a box to add the photo to your cook. It was a bit cumbersome to use, and the small preview images were also a little slow to load.

Fortunately, we have fixed it!

Adding photos now is as simple as clicking or tapping the browse button and selecting a photo from your computer (or phone/tablet if on mobile) and the photo will be uploaded to your cook. Simple as that!

Photos for cook items and updates now use this browse button. We haven’t transferred over profile pictures yet, but we will be adding this soon.

So, go forth, and photograph your ‘cue, and share them on BBQpad with just a click or tap of a button!