May the sporks be with you: 14 ways to geek up your summer BBQ

Grilling is not generally considered a geeky thing to do - unless you add some (or all) of these items to your next big summer BBQ

Geeky BBQ
Credit: ThinkGeek

When you think of geeky activities, BBQ or grilling probably don’t jump to mind as quickly as programming, playing D&D or reading comic books. But even geeks like to invite some friends over and fire up the grill. How can you satisfy this great American tradition, while still keeping it real, geek-wise?

By using the right geeky gear, of course! Try integrating some or all of the following items into your next BBQ and watch the geek factor go up exponentially. Just be prepared to possibly be wedgied by your non-geek friends.


This slideshow "May the sporks be with you: 14 ways to geek up your summer BBQ" originally appeared on ITworld.

R2BQ Star Wars BBQ Smoker
Credit: YouTube.com
R2BQ Star Wars BBQ Smoker

Imagine how impressed your geek friends will be (and confused your non-geek friends will be) when they show up and you’re smoking meat in something that looks like R2D2. You can’t buy this on Amazon but you can make one for under $200, using a 55 gallon drum, the lid from a Weber grill and some high-temperature paint. Bonus geek points if you can actually make it play the recording of Princess Leia pleading for help from Obi Wan Kenobi.

A Feast of Ice and Fire: The Official Game of Thrones Companion Cookbook
Credit: Amazon
A Feast of Ice and Fire: The Official Game of Thrones Companion Cookbook

Set the geeky-tone of your BBQ right off the bat by letting everyone know the food selections will be coming from the official Game of Thrones cookbook (or accompanying blog). Your guests will feel swept away to the continent of Westeros when they see you’re preparing grilled snake, haunch of goat or spit-roasted rabbit. Plus, what better way to resolve your own family’s dynastic struggles than by working it out peacefully over some nice skewers of pigeon washed down with bittersweet black ale?

Tactical BBQ Apron
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Tactical BBQ Apron

What's geekier than an apron that can hold everything from grilling utensils to condiments to your smartphone, which is what the Tactical BBQ Apron can do? It’s got enough pouches, straps, loops and clips to make an OCD geek swoon. Never again fear being caught at the grill without having your spatula, seasonings and favorite comic book stowed securely on your person. Consider it the grilling equivalent of the pocket protector.

Superman Apron
Credit: Amazon
Superman Apron

If you’d prefer to not be weighed down by all the gear you can store in the Tactical BBQ Apron, yet still want to flaunt your geek credentials, consider a Superman apron. Or a Spiderman apron. Or an Iron Man apron. Or, heck, any old superhero apron. Of course, if you want geek it up a few more notches, you can buy a whole Iron Man costume. But, it might not be practical to wear standing in the blazing summer sun in front of a grill. We recommend saving that for Halloween.

BBQ Branding iron
Credit: ThinkGeek
BBQ Branding iron

When you’re ready to put the meat on the grill, be sure to geek it up with this BBQ Branding Iron. What’s that you say? There’s nothing geeky about branding meat? Au contraire, if what you’re branding your guests’ steaks with are the words “Hello world” which is what you can do with this special item. It comes with every letter in the alphabet but, sadly, no numbers or punctuation. So, you can’t go super-geeky and brand your burgers with Pi to five (or more) decimals or dork up a chicken breast with a regular expression. Can’t have it all, I guess.

Ctrl-Alt-Delete Cup Set
Credit: ThinkGeek
Ctrl-Alt-Delete Cup Set

Holidays BBQs are all about relaxing and getting away from the daily grind. What better way to encourage your guests to mentally “reset” themselves than by pouring their beverages of choice into these plastic Ctrl-Alt-Delete cups? Serve 8 oz drinks in these replica computer keys using the accompanying circuit board tray and your guests will know they’re hanging with a serious geek. Even better, they’re dishwasher safe - so you won’t need a giant can of compressed air to clean them.

Pi Symbol Ice Cube Trays
Credit: ThinkGeek
Pi Symbol Ice Cube Trays

Just when your guests think you - or your BBQ - can’t get any geekier, show them how wrong they are by cooling their drinks with ice created using these Pi-symbol shaped ice cubes trays. If you really want to go nuts, you can also use these silicone molds to create other Pi-symbol shaped BBQ favorites like corn bread and jello. While you’re at it, use this opportunity to establish your geek dominance by challenging your guests to a round of “Who knows Pi to the most digits?” - but make sure you study beforehand so you won’t get out-geeked by any of your guests - awkward!

Space Invaders Drink Markers
Credit: Amazon
Space Invaders Drink Markers

Help your guests avoid confusion (especially after they’ve had a few adult beverages) about whose drink is whose - and keep the geek party going - with these Space Invaders drink markers. Use the opportunity to school your younger guests on the granddaddy of arcade games, and to opine on how much better gaming was back in your day. If you have extra cash to burn and want to really impress your geeky gaming buddies, consider buying an actual Space Invaders arcade game. Just be sure folks wipe the BBQ sauce off of their fingers before playing.

Floppy Disk Drink Coasters
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Floppy Disk Drink Coasters

Normally, you don’t need drink coasters for a BBQ. But, in case it’s really hot (or worse, raining) and people migrate inside, you might want to have a set of these super geeky floppy disk drink coasters handy. These silicone versions look just like the real 3.5 inch McCoys from back in the day, complete with labels you can write on. Beware, though, of the guest who will try to out-geek you by asking where your set of 5.25 inch floppy drive coasters are, and be prepared to come back with a snappy response like, “I had those, but these coasters hold more.” If only someone made plates resembling the really old-school 8 inch floppies, your BBQ could achieve total nerdvana.

Star Trek Spock Oven Mitt
Credit: ThinkGeek
Star Trek Spock Oven Mitt

When it comes time to serve up a plate of piping hot burgers and dogs, don’t lose the opportunity to show people you mean geek business by using this awesome Star Trek Spock oven mitt. Even if you can’t do that famous Spock gesture with your fingers, this mitt will make it look like you can in comically oversized fashion. The truly hard core nerd may also feel the need to break out his or her Spock ears, but, seriously, that may going too far.

Doctor Who Cutting Board
Doctor Who Cutting Board

If you smoke, grill or BBQ any big hunks of meat that need carving, consider using this lovely glass cutting board featuring a painting of Doctor Who’s TARDIS on a cafe terrace. While more subtle than a Spock oven mitt or a Superman apron, this item will still convey a geeky sheen to your event. Use the board to kick off a lively discussion of which actor was the best Doctor Who ever; just leave the carving knife out of reach in case the argument gets heated.

Retro Arcade Salt and Pepper Shakers
Credit: Amazon
Retro Arcade Salt and Pepper Shakers

Once your guests sit down to eat and inevitably ask you to pass the salt, make sure to wow them with these retro arcade salt and pepper shakers. The pixelated looking “spice invaders” will not only liven up your food, but they’ll go well with your Space Invaders drink markers and prove that even geeks can be well coordinated. Be careful, though! Too much salt can be just as deadly (over a long period of time) as an army of slowly descending aliens.

Star Trek Starfleet Academy Titanium Spork
Credit: ThinkGeek
Star Trek Starfleet Academy Titanium Spork

Nothing says “I’m eating outside” like a spork, and nothing says “I’m a geek eating outside” like one of these Starfleet Academy titanium sporks. Laser engraved on the back with the Starfleet Academy logo and motto “Ex Astris, Scientia” (“From the stars, knowledge”), these utensils will put to rest once and for all any lingering doubt amongst your guests about your geek credentials. Depending on your budget, these also make great take-home gifts so your friends will never forget the geekiest BBQ they ever attended.