General Electric has come to Texas with an ambitious plan: To try and cook up the perfect barbecue.
In Austin, home to brisket and rib heavyweights like the Salt Lick, La Barbecue and Freedmen's, attendees at the South by Southwest Interactive festival are stumbling upon a big bold pop-up. That would be GE's BBQ Research Center.
Read MoreGE shareholder proxy access
The centerpiece of the GE pod is a web-connected smoker standing 12 feet tall. The contraption is loaded up with sensors linked to screens monitoring the temperature and other chemical actions taking place inside. Visitors to the accompanying tent can see how their brain reacts to eating smoked sausage, or the taste of liquid nitrogen ice cream.
Having a big presence at SXSW is part of GE's effort to change how the company is perceived. It's no longer just a giant industrial conglomerate developing everything from light bulbs to jet engines, but is right in the middle of the big data, and Internet of Things trends that capture the headlines.