We like meat. A lot. But cooking it properly can sometimes be, shall we say, an imprecise science. Cooking meat to the proper temperature isn’t always easy, and you may need to check the meat multiple times. Smart meat thermometers can help, but the long cables that connect the metal probe to the base unit often wear out, or get damaged long before any other part does. The Meater smart thermometer ($69) chucks the cord and base unit, and provides a valuable cooking tool in a tiny package.
Setup is easier than selecting a piece of meat to cook
The Meater is a wireless meat thermometer that lets you monitor how your meat is doing in the oven from an app on your phone. It works just like any other meat thermometer, except it communicates with your phone via Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, or the Cloud, depending on your setup. Just use the app to see the temperature of the meat and that of the oven (or grill, or wherever you’ve got meat cooking) while it sizzles.
A lot of thoughtful design elements went into creating this product. For starters, the bamboo case does double duty as the charging station. It also has a place to hold the thermometer, and a small LED light that displays battery life. If the light comes on, that means battery power is strong enough to charge the probe. When the LED is off, you know you need to replace the battery. Speaking of battery, you install it by flipping over the case and removing the magnetic cover to activate the included AAA battery. That’s all the setup required.
The Meater is an ideal gift for the high-tech cook who has everything.
The silver and black meat thermometer is about the width of a standard pen, and the same size as a typical cooking thermometer. There’s a faint line etched on the thermometer that serves as a guide of how far to insert it into the meat. Instead of the visual degree settings at the top of most off-the-shelf units, the top of the device is black, with a silver square tip. Meater is a bit thicker than the average probe, so if you object to making a hole in your meat, you might want to reconsider buying the product.
Once the Meater is charged, all you need to do is download the app to your phone, and follow the prompts to pair the two via Bluetooth. We tested it with an iPhone, and it took just a minute or two to download the app and connect the devices.
Unlike most temperature probes, which just read the internal temperature of whatever you poke them into, the Meater measures both the internal and environmental temperatures. You shove the pointy end into the meat, but that black tip isn’t just a handle–it stays outside and keeps track of the ambient temperature around it.
Tracking the ambient temperature is part of the algorithm that tells you exactly how long you must wait until you can eat. The Meater also includes in its calculations rest time and residual cooking time.
SMART Thermometer, Smart App
When you insert the thermometer in the meat, you can follow steps on your app to determine cooking times. You can enter information about the kind of meat, the cut, and the level of doneness–all from a surprisingly robust list of choices–and then follow the instructions. Once the oven gets up to temp, the app figures out how long until it’s done.
While the meat cooks in the oven you can monitor the temperature on the app. There’s a setting for internal (that’s the temp of the meat), target (the temp goal), and ambient (which monitors the temp of the oven). You’ll also see the overall progress with a countdown timer that displays how much cooking time remains.
When the meat reaches the desired temperature, an alert goes off on your phone telling you to remove the meat from the oven. Once that step is complete, the app starts another timer, so you can let the meat rest before cutting into it or serving it.
When connecting via Bluetooth, there are certain annoyances. Range is limited, so you’ll have to leave your phone near the stove. However, the probe can connect to a closer device like a tablet, yet still be controlled from afar from using the app on another device.
Cooking Meat to Perfection: Set It and Forget it
To test the thermometer, we placed three chickens on cooking sheets, and cooked them simultaneously in the oven. We inserted the Meater into the breast of one of the chickens, selected the proper settings in the app on our phone, and spent time socializing with our guests.
Cooking your meat to perfection is as easy as waiting until your phone tells you it’s done.
While it cooked, we carried the phone throughout our two-story test house to check the range, and the app remained in constant contact with the device in the stove. When the app alerted us that the meat was done, we used our standard meat thermometer to see if it was indeed done. The readings were similar (the app said 163 and the control thermometer read 165).
Did you know food keeps on cooking even after you take it out of the oven? The Meater will tell when to take your bounty off the heat and let it finish cooking all on its own, so your beef stays as rare as you like, instead of accidentally well-done.
We took the meat out of the oven and waited five minutes for the resting alarm to sound. Then we cut up the poultry, and served one of the juiciest and tastiest meats we’ve cooked to date to our guests.
The Meater’s ambient temperature sensor told us something interesting. According to the app, the oven never did make it to 350 degrees Fahrenheit, but the oven was pretty packed with all that poultry. Still, all three chickens cooked to an internal temperature of 165.
Overall, the Meater is a fun little gadget that can seriously up your cooking game. It takes most of the guesswork out of cooking slabs of juicy goodness to perfection, and is an example of how using connected technology can improve your home-cooking abilities.
DT Editors' Rating: 4/5