As we get more and more “connected” around the house, our favorite place to see new smart devices is probably the kitchen. Whether dealing with someone who is adept and knows their way around the room or someone looking to learn more, today’s connected kitchen offers a lot of opportunities — and fun gadgets. One such device is the Meater, a wireless smart meat thermometer.
Ask five people how they like their steak prepared and you may receive five different replies. Rare? Well done? How much longer do you leave it on the grill before taking it off? How many minutes difference is there between medium-rare and medium? How hot is the grill to begin with?
Whether cooking steak on the grill, a ham in the roaster, or chicken in the oven, dealing with meat isn’t always easy. If you’re not preparing something familiar, you may be constantly cutting into the meat to see if it’s ready. Pull it out of the oven, check, put it back. Repeat.
Meat thermometers are not new. They’ve been around quite a while, and can be very helpful. The problem, though, is that some of the so-called smarter ones can have extra hardware pieces, or cables that connect to a probe. These can get damaged or wear out over time. Cleaning and maintenance can be pesky. The Meater ($69) makes aims to address some of those pain points.
What it is and what it does
The Meater has the thickness of a mechanical pencil but is roughly two-thirds the length. It’s a single unit that pairs to your phone over Bluetooth and/or Wi-Fi. In short, you stick the Meater into your food and then wait for your phone to tell you when it’s done.
The initial setup and first meal is a breeze to get started. You’ll be walked through the process by the app and then handed off to start cooking. It’s here where, in the app, that you tell it what you’re cooking or grilling and how you like it prepared.
Getting a ham ready for a holiday dinner? Maybe you’re throwing a couple of filets on the grill. Simply tell the app what you’re doing and let it do the rest.
Aside from just registering the internal temperature of your meat, the Meater also measures the ambient temperature, too. This way you know if you even have the right amount of heat. Moreover, it will constantly monitor and report the temps, graphing them and estimating the time for finish.
Don’t worry about keeping your eye on the app; it will push out notifications when things are ready. Give yourself a five minute warning if you’d like that way you can begin setting things aside or prepping to pull the food off.
The Meater comes in small box about the size of what might house a fancy ink pen. Constructed of bamboo, it is where you’ll charge it up using one (included) AAA battery.
The thermometer is silver with a black handle and features an etched line. This is essentially how far you you’ll want to insert the unit into your food. The black part is what measures the environmental temperatures, tracking how hot it gets under the roaster lid or inside of the closed grill.
We tried cooking using the Bluetooth connection and found it had pretty poor range. When using it with an Easter ham inside of a counter-top roasting oven we found that we couldn’t get more than a couple of feet away. This was a nuisance as it kept us, or the phone, within a small circle in the kitchen.
Fortunately, we have multiple phones and tablets in the home and the thermometer can be setup using Meater Link. In essence, you leave one device close enough to stay in range and then others on the same WiFi network can monitor and manage the cooking. If you have a dedicated tablet for the kitchen, you’ll want to install the app on it right away and use it as the central device.
We had a lot of fun with the Meater and look forward to using it this summer as we grill out. It’s easy to setup, almost impossible to screw up, and simple to clean up. For just $69 you’ll have something that takes the guesswork out of cooking new and exciting meals or precisely-grilled steak. Not only that, but it gives you a cool device that you get to show off and discuss over dinner.