A great companion tool for any grill master.
I grew up around a grill. My dad would grill everything from hot dogs to filet mignon and lobster. I always worried that I wouldn’t be able to live up to his grilling standards as an adult, but surprisingly enough, I’ve developed a knack for outdoor cooking. He always timed his cooking by instinct and I’ve had to resort to using sophisticated tools – like this smart meat thermometer – to make sure I get the cook just right. Some things like hot dogs are easy to see when they are done, but grilling steak is an art form and can be quite difficult especially when people want different temperatures. With that said, I was very eager to try out the MEATER smart thermometer when it arrived.
MEATER is in the simplest terms a meat thermometer with integrated Bluetooth. It works similarly to a standard meat thermometer. It’s rechargeable using its wooden storage box and it reports readings back to a connected app you can download for free on your smartphone. If you by chance have the MEATER+, the box acts as a Bluetooth repeater so that you can have an extended range between your thermometer and your phone (MEATER up to 33ft; MEATER+ up to 165ft.). The thermometer is 100% wireless and doesn’t require a lot of hassle to set-up. Once it’s charged, you push the thermometer probe into the meat you want to measure and then the app does the rest of the work. There are two sensors in the probe to monitor the meat’s internal temperature (up to 212º) and the external temperature (up to 527º) simultaneously.
The app is a ‘guided cook system’. It tells you when to check the meat and when it should be done cooking all based on the temperature of the meat. One of the nicest features of this system is that the app will also tell you how long the meat should rest after cooking before you serve it. MEATER also has a cloud system so that you can monitor your cook anywhere. This is perfect for long-term cooking like an all-day smoker event. With the MEATER cloud, you can share your cooking details online in real-time on a Windows or Mac machine. You will also get access to enhanced technical support and service.
The MEATER thermometer came in a simple brown cardboard box with the word “MEATER” stamped on the front. It’s perfect in its simplicity. When you open it, you will find a short quick start guide, which tells you to charge the probe for an hour, download the app, and then start using the thermometer. The wooden storage box for the MEATER is also it’s charging base. It’s powered by a single AAA battery (included). I have not been able to find out how long that battery is supposed to last (how many charges) I haven’t worn the battery completely out yet but I would love to see an update to include a USB charging option rather than a disposable battery one.
Once you unbox the thermometer and its storage case, you will want to remove the plastic tab in the battery compartment so that the probe can charge. While it’s charging, you can download the app and get it set-up. There isn’t much to set-up on the app unless you go through the cloud process. When the probe has enough charge to be functional, you can remove it from the case, which will turn it on. At this point, the app will detect the device as long as Bluetooth is turned on for your smartphone. The app has a lot of instructional videos which are a nice reference if you get caught up in the set-up process. I didn’t have any issues with the MEATER connecting to my smartphone (iPhone Xs; iOS 12.0.1) or staying connected throughout the cooking process.
I loved how simple it was to work with this system. After you place the probe in the selected meat for cooking, you will go to Set Up Cook on the app. From here, you have the option to select ‘guided cook’ or ‘custom cook’. I chose guided cook and selected ‘beef’ as my meat of choice. The next screen will ask you to identify what type of beef. My strip steak was nonspecific so I just selected ‘steak’ and then chose ‘medium’ as the temperature I wanted it to be finished on. Typically, we prefer our steaks to be between medium-medium well, but since you can’t uncook a steak, I decided to go for slightly undercooked with the intention of throwing it back on the grill if it needed to be cooked more.
For the purposes of this test, I chose to use a controlled grilling environment and used my George Foreman indoor electric grill. I knew approximately how long a steak takes to cook on that grill and since it was a ‘controlled’ environment with a constant grilling temperature, I thought it would be best for this type of test. I sprinkled some steak seasoning on the meat, placed the probe, and set it on the grill to cook. I was amazed at how quickly the meat seemed to cook. In reality, it was just a long as normal, but because there was a moving timer on the app screen, it just seemed to go faster than normal. Once the steak reached 145º (medium) I removed it from the grill and let it rest the amount of time that the app suggested. Then, I cut into it. I was surprised to find it was perfectly cooked for a medium steak. We did end up wanting the steak to be cooked a bit longer, but the MEATER did a good job of judging how long a medium steak should be cooked.
MEATER is a great grilling companion. It’s super easy to use and a wonderful teaching tool if you are just learning how to grill. I’ve used a lot of meat thermometers before but this one is the best one I’ve seen. It’s accurate and since it works with a smartphone, it makes it that much easier to cook. The original MEATER retails for $69 and the MEATER+ is $99. I would recommend either version for any grilling enthusiast.