Tired of over or undercooking your meat? Never get it wrong again when you use the Meater +
Meat probes for cooking have been around a while. Stick the probe into your chicken or beef or pork etc, dangle the wire out the oven door and read off the meat’s internal temperature on the device outside.
When the temperature shows correct, you’re good to eat and the meat will be perfect. No guesswork, it’s science.
More costly versions can send the information to a handset wirelessly (as in old-fashioned radio waves) some distance away. So, you can sit and watch telly, or entertain guests, and at the same time monitor the cooking.
You can of course also use a hand-held probe like the excellent Thermapen (found in every professional kitchen) to check the meat, but every time you open the oven door, or take off the BBQ lid, you knock the temperature down.
In the case of a kettle BBQ it can then be a precious fifteen minutes before the temperature gets back to where it should be. You don’t want that.
The downside of wired probes, at least for me, is firstly that it’s all too easy to snag the wire in the oven door hinges and permanently damage it.
And, when you come to take the meat out of the oven, you have to take the probe out first to avoid dragging the base station across the room. That probe is very hot, often hard to dislodge, and it’s easy to burn fingers
The Meater + changes everything by using Bluetooth.
Lose the wire
The first thing you notice is just how beautifully put together the whole Meater + package is, right down to the neat cardboard box it comes in. If Apple made meat thermometers, they’d look a lot like this.
Inside the box is an elegant wooden (eco-friendly bamboo, actually) block with the meat probe clipped into it. While the probe is in the block it’s charged up by a supplied AAA battery. A discreet push button on the block lights up an LED to tell you the charge state of the probe.
The block has magnets in its back, so you can mount the whole assembly somewhere handy such as the fridge door. As the block also doubles as a Bluetooth booster, it’s best to keep it reasonably near the probe when in use
The probe begins to transmit data as soon as it is unclipped from the block, while the LED tells you the connection status to your phone.
It transmits to the Meater + app on either IOS or Android, iPhone and iPad. The range claimed is substantial, 165 feet. In a straight sightline, I only lost the signal when I went right down to the end of the garden.
Going between rooms did cause occasional disconnect but it reconnected quickly. It will vary depending on building size and structure.
You can also leave one phone near the probe and that phone can then use the house Wi-Fi to send on to an app on a phone further away in your house, or it can even use the mobile data signal, should you wish to monitor your roast from another place entirely. And it will connect to Alexa.
Stick it in the meat
The probe is quite chunky compared to the usual wired probes, about the thickness of a pencil, so it needs a hefty push to get it into the meat.
It’s important to bury it up to the marked line and no further. This means the probe tip sensor is measuring as close as possible to the centre of the meat, but also that its other sensor is clear to read the ambient temperature of the oven. This all helps the app calculate times accurately.
The app is a doddle. You only need to pair it with the probe the first time you use it, after that the probe connects on its own every time it’s unclipped from its base station.
So, in the Meater app, you choose the meat you’re cooking, the cut of meat, and how you want to cook it. The preprogramed selections and USDA guidelines help you do it by the book, but you can also set it up to cook the meat just as you like it and then save that custom setting
The app also links you to videos to help you set up, as well as offering various customisation and memory features.
Follow the plot
If you’re a complete nerd, after the cooking is over and you’re digesting your dessert, you can view a graph on the app of how your cook went, with the temperature rise plotted against time passed.
It is actually quite interesting, honest, a real snapshot of how your oven actually performs, as opposed to how its dials think it’s performingThe app signals you when to remove the meat – not when the final temperature is achieved, but a bit earlier.
This is calculated by the app on the go to allow for the fact that the latent heat will keep the meat cooking for a while longer the so-called’carry-over’ time. If the meat were to come out exactly bang on the required temperature, it would over cook while resting.
The device said our chicken was ready a good 20 minutes before my usual estimation. However, checking it all over with the Thermopen showed that it was indeed cooked at least to 74C and therefore safe.
Looking at the graph on the app I could see we had been running the oven far too hot for the first 15 minutes, which explained the shorter than expected cook time. And now we know a bit more about our oven too
The meat was perfect, moist and tender. We could find no part that was under or overcooked. The probe wipes down quickly, best to do that before it cools completely as it’s easier that way.
The probe is water resistant, but you should never submerge it in water.Pop it back in its box and all neat and tidy.
We have to say this is our new favourite gadget, the sheer elegance of its design and looks, as well as the clever functionality are really quite something.
Oh, and as well as the single unit, there’s also the Meater Block option, with 4 probes, built in Wi-Fi connectivity and its own screen.
Worth mentioning too is that Meater + comes from Apption Labs whose headquarters are in Leicester, UK. Great to see a British company producing such very smart technology.
One for your Xmas list, definitely. But unwrap it before Xmas day, the turkey will thank you and so will your guests.
Buy at the Meater website