What is the Meater? It’s true innovation in the remote probe thermometer industry. The kickststarter was more than a year ago and this bad boy was supposed to come to consumers last Christmas, but they had some production issues and delayed the launch rather than force an inferior product to sale. I appreciate that. In this marketplace, a lot of companies would push a sub par product out early to start making sales. Not the Meater folks. They circled back for almost a year to makes sure the product was perfect. I would much rather have a brand delay a launch and make sure everything is right than rush it to market and apologize for what went wrong. The good news is, the wait is over and they can be purchased now!
But how big is it? Here it is on the keyboard of my Mac still in the charging base:
And here is the Meater up against the probe of a traditional instant read thermometer:
The Meater is about twice as thick as the instant read and for some that’s a concern. I counter that with the fact that an instant read usually needs many temperature readings to know when the meat is done which means stabbing the meat over and over. The Meater needs to be inserted once and it reports back to your phone the entire temp trajectory including what the temp is now and when it will be at the target. More on that point in just a second. The Meater probe can be removed after the meat has cooked and rested. Basically stab the raw meat once with the probe and leave it there. Sure it’s thicker than an instant read, but it can stay in the meat for the entirety of the cook EVEN if the meat is on a rotisserie. Think about that one for a minute. So many remote probe thermometers have cables. They don’t work on a rotisserie.
The Meater not only tells me when the meat is done, it actually tells me when the meat is going to be done. Say wha?!?
Check this out. The Meater is actually two thermometers. The metal tip is the thermometer that goes in the meat and the black ceramic end has a second thermometer that tells what the temp is inside the cook chamber. The ambient temp, if you will. So why am I telling you this. Because when I first put the Meater in a protein and that meat on the grill I get a display like this:
In this screenshot, I have the Meater in a beef tenderloin roast that I’m going to reverse sear:
In this case, I want to smoke the beef tenderloin to 110 degrees and then finish off on a hot grill to sear off that bad boy. Why? Because searing first will keep the smoke from penetrating the meat. Smoking first gets that sultry smoke flavor and by coming in under my target temp of 125 (rare, baby!), I can sear it off after smoking without risking over cooking the roast. After a few minutes of calculating the ambient temp of the grill and how much the temp rises inside the meat, my Meater tells me exactly how long it will take to get to my target temp:
Do you realize how BRILLIANT this is? Here’s my first ever cook with the Meater:
I was just giving the remote wireless probe thermometer a test run and decided to have some family and friends over for this pork shoulder and the ribs below. It would be a crime to let all that goodness go to waste, right? I told everyone to get to my house by 6 to eat. Here’s where the Meater saved my behind! I threw away the package to that pork shoulder and had no idea how much it weighed. I put it on the smoker at 225. A few minutes later the Meater told me the pork shoulder would reach 195 by 7:15 pm. I wanted to feed everyone by 6 which meant I wanted to pull the shoulder from the smoker at 5 to let it rest for an hour. I raised the temp to 275 in the cooker. A few minutes later the Meater told me that my pork shoulder would be 195 at 5:05. And wanna know the best part? That pork shoulder hit 195 within 5 minutes of 5:05. I want to say it was something like 5:02 or 5:03.
The other beautiful aspect of knowing the exact time the pork shoulder would be done? I know that those ribs take 2.5 hours at 275 to be done (I don’t cook mine to fall off the bone levels. I do competition doneness for the most part). I knew that if I put my ribs on at 3:30 that they would be done right around when my pork shoulder had it’s hour of rest.
It can even show the track of the cook. Like this shoulder cooked in the Shed’s cooker at Q in the Lou:
That shoulder is on an Ole’ Hickory Pit which has a massive rotisserie inside. Because it’s wireless, it can keep going round and round and round inside that chamber all the while reporting back the exact temp:
Let’s back up a little and talk about that reverse seared beef tenderloin I did with the beurre blanc sauce. When it hit 110 degrees it told me it was done:
I threw it onto a 700 degree grill. Did the Meater flinch at that heat? Nope:
I seared that beef tenderloin all the way around and the Meater didn’t have any problem with the heat. It told me when it was 125:
And here is that bad boy seared all the way around:
Check out the beef tenderloin sliced with some beurre blanc sauce poured over the top:
When done, pop it back into the base to recharge:
The base is powered by a AA battery. I don’t know the exact battery life of a fully charged Meater, but I can tell you that I put a brisket on my smoker at 11:00 pm one night at 180 degrees. The next day at 9:00 am, I checked the brisket and it was sitting at 160 and the Meater was still going strong. I wrapped the brisket in peach butcher paper and cranked up the heat. Around 11:00 am, it was done. So for 12 full hours the Meater did not need a charge. And another advantage of the wireless probe? I was able to wrap the brisket without having to take the probe out because I didn’t have to worry about a wire running back to a base.
While it is a great device, it does have a couple issues. The thickness is one. I’ve heard competition guys complain it messes with the presentation with such a large hole. Also, there is a logistical issue with how far it has to be inserted into the meat to function properly. See this line about halfway down the unit:
That’s how far the probe has to be inserted into the meat. So for a chicken, you have to insert it down the breast from the top, not straight in from in front of the bird. It made it a little difficult to get it into the middle of that long beef tenderloin as I couldn’t go into the middle from the side. I had to go in from the end which didn’t put the probe right in the middle of the meat. The reading is still really, really close, so that’s not a big deal to me either.
The biggest issue is the range of this unit. It only has a 15-20 foot range. Walk inside and the cell phone loses the signal from the probe. It picks right back up when back outside, but you have to go back out to get a reading. There are a couple work arounds to this. One way to increase the range is to use the free Meater Link feature built in the app. You can turn Meater into a WiFi meat thermometer with a second smart phone (or tablet). They are also working on Meater Block that will have WiFi connectivity, set to release in 2018. I know it sounds like a huge hassle, but it’s not. All I had to do was download the app and connect the two phones via the app. Basically 2 extra steps. That will come in handy in the winter when I’m smoking a brisket in 20 degree temps. Particularly when the device tells me exactly when that brisket will be done despite the cold cold weather!
If you have any questions or comments, feel free to leave them below or shoot me an email.
Meater compensated me for this review, but as you know, I don’t do reviews of products I don’t like. I couldn’t take someone’s money and then trash their product. I simply decline the work. And I’ve done that more than once so be careful. There are some crappy products out there. In fact, the people behind Meater wanted me to fall in love with it before we ever talked about a paid review. As soon as the Meater told me that I was going to serve dinner late, AGAIN, I fell in love which was the very first time I used it. No more grumbling party guests. No more making excuses because the food took too long. No more chopped rather than pulled pork because I had to pull the shoulder early. Considering I have to take pictures of every step of my most of my cooks, I already have enough that slows down my cooking process. Particularly when I take on average 1,000 pics per post. Anything that helps me be on time, I’m all over it!