Cooking With The Meater+ Thermometer
Meater+ is a smart cooking thermometer. A relatively simple, easy-to-use device, Meater+ shows the promise of smart technology for improving everyday situations.
It feels like one of those MasterCard ads.
Fennel and Lemon Spiced Spatchcock Chicken, £12.95.
Meater+ thermometer, £99.
A perfectly juicy slice of BBQ – priceless.
Okay, let’s get this out of the way: £99 is a lot of money to spend on a cooking thermometer. Sure, it’s a smart thermometer. Yes, it looks great and has a nifty charging case. And the companion app also looks great.
But for that money, it’s got to be more than good; it’s got to be amazing.
Meater+ And A Temperature Geek
Before getting to the Meater+, I should confess something. I’m a bit of a temperature geek in the kitchen. After a few pots, pans, and knives, the most important tool in the kitchen is a good thermometer.
I have a few, including an infrared heat gun that measures surface temperatures. You can never be too careful when it comes to checking the temperature of your oven, the surface of your frying pan, or bread as it cools down.
So, when my favourite butcher listed a new smart thermometer for sale, I paused only because of the aforementioned price. Then I ordered my Meater+.
The device looks like a regular cooking thermometer without the dial or digital readout. More like a stainless steel pencil. It comes with a faux-wood box that houses a Wi-Fi transmitter and an AA battery for recharging purposes.
Pairing Meater+ to your phone is easy using the companion app. It works over Bluetooth. The charging box extends the range by connection with your Wi-Fi, so you don’t have to leave your phone next to the oven or BBQ.
Before cooking, you insert the device into the thickest part of your meat, choose a cooking option on the app, and get to it. The app tracks the temperature inside the meat and the ambient temperature inside your oven (smoker, or BBQ), and projects an estimate of the remaining cooking time. You can adjust this based on the desired level of doneness and the app make recommendations you can follow.
Cooking with Meater+
My first cook was the aforementioned chicken. Prepared and pre-marinated from the excellent Farmison butchers in Yorkshire, this is a treat I’ve oven roasted a few times in the last year. But I always wanted to try cooking it in the smoker. So, with the smoker warmed to the manufacturer’s recommended temperature for smoking chicken, and with a good pile of applewood chips to hand, I drove the Meater+ deep into the thigh of the bird and put it in the smoker.
The result was nothing short of sublime. Well cooked, yet tender, with the flavours of the meat and marinade still there and not overpowered by the smoke. Delightful.
The second cook was more of a challenge: BBQ brisket, low and slow. I’ve had inconsistent results with brisket, because getting the first stage right requires careful attention. You want to cook the meat until it’s done, then take it out and wrap it up in paper and foil before finishing it off. In theory, it’s about 4 hours for each stage. But it’s always different, depending on the piece of meat, the way your smoker is behaving, the alignment of the stars, and countless other metaphysical variables.
This is where Meater+ excels itself. It prompted me at the perfect target temperature for the first stage – 45 minutes earlier than anticipated. The Meater+ also made it clear the smoker was running hotter than I’d set it. Turns out I’d forgotten to open the vents during the smoking process. After the second cook, I once again had fantastic BBQ.
The third test was a favourite: home-smoked bacon. Since the bacon is already cured, you’re just making sure it’s cooked through. You want it to reach the right temperature and that’s it. Again, perfect results.
Cook Well By Not Checking Often
There’s an adage in BBQ: If you’re lookin’, you ain’t cookin’. I’m not one for homespun clichés, but this one makes sense. Repeatedly opening and closing the door of your BBQ, smoker or oven interrupts the cook, as the temperature falls then slowly rises again.
With smoking in particular, it also means your clothes and hair could easily start to smell a little too much like the meal you’re trying to cook!
Not anymore. Meater+ is an excellent buy for anyone who wants to cook precisely. It’s a pure delight for temperature geeks or anyone who wants a little data with their main course.
While it’s easy to focus on the promise of things like smart cars, devices like Meater+ show the promise of tech-enhanced tools for everyday life.