So-called ‘smart’ meat thermometers are nothing new. We’ve had rudimentary versions of them for years now and while they’ve generally done an alright job, their wired connections have been tedious and the small handheld receiver units are pretty basic. So when I heard about a new meat thermometer that was fully wireless and had a companion app that allows it to optimize the cooking of a whole host of different meats easily, I was happy to bring it into the test kitchen. Meet Meater, the wireless kitchen thermometer.
Meet Meater smart meat thermometer
Meater is a small wireless, rechargeable Bluetooth meat thermometer. It connects to a free companion app and allows you to monitor cooking, check temperature and optimize your grilling or oven roasting.
How to set up Meater
Setting up the device was quite easy. First you’ll need to pair it to your smartphone or device (make sure it’s charged up). To turn the device on, just pull it from the charging box/wooden case. You’ll instruct the app to search for your Meater probe and once it shows up in your app, tap to select it, then hit ‘Next’. That’s it. You can change the default temperature from Celsius to Fahrenheit if you like, then you’ll tap Finish. The app will take you to a main screen that displays current temperature and cooking info about the probe.
As I said, the nice wooden box Meater comes in doubles as a charging station. With just one AAA battery you should get 100 charges, each lasting 48 hours. (I’m still working my way to 100 to prove it) and the back of the case is magnetic, letting you stick it to the fridge for easy and convenient storage.
Using Meater wireless cooking thermometer
Removing Meater from its case turns it on, so once it’s out, just push it into your meat.
There’s a very small narrow groove near the middle of the thermometer, and you need to make sure that is all the way inside the meat or you risk damaging the thermometer, says Meater.
To initiate a cook, go to the app and select the type of meat you’re cooking and let the probe pick the right temperature, or you can set the target temperature yourself.
The app is very easy to use. You just touch a button in the app that allows you to select your meat, type of cut, and the level of doneness you want. It will also give you at-a-glance info like the target temperature, current internal temperature and the oven or grill’s ambient temperature.
Get simple temperature readings too
You can use Meater to double check cooked meat’s temperature easily. Just slide it into your meat, load the app, and wait for a reading. You do need the app to read this, which seems a little more involved than an old fashioned thermometer, but you can still get a reading.
Meater notifications very imperfect
Meater is designed to send you notifications when your cook is done. The company’s website says you can opt for audible and visual notifications when your food is ready, and can “vibrate, sound an alarm, and even send a notification to your friend to make sure your food is taken care of”.
The first two cooks I tried, I didn’t seem to get proper alerts. I got push notifications that went away immediately, and as a result had near-overcooks, since I wasn’t looking at my phone.
It seemed like with my Apple iPhone, I needed to ensure that the volume on the phone was on in order to get proper alerts, lest they buzz on my phone as pop-ups and not get my attention at all.
The next time I did a cook, I made sure the volume was on, but still didn’t get any kind of audible alert, and actually DID overcook something. Hmmm. I wasn’t sure if this was a setting on the phone, or something in the app not delivering.
I checked my iPhone settings, and while Notifications were on, as were Sounds, the banner notifications were set to temporary. While that may resolve the disappearing notification issue, it still doesn’t explain why the phone wan’t supplying audible alerts from Meater.
You can also choose specific sounds for your alerts, which I did, hoping this would provide better alerts.
Complicated settings to get sound alerts… and even then…
Exploring the settings some more I found that a setting inside the Meater app might have been the problem. Labelled, “Notifications Expire Automatically” this setting says, “when enabled, notifications that appear in the Meater app about changes to your cook state or custom alerts will disappear after 10 seconds. If not enabled, the notification messages will remain on screen and will continue to play sounds and/or vibrate your device until you dismiss them.”
After re-reading this I realized that if it’s set to on, you get a short alert, then it stops. I switched it off and next time I got a small, short audible “bloop” when the cook was 5 minutes from done.
At finish time….nothing. I got another push notification to my phone but no audible alerts. That’s disappointing. If I’m not actively watching my phone, I’m going to miss the alerts.
One other issue I had with Meater is that the device disconnects if the phone moves too far from the probe. And by “too far” I mean that when I moved from our kitchen to the living room, less than 20 feet from the oven, the probe would become disconnected. That also happened when I was about 10 feed from the oven, at the kitchen table. But unless I was actively looking at the app, there’s no audible warning that I’ve lost a connection. That too may have been contributing to my troubles. Also frustrating.
Apple Watch alerts
One nice thing is that the Meater will send alerts to your Apple Watch so if your phone needs to stay close to the oven, at least you’ll still get alerts to the watch.
What is Meater Link?
If you need to be away from home during your cook, you have the option of remotely monitoring the heater thermometer, but it’ll take an extra wireless device like a smartphone or tablet to do it. Full instructions are on Meater’s website.
Overall thoughts on Meater smart wireless meat thermometer
There’s a lot to love about Meater. The compact size is perfect, and the chic wooden charging case is a nice touch. I also like the fact you can stick it to the fridge or oven using the magnets; very convenient.
Meater is simple to use and the app is really easy to figure out. I enjoyed being able to dial up the precise cook for any number of different meats just by pressing buttons in the app.
If I had a complaint, it’s that the alerts set up was a bit confusing. The “Notifications Expire Automatically” setting could be more helpfully labelled, “Constant Alerts”. I don’t remember turning this setting on, but maybe I did.
I found it frustrating that during several cooks, I was never able to get proper audible alerts, meaning I need to keep just as close an eye on the phone as I would on the oven or timer anyhow. The random disconnection was also surprising and frustrating. So you’re really at constant risk of overcooking unless you monitor your food. Kinda like real life.
Overall, I really liked my Meater experience, but I needed to keep one eye on the app. The probe is small and unfussy, and having used a wired digital meat thermometer previously, I can say having an untethered version is far superior.
If you’re a serious home cook, I think you’ll really like Meater. But you can’t expect this to be a “set it and forget it” kind of gadget.
Meater is available from the company’s website or from Amazon, below.
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