There’s not much argument that digital thermometers are a critical component of cooking both indoors and out. Not only is it important to know the temperature of the food it’s equally as important to know the temperature of your cooker, grill or oven. Remote read thermometers make this task possible. As technology evolves so do these thermometers. A new breed of remote read thermometers is starting to appear.
The MeatStick is an example of the new evolution. The MeatStick uses a pencil type temperature probe to measure both the internal temperature of the meat with one end while measuring the temperature of the smoker, grill or oven with the other.
These temperatures are then transmitted wirelessly to your smart device. The MeatStick w/ WiFi Bridge Set we tested comes with 2 dual probes and is expandable up to 8 probes with additional purchase. The probes come coded in 4 colors; red, green, black and yellow. The MeatStick is advertised as waterproof and dishwasher safe. We actually washed the MeatStick in the dishwasher and charted the temperature, it handled it just fine. The rechargeable battery in the MeatStick is not replaceable. We asked Customer Service at MeatStick how long one can expect the MeatStick to last this is what they had to say: “It should easily last at least for 5 years with regular usage.”
The MeatStick is backed by a one year limited warranty: Soma Labs LLC warrants all “The MeatStick” branded products to be free from defects in materials or workmanship under normal use for the period of one (1) year from the original date of retail purchase by the original purchaser. Here’s a link to the page for the complete warranty.
There are three ways that you can connect the MeatStick to your smart device.
Direct connect with Bluetooth. In this mode your phone or tablet can connect directly to the stick. The smart device must remain within 30 ft if outdoors and 6 ft if indoors of the MeatStick to remain connected.
WiFi Connect. This connections uses the WiFi Bridge to connect your MeatStick through the internet to a smart device. The WiFi bridge must remain within 6 ft of the MeatStick. You will receive the temperature reading on your smart device anywhere you are connected to the internet. The Bridge unit also has a 2” backlit LCD screen which will display the temperatures while in use.
Extended Connect. When no internet is available you can use the WiFi Bridge unit to extend your Bluetooth connection range. Again, keeping the Bridge unit within 6 ft of the MeatStick the Bridge will transmit the signal to your device up to 300 ft.
The MeatStick app, available for both iOS and Android, allows you to create a cook session and will calculate your estimated cooking time based on your predetermined finish temperature and the temperature of your smoker, grill or oven. The app is also the main source of instruction. It does a good job of walking you through the set up and connection process. We find the app simple and easy to navigate. You can easily set up various alarms to indicate that your food and your cooking vessel are approaching the preset target temperatures that you select. The app requires that when using iOS your location setting must be “always on” in order to function properly. The MeatStick is not tracking your location. The unit works as a beacon. The location setting “always on” actually allows your phone to track the MeatStick. This eliminates the need for any Bluetooth pairing between the thermometer and your phone. If this causes concern for you, simply disallow the location tracking in your settings after your cook is complete.
The MeatStick probe is turned on by placing it in its charger and engaging a button on the charger itself. It will turn itself off automatically in 15-30 min when not in use. The charger runs on 2 AAA batteries. It is equipped with magnets for storing on a cool metal surface. There is a LED light on the charger to indicate the level of charge of the MeatStick. On our sample this LED light was inoperative, so we relied on the app which has a charge level indicator as well. The MeatStick requires 4 hrs of charge before first use and in-between each use.
We tested our MeatStick probes over several cooks with additional testing in various water temperatures. We compared the probes to a Thermapen by Thermoworks. We also performed an ice bath test. The MeatStick does not recommend performing a boiling water test as it will cause undue stress on the unit. During testing, we experienced slight variation in temperature reading. The MeatStick probes did read 3°F-9°F lower than the Thermapen at times. This could be due to a slight lag time in the MeatStick updating as well as the specific probe placement.
- Operating Range: 32°F to 572°F max
- Min Probe Range: 32°F food side and ambient side
- Max Probe Range: Food side 212°F ambient side 448°F with short stints of 572°F
- Water Resistance: The website states the probes are fully waterproof and dishwasher safe. Sensor Type: RTD
- Battery Life: 24 hrs on a full charge
- Charge Time: 4 hours
Specs from the MeatStick website and MeatStick Customer Support.
What’s Included with the Meat Stick w/WiFi Bridge Set
- 2-MeatStick TRUE wireless Meat Thermometers (1 Red 1 Black)
- 1-MeatStick TRUE wireless Meat Thermometer charger (runs on 2 AAA batteries which are not included)
- 1-WiFi bridge unit (micro USB powered). Power supply is NOT included.
- 1-mico-USB cable approx. 39” in length
- 1-Carrying case.
What We Loved
We love the wire free dual temperature reading ability of this new technology. We love that the MeatStick is simple to connect and does not require pairing with your smart device. Being dishwasher safe is a value add as well. We like the fact that the MeatStick w/WiFi Bridge Set came in a protective case. We were also very pleased with the response from MeatStick Customer Service. We asked several questions via their online contact form and had our answers within the business day.
What Could Be Improved
While cooking we did experience some slightly off temperatures on the ambient side of the MeatStick. We understand the ambient temperature is a game of inches. Probes placed a few inches from one another in a cook chamber can show variation in temperatures.
Couple this with the close proximity of the ambient sensor to the meat it is definitely in the cold bubble. The cold bubble is an envelope of air around the cooler mass of meat. Generally speaking ambient probes should be placed no closer to the meat than 2 inches to stay out of this cold bubble. The ambient side of the MeatStick is 1½ inches long which makes that impossible. It would be great to see a stand-alone ambient probe as part of the MeatStick line up.
As we mentioned earlier the LED light on our probe charger did not work on our sample. We had no way of knowing if our MeatSticks were charged without connecting them to the app.
Worst of all, it had trouble connecting and staying connected, which was unacceptable.
While we love the fact that the MeatStick came with a nice dual zipper storage case one of our zippers failed on the first opening. The case is still usable but that was a bit disappointing.
Who It’s For
The MeatStick is for anyone looking to cut the cable on their remote read thermometers. Cables are notorious for getting balled up like a bird’s nest and often fail after being pinched between cookers and lids. Going wireless eliminates those issues. Further, wireless devices like this and the MEATER also work well for those using a rotisserie.
The future is bright for true wireless remote read thermometers. It’s great to see companies embracing this tech and bringing it to market. With time these thermometers will continue to improve.
This type of remote read may never totally control the market but (when perfected) they’ll be a great option for any cook and we look forward to future improvements in the technology. We’d suggest holding off on this one till it’s been improved a bit further.