Reviewed by Louise Totton
There is nothing finer in life than a perfect Sunday dinner – fluffy roast potatoes, creamy cauliflower cheese, huge Yorkshire puds, and of course, a perfectly roasted chicken, complete with crispy golden-brown skin. But getting that chicken coked perfectly isn’t always easy, especially if you are using a new oven and haven’t quite got the knack of the idiosyncrasies yet, or even if you’re cooking on a BBQ this summer. Chicken and pork are particularly important to get right, as they can make you really rather ill if they’re undercooked.
We are planning a few BBQ parties over the summer, and I do try to make sure I don’t just serve the same old boring burgers and bangers. I am really keen to try cooking larger and denser cuts of meat and spatchcocked chickens, but of course, this comes with an increased risk of undercooking. I do have a meat thermometer, which I have had for years, but it requires me to open and close the oven whenever I want to check a temperature, which isn’t ideal as it reduces the temperature and can make my Yorkshires sink!
So I was over the moon to be asked to try out a very modern and gadgety solution to this problem – the Meater+! The Meater+ is a Wi-Fi and Bluetooth enabled meat thermometer that promises to monitor the cooking time and temperature of your dinner from inside the oven, and even notify you on your mobile as to when you have five minutes of cooking time left!
When it arrived, I have to say that my initial impressions were very good. The probe is stored in its own wooden holder, which also acts as a signal booster, charges the probe and magnets onto the fridge! Using the Meater+ is really easy – the first step is to download the Meater app and set up a Meater account. This only took a couple of minutes, and once the Meater+ was fully charged, the probe managed to ‘find’ the app really easily and my phone was talking to it!
Using the Meater+ was just as easy – the app is really simple to use and talks you through the whole process. The first step is to set up your cook in the app – this is as simple as loading up the app and pressing the add cook button on the screen. This then prompts you to select what type of meat you are cooking (poultry, beef, pork, lamb or fish), and then once you have chosen this, the next screen prompts you to select the cut of meat. The first time we tied it out, it was with a whole chicken, so we went from ‘poultry’ to ‘whole chicken’. The app then asks what you would like to set the cook level to – for chicken, you only have the option of medium/well, well done or USDA (US Dept of Agriculture) recommended. With cuts like beef, there are more options, ranging from ‘rare’ to ‘well done’, with USDA mark next to cook levels that are approved as safe.
Each of the cook levels has a target internal temperature, and the theory is that once the probe records that the meat has reached that temperature, it will be perfectly cooked to your liking, and most importantly, safe to eat. Once you have selected how you want your meat to be cooked, you just tap ‘start cook’ on the app and you’re good to go!
The probe is then inserted into the deepest and thickest part of the meat, at least to the line on the probe, and the whole thing is then put into the oven, probe and all! The probe then measures the internal temperature of the meat from inside the oven, beams the signal out to the wooden charging dock that you leave near to the oven, and the block then amplifies the signal and sends it to your phone. As if by magic, from anywhere in the house, you can then see the internal temperature of your meat, the ambient temperature of the oven, the target temperature and the estimated remaining cook time. It even beeps when there are five remaining minutes of cooking left, and takes into account the resting time of the meat!
I really liked the concept of this – I think it’s a fantastic idea and can certainly help you to plan when you might need to get the other component parts of a meal ready. I also really liked that it means you can monitor your cook without having to open the oven door, saving you from floppy Yorkshires and loosing vital oven temperature. My house is a slightly awkward layout; the kitchen is on the lower ground floor, so the bedrooms are two floors up. The signal reached the office in the middle floor really well but couldn’t keep a signal all the way to the bedroom. Having said this, this can be sorted by logging on to your Meater Cloud account and monitoring your cook via the internet, which I think is a fabulous idea.
At the end of our allotted cook time, I had a perfectly cooked roast chicken. I had opted for medium/well, but I think if I were to do it again, I would go for well done, just because I do prefer the skin a little darker. Having said that, it was absolutely delicious, safely cooked with not a hint of pink and it was beautifully moist and juicy. Since I have tried it out with the chicken, I have also cooked a perfectly pink rib of beef and a fabulously crackly pork joint.
I can’t wait to try it out on the BBQ this summer, knowing that I am not at risk of undercooking any meat for my family and friends! This is a fabulous device that would make an excellent gift for either a keen cook, a technophile or just someone who appreciates excellent and innovative design.
For more information or to buy visit meater.com.