Proteins are generally the hardest part of the meal to make. Overcook them and they turn to inedible leather; undercook them and possibly send loved ones to the ER. For the nervous meat cookers who are skittish around the skillet, Meater is a new, connected thermometer that’s here to help.
Meater is a $69 bluetooth- and wifi-enabled meat thermometer, but it’s actually more than that. With its accompanying app, Meater is actually a guided cooking system that monitors your meats, tells you when they’ve reached a safe cooking temperature, and lets you know when to remove your meat from heat to let it rest properly.
The device itself looks like a shiny five inch nail. You stick Meater into the meat and leave it there while cooking. Truth be told, you have to jam the Meater in there pretty deep for it to work properly.
The depth needed for the probe actually caused a problem for my first test. The chicken thighs I was going to cook were too small for the Meater to work properly, even though the Meater app lists chicken thighs as something you can cook with it. Meater seems to be meant for larger cuts of thicker meat, so I opted for a pork loin in my second go-round.
Setup for the Meater itself was straightforward. I chose the Bluetooth option over the wifi because wifi required setting up a (free) account. Meater paired easily, but because the device is in an oven, or wrapped in foil, the signal dropped if I took the phone out of the kitchen.
Once Meater is inserted, you select what type of meat and what cut you are going to cook from the app. Then you choose the target internal temperature you want the meat to cook to. It gives you a few options based on the level of done-ness you prefer, as well as the USDA recommended cooking temp. With just a few taps on your phone, you’re ready to cook.
The app gives you a readout with three indicators: The current internal temp, the target temp, and the ambient temp. After a few minutes in the oven, it also provides an estimated cooking time. Once it starts cooking you can watch the various temperatures move around the dial.
What’s nice, for a nervous, OCD nelly like me, is that with the probe always in the meat, there’s no need to repeatedly open up the oven (letting heat escape) to re-insert a traditional thermometer. Since you have a constant running readout of the internal temperature, it frees you up to do other things in the kitchen.
Where Meater gets more helpful is when you’re meat is almost ready. The app delivered a nice little alarm when there was about five minutes left on my cook time, and then it instructed me to remove the meat before it reached the final temperature. It kept cooking out of the oven and hit the targeted 145 degrees as promised without overcooking. I even checked with a second meat thermometer to confirm the accuracy of the Meater.
The result was great. The pork loin came out tender and flavorful and, most important, safely cooked.
When not in use, Meater comes in a handsome wood holder/charger. The holder requires one AAA battery to charge Meater, and has a magnetic backing you so you can stick it to an oven hood to keep it handy. At $69, Meater is a pretty good value considering a Thermapen costs at least $79.
For a cautious cook such as myself, Meater would be a great addition to my kitchen, and would give me more confidence to cook proteins I might not normally try.