NOTE: THIS UNIT HAS BEEN DISCONTINUED BY THE MANUFACTURER
The iGrill is a thermistor thermometer with a probe that can be used for meat or oven/grill/smoker temp. Switch it on, and it sends a Bluetooth signal to an app on your iOS or Android device so you can watch the game while the roast is cooking, cut the lawn, or take a nap because you can set it to beep when one of the probes hits a target temp or time. It will only pair with one device at a time.
There is a jack for an optional second probe so it can measure both your meat and your cooker or two dishes at once. Some come with one probe some with two. The one with two is a better bargain. This device uses the type of probe that can be ruined if submerged. To clean it, just wash the tip and wipe it clean. For more on this, scroll up to the section on Common Malfunctions.
The bigger problem is that I and others have had occasional problems getting it to pair with devices. They sent me a new one and it works like a charm.
The website has troubleshooting instructions that involves turning Bluetooth on your phone or pad off, rebooting, turning it back on, turning off the iGrill, removing the batteries, and rebooting by holding all the buttons down at once. That usually works.
The base unit, a little larger than a deck of cards, is available in white or black, and has a convenient way to wrap the probe’s cable around its body and store the probe so the cable doesn’t kink and break and you don’t stab yourself, both issues I have had with other thermometers. It runs on two AA batteries (included) and has a built-in display so you don’t need to pair it with an Apple device, but the white model I have is almost impossible to read in bright daylight. I suspect the black will be easier to read. The manufacturer claims it works up to 200 feet, but actual distance will depend on the thickness and material in your walls.
It has a folding stand that doubles as a hook so you can hang the unit from the side table on your grill or a nearby hook. It will only go from 32 to 400°F (0 to 204°C), so you need to be careful that you don’t put it in a really hot grill. I have tested it against a lab instrument in a smoker and it is pretty close to precise.
The body does not have any buttons that protrude, it has three touch sensitive hotspots, so it can survive a light drizzle, perhaps even rain. Alas, the on off switch is slow to respond, and there is no click or feedback so you don’t know for sure if it understood your command.
There is a free app that displays the temps of oven and meat, traces the temps on a chart, and exports the data to an email attachment in pdf or csv (spreadsheet) formats if you wish. The csv file has readings every 2 seconds, the pdf is not very helpful because it is a snapshot of only the reading at only one moment. When it was working, I found the csv download very helpful in developing recipes and I am sure that competition teams could use this to help perfect their methods and timing. You can also set temperature alarms, timers, and countdown timers. Alas, if you switch aps to check the score in the football game, the graph breaks while you were gone.
You can name your probes in the Pro app, name the alarms, switch from C to F, and you can set timers to remind you to add charcoal or to put the beans on. You can select preset temps for meats, but I disagree with some of the numbers. Fortunately you can enter your own preferences (click this link for a better meat temperature guide).
The manual is built into the app and they send updates, but this is not much help if you don’t have an Apple device. They are promising an Android version in 2012 and version 2 in 2013. This is a great start to a promising device.
Note. This device is a thermistor and it has a plus or minus error tolerance of 3°F. It is also slow to read and it is not good at reading thin pieces of meat like chicken legs, pork ribs, or steaks and chops. It is best for pork butt, beef brisket, turkey breasts, and roasts. For thinner cuts you should get an instant read thermometer like the Thermapen.
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