Remote Thermometers

Published September 1, 2010. From Cook's Illustrated.

With a remote thermometer, you can monitor the temperature of your food without holding a lonely vigil at the grill or oven. Or at least you should be able to.

Overview:

With a remote thermometer, you can monitor the temperature of your food without holding a lonely vigil at the grill or oven. To evaluate the latest choices, we oven-roasted chickens and charcoal-grilled whole beef roasts—from a distance—with three brands, including the manufacturer Taylor’s successor to our onetime, now-discontinued favorite. All models are two-part devices: a temperature probe attached to a base that rests outside the oven or grill, and a pager you carry with you. With each, we could roam more than 100 feet, even behind walls (though we lost the signal when we went upstairs). Otherwise, the results were mixed. One thermometer, for example, features two probes—handy for keeping an eye on both light and dark meat—but also preset doneness temperatures (a feature that often leads to overcooked meat) that were hard to override. The new Taylor model also had a downside: Its pager does not display temperature, instead buzzing and vibrating first when the food is 10 degrees away from being done, then again when it’s… read more

With a remote thermometer, you can monitor the temperature of your food without holding a lonely vigil at the grill or oven. To evaluate the latest choices, we oven-roasted chickens and charcoal-grilled whole beef roasts—from a distance—with three brands, including the manufacturer Taylor’s successor to our onetime, now-discontinued favorite. All models are two-part devices: a temperature probe attached to a base that rests outside the oven or grill, and a pager you carry with you. With each, we could roam more than 100 feet, even behind walls (though we lost the signal when we went upstairs). Otherwise, the results were mixed. One thermometer, for example, features two probes—handy for keeping an eye on both light and dark meat—but also preset doneness temperatures (a feature that often leads to overcooked meat) that were hard to override. The new Taylor model also had a downside: Its pager does not display temperature, instead buzzing and vibrating first when the food is 10 degrees away from being done, then again when it’s fully cooked. But its accuracy—a thermometer’s most important feature—and intuitive setting mechanisms were the best of the bunch, sending it to the top of our ranking.

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