Jo Rees roadtests the Meater Block – life changing piece of barbie kit or another gadget that’ll end up at the back of the cupboard?
What is it?
A meat thermometer that talks to you – or to your phone, anyway.
If you’re limiting your meat consumption to high-welfare, locally reared stuff, you’ll appreciate it’s not cheap – indeed it’s quite a treat. So the last thing you want to do is cook the bejeesus out of it and turn what should be a succulent well-aged steak into a leathery grey monstrosity.
The traditional meat thermometer is a gadget that slumbers in the odds ’n’ ends drawer of many a foodie household, so do you need a wireless smart version to ensure beef joints remain juicy and roast pork is thoroughly cooked?
The Meater Block is apparently the world’s first wireless smart meat thermometer of its kind. It certainly looks swanky – all bamboo wood and stainless steel probes.
The device links up to an app on your phone. When you’re ready to cook, stick one of the stainless steel probes in the meat (it cooks with the probe in it), tell the app the length of time and temperature you want it cooked at and then, as the picture on the website suggests, go and put your feet up. The Meater Block will tell you when the meat is cooked.
An image of a bloke lying on the sofa reading a book while dinner is cooking does feel a bit old school. It’s not hard to imagine his other half muttering to themselves as they set the table, prep the veggies, sort the drinks out and try and stop the kids from killing each other, but you can see how the picture is quite appealing if you’re the one who gets to chill while you grill.
We tried it on a beef joint and also on steaks on the barbie: it worked well – especially for the roast beef, where you’re likely to be monitoring it less closely than you would steak on the barbie (especially after a glass or two of red). The beef was beautifully bang on – a relief when you’ve forked out a few quid for it and you’ve got guests at the table overseeing your efforts with the carving knife.
Value for money
That’s one hell of a price tag. Of course, if you’ve got the disposable income, no worries – and if you never overcook a piece of quality meat again it could be a very good investment. If you’re looking for an entry-priced version, try out the little brother single probe (£79).
The bamboo block is attractive and it all comes in a presentation box, but you can’t help feeling it’s a bit unnecessary and there to justify the chunky price point.
Recommend to a friend?
One with plenty of cash to splash.
Deep breath … £279 for the full block with the four probes.