Product Review: Smoke

The Smoke in action.
The Smoke in action.

I love using my digital thermometers. I love the quick, accurate reading I get from the Thermopop and even quicker response from the Thermapen Mk4. So when Thermoworks released a new device that caters to BBQ’ers like myself, I had to pretend my other awesome digital thermometers wouldn’t suffice and that I needed yet another one. Fortunately, I was able to get my hands on the Smoke the day before making turkey for Thanksgiving dinner.

The total package. See what I did there?
The total package (see what I did there?).

The Smoke is a wireless, dual probe thermometer for BBQ that monitors both the temperature of the food and of the pit. I took pictures of the unboxing so you could see exactly what comes in the package:

Straight out of the box.
Straight outta Compton the box.

 

All of the contents laid out.
All of the contents laid out.

From left to right in the picture above, the contents are as follows:

  • High temp cooking probe
  • Base unit
  • High temp air probe
  • Wireless Smoke receiver
  • Grate clip
  • Lanyard

Assembly is quite easy. Just press the power buttons on both devices and plug in the probes.

Referring to the picture above, I’ll review what each button on the front of the base unit means:

SET: used to set alarms. You can set both high and low alarms for each probe.

VOL: changes the alarm volume setting or sets mute.

UP and DOWN ARROWS: used to adjust the high and low alarms.

LIGHT ICON: turns the backlight on for 20 seconds.

ON/OFF: turns alarm on and off. You can have the alarm off if you just want to monitor temps and not be alerted.

The backsides.
The backsides.

I show this picture of the back of the devices for a few reasons. First, the buttons:

ON/OFF: turns device on. Hold for three seconds to turn off.

°C/°F: changes display between Celcius and Fahrenheit. Device defaults to Fahrenheit.

CAL: this button is used for calibration purposes. The device is pretty accurate, so you may never need to use it. However, it’s nice to have just in case.

TRANSMISSION BUTTON: used to turn the transmission to the receiver on and off. Can be used to connect multiple receivers if buying additional ones.

Next, those silver rectangles are magnets. These come in helpful if you want to stick the base unit to the smoker or its metal appendages (however, I mainly use it to stick to the side of my fridge when not in use). Third, the base unit has a kick stand that folds out to stand on its own. And finally, I post this pic to show the batteries are easy to access and replace if needs be (they take AA batteries).

After you’ve powered on the base unit, turn on the wireless receiver. At first, the receiver will show “con”, which means it is in the process of connecting to the base unit. This may take a few seconds to connect. The connection is strong enough up to 300 feet apart, but is reduced when obstacles such as walls or doors stand between the two devices. With that said, I’ve walked around my house and have had no issues with the connection (with the base unit outside).

It only takes a few seconds to connect to the base unit.
It only takes a few seconds to connect to the base unit.

One thing I’ve noticed with the wireless receiver is that there is some latency between its connection with the base unit. It’s most noticeable when getting your smoker/grill up to temps. The picture I share here shows a small bit of lag between the two devices.

Just a small example of the latency between the base unit and wireless controller.
Just a small example of the latency between the base unit and wireless controller.

The bit of lag should be expected with wireless connections like this and it isn’t even a bother.

PROS & CONS

PROS

  • Accurate, simultaneous temperature readings
  • Wireless receiver works up to 300 feet away from base unit
  • Probes can handle temps up to 572°F (which I don’t recommend cooking your meat to)
  • Can swap out air probe for a different probe (sold separately) spring you can monitor temps of two food items at once
  • Backlight on both base unit and receiver

CONS

  • Wires to the probes can get tangled, especially when storing, and are a little tricky to unwind fully due to their stiff nature
  • If alarm is set, it has to be turned off on both the receiver and the base. You can turn off the one on the receiver, but the base unit outside will continue chirping until you go out there to turn it off.
  • No mobile app to sync up with. However, Thermoworks is planning to release the Smoke Gateway which will be compatible with a smartphone app later this year.

I’ve used the Smoke many times now and I can honestly say I love it. I can’t imagine BBQ’ing without it. Thermoworks makes high quality digital thermometers and they’ve hit another home run with the Smoke!

Product Review: Thermopop

The Thermopop gives accurate readings in only 5-6 seconds.
The Thermopop gives accurate readings in only 5-6 seconds.

When I ventured into the world of BBQ, I was using a basic “analog” meat thermometer to gauge temps. I was content with this and there’s still no shame in doing that. As I researched BBQ methods, a lot of people, novices and experts alike, seemed to speak highly of the Thermapen Mk 4 from Thermoworks. This is a digital thermometer that gives accurate reading in 2-3 seconds and is used by America’s Test Kitchen. The price tag on this was a bit steep compared to my old meat thermometer ($5 compared to $99), so I looked into a more cost effective model made by Thermoworks called the Thermopop. This one has some similar features to the Thermapen Mk 4 (which is awesome, by the way) and costs only $29.  I’ve spent a few months using this for a more extensive review and I must say I’m quite impressed! You get quick, accurate readings within 5-6 seconds, which is much quicker than other thermometers on the market. This comes in helpful if you are either a BBQ enthusiast like me and don’t want to keep the lid open for too long or a grilling fiend (also like me) who doesn’t want to spend too much time hovering over a hot flame.

One of my favorite things about this is the rotating display. It rotates four ways: up, up, down, down, left, right, left, right, B, A, Start. Sorry, the old Contra code for 30 guys popped in my mind so I went with it. The directions of the display go up, down, left, and right in 90-degree intervals. It comes in helpful for the different angles I check meat temps.

Grilling burgers to the right temperature for the family. The 90-degree rotating display is helpful.
Grilling burgers to the level of doneness my family prefers. The 90-degree rotating display is helpful.

The button to rotate the display is conveniently located on the top back side, near where your index finger goes. Right next to that is the Fahrenheit/Celcius button to switch between the two (if you’re into that sorta thing).

The rotating display and Fahrenheit/Celcius button are conveniently located on the back.
The rotating display and Fahrenheit/Celcius button are conveniently located on the back.

Another convenient thing about this battery-powered device is that it automatically turns off after five minutes of inactivity. I love that because I tend to forget to turn it off and the battery would likely have died a few times on me by now.

The Thermopop comes with a pen-like holder for convenient storage and carrying.
The Thermopop comes with a pen-like holder for efficient carrying and storage when not in use. It also comes in nine different colors.

The Thermopop can measure extreme cooking temps from -58°F up to 572°F! When measuring food temps, I sure hope your BBQ foods never get up to an internal temp of anywhere near 572°F. With that said, I have noticed this thing is good at measuring ambient heat. Granted, this isn’t what it is meant to do and I wouldn’t take it for precise measurements, but it is good for a general gauge for that sorta thing.

Having a back-lit display sure is nice, especially when BBQ’ing in the dark and/or measuring the food temps in a low light setting, such as the inside of your smoker.

Thanks to the back lit display, the big numbers are easy to read in the dark.
Thanks to the back lit display, the big numbers are easy to read in the dark… even while measuring the temperature inside my fist.

The only thing I don’t like about this is the fact that it isn’t waterproof. I’m being picky here because your non-electronic meat thermometer you buy for less will be just fine if dropped in a puddle or in your favorite beverage. With that said, it is splash proof so using it in the rain will be just fine. And I’m speaking for the top part of the Thermopop, the electronic portion. You can stick the needle in water to measure liquid temps with no problems.

Getting the perfect temperature for your hot chocolate is quick and easy with the Thermopop.
Getting the perfect temperature for your hot chocolate or coffee is quick and easy with the Thermopop.

And in case you were wondering…

The snow temps are accurate.
The snow temps are accurate.

 

Pros: 

-accurate readings in only 5-6 seconds

-rotating display to best read in the direction which you insert

-displays both Fahrenheit and Celcius degrees

-back light for easy reading in low-light settings (especially when meat is still in the dark smoker)

-automatically turns off after minutes of inactivity

Cons:

-digital portion not waterproof (the needle portion is)

Summary: 

-having used this consistently for four months, the Thermopop is simple to use, holds up quite well, and gives consistent, accurate readings. I trust this device and recommend you buy one!

Click here to order your very own in your favorite color right now!