Meater Block Review
I have to say I’m quite blessed operating Angry BBQ. We are finally getting noticed by all the great brands in the industry and they want us to review their products. Meater reached out to us at the end of September 2022, asking if we would be interested in reviewing their Meater Block wireless system.…
I have to say I’m quite blessed operating Angry BBQ. We are finally getting noticed by all the great brands in the industry and they want us to review their products. Meater reached out to us at the end of September 2022, asking if we would be interested in reviewing their Meater Block wireless system. I happily accepted as I have never had the chance to play with any Meater products personally. My go to multi probe wireless thermometer has always been the ThermoWorks Signals system. The Meater Block is relatively new and I’ve heard good things, so I’m excited to try it out.
I like to be very detailed in my reviews and provide as much relevant information to my BBQ brethren. Areas I’ll be covering in my review include: Overview and Specs, Features, Performance, Overall Fit and Finish, Ownership Experience and My Final Recommendation.
Meater Block Overview and Specifications
The Meater Block is definitely a premium product in the world of wireless thermometers. As far as I know, it is one of only two companies (other being Meat Stick) offering a completely wire free temperature probe. Everyone else has wires connected to their temperature probes. Meater accomplishes this innovative feat by embedding Bluetooth connectivity inside the probe itself. That explains why the probes are larger in diameter when compared to their competitors.
What also is unique about their wire free temperature probes, is the fact they can measure internal meat temperatures and ambient temperatures. The sharp pointed side measures food temps and the blunt end measures ambient temps. This is a very nice feature, because you know the exact temps surrounding your food. Keep in mind that you need to position the probes a certain way to get an accurate ambient temperature reading. I’ll explain later.
The Meater Block includes four of these dual temperature reading probes, the “Block” which acts as the recharging station for the probes and contains the electronics/controller to connect to the probes and to your WIFI or Phones Bluetooth. It also has a handy built-in stand that props the Block up so it can sit on any flat surface.
The Meater Company Overview
Meater was created by the company called Apption Labs which is a technology startup company. Founded in 2015 by three friends that had a history in the tech space, they decided to create a completely wire free temperature probe.
The company is headquartered in Leicester, United Kingdom, but they also have offices in Los Angeles, California and Taiwan.
The company has grown the product line quickly over the past seven years and offers the Original Meater (Single Probe with 10 meter range), Meater Plus (Single Probe with 50 meter range) and the mighty Meater Block.
In early 2021 Traeger Grills purchased the Meater company and quickly started integrating the Meater products into the Traeger grill line up. The new Traeger Timberline XL includes the Meater wire free probes with the grill and are controlled by the Timberline grill controller.
Meater Block Specifications Table
|Bluetooth LE 4.0
|Max Internal Temp – Meat
|212F / 100C
|Max Ambient Temp – Cooker
|527F / 275C
|Water Resistant – Dishwasher Safe
|Stainless Steel with Ceramics
|Over 24hrs Continuous
|Range to Block
|9 feet / 3 meters
|Not Disclosed – Will Compare to ThermoWorks Thermapen ONE
Meater Block Specs
|Bluetooth with Probes: Wifi with Controller and Smartphone Apps
|165 feet. Actual varies due to walls etc.
|Micro USB (cord not included) or 4 AA Batteries. Charges Probes when not in use.
|Real Wood. Bamboo.
|OLED with touch capacitive controller.
|Max Outdoor Operation Temp
|iOS or Android
Meater Block Features
The Meater Block has four key features that make it stand out and this is where I’m going to focus. These features separate the Meater Block from their competition and bring some real value to the user/chef/pitmaster.
1. Dual Temperature Reading Probes
Meater provides you with four temperature probes which is similar to the other top competitors (INKBIRD, Meatstick and ThermoPro) in this space. ThermoWorks offers four temp probes in their Signals system while the Fireboard Pro provides three probes.
Like I mentioned earlier, what makes these probes really unique is they measure two different temperatures at the same time. The internal temp of your food and the ambient temp of the cooker. However, if you insert the probe at a tight angle to the meat (like my turkey below), you will not get an accurate temperature reading as the probe is too close to the body of the meat. Try your best to insert the probe perpendicular to the meat.
You’ve noticed by now that these probes are of a larger diameter when compared to standard temperature probes. Meater has Bluetooth electronics built into the probe, so they needed extra space. Because of this larger diameter, I found that these probes are best used on larger cuts of meat like turkey, brisket, pork butt etc. Also note the line in the middle of the probe. You need to make sure the probe is inserted up to this line on the probe. This ensures that the probe will not be damaged from the high ambient temps.
I see people sticking these into individual steaks and I have to laugh when I see this. A steak is cooked so quickly and you typically do not leave the steak while searing it. I don’t see value in using these on small cuts of meat. It’s perfect for the long cooks on large cuts. I’ll continue to use my instant read thermometer for small cuts of meat that cook quickly.
2. Completely Wire Free
When I first heard of these wire free probes, I thought it was a bit of a gimmick. Being completely wire free has its advantages. A lot of grills and smokers do not include a hole to pass your temperature probes through. If you constantly close your smoker lid over the probe wiring, you’ll eventually have a continuity failure and you’ll need to replace the probes. This is a problem you will not be experiencing with the Meater probes.
Another advantage to wire free probes is when using a rotisserie on your grill. You would never consider using wired temp probes on your rotisserie cook. Great example below.
Using wire free probes is also nice from a organization standpoint. When I’m done my cook, I do my best to ravel up the wires nicely, but every time I go back to use them, they are slightly tangled. Wire free is a real benefit.
3. Meater App via WIFI Connectivity
As with any premium multi-probe WIFI connected thermometer system, you’ll get a smart phone app to communicate with. The Meater App is fully functional covering all the bases that you would expect including: Internal Food Temps, Ambient Temps, Estimated Duration of Cook, Estimated Completion Time, Recommended Finishing Temps per Food type and recipes.
Estimated Duration of Cook
I found the estimated duration of cook time to be accurate for some cooks and not others. It was very accurate for my smoked turkey, but quite off on a brisket cook. I don’t really need this estimated duration feature, but I can see it being helpful for beginners.
If you sign up for the cloud account, then Meater will record all your cooks and you’ll have access to look them up in the future and review how things went. The screen above is the default, but you can also view in chart view.
4. Built In Probe Charging Station
This might be a simple feature, but a very useful and well thought out feature. The “block” itself is also a charging station for the probes. There are indentations in the block to store your probes. When you click your probes in place they complete a circuit and start charging. You’ll notice the two contact areas in the block and they make contact with the middle and blunt end of the probe, which are also electrical contacts. When clicked in, the circuit is complete and they begin to charge.
Meater recommends charging them for 8 hours for their first charge. I thought this was a very clever design. With my electronics background, I can appreciate designs like this.
The batteries are charged by the 4AA batteries that installed in the backside of the Block.
Meater Block Real World Performance
Now that we know the feature set and specs of the Meater Block, we wanted to find out how well it performs in real world environments. In my testing I focused on temp probe accuracy, connectivity, battery life / charging, and cold temperature operation.
I live in Canada and by the time I received the Block, our temps had fallen into 0F / -18C territory. That’s cold and also a great opportunity to see how the Block itself can operate in freezing temps.
1. Meater Temperature Probe Accuracy
This is one of the most important tasks a temperature measuring device should get right. If your temp probe isn’t accurate of consistent, is it worth owning? Meater doesn’t specify or provide any details regarding the accuracy of their temperature probes. I decided to do a comparison to my ThermoWorks Thermapen ONE which is certified and calibrated from the factory to measure temps accurately. I’ve tested my Thermapen for accuracy and can confirm that it provides accurate water boiling point temps and ice water temps based on my elevation. Read more on this here.
Meater Block Probes Boiling Water Test
I live in Canada and my elevation is 2004′. For every 500 feet above sea level, the boiling point decreases by 1 degree Fahrenheit. Sea Level boiling point is 212F, so my cities boiling point should be 208F. The picture below shows my Thermapen ONE’s reading and the Meater Probe reading on the Meater app. The Meater would only register 202 Fahrenheit, while my Thermapen accurately displayed 208 Fahrenheit. Not bad for accuracy, and is within 3% of the Thermapen ONE.
Meater Block Probe Ice Water Test
The other test we can conduct is the freezing water test. This is relatively simple, as I fill a glass with ice, then add water and let the glass sit for 5 minutes. I compare the Meater probe to the Thermapen ONE again and the results are more satisfactory. Both measured 33 Fahrenheit.
It is impressive to see that the Thermapen ONE registers the temps in under 1 second whereas the Meater probes need almost one minute. This is to be expected as the Meater Probes are meant to be used in longer cooks and are not designed for instant read outs.
As for accuracy, I would say the Meater passes this test. The only meat you ever really take to these high temps is brisket or pulled pork and you usually start checking for doneness well before 208 Fahrenheit. I usually start checking at 195F.
I have my suspicions of how accurate the ambient temperature sensors are, as they consistently showed a much lower temp in my Yoder vs the Yoder readings, and I know my Yoder is typically low with its ambient temperature readouts. I wouldn’t put a lot of faith in the ambient temperature readout. Stick with a good old fashioned Tel Tru gauge or a standard temperature probe.
2. Bluetooth and WIFI Connectivity
I did my research on the Meater Block before I started this review and found that the most common complaint is that the Meater doesn’t hold connectivity to the distances they state.
Meater Probe Connectivity
First off the probes need to be within 9 feet or 3 meters of the Block itself. Now this can differ for a lot of people, depending on the cooker you are using. For my testing I used my Yoder YS640s which is built of much heavier steel compared to most smokers and grills. I found that the block needed to be sitting on the shelf of the Yoder to have connectivity to the probes.
It was 0 degrees Fahrenheit when I started my testing, so I tried to keep my Meater Block inside the house, by a window with a clear line of sight to the Yoder. It was within the 9 feet that Meater recommends. I was not able to keep connectivity to the probes from inside the house. I decided to put the Meater on the Yoders shelf, in the cold weather. I regained connectivity and the Meater Block had no problem operating in the cold temps for the 3-4 hour cook. I was impressed by the cold weather operation. However, it would lose connection to one of the two probes I was using the odd time.
Meater Block WIFI Connectivity
I run a powerful D-Link router that runs on both 2.4 and 5 GHz bands. I can easily be anywhere in my yard and maintain connectivity to the router. My yard is 68′ wide by 130′ deep, so larger than your average yard. My house is finished with stucco, so that probably reduces my WIFI router signal.
I found the signal strength was weak when compared to my Yoders Fireboard control system. I lost connectivity to the Meater Block a couple times but most of the time it had connectivity. In comparison, the Yoder Fireboard controller never lost connection. I did have the Meater Block and Yoder positioned where it had to pass through two walls (one interior and one exterior), which might be challenging for average WIFI devices.
Come summer, I’ll have my Yoder closer to the router and connectivity for the Meater will be more satisfactory.
3. Wireless App Overview
The Meater wireless app does everything you would expect it to do. It instantly reports current internal meat temps, and ambient temps. These really are the only two pieces of information I find useful, but I’m not a beginner. The app can do a lot more then report temps. Such as:
Meater has recipes built into the app and some of them look quite amazing. I’ll probably check them out in the future. You can simply pick whatever protein you want to make, and they will list relevant recipes in video format as well.
Meater also makes it easy to change between Fahrenheit or Celsius, display settings, sounds, alerts etc.
Estimated Cook Completion Time
As I mentioned earlier, the app has the ability to estimate when the cook will be complete. In order to calculate this, you must select what you are cooking and what part of the animal you put the probe into. I did a turkey, and put the probes into the thigh. I had to enter that information. The estimated completion time was in the ballpark +- 8%. For meats like brisket, I found the Meater estimates to be less accurate.
4. Battery Life and Charging
Now I didn’t actually test to see how long a probe can last without a charge. Meater states that the probes can last for a 24-hour cook before charging. That is enough time for your longest cook. I don’t see this being a problem because the Meater Block includes 4 probes. I normally wouldn’t use all 4 probes on a pork butt or brisket. If one probe is almost out of power, I would simply install another probe in its place and continue monitoring. Even if the probe lasts 18-hours, this is sufficient in my opinion.
Tip: Make sure your Meater probes are clean, or they might not make proper contact when in the charger.
The Block can be powered by AA Batteries or a Micro-USB cord. I recommend keeping the unit powered with the Micro-USB when doing long cooks or when the outdoor temps are very low. Batteries do not like the cold and will have reduced run time. Heads up, Meater does not include a Micro-USB cord with this kit.
Overall Fit and Finish
I’ll give Meater kudos in this department. The bamboo wood block itself is attractive and well made. The built-in stand is functional and feels strong. Once opened, it displays the Micro-USB port which is well thought out.
The backing plate that covers the batteries is perfectly cut so it stays in place nicely and does not require excess effort to remove.
The probes are made of stainless steel and ceramics, which give it a quality look. The butt ends are stamped with a number so you know which probe is which.
The packaging the Meater came in was of the same quality as Apple products. The box lid is on tight, and by simply lifting the box lid, the inside box liner will slowly fall out by gravity, which is similar to iPhone and iMac packaging. Nice touch.
The one area that is lacking is the display. It should be larger and easier to read. I also wish it would display the probe temps so I don’t have to look at my phone every time.
Overall I’ve had a good experience with the Meater Block device. I plan to keep testing it and see if it is consistent in its performance. Here are my final thoughts.
What Makes Me Happy…..
- Wire Free has its benefits. Not all smokers and grills have probe openings so you do not have to worry about damaging probe wires. Rotisserie cooks can now be temperature monitored.
- 4 probes is perfect. I would never need anymore than that.
- Recharging system is clever and works well.
- WIFI Connectivity makes monitoring anywhere in your neighborhood a cinch.
What Makes me Angry…..
- Probe Bluetooth Connectivity is weak. The block needs to be located much closer to the probes than the stated 9′.
- WIFI Connectivity strength could be better. My other devices maintained stronger connectivity to my router when located in the same area.
- Ambient temperatures are not very accurate. I’ll do more testing on this when compared to my ThermoWorks Signals unit.
Wrapping It Up
Overall I think the Meater Block is a quality device. Yes they could make their Bluetooth and WIFI connection strength better and hopefully they do. I would personally just use this to monitor internal temps of my cooks and not worry about the ambient temperature readings. If you have a quality smoker with an internal temp probe or a Tel Tru gauge, then you know what your cookers temp is anyways.
For the price point, it is expensive. I’m going to give the Meater Block a 7.8 rating, which is worth considering. Stay tuned, as I’ll keep testing the Meater Block and update this post from time to time.
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