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The MeatStick recently sent me one of their MeatStick Xtender wireless thermometer kits to play around with. I was really excited to try this out because I've been wanting to run some tests on how meat heats during sous vide and this was an easy way to try it out.
The biggest benefit the MeatStick has over traditional sous vide probes is the ability to seal it in the bag with the food. This means you don't need to probe through the bag, use closed cell foam tape, and worry about leaks. It makes the process very seamless.
The interface of the app was intuitive to use and I got it set up very easily, outside of some strange location data issues. Once set up it was easy to create new cooks and link up the devices as well.
The graphs in the app also look real nice and give you a good visual indication of what is going on. Below you can see both a heating and cooling stage in the sous vide process.
You can also export all the data, which was a big help for me since I wanted to look at specific heating times between degrees.
The biggest downside was the connectivity with the MeatStick. If you take your phone too far away it loses the connection and ends the cook in the app. But even when leaving my phone in the kitchen I lost the connection on about a third of the cooks I did.
This wouldn't be a huge deal, just an inconvenience, for most people, but since I was trying to track overall heating times I had to restart several cooks.
The temperature also seemed wrong at certain times. It was within a fine range for most cooking, but as you can see in the picture, it showed a 142°F inside when the ambient never went above 141°F.
It also froze on more than one cook, with the temperature no longer increasing after an hour or so. And the "Time Remaining" indicator seemed to not take the slow-down in heating into account, often suggesting 2 to 3 minutes until "done" when it was really 30 to 60 minutes away.
All in all I love the concept of the MeatStick and I think it can be really valuable to home cooks who want to use a probe with sous vide. If you are looking for an easy-to-use probe to test out with sous vide, this could be a device worth checking out.
However, the frustrations above make it hard to fully rely on MeatStick for more fine-tuned temperature tracking, and you will want to monitor the timing and temperature in an independent manner to make sure it all is coming through fine.
If it sounds right for you, buy one today!
Have you used the MeatStick Xtender Set? Let us know what you thought of it!