If we know anything at all about cooking meat (real meat, not hot dogs or minute steaks) outdoors, it's that you have to take its temperature. The working conditions are too volatile and the prize too valuable to trust this flesh to wristwatch or eyeball. So you secure a dead-on-accurate digital thermometer and determine to check it constantly.
But just when you get your bird (or roast or shoulder) into that critical temperature range when moments mean the difference between Carnivore City and Chernobyl, the call comes from above: "Honey, get the deck chairs out of the basement." Just when you've pulled those out, Cadwallader arrives and wants a Martini. You're bringing it out perfectly chilled when you peek at the TV to see Tiger going for an eagle. Suddenly you realize you've not looked at the thermometer, the meat is burnt and the Martini is lukewarm.
Cadwallader's drink couldn't have been saved, but dinner didn't have to die that death. The Barbecue Beeper digital thermometer from Weber Style would have told you when the meat was perfect no matter that you wandered off. One side of the two-part system is a thermal sensor that sits next to the grill and is connected by wire to a probe you insert into the meat. It sends a signal as far as 100 feet to a remote monitor that beeps if the meat reaches preset temperatures, essentially paging you when the prize is cooked. The monitor you carry tells you the exact temperature of the meat as well as the target temperature.
The thermometer registers between minus-4 degrees F. and 482 degrees F. The monitor, which clips to your belt or stands up by itself, is loaded with preset target temperatures for beef, lamb, hamburger, pork, turkey, chicken and fish as well as doneness levels of rare, medium rare, medium and well done for beef, lamb and veal. Operation is so simple it's almost foolproof. If it beeps three times you're out of range. When the meat is within five degrees of target, the monitor beeps four times. A continuous beep means the meat is done. Fast and continuous means the meat is ruined and so is your reputation as a cook.
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