It's been a while since our last equipment review. So to change that, today we decided to bring you the MEATER Block review.
The MEATER Block is the top-of-the-line product from Apption Labs, the same team responsible for the MEATER+. The Block consists of four MEATER+ wireless probes under one control unit. This unit communicates with each of its numbered probes then passes that temperature data to your smartphone helping you cook your food to perfection. Not only is the hardware very well done but so is the MEATER app and ecosystem, all working together to cook your meal with much less worry or guessing.
If you have read our review of the Meater+ you know that we are big fans of Apption Lab's products. We love the way that the MEATER ecosystem takes the stress out of cooking and grilling, making overcooked food a thing of the past.
The first thing that caught our attention in the MEATER Block was its build quality. Made from wood and metal, this unit has an undeniably premium look and feel. Its main section is a solid wooden block, with slots that hold each of the Meater's four temperature probes.
The Block combines its four probes into a single device that not only stores, charges, and monitors each probe but can also act as a standalone, disconnected wireless thermometer and cooking assistant. While surprisingly minimalist, the control screen does a solid job of bringing the MEATER ecosystem to you even when disconnected from the App or Net.
The probes themselves have rechargeable cells that are good for 24 hours of continuous cooking. The Block charges them when they're docked, providing juice from either its batteries or USB connection.
If you're familiar with the MEATER ecosystem, using the MEATER Block won't throw you any curves. Like the original MEATER, and MEATER+, each of the Block's probes measure internal food temperature at their tips. The probe's square, flat base records ambient air temperature.
When you're ready to cook, insert the probe into your protein of choice. Through the MEATER app, select the food type you're about to prepare. Here you can lock down your desired target temp too. Once cooking is underway, the app attempts to calculate a specific cook time.
Similar to the MEATER+, the Meater Block serves as a wireless repeater. Unlike the Bluetooth-only Meater+, the Block can extend either Bluetooth or Wi-Fi signals.
Setting up the MEATER Block is easy as setting up the MEATER+. To start using the Block the first thing you need to do is to remove the battery cover and remove the plastic tag between the battery and contacts which stops the batteries discharging before it arrives. Next, you need to download the MEATER app (available for iOS and Android) and charge the block (and probes) for a minimum of 8 hours before the first use, according to the instructions.
Unlike the MEATER+ you aren’t forced to use the app. There are actually several ways in which you can use the MEATER Block:
Although MEATER Block works without the app, using it makes everything easier. Besides the app is super intuitive, one of the best available on the market, it is loaded with features that any food geek will love.
At the bottom of the app, you'll find four different tabs. The Help tab is home to a library of tutorials, both video and written, on how to use the probe. The Previous Cooks tab stores a history of meals you've cooked and ones you've favorited. The tab labeled with a Play button includes guided recipe videos. And the Settings tab allows you to switch the temperature scale, change the sounds for specific alerts (when something is ready, overcooked, ready for resting, etc.), as well as manage notifications and pairing options.
The MEATER Block is also compatible with Amazon's Alexa, so you can use your Echo device to ask a variety of questions. This includes anything from the amount of time remaining, the internal temperature, the amount of time that's elapsed, and more.
If you follow us on Instagram you probably know how much we like to use our MEATER thermometers. We use them a lot in our kitchen, whether we are grilling a rib-eye steak or roasting a chicken. And of course, also fish or shellfish like lobster tails. For every time we want to grill or roast any kind of protein, the MEATER is our go-to equipment.
When it comes to barbecue, things are a little different. MEATER thermometers have difficulties in monitoring long cooking times, thanks to the stall, a well-known phenomenon that occurs when cooking large pieces of meat such as pork shoulder or brisket. The stall happens when the outside of the food is so wet that it won’t carry on cooking until its surface dries out. This causes obvious problems for the MEATER when trying to predict the cooking time.
But this doesn't mean you can't use the MEATER for long cooking times. We have been using the MEATER Block for long cooking times and all the food comes out perfect. To be able to use the MEATER Block for this type of cooking you need to cook to temperature and not time. For example, in a smoked pork shoulder you need to aim for a final internal temperature of 93 ºC (200 ºF). After you know your desire final temperature you'll use the MEATER Block to only track down the interior temperature, discarding completely its cooking time prediction.
For the probe:
Stainless steel, water-resistant, and easy to clean
Product dimensions: 5.1 x 0.28 (0.24 diameter) inches / 13 x 7 (0.6 diameter) cm
Item weight: 0.35 ounces / 10 g
Internal temperature sensor range: 212°F (100°C)
Ambient temperature sensor range: 527°F (275°C)
Bluetooth 4.0 wireless connection
Wireless up to 33 feet (10 meters): Bluetooth LE connection to the MEATER+ charging block
For the charger:
Product dimensions: 6.2 x 1.5 x 1.1 inches / 15.7 x 3.7 x 2.8 cm
Wireless up to 165 feet (50 meters): Bluetooth connection to your smart device
Charges your MEATER probe up to 100 times using a single AAA battery
LED indicator to show charging and pairing status
Magnetic backing to attach the charger to any metallic surface
Like the entire MEATER ecosystem, the MEATER Block is an excellent product for those wanting to take the stress out of cooking and grilling. Not only does it help you cook to perfection, but its four wireless probes also lend themselves well to a multi-meat barbecue, where inconsistent temperatures could lead to charred or unsafe food. The Block is a nice upgrade/enhancement in the MEATER lineup, enabling you to monitor multiple pieces of meat vs just tracking one and guessing on the rest.
The MEATER Block is a great tool that takes away a lot of the guesswork from a potentially tricky and often quite expensive cook and it’s a whole lot of fun to boot.