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Customer Review

VINE VOICEon May 11, 2003
Who would have thunk this would still be my favourite remote thermometer, 17 years later? I now even have four different brands, so I can compare them right here:

* This one, which I still use daily and think of in terms of "better the Devil you know..."

* The similar-looking but less well-thought-out Oneida 31161 Digital Thermometer & Timer, which is annoyingly loud and also scoots backwards when you press Start/Stop.

* The Oregon Scientific AW131 Grill Right Wireless Talking Oven/Barbeque Thermometer, which is a horrible "talking" design (but choose the rather lovely French version) with a stiff learning curve that is utterly unaided by the manual, but has ONE feature that makes it worth learning and makes me forgive all its sins: its probe can survive 572 F.

* The Maverick Wireless Cooking Thermometer, which works well, but I don't quite get the point of the "iPod interface"

So, to this one. First thing you need to know is: buy a spare probe, because they don't last very long. The cord can be damaged by heat greater than 350F. That is just too low - there are many times when hotter ovens are necessary. When a probe goes bad, there is no indication until an expensive roast gets carbonized. This, of course, always seems to happen when guests are present. Spare probes are available at a decent price from taylorusa dot com. Come to think of it: get two.

A recent new use for me is the foolproof production of world-class steaks, as thick as they are wide, to any precise desired degree of doneness: pre-heat the (salted, peppered) steaks in a 275 F oven until internal temperature is 90-105 F (depending on desired doneness) and finish by browning in cast-iron skillet. An even more precise technique does it the other way round, browning first, but that needs a 450F oven, which also needs the Oregon Scientific thermometer.

Here's my original review.
This is the best of the corded remote thermometers. Take it as a given that it is fairly short-lived. Now, don't hold that against it -- it has a hard job to do, it does it very well, and (what none of the other reviewers seem to realize) it does come with a lifetime guarantee. If you take care to not expose the probe to temperatures above 350 F, it should last.

My first one lasted four years, and I was completely at a loss when it broke. Once you've cooked with a remote thermometer, you will not willingly go back to "guess-n-estimate," or supposed "instant read" thermometers that actually take 15 seconds while the oven quickly cools down and your wrist-hairs start to singe and curl.

I used to be anxiously uncertain about making roast beef. Now, I bring it home, trim a little fat off, stick the probe in the center. Two minutes elapsed time, and I can kick back until it's time to make the pan gravy. Perfect (let me emphasize that) PERFECT every time.

The buttons are well-made; the display is bright and clear; Setting time and/or temperature is a snap; battery life is about 1 1/2 years when left on all the time. I covered mine in olive oil/flour/fish sauce/raw ground beef/balsamic vinegar/whatever and it still worked (hint: the buttons are not water-resistant, so turn it upside down and wipe with a soapy sponge, then rinse the same way).

You can calibrate your unit by sticking the probe in melting ice (for 32 F) and briskly-boiling water (for 212 F), but both of mine were spot-on, so you might skip this step.

Uses you might not think of: Putting the probe in a big pot of water you're boiling for pasta. You can relax, knowing you'll be buzzed when it's finally boiling.
Sticking the probe out of a closed window in the late Fall to warn you to harvest your last tomatoes.
Sticking the probe in the middle of a swordfish steak, setting it for 125-130 F, and knowing that you will get utterly PERFECT swordfish by the time it is served.
Sticking it in the middle of the largest meatball you are simmering in sauce -- you will feel completely secure that they are safe to feed to your children.

When I'm cooking at a friend's house, I bring my big shop apron, my knives, my "shovel" (it's a pastry scraper, but I mostly use it as a shovel), and this thermometer.
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