When I first got into using wireless meat thermometers, I had this gold standard in my head for what a wireless meat thermometer could be. In my mind, a perfect meat thermometer would be a single probe without wires that could simultaneously monitor my pit and protein temp for hours.
In my dream thermometer scenario, I imagined sitting back on my couch and grabbing temperature updates from my phone as I watched a game or a movie. Only needing to check on my pit to add wood or adjust the protein position.
While there are a ton of wireless meat thermometers on the market today, few can promise the ability to monitor your protein with a single wireless probe and a smartphone app. The Meatstick line of thermometers, and specifically the Meatstick Mini, really deliver on the promise of wireless temperature monitoring.
With a compact, efficient, and attractive design, the Meatstick Mini has all of the features that made the original Meatstick such a success in a bite-sized form factor. This may not be our favorite wireless meat thermometer, but it's pretty close, and for many, it's precisely what you need to take your barbecue game to the next level.
Meatstick Mini Smart Wireless Meat Thermometer
Look and Feel
Out of the box, this thermometer is a sleek little number that feels almost too compact to be of any real utility. The protective carrying case doubles as its charging station and wireless transmitter. Altogether, the entire package is no larger than a moderately sized tv remote, and the probe is the size of a golf pencil.
The probe is separated into two pieces: the top, a black ceramic handle that houses the external temperature sensor, and the bottom, a stainless steel probe for measuring internal meat temperatures. The total length of the probe is 9.5 cm long, making it one of the smallest probes we've ever reviewed here at SMS and certainly the smallest probe I've ever had the pleasure to use.
Though the probe is very small, it's important to note that it is wider than many other probes on the market. This isn't really an issue because while it is thicker than many probes, it's still only 5.5mm wide, so it doesn't leave a large puncture in your proteins. The reason for the increased width of the Meatstick Mini and many other fully wireless meat thermometers is that the probe has to house the entirety of the temperature sensor along with a battery and transmitter.
The Meatstick line of thermometers' overall design is sleek and simple, but because the thermometer probe houses the battery and transmitter, it isn't suitable for certain cooking processes. Things like sous vide or deep frying might be difficult because you don't want to fully submerge the thermometer in liquid, and the internal sensor is only built to withstand temperatures of ~250 degrees. The external temperature sensor housed in the ceramic handle can withstand temperatures of up to 572f or 300 c, which makes it perfect for monitoring the status of your smoker, oven, or air fryer.
What We Liked:
- Compact Design
- Completely wireless operation
- Easy-to-use smartphone app
- Can expand the range with a wi-fi bridge
- Designed for the everyday cook
What Needs Improvement:
- Does not include a battery
- Mediocre range performance
- Limited range
Cooking with the Meatstick Mini
Out of the box, the Meatstick Mini is super easy to set up; you need to make sure you have your AA batteries on hand. I don't love that Meatstick didn't include a battery with their relatively expensive thermometer, but I was expecting it, given the lack of included batteries in the larger OG Meatstick Model.
After installing my very own AA battery, I made sure the thermometer was charging and left it alone for 4 hours. Though we did find you can use the thermometer after only a bit of charging, it is best to fully charge any thermometer before using it for the first time. This is especially important if you're testing for performance, as functions can begin to degrade at lower battery levels.
While the thermometer charged, I got my smoker lit and prepared the pork belly I used for this test.
I love cooking pork belly on my offset stick-burner-style smoker. Still, the stock bbq thermometer on my inexpensive char-broil smoker is notoriously inaccurate, so an external probe of some sort has been a big part of my barbecue arsenal for a while.
Even though I intended to use the Meatstick Mini for the entirety of this test, I still utilized a secondary probe to monitor the pit as it began to heat. I theoretically could have still used the Meatstick Mini, but it would have been difficult to handle, and Meatstick didn't include a grate clip to secure the probe, and I didn't want to drop it into my pit.
Once the smoker was up to temp, I loaded in my Pork Belly and placed the Meatstick probe securely into the thickest side of the belly, then I buttoned up my pit and pulled up the Meatstick smart app on my phone, so I could begin to monitor my temperatures.
With my pork belly safely tucked away in my smoking chamber, I got down to testing the thermometer features, but more specifically the overall range wireless range for the Meatstick Mini.
Out of the box, the Meatstick Mini relies on Bluetooth to keep the thermometer connected to the smart app. While the range for the Meatstick Mini is definitely smaller than the range for the Meatstick X, it's still functional at ~100ft from the thermometer base.
I was testing the Meatstick Mini in a relatively spacious backyard in an urban environment with many tall buildings and obstructions that can make wireless transmission difficult. Even with these hurdles, I didn't have trouble staying connected to the thermometer as long as I remained in a clear sight line of the thermometer base. Once I stepped out of sight of the thermometer or started to put walls between my smart device and the thermometer base, the connection became much more tenuous.
Though the Meatstick Mini is certainly a wireless meat thermometer, the out-of-the-box range can make it difficult to achieve the dream of total wireless temperature monitoring from anywhere in your home.
While the stock range for the Meatstick Mini leaves something to be desired, you can increase that by adding the Meatstick Wifi bridge to the mix, which provides an almost unlimited range for the Meatstick app.
The Wifi bridge allows you to connect the meatstick base to your wifi network, extending your effective range to wherever your wifi signal can reach, which is usually a much larger footprint than Bluetooth alone.
Smart app performance
At first glance, I wasn't sure whether I liked the Meatstick Smart App, but this was mostly because I've gotten so used to the Inkbird-style interface that so many other bbq brands have co-opted.
The Meatstick app is sleek and straightforward, with bold graphics and a temperature graph front and center to help you visualize the progress of protein throughout the cooking process.
Unlike other multi-probe style apps, each Meatstick mini probe you have connected has its own settings and window, so it's easy to keep track of each probe you're running at a time, but you can't view detailed data about each probe from the same window.
One of the more convenient aspects of the Meatstick Smart App is the way it visualizes both the internal sensor temperature and the ambient temperature simultaneously. On the quick view window, you can find the internal temperature on the left-hand side of the screen and the ambient sensor temperature on the right.
You can customize cook alerts for both the internal and ambient sensor from the quickstart preset screen or use convenient preset cooking programs from the main app screen.
Finally, the ambient and internal temperature graphs are at the bottom of the app screen, which is now my favorite way to visualize cooking progress. Most multi-probe apps only allow you to visualize one thermometer probe per graph at a time; the Meatstick app allows you to view on superimposed over the other. The ability to visualize both together is a huge benefit because you can begin to draw conclusions about one from the other.
For example, if you see your bbq temperature climb stalled out, you can immediately see the connection to a temperature spike or dip in the smoking chamber.
Is the Meat Stick Mini Wireless Meat thermometer right for you?
The Meatstick Mini managed to deliver on my dreams of a completely wireless meat thermometer while also causing me to reconsider what is important in a good meat thermometer overall. Though the Meatstick Mini did lack in the range department, it still provided a completely wireless meat thermometer experience.
There is something to be said for the classic Multi-probe wired/wireless meat thermometer, especially if you're running more than one protein or keeping track of your pit as it heats because your stock probe is ineffective.
On the other hand, the Meatstick provides a level of convenience that's hard to beat in terms of ease of use and portability. While you'd expect a completely wireless thermometer the size of an oversized golf tee to have a miserable battery life, the Meatstick Mini can keep on ticking for up to 12 hours, and the wireless range is very respectable.
At this point in my bbq career, I'm at the place where I need multiple measurement tools for different situations. While I'll always keep a more traditional multi-probe "wireless" meat thermometer around for big smoking projects, I still need a really good instant-read thermometer for spot-checking proteins. I can absolutely see myself adding a Meatstick Mini to my arsenal for less complicated smoking projects or even cooking things in my air fryer or oven.
The Meatstick Mini is a perfect thermometer option for someone who wants a new toy in their toolbox or only plans on cooking 1 item at a time. If you're the kind of user who envisions only using the Meatstick Mini for smoking, you might want to look into a multi-probe setup with a more robust battery life and a larger range for those super long cooks. On the other hand, if you only smoke/bbq occasionally or envision utilizing your thermometer for indoor cooking projects and smoking as well, then the Meatstick Mini is a perfect all-around wireless thermometer option.
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