COVID-19 update: Z Grills in stock and shipping Australia wide.
Best BBQ Meat Thermometer Featured Image

The 3 Best BBQ Meat Thermometer

The last thing we want to do when cooking up a BBQ is to serve our guests undercooked meat. You can do everyone a favour and get yourself a BBQ meat thermometer so you can be sure you’ll get it right every single time.

Types of BBQ Meat Thermometer

Any BBQ or meat thermometers are essentially kitchen thermometers that you can use to measure the internal temperature of your food or any liquids.

There are two main types of probes which are:

  • Instant Read Thermometer
  • Wireless Thermometer

The best BBQ Meat Thermometers reviewed

Inkbird IBBQ-4T Wifi BBQ Thermometer

Our Favourite Unit. It fits in the palm, is ruggedly constructed, and has satisfying heft. Despite its density, it sticks to any magnetic surface with no slippage. The probes attach at the ports very firmly, and the ports themselves can be closed securely against dust and moisture with the attached silicone plugs.

The probes have individual colours matched at plug and thermometer, allowing easy channel identification without the need to trace wires.

The device easily recorded temperature data to the cloud while the phone was disconnected and the graph of the data was available on reconnection. The graphed data could be exported in CSV format and manipulated in a spreadsheet program.

The IBBQ-4T has in the past received some negative feedback in the past for dropping CSV export support in the app but this is no longer an issue with the latest version.

Overall, we were very satisfied with the operation of the IBBQ-4T because of its stable connectivity and ability to export temperature data.

What we like:

  • Strong backlight and clear display
  • Strong magnets
  • Responds very quickly to temperature changes
  • Data is sent to the cloud
  • Allows CSV export of temperature data
  • Solid and satisfying thermometer port connections
  • Ability to calibrate temperature sensors
  • USB-C power
  • Long battery life

What we don’t like:

  • The data from the cook cannot be saved
  • Probe leads are not waterproof

Inkbird IHT-1P Instant-read BBQ Thermometer

An impressive little instant-read thermometer. It’s rechargeable, and although it only has a small battery capacity, it charges fast and conserves charge by turning itself off after 10 seconds of inactivity.

It gets an accurate read with very minimal delay, which can be an important factor when your fingers are cooking with the snags. The factory calibration was perfect, but if by some chance it loses its precise calibration, it can also be calibrated up or down. 

It has a large screen and a bright backlight for night time grilling. The backlight will turn itself off, but as a convenience it will turn back on if it detects a sudden change in temperature.

It is waterproof to IPX5. The “X” means that it is not rated for dust resistance and the “5” that it can take sustained low-pressure water jet spray from any direction.
The size is relatively large and the colour bright, so you won’t lose this thermometer in the drawer. It also sports a powerful magnet, so your fridge might be the best place for safekeeping.

What we like:

  • Durable
  • Very Fast
  • Relatively cheap

Inkbird IBT-4XS Bluetooth BBQ Thermometer

Like its Wi-Fi cousin, the IBT-4XS user interface is achieved primarily through an app which makes the device itself sleek and streamlined. It also has the rechargeable 1000mAh battery and four-probe ports.

The key differences between the two arise because of choosing Bluetooth over Wi-Fi. The smartphone monitoring the cook via Bluetooth must remain close and connected to the device to receive all updates.

Any connectivity issues will cause data to be lost forever, and there is no way to download and store recorded data. If you’d like a permanent record of a particular cook, you’ll need to take a screenshot.

As far as Bluetooth goes though, the IBT-4XS is very easy to pair and has a maximum range of around 50m, unobstructed.

The screen can be rotated with a double-tap of the button.

What we like:

  • The app functions well
  • Easy Bluetooth pairing
  • Strong backlight and clear display
  • Powerful magnet
  • Responds quickly to temperature changes
  • Satisfying thermometer port connections
  • Long battery life

What we don’t like:

  • Your smartphone must stay within close proximity to the unit
  • The data from the cook cannot be saved
  • Probe leads are not waterproof

Some Considerations

Common issues with Wi-Fi thermometers

The most common issue with Wi-Fi thermometers is usually user error. Inputting the wrong Wi-Fi password can leave even seasoned troubleshooters scratching their heads.

Some Wi-Fi thermometers can drop data if the smartphone loses contact with the network, although this wasn’t an issue for the Inkbird.

You will only lose data if the device loses connectivity, but this isn’t likely as it usually remains stationary with respect to the router. All should be well unless your 3-year-old turns off the router. If connectivity is lost the app should alert you.

Wi-Fi vs Bluetooth thermometer wrap up

Your decision will depend upon your use case. If you don’t wander more than a few meters from your BBQ while cooking, you may not need a Wi-Fi thermometer. However, if the prospect of breaking your sessions down into a minute by minute record excites you, you can’t go past a Wi-Fi thermometer in terms of flexibility and completeness of monitoring.

Questions Answered

Can I leave a meat thermometer in the meat while it’s cooking?

This is the intended purpose of remote sensing thermometers like the Inkbird IBBQ-4T or IBT-4xs, so the answer is yes. An instant-read thermometer is generally not fit for this purpose, although some leave-in analogue thermometers have dials that you can read through an oven door.

Can my thermometer be used to read the temperature of water?

Yes, but with care. Unless a stated capability of your thermometer, it is probably NOT waterproof. You should take care to ensure that the leads of your temperature probe are not immersed in water, as any moisture in non-waterproofed leads can cause measurement errors.

How do I use a meat thermometer?

An instant-read thermometer, despite the name, is not instant read. You usually must place the thermometer in the centre of your meat and wait 15-20 seconds to get a reliable temperature reading. You cannot leave the thermometer in the meat as it cooks.

A Wi-Fi or Bluetooth thermometer generally comes with multiple probes. The probes can stay in place throughout the cooking process which can be many, many hours. Temperature points of interest are the oven itself and multiple places on a large piece of meat (especially if the thickness varies).

Why shouldn’t the probe touch the bone?

It will not give you an accurate temperature.
Contrary to popular consensus, the bone does NOT conduct heat better than meat, i.e. it has low thermal conductivity. Instead, it has a much lower specific heat capacity (especially the hard external cortical bone), so it will heat to the ambient temperature faster. These two factors work together to give different results for different bone exposures and heating methods.
In short, do not probe next to or on the bone, or in a glob of fat near the bone. These will often read differently than the surrounding meat, sometimes hotter, sometimes colder depending on the shape of the bone and its external exposure to heat. The temperature difference is greatest for short cooks using direct heat and less for slow cooks.

Do chefs and pitmasters use thermometers?

They do!

Most chefs will use instant-read thermometers to check meat temperatures for food safety and how well the meat is cooked.

Some pitmasters will use remote sensing thermometers to get the best BBQ competition results. Reading the temperature of the meat without having to lift the hood is a priceless and practical convenience

How to care for your thermometer?

Unless stated by the manufacturer, your thermometer is probably not waterproof. You can immerse the probes themselves in water, but the wires must remain dry.

If you thermometer has removable batteries, remove them when storing the thermometer for long periods.

Clean your probes after use to avoid the possibility of corrosion.

Take care not to not bend or kink the wires.

Avoid exposing the probes to direct radiant heat.

Wrap up

Thermometers are one of those things that you really want to have on hand the next time you cook up a BBQ.

Hopefully this guide has helped you understand the difference between the types of BBQ meat thermometers to work out what you need.

Shopping cart

0

No products in the cart.