Monday, July 4, 2011

Master Forge Wireless Thermometer

Remote probe thermometers are a vital tool for barbecuing and roasting large cuts of meat. Unlike instant read thermometers, these units stay in the meat during the cook and give you constant readings of the internal temperature.

Unfortunately, the hail storm at the end of April broke my drawer containing my remote probe units and all of them were ruined by the rain. I recently purchased my first replacement, a Master Forge Wireless Thermometer (Model0023557). Master Forge is Lowe's Home Improvement Stores' brand of grills and grilling accessories. I purchased it for $29.99 which is about $10 more than the usual wired models I have bought in the past.

Here's what you get for $30.
So far I have used it about 28 service hours. I have used it for bbq and roasting pork butts, brisket, chicken, and beef roasts. It is early but I have formed some initial impressions of this unit. 

  • It registers accurate temps. I double check with my Thermapen at the end of cooking.
  • It works within the 100ft range advertised. I can leave my grill and get readings on the receiver anywhere in my house, even on the second floor.
  • It has a braided wire lead to the probe. The plain braided leads be used in higher cooking temps. Several cheaper units have plastic or rubber sheaths around the cable but those are typically limited to cooking temps below 400f.
  • The pre-programmed settings are useless to me, I just use the manual programming mode to set the target temps. For example, the lowest preprogrammed target for pork is 160f. That is pork dust if you are doing a pork loin.
  • Battery life is okay so far.
  • I like the styling and size of the unit. The downside is that it is the size and shape of a smart phone so be careful not to try to answer your thermometer when your phone rings :)
Love the portability of the wireless receiver.
This seems to be a good unit and I am satisfied with it so far.  It works as promoted.

For about $5 dollars more and plus shipping, I could have bought a Maverick ET-73, the gold standard for remote probe thermometers. That unit includes a dual probe so you can monitor the meat temp AND the cooking temp. I'll get one of those too, it was just easier to buy the Master Forge unit since it was readily available at Lowes.

UPDATE:  I have gone through two of these units and found they aren't durable.  Both have developed quirks, such as displaying some temps as Celsius when the actual temperature shown is actually in Fahrenheit, display blanking out, and locking up.  Others have reported not being able to get any support for this unit in terms of replacement parts or assistance despite it being Lowes store brand.  I would recommend that you look at other units than the Master Forge.