Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Product Review: Thermoworks DOT Remote Probe Thermometer

Sometimes the best recipes are ones that are simple but well executed.  For example, a perfect steak doesn't need much other than quality beef, salt, pepper, and maybe garlic. 

Tools can be that way too.  Sometimes tools get so over-engineered that you forget what the original function was supposed to be. 

Dude #1:  Check out my new screwdriver.  It is made out of titanium, has surround sound, GPS, three USB ports, and comes with OnStar service!
Dude #2:  Cool!  How well does it drive screws?
Dude #1:  Screws?  

Just in time for the holidays, Thermoworks has come out with DOT - a well-designed remote probe thermometer with streamlined functionality.  It is simple enough that anyone can use it but it is engineered for the commercial kitchen. 

First let's look at the simple functions.  
  • It displays the current temperature.  
  • It has an alarm.  
  • It has two buttons that raise the alarm temperature up and down.  
That's it. Compare it next to my favorite remote probe thermometer, the ChefAlarm, and you can see how streamlined the functions are.

No key pad, no volumes, no timers, no data logging, no tenths of degrees, no low temp alarms, and no backlit displays.  Not that there's anything wrong with those things, I love my ChefAlarms (all three of them!).  This is just a matter of preference.  Some people are tech geeks like me and want things to fiddle with, adjust, and to entertain my ADHD brain.  Other people just want the thing to do it's damn job without having to mess with it.  The DOT is the latter. 

So if this thing is so bloody basic, why is it worth more than one you can buy at the hardware store for $20?  Although straight out of the box the DOT has all of the flare of a hockey puck, it is loaded with features that are integrated so well that they are practically invisible - a sign of exceptional engineering.  

The probe for example doesn't LOOK much different than the cheapo models but it is.  First, the cable probe on most cheap remote probe thermometers can only handle temperatures of up to 392°F which isn't very hot for a grill or oven.  This DOT probe cable can handle temperatures of up to 700°F and the probe is accurate at temperatures of -58°F to 572°F.  The probe also is ruggedized and sealed for high steam environments.  Will you notice that while cooking?  Nope, you don't notice what doesn't fail.  

The DOT has molded seals and plastic housing making it resistant to splashes, spills, and greasy hands that happen in kitchens everywhere - home or commercial. The $20 hardware store unit?  Not so much.  I've had those cheap ones get fogged up displays just from leaving them outside on a humid night.

What's in that skillet?  Oh, we got our first cold snap this weekend and I had a huge craving for a pot roast and veggies.  Yeah, this was all cooked inside in that metal box thing in the kitchen.

I tried something new and oven roasted the veggies before adding them to the pot roast for the last 30 minutes.  I will always be doing that from now on, totally worth the extra step!  Okay, back to the review.

The back view.  It has an on/off button that is easy to hit even with gloved hands.  It has magnets that make it useful for temporarily mounting on an oven or metal grill.
The DOT also comes with a rubber base and flip out kick stand so you can stand it upright and it will stay in place.  

Like it's more complex cousin, the Chef Alarm, the DOT can also use any of the Pro Series temp probes from Thermoworks, for high temps, air temperatures, sous vide, or even that wicked looking long probe.  It's for things like making candy, it's not an alien probe.  

So which one is right for you?  Either.  The ChefAlarm ($59) is that smart, philosophical, and introspective friend that intrigues you and makes you think about things a little deeper.  The DOT ($39) is the "let's just get the job done and then party" friend. 

The DOT is perfect for the home chef that only wants the bottom line or the busy commercial chef that doesn't want to be distracted with anything but results.  I think Thermoworks nailed it with their tagline - "DOT is engineered to do one thing, really well".

UPDATE January 15, 2017

I've now been using the DOT for over 2 years and just changed the batteries today.

Thermoworks DOT is a simple, accurate, and reliable remote probe thermometer.
DOT connected to an air temp probe and clip.  Shown with two cooking probes.

We have used the DOT rather heavily at home, for events, and at BBQ competitions.  Most often I use it with the air temp probe for my grills that don't have an accurate cooking temp thermometer (or if I have cold, big meats like a pork but near the temp probe for the grill).  But we also still use it for monitoring internal temps as well using the standard temp probes.

I still like the DOT, probably even more so now. It's accurate, has a small foot print in the grilling arena, and I appreciate its simplicity.  

[FTC Standard Disclaimer]  Thermoworks is a product sponsor of my blog and I received the DOT to try out for free.  However, I am not an affiliate seller nor do I receive any monetary compensation from them.