Grillin' iOS-style with Supermechanical's Range thermometers
Grilling time is here! And even it wasn't, you'd probably want Supermechanical's cool Range smart thermometers (US$69.95) at your side to make sure your favorite yummy meat, tasty brew, or sweet candy cooks properly. I grilled up some marinated chicken breasts the other day while I was sipping wine for my test of the BACtrack Mobile breathalyzer, and found the Range Ember to be a great tool for grilling.
There are two models of the Range: Ember, which is designed with a 3-inch sharp tip so that it slips right into meat; and Aqua, designed with a 6-inch rounded tip and designed more for making candy, checking temperatures of home-brews, etc... I tested the Range Ember instead of the Aqua as I grill a lot -- even in mid-winter -- and wanted to see if this would keep me from occasionally overcooking steaks.
Both models come with a 4.5-foot silicone cable that withstands heat up to 450°F, but not direct flame. There's a handy round "finger hole" for holding the Range, which also does double-duty as a clip for keeping the device from falling into a pot. I was impressed with the clever packaging -- a styrofoam meat tray (see photo above).
The non-pointy end of the Range has an earphone/microphone plug that goes into the corresponding jack on your iPhone or iPad. And of course, like all iOS-enabled hardware accessories, Range comes with a free app.
The real power of the Range comes into play when you use the app. Probably the most impressive feature is being able to set up alerts with a single tap. For example, I wanted my chicken to be cooked to a USDA-approved 165°F internal temperature. By tapping a chicken button on the app, it set the alert for that temperature. When the chicken reached that temperature, I was rewarded with visual and audio alerts -- this one sounding like a dinner bell...
But what if you're using your iPhone to check the meat temperature and you're in another room? Not to worry -- the Range software notifies you on all of your devices as long as you've plugged the same Range into all of the devices at least once.
The app also lets you set a timer if you wish, simply by "drawing a clock" with your finger on the main screen. That's a very intuitive gesture! Setting a temperature alert is as simple as pulling the "clip" up from the bottom of the app screen to the desired temperature, and then tapping it to set it. There are presets for USDA or Gourmet-approved cooking temperatures for steaks, pork, chicken, and burgers.
Turning the iPhone or iPad into landscape mode shows a plot of temperature versus time. My one complaint about the app is that you can't use the pinch/reverse pinch gestures to zoom in and out on that plot. Instead, you have to scroll back and forth. I'd prefer to see all of the temperature history on one screen.
For anyone who wants to achieve a higher level of cooking perfection, Supermechanical's Range smart thermometers are a wonderful kitchen accessory for your favorite iOS device. The price is higher than "dumb" thermometers, but it's nice to be able to have the Range watch your food temperatures on the grill while you're inside the kitchen fixing sides.
Rating: 3-1/2 stars out of 4 stars possible
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