Avoid over or under-cooking food, without having to hover over the barbecue grill. Smoke monitors food temperature and sounds the alarm on your wireless receiver up to 300 feet away when it's done.
I recently added a ThermoWorks Smoke to my ThermoWorks thermometer collection. I like it a lot - would give it 4 stars out of 5 since it's certainly not perfect, but it has made my life easier.
For outside grilling, I now use the Smoke all of the time, instead of the ChefAlarm. That's so I can be inside doing my thing without having to check on the food.
Like the Thermoworks Chef-Alarm, just plug the Smoke's probe into your food, set the alarm temperature, and it will let you know when the food reaches that temperature. Uniquely, the Smoke's wireless receiver holds a connection with the base unit up to 300 feet away (less through walls and obstacles), so you can do other things confidently while carrying the receiver with you.
The Smoke also features a second channel, while the ChefAlarm does not. The second channel let's you use the other probe supplied with Smoke to monitor the grill temperature right by were your food is cooking - for maximum accuracy, and for an alarm in case the temperature gets too high or low. I don't typically use that feature, but I can see where it would come in handy if you run out of fuel in the middle of a long cook.
Another use for the second channel is to monitor two pieces of meat at the same time, assuming you have a second food probe. I recently cooked two chicken breasts, and one of them cooked much faster than the other. Unfortunately, that's not the one the probe was in, so I ended up with one of them being overcooked.
In my house, Smoke works well but the wireless only penetrates perhaps 100 feet into the house. Unfortunately, my office is about 20 feet further away than it will reach. so I set the remote in the hallway where I can hear it from my office. If I'm downstairs in the kitchen/family room, it works great - no issues.
- Wireless remote to monitor food temperature up to 300 feet away.
- 2 Channels, one for the food and one for the cooking temperature.
- Low and high alarm settings for each channel.
- Accurate to within 1.8 degrees Fahrenheit. Can be fine tuned to +/- 1 degree if you care to.
- Back-lit displays with large, easy-to-read digits.
- Loud alarm (adjustable).
- Includes two durable Pro-Series probes with a cable that can handle up to 700 degrees.
- One High Temp Cooking Probe for food
- One High Temp Air Probe with Grate Clip . . . . for attaching to your grill near the meat.
- Other probes are available for things like:
- Deep-frying (12" straight probe)
- Cooking in liquid (waterproof)
I use the Smoke in combination with my ThermoWorks Thermapen MK4 as follows:
- The ThermoWorks Smoke tells me what's going on in one piece of meat at one location. Usually I will pick the middle of the thinnest piece of meat (or fish, poultry, etc.), and set a temperature alarm for slightly below what I want to remove the food at. For instance, I might check steak at 120 degrees even though I don't want to pull it off the smoker until 125 degrees. Once the alarm goes off, I grab the Thermapen . . .
- The ThermoWorks Thermapen MK4 then lets me very quickly check elsewhere on the same piece of meat, and on other pieces, to see how the temperature varies. I can then remove done pieces from the grill, or located them to a cooler spot, while the others continue cooking.
- If I am doing a long cook, I may want to make sure the temperature in the grill or smoker is exactly what I want it to be at. In that case, I attach the air probe to the 2nd channel of the Smoke, and fasten it to the grill within an inch or two of the food.
The result is usually that your food turns out pretty much cooked the way you want it. And considering how much we spend on food, that makes the cost of the cooking alarm well worth it.
The wireless remote pairs automatically within 15 seconds of being turned on, and then receives temperature updates every 15 seconds after that. No hassle with having to pair it or anything like that - very easy.
There are a couple if things that do annoy me about it:
- The alarm on the wireless receiver is too quiet if you leave it lying on it's back, with the display up. For some reason, the speaker faces down and back, so much of the sound is absorbed by whatever surface it's sitting on. The solution? Lay the receiver face down, and the alarm is much louder. Not ideal, but it's an easy enough workaround.
- The alarm on the base unit sounds as well, and does not turn off when you cancel the alarm on the remote. That's a little ridiculous, since the alarm on the base unit is pretty loud and could be bothering others if you decide to wait a few minutes before checking on your food. I think that silencing the alarm from either the remote, or the base unit, should cancel it on the other at the same time.
- The receiver is pretty bulky. They provide a lanyard so you can hang it around your neck, but it's too clunky for that, IMHO.
A couple of other small nits:
- Smoke lacks a timer, whereas the ChefAlarm does have one. I've started to use the ChefAlarm's time recently, as a way to get a better feel for how long it takes different foods to cook to temperature.
- The bracket on back, which swings out like a picture frame to make a stand for the Smoke, is pretty flimsy where it connects to the unit. Mine has come loose a number of times, and I've had to snap it back in place. For $99, I would expect better quality.
Side Note: Other Choices Available
I bought my Smoke in 2017. If you can live without the wireless remote, ThermoWorks has a couple of other alternatives you may want to consider:
- ChefAlarm - a quality cooking alarm with many features. As compared to the Smoke, it lacks the wireless remote and 2nd channel with air temperature probe, but has a timer, continuous Minimum/Maximum readouts, and is about half the price. Uses the same Pro-Series probes as Smoke.
- DOT - a simpler, less expensive alarm that uses the same high-quality Pro-Series probes as the ChefAlarm and Smoke. Frankly, simpler is probably better for most people.
- Get on the ThermoWorks mailing list so you are notified when they are having a sale. Go to Thermoworks.com. I recently saw a 15% off sale that included Smoke.
- They have good sales on Black Friday and over the holidays. I bought some extra probes for 50% off last year.