As a teenager I always wondered why my Dad burnt the BBQ meat all the time. As a father now I understand his pain all too well. You want to make sure it is cooked but then to find that balance between cooked to perfection and overcooked is very difficult.
For me the problem is that I have better things to do than sit in front of a BBQ all of the time and watch the meat and attempt to determine just when it is cooked correctly. I all too often would forget that the meat was even on the barbie before all of a sudden remembering and jumping quickly off the couch/desk chair to rush to take the meat off the BBQ. Not any more.
Now I have an ECPIN.
Early last year Duncan reviewed the Meater thermometer, loving how it made his cooking so much easier. Now Duncan is a much more serious barbequer than I with his smoker etc but if you are like me and just cook the basic steak, chicken, hamburgers etc and want to do it well on your barbeque the cost of the Meater may put you off.
While there are other options for meat thermometers such as Smartfire and Meatstick when the opportunity arose for us to test out the ECPIN from ECTherm I jumped at that chance.
So what is it?
ECPin is a wireless, connected meat thermometer consisting of a thermometer (der) and a charging case. It connects to your device(s) via Bluetooth with a range of just 10m (less if you have the top of the BBQ down).
If you struggle with the range of the thermometer you can use a second phone as a Wi-Fi repeater or you can purchase one of their new dedicated ECPin Range Extender (extending the range to 50m). I had to use a second phone a lot of the time but an update that arrived for the software halfway through the review somehow extended the range of just using a phone (or 2).
The thermometer also works in the oven but I’m ok with oven cooking and tend to forget about things on the barbie in the middle of cooking before suddenly realising I need to flip/check the steak/chicken/hamburgers.
Inside is a capacitor battery which charges in just a minute or two and lasts for up to four hours. Sure the battery life may not be as long as some other brands such as Meater but the charging speed is much faster than any other traditional battery-powered meat thermometer.
I never cook anything for longer than a few hours so the battery life didn’t bother me. If you are doing a longer cook you will need to charge the thermometer after those two hours, or you can stick a second one in when the first one runs out.
How well does it work?
The thermometer works. Simple as that. At one stage it decided to stop charging properly and thus didn’t last very long before the battery ran out — turned out that although the ECPin thermometers are dishwasher safe, they are not cleaned well enough by a dishwasher. I gave it a good clean in the sink and all was good after that.
The app itself is really easy to use. Pop in what meat you want to cook, the cut of the meat you have chosen (get familiar with the US names of steak) and then how well you want it cooked (rare, medium-rare etc).
Each time I used the thermometer I found it cooked the steak extremely well. You do need to remember to take the steak off a fraction before the temperature reaches the target temperature due to it continuing to cook until you are able to take the thermometer out (it gets extremely hot).
For meats that are not in the app such as a hamburger you can use trial and error. Cook it with the thermometer in and note the temperature when you have cooked the hamburger to the wellness you are aiming for. Each cook can be bookmarked within the app for future reference, including any notes you want to add.
The Wi-Fi range extender (spare phone) was easy to set up with the app giving easy instructions — the app just tells you which box to tick and it does it all for you. The app also has a great tutorial and FAQ instruction booklet which will provide any help you may need.
So would I recommend it?
Most definitely. The price of the ECPin is a lot less than some other brands and in my opinion the capacitor battery makes a lot more sense than a normal battery. I never remember to charge the thermometers until I am about to use them so having the charge be under two minutes is perfect.
The thermometers are accurate and provide some near perfect steak cooking — and chicken too. I am still fine tuning my hamburger experience but no more will I waste a good cut of steak by cooking it for too long.
I wholeheartedly recommend the ECPin meat thermometer to anyone who wants to keep an eye on their cooking and cook some decent steaks (and other meats). You can buy the ECPin in various configurations including with a second thermometer, with the new Range Extender and in multiple packs.
- Single ECPin with charger — $95
- 2 x ECPin with charger — $136
- Single ECPin with Range Extender/Charger — $132
- 2 x ECPin with Range Extender/Charger — $187
Although Christmas has passed there are still a good couple of months of barbie cooking in Australia, but of course ECPin is not limited to the BBQ only. To cook yourself some great meat at exactly the right doneness each and every time grab yourself the ECPin.
ECTherm has allowed Ausdroid to keep this product to monitor future updates