Product Review: Oregon Scientific Grill Right Bluetooth Thermometer & Mobile App

OregonSciBluetoothTherm
Image Credit: OregonScientific.com

In June I received the perfect gadget to improve my summer grilling experience: Oregon Scientific’s Grill Right Bluetooth BBQ Thermometer. If you thought having a standard meat thermometer was serious foodie geekery, you haven’t had the chance to connect your thermometer to an iPhone or Android device!

I received a model AW133 thermometer, Oregon Scientific’s newest thermometer, and the company’s only Bluetooth enabled model. Read on to learn more about my family’s experience with this gadget.

What Comes in the Package

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My Grill Right arrived in that annoying clear plastic clamshell packaging. Make sure you have scissors handy, because if you think you’re going to rip it open with your bare hands at your beach barbeque, think again. Photo: Patricia Vollmer.

The Grill Right thermometer includes the following:

  • Thermometer display unit
  • Temperature probe: 40″ wire with a 6″ rigid probe
  • Two AA batteries
  • User Manual
  • Warranty information
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I’m so glad it included batteries! Photo: Patricia Vollmer.

Setup

Setup is very simple. Insert the batteries into the back of the thermometer display unit and plug in the temperature probe. There are two outlets for temperature probes: a Channel 1 and Channel 2. You can use two temperature probes simultaneously, which is quite nifty! The display unit will illuminate, ready for programming. The instructions will recommend you use a paper clip or other thin wire to depress the RESET button on the back near the battery compartment, but my display unit turned right on with the new batteries.

There are three “programs” available to you with this thermometer:

  • “Meat Profile” mode, in which you can set what kind of meat and what “doneness” you’d like. In other words, you can set “Beef” to be cooked to “Medium.” (See photo at the top of the post.) The type of meat will be displayed as a caricature of the animal, such as cow, lamb, pig, or chicken.
  • “Target Temperature Profile” mode, where you set the temperature for which you’d like the thermometer to alert you. This is my favorite setting, since I usually know already what temperature I want. I’m a math person, I am happiest with such precision measurements.
  • “Timer” mode, which is more or less self-explanatory. If you are, say, smoking a brisket, you might need to add smoke chips to the smoker every 30 minutes, irrespective of temperature. I used this setting for the beginning of our brisket last weekend, then changed it to “Target Temperature Profile” mode for the last hour.

I’m not going to go through all the button-ology of how to set what you want on the display unit, it’s somewhat complicated. However, the instructions clearly spell out exactly how to switch between the modes, and how to set the precise times and temperatures in each mode. In addition, you can set your temperature to display in °F or °C.

For a much easier experience setting up your thermometer, download the accompanying Oregon Scientific Grill Right app for iOS or Android for your Bluetooth-enabled mobile device. This is a far-more intuitive process, with simple finger sweeps and scrolls to get the settings you want.

Usage

When properly set, the thermometer operated as advertised. On July 19th I cooked Huli Huli chicken thighs to 165°F and they were perfect, neither undercooked nor dried out. The five brand new Air Force Academy basic trainees we had over for dinner were very happy and 20 chicken thighs disappeared in no time.

Without a mobile app accompanying it, the display unit will beep for you when the desired settings are reached. However, when I’m smoking a brisket, the display unit is tethered to the smoker outside, and I can’t necessarily hear the beeping if I’m inside the house. With the ability to connect the thermometer to a Bluetooth-enabled device, I was able to get the same beeping from my iPhone in my back pocket when my brisket reached 180°F.

You’ll need to connect the thermometer and mobile device together via Bluetooth. Do not try to connect the two through your Bluetooth settings directly. Rely on the app to connect the devices; it will walk you through quite well.

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This is from the “Target Temperature Mode” on the iOS app. I was baking chicken in the oven. Image capture: Patricia Vollmer.
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When the target temperature is reached, the phone will vibrate, ding, and present you a popup such as this one. If you don’t immediately run to the food and remove the thermometer, it will continue to vibrate, ding, and popup. You can’t stop it. This thermometer means business! Image capture: Patricia Vollmer.

Observations

This grill thermometer is a fantastic gift for the grill master in your life. But it isn’t without limitations. Here are some of the observations about this product.

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You can’t see this quite as well as I wanted, but the screen on the display unit blacked out when it was sitting in the sun. The top of the smoker isn’t excessively warm. Thank heavens for my iOS app so I could see what the meat’s temperature was. Photo: Patricia Vollmer.

Overheating. The user’s manual appropriately advises you: “Do not subject the unit to excessive force, shock, dust, temperature, or humidity.” However, I’d think that a grill thermometer can sit outside. In general. This was not the case. We had our thermometer spend the better part of an afternoon outside in the Colorado July sun (around 85°F) sitting on top of our smoker box. The smoker exterior doesn’t get very hot, so this would be no different than the unit sitting on a black table in the sun. The unit couldn’t handle the heat and the LCD display turned very black in color. Luckily, I had the iOS app running and could readily. see the status of my brisket.

How do I turn it on? I don’t know how to normally turn on the temperature display unit. All I could figure out was to pull the battery cover off and hit the “Reset” button, or remove and replace the batteries. There are no instructions in the user’s manual. Since it isn’t as if I needed a screwdriver to open the battery compartment, so it actually isn’t too difficult to reset the thermometer like that. Unfortunately, if you wanted to maintain a history in the temperature display unit, resetting the unit in this way will clear the history every time.

Kinky probes. The temperature probe will kink up pretty easily. This is the nature of the flexible wiring, but I fear that if you aren’t careful avoiding the kinks, the connections could get compromised. Be careful with this.

Mobile app issues. Once I plugged in the temperature probe while I had the mobile app running. For about 10 seconds, my iPhone showed me this:

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Whoa! Hot! What happened here? Don’t worry, give it about 10 seconds and the app will display the correct temperature. Image capture: Patricia Vollmer.

Don’t worry. Give the app about 10 seconds to accurately display the temperature. It can be a shock to see it, just the same!

I also had a chance to explore the numerous social interactions available through the app. For example, you can search AllRecipes.com through the app, and you can photograph the food and share it with a graphic of the current temperature at photograph time.

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I got a kick out of sharing my not-quite-cooked chicken on social media. I have several Facebook friends who would appreciate this, judging from their dozens of photos of grilled and smoked food. Image capture: Patricia Vollmer.

Conclusions

This gadget will make a great gift, but it has its share of limitations about which users need to be aware. This doesn’t necessarily keep the thermometer from working accurately; on the contrary, it worked perfectly well for the four meals I had prepared for family and friends.

The Oregon Scientific AW133 Grill Right Bluetooth BBQ Thermometer retails for $59.99 and is available through the company’s website and other retailers such as Amazon.

GeekMom received this item for review purposes.

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Patricia Vollmer is the proud mother of two emerging geek sons, ages 12 & 14. She serves part time as a meteorologist with the Air Force Reserve and is currently assigned to the U.S. Air Force Academy. Patricia blogs about her family's nomadic military life at Ground Control to Major Mom. Home is always where the Air Force sends her family, which for now is in Colorado Springs, Colorado. Hobbies include running, despite no one chasing her, sharing her love for Disney and Star Wars, and exploring the world with her boys. Ask her why the sky is blue at your own risk.