Product Review: ThermoWorks ChefAlarm Cooking Timer

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Full Disclosure, folks – we’re huge fans of ThermoWorks’ signature product, the ThermaPen. We’ve got them in our homes, in the vending trailer, the competition load-out, just about everywhere. Jesse Black of ThermoWorks was kind enough to send us a ChefAlarm to review.

Having a drawer full of timers and temperature alarms, it’s plain that I’m a big believer in accurate temperatures and precision times.  I’ve had thermometers from all the big brands and digital timers by the handfuls.  Each have tried to fill a role in keeping the food I’m preparing on track and as good as it can be.  Some were pretty good, some were laughably bad but not one was a perfect fit.  Too short cords on probe, poor battery life, difficult to use or just lack of durability, they all leave me browsing Amazon for the next one all too often.  So it was with a mix of excitement and a little wariness that I started this review. 

First things first – the feel and look of the ChefAlarm are excellent.  Edge on, the unit carries the same design elements at the ThermaPen.  The ChefAlarm feels substantial without being really heavy.  And like the ThermaPen, the ChefAlarm is splash-resistant.Side-by-sideAll this speaks to the build-quality we’ve come to expect from ThermoWorks.  And the light weight means the two magnets on the back can keep it securely in place.

Durability was obviously built into the product but ThermoWorks went a step further.  They include what they call a “Padded Zip Wallet” but I call it armor.  It’s a rigid zipper case, molded to cradle the ChefAlarm and store all the accessories.  This is great for the comp cook who needs to keep everything together and well protected on the competition trail.ChefAlarm-Case

Included with the ChefAlarm and case is the temperature probe and a pot clip.  The cord on this probe is a generous 47″ long and can really take the heat.  The maximum temperature the cable can withstand is 700° F, well beyond what most of us would be doing and the probe itself can read temperatures from as low as -58° F to as high as 572° F.  And, of course, being from ThermoWorks, it’s insanely accurate.  It’s good from -4° to 248° F to within 1.8° F. Plan on incinerating something that was once food?  The ChefAlarm is accurate to within about 5° F up to an insane 572° F.  Chances are, if your brisket hits 572°, you’re probably not worried whether it’s actually 568° or 577°.  You’re looking for the fire extinguisher.

Of course it’s not just a thermometer with temperature alerting, it’s also a timer.  You can set this thing up to 99 hours and 59 minutes… into the future.  And you can have the timer running and a high/low temp alert at the same time.  The timer alert is 2 quick beeps, repeating, and the temperature alert is 4 quick beeps, repeating.  This makes it really easy to differentiate between the two.

Regardless of the type of alert, the ChefAlarm will let you know with a nice, loud alarm. And that alarm can get loud, like hear it from outside loud.  Like 92 dB loud.  I

All the controls on the ChefAlarm are clearly marked and easy to use.  The screen is easy to read and, thanks to a backlight feature, even readable during the wee hours of a cook.  The thermometer functions occupy the top portion of the screen while the timer features rest at the bottom.Tilt-up

Finally, a very clever feature, there are two configurations for this thing – the standard flat and also a “laptop mode” where the screen tilts forward toward the keys.  There’s a magnet on the back of each “half” of the unit so it’ll stay on whatever magnet-friendly surface in either configuration.

Overall, the ChefAlarm is packed full of well-executed features.  There’s no sense of compromise anywhere in the ChefAlarm.  ThermoWorks added all the stuff you need without cluttering up the device.  It excels at everything it does and boy, it does a lot.

If you’re in the market for *the* device to keep your cook on track, look no further than the ChefAlarm by ThermoWorks.

And if you want this very ChefAlarm as your very own, enter to win it at Draper’s BBQ’s Facebook page and again at Pap’s Beef Jerky Facebook page.  And if you’re at the Kentucky State BBQ Festival, stop on by and visit with both of us for another opportunity to win this ChefAlarm and a whole boatload of BBQ awesome!

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