Why are my Stick's temperatures off? How do I test accuracy?
We do a 2 point calibration, therefore, all our Sticks are very accurate.
The MeatStick Mini Stick ONLY has 1 sensor, which is the internal sensor.
Internal Temperature: When measuring temperature, remember that the internal sensor is located at the notch near the front of the Stick and that it must be inserted all the way to the ceramic handle.
Different parts of a piece of meat will have different temperatures during cooking. It is not uncommon for the internal temperature of a large roast or turkey to vary by as much as 15 to 25 °F throughout the meat or bird. Even a steak or a boneless chicken breast can vary in temperature by several degrees depending on how the Stick is inserted.
To get a correct reading, insert the Stick into the thickest part of the meat from the side. The sensor should be at the thickest part of the meat, which is the notch near the front of the Stick. Try to avoid obvious bones or cartilage.
Ambient Temperature: Although the ambient temperature may seem off at first glance, it's actually working correctly because it measures the temperature directly around the meat, which tends to be lower than the other points of a cooking appliance. It also depends on the placement of the Stick: directly above the meat, the temperature will be lower than on the side of the meat over the heat source. The Stick will show the actual cooking temperature compared to the temperature reading of the appliance you are cooking on (once it reaches temperature).
Also, note that grills/ovens/smokers all have cold spots that can be as much as 50-75 degrees lower than what is being measured.
Want more information? You can search online for hot/cold spots for your oven/grill/smoker.
If you want to test the accuracy, feel free to do an ice water test. However, we recommend that the Xtender or WiFi Bridge is active at that time, as the signals get blocked very easily by water.
Testing Calibration Accuracy
In general, the two ways of testing accuracy are an ice water bath test and a rolling boil test. We recommend against a rolling boil test as that will put extra strain on the battery of the Stick and may damage the Stick if done incorrectly if the temperature exceeds the maximum internal temperature.
*WARNING READ THIS*
Doing the test requires a lot of patience. The way the Stick works is that it will broadcast the signal when there is a temp change. However, because the way the test needs to be done (holding the handle or submerging the Stick) your hand/utensil holding the Stick or water does interfere with the normal broadcasting of the temperature. As such, when the temp changes the signal may be lost and you will not see the updated temperature which may appear to be off. To mitigate that, please hold your phone next to the Stick when testing or right above it and/or use your Xtender or WiFi Bridge next to it to receive the signal (They're more sensitive to the signal than your phone) If it gets near but not quite at the temperature, most likely the signal was lost and we recommend you take it out of the water for a few seconds (you'll see temp jump a bit) then repeat. In actual cooking, the signal will not be blocked by your hand or extra interference near the antenna so this is not an issue.
Ice Water Bath Test
The easiest way to test the accuracy of any thermometer is in a properly made ice bath. If you do this carefully, your ice bath will be 32 °F within ± 3 °F. If you are not careful, the ice bath can be off by several whole degrees. (Just a cup with ice water in it can be 24 or more degrees too high.)
Step One: Fill with ice
Making a proper ice bath is all about keeping a proper ice-to-water ratio. Fill a vessel all the way to the top with ice. Crushed ice is preferred because there are fewer gaps between the ice, however cubed ice will also work fine.
Step Two: Add Water
Slowly add water to fill the spaces between the ice. Fill about 1/2" below the top of the ice. Let the mixture sit for a minute or two to allow the temperature of the water to settle. If you see the ice starting to float off the bottom of the vessel, pour off some water and add more ice. Water below the ice will not be at 32 °F.
Step Three: Insert the Stick
Once the mixture has rested for a minute or two, create a cook in the App, insert the Stick into the mixture and stir in the vertical center of the ice slurry. Stirring the Stick keeps the sensor from resting against an ice cube, which will affect your reading. Keep the Stick away from the side walls and don't allow it to rest against the bottom of the vessel. Doing so will give you inaccurate temperature readings. Stirring equilibrates the temperature throughout the vessel.
Step Four: Confirm Temperature
Your Stick should read 32 °F ± 3 °F in the ice bath. (In general, if the ice water bath isn't done right, it may show up around 35 °F /36 °F)
Rolling Boil Test:
Do not do this test. Putting the Stick in boiling water will put excess strain on its battery and will reduce its capacity and may damage the Stick if done incorrectly if the temperature exceeds the maximum internal temperature.