iDevices iGrill Mini review:

Bluetooth-enabled probe makes grilling deliciously hands-off

This gadget is designed to be user-friendly. It's simple from start to finish. Two things to be aware of: the Bluetooth claims to have a 150-foot range, but, as with all Bluetooth devices, if there are a bunch of obstacles between you and the iGrill Mini, the connection might get a little wonky. Also, the battery claims to have a 150-hour life. I'm not so sure about this. I used it for several hours during testing one day and turned it on a couple of days later and got a low battery signal. I didn't do a full run-down test of a new battery, but if you're anticipating using the iGrill Mini for frequent long smokes, you'll want to stock up on spare CR2032 coin batteries. The good news is that can handle a quick battery change without requiring you to repair it with your phone.

Screenshot by Megan Wollerton

A $79.99 iGrill is also offered by iDevices. The iGrill is larger and comes with two cooking probes. It claims to have a 200-foot Bluetooth range, takes four AA batteries, can be used as a kitchen timer and works on both Android and iOS devices. In May 2014, iDevices is also shipping its brand new $99.99 iGrill2. It will offer a 150-foot Bluetooth range, a four-probe capacity, and a digital display. So, if you like the idea of iGrill Mini, but want something with a larger probe capacity, iGrill and iGrill2 are also options worth your consideration.

Colin West McDonald/CNET

I used iGrill Mini to roast a whole chicken in the oven and to smoke a pork shoulder on the grill. We used thermocouples and our data logger alongside the probe to compare results. The probe was always very close to the temperature of the thermocouples. That's good news. It offers neat features and registers accurate temperatures.

Screenshot by Megan Wollerton

I roasted the chicken at 375 degrees in the GE Profile Built-In Double Convection Wall Oven PT9550SFSS and selected the chicken preset listed in the app. Then, we added the thermocouples and the iGrill Mini probe to the chicken. The surface of this oven isn't magnetic, so I used the sticky adhesive magnet and then attached the magnet base to the sticky magnet. Next, I added the chicken to the oven, and made sure the probe was attached to the jack -- pretty simple.

Then, I let it cook. At most I was 30 to 40 feet from the oven and the app worked flawlessly. It displayed the temperature graph and let me know when it was finished. It also stayed close to the temperatures registered by the thermocouples. iGrill Mini success!

Colin West McDonald/CNET

Next, we smoked a pork shoulder in the grill. We went with propane here, with the idea of ensuring a more consistent temperature throughout the smoke (otherwise we'd use charcoal). We let the grill get to 225 degrees and I attached the iGrill Mini's magnetic base directly to the grill. I also created my own preset, since the existing pork shoulder preset had a default temp of 160 degrees (that's better for a pork roast than pulled pork). Once again, it worked incredibly well. I did have more trouble with the Bluetooth connection during this test, but it would always work again after restarting the app.

Colin West McDonald/CNET

iGrill Mini is definitely worth the $39.99. I do wish there was an app for Android users, the coin battery is slightly annoying, and Bluetooth might give you trouble in more challenging receiving environments. But, this handy thermometer probe lets you make food cooked to "ideal" specifications without having to be heavily hands-on throughout the cooking process. So, all of you folks cooking something "low and slow" overnight can stop worrying about checking the temp at 4 a.m. That alone makes this device worthwhile.

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