Monk: Tuffy Stone’s started to become really active on his YouTube channel as of earlier this year, and one of his latest videos features a recap of his time at this year’s Memphis in May. Jess Pryles, Moe Cason, Carey Bringle, Melissa Cookston, and more make appearances in the montage while Heath Riles, Chris Lilly, Brook and Brad Orrison, Big Moe Cason, and the recently-retired Melissa Cookston give more in-depth interviews and sprinkle in a few tips on their process. A really well-done video.
Description: Memphis in May is a special event that brings together some of the very best in the world of barbecue. This year was a busy one for us and while my team did not get the results we were cooking for, we were thrilled to see some of our friends take the stage.
Monk: Queen City Nerve goes deep on the roots of the newly opened Firehawk Brewpub in Mount Holly. While I haven’t made it out there myself (and couldn’t make the media opening due to family commitments), I do plan to make the trip very soon. After reading this article about the barbecue restaurant/fish camp/brewery, I’m even more excited.
Dana Hanson is a Meat Scientist at NC State and runs their annual barbecue camp, modeled after Texas A&M
Sweet Lew’s BBQ and The Smoke Pit are two vendors for this weekend’s Taste of Charlotte
Looks like Christopher Prieto and Prime Barbecue will be on UNC-TV soon
New Sam Jones BBQ merch just in time for Father’s Day
John Tanner enjoyed Randy’s Ribs , a carry-out place on Route 5 in Maryland
Fresh off retirement from the competition circuit, Melissa Cookston weighs in on 14 barbecue myths
Congrats to Kevin Bludso on the James Beard win for his latest cookbook;
No barbecue pitmasters or chefs won this year and the Carolinas were also shut out, but here’s the full list of winners
Monk: In our years of reviewing barbecue rubs, sauces, grill tools/accessories, and thermometers, we are occasionally offered products in exchange for an honest review. Sometimes we do the reviews because its hard to turn down free products but to be honest in some cases the product simply wasn’t up to par and it was tough to put a nice spin on it in the review. In one case a few years back, a particular meat thermometer (which shall go unnamed) downright didn’t work and after following up with that company on the issue, a firmware update never came and thus a review was never published. That thermometer probably sits in a drawer somewhere in my house.
Spoiler alert: the product not being up to par won’t be the case for this particular product review.
INKBIRD is a company that came onto my radar within the past year because a neighborhood buddy has used a smart thermometer/fan for his Primo Grill and has raved about that product. And they just released a new meat thermometer – the IBT-26S – the world’s first thermometer incorporating 5Ghz Wi-Fi technology along with Bluetooth 5.1 (available today from Amazon for purchasing). I decided to put it through its paces recently smoking a small-ish 2.5 pound chuck roast like a brisket on a Friday afternoon/evening.
“This superior BBQ thermometer features Bluetooth and Wi-Fi capabilities that allow us to create and monitor the cooking process from a smartphone. With the help of its temperature alarms and several smart functions, we can always roast aromatic, juicy, and delicious meat.”
Official description of the IBT-26S from Inkbird
Upon receiving a tidy package from Amazon, I opened the box to find a champagne gold and black rectangle display frame with a LCD backlit screen. The build quality was evident but I wonder how the glossy finish will hold up over time in the outdoors and banging up against grill tools. Same for the LCD screen, although that is probably more durable than a video screen like you might find on an iPhone or iPad.
The IBT-26S is capable of connecting up to 5 meat probes and 1 oven probe as stated on the packaging. For other thermometers I’ve tested, I’ve found that 5 total probes (4 meat and 1 oven) was not always enough so that additional probe already makes this product feel downright luxurious by comparison.
However, I must admit my confusion in reading the packaging; I thought the number of probes listed were actually included instead of being the max capability of the unit. In reality, the thermometer comes with 4 meat probes, 0 oven probes, and 2 clips – more than enough to get started of course. Inkbird assured me they are in the process of update their packaging to make it less confusing going forward.
The IBT-26S doesn’t have a secondary remote unit and instead connects to the Inkbird app on your phone, which will need to be downloaded and the thermometer set up from there. I found this to be similar to setting up a new Google Home device but be sure to select the “IBT-26S (5G)” option to connect instead of the regular “IBT-26S” next to it. That threw me for a loop a couple of times before I was able to connect.
The app itself is cleanly designed and fairly easy to use. Connect your probes and select from one of 23 choices of USDA preset meat recipes or “BBQ Smoke,” which is the setting I used. From there, I manually set the range at which I was aiming to smoke (225 to 275).
In addition to monitoring the temperature remotely from anywhere, the app allows you to adjust the backlight remotely and set timers for each probe.
While in use, the app records your temperatures – both grill and meat – and stores the history to the cloud, which is retrievable and exportable for up to 30 days. The more scientifically-inclined or competition barbecue cook will want to download and analyze more thoroughly than I did, but it’s a great feature.
From my iPhone I was able to monitor the temperatures in the app from at least quarter a mile away in the neighborhood and my understanding is that you can monitor from even further away as long as you have cell or Wi-Fi service: the neighborhood pool, the grocery store, work, you name it. Again, think the Google Home app and being able to access your Nest thermostat from anywhere.
I didn’t have any issues with the unit battery once fully charged via a USB-C cord that comes in the box and which plugs directly into the unit. According to INKBIRD “the built-in lithium battery with 2500mAh can continuously work for up to 32 hours after a full charge.” It certainly kept a charge the entire time I used it.
As for how the smoked chuck roast turned out? After dealing with some initial temp issues due to user error on my part, my cook settled in nicely and I served slices to rave reviews from my neighbors.
The INKBIRD IBT-26S thermometer is by far the best barbecue thermometer I’ve tested in large part because it allows you to monitor your smoker from anywhere. Beyond that, the thermometer works as is expected, the probe capacity is above average, and the app itself is intuitive and easy to use. Serious barbecuers in the market for a new thermometer should take a hard look at the world’s first 5Ghz Wi-Fi thermometer, the INKBIRD IBT-26S.
Monk: Netflix’s barbecue answer to the Great British Bakeoff is back. “Barbecue Showdown” (formerly “The American BBQ Showdown”) premieres today, May 26th. Eight amateur barbecuers (some who are even “new to this whole barbecue thing”) compete for a $50,000 prize. Melissa Cookston and Kevin Bludso return as judges, and the trailer heavily previews “the trench,” a “massive, open fire cooking arena.” Will be curious to see how they incorporate this apparatus into the season.
Description: Barbecue Showdown is back, and the competition is bigger, and blazing hot! Eight of the best barbecuers from across the country will have to master the flame in an open fire playground, and create mouth-watering, boundary-pushing barbecue, for a $50,000 prize. Actress and comedian Michelle Buteau serves as host, and joins world-class BBQ judges Melissa Cookston and Kevin Bludso to crown the next great pitmaster. Barbecue Showdown Season 2 premieres May 26th, only on Netflix.
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