ThermoWorks ChefAlarm Product Review

Review Overview

Design
Features
Performance
Value

Great thermometer and timer!

The ChefAlarm from ThermoWorks has lots of features including a temperature gauge for high and low, a timer and even the ability to use it for sous vide cooking.

User Rating: 2.35 ( 260 votes)

A digital thermometer is quite possibly one of the most important tools for my kitchen. Whether it is a chicken in the oven, pork roast in the smoker, or a pot of syrup for making hard candy, a digital thermometer is invaluable to the home cook.

I have gone through many different types, including analog, digital, programmable and more. One of my favorite companies is ThermoWorks because they make some of the best digital thermometers on the market. The Thermapen was the first of their thermometers I ever used and WOW, is it impressive.

The ChefAlarm is another quality product by ThermoWorks. Where the Thermapen is an instant read thermometer, the ChefAlarm is a programmable thermometer and timer. It has lots of features including:

  • Different probe options for roasting and sous vide cooking.
  • Cables can handle up to 700F ambient temperature and the thermometer can measure up to 572F internally.
  • Continuous monitoring of min and max temperatures
  • Both high and low temperature alarms
  • Count down and count up timer
  • Calibration adjust capability
  • Backlight feature

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The ChefAlarm comes with a nice case to hold everything. There is a spot for the digital thermometer, the two temperature probes and even a little space for the clip.

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The ChefAlarm has a hinge in the middle of the unit. This allows it to be folded so that the screen is raised up with the controls on the base. It also works flat as well.

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The back of the unit has the on/off button, the button to switch between Celsius and Fahrenheit and a calibration button.

There is also a magnet on the back of the thermometer. This allows the ChefAlarm to be attached to a stove, fridge, smoker, grill and more.

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The front control panel has a lot of buttons. These allow you to set up the temperature gauge or timer.

The timer function is simple and operates like any timer on a stove. Simply set the hours and minutes, then press start. The ChefAlarm begins counting down and once it hits zero, the unit beeps. It will also continue counting after the alarm so you know how much time has elapsed once the timer has ended.

The thermometer function is quite robust, with plenty of features and displays, including the ability to set both the high and low temperatures. So, if chicken is being cooked, the high temperature alarm should be set for 165F. The low temperature can bet set which is nice for cooling things. I also like it for overnight smoking (and even sous vide cooking) so that, if the smoker (or sous vide machine) goes out for some reason and the temperature drops, the ChefAlarm will go off. It is a great feature for low and slow cooking.

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The display has lots of numbers. There is the current temperature, low temperature setting, high temperature setting and the actual high and low during the cook cycle. The bottom of the display shows the timer and the volume.

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There were many different dishes that I wanted to try with the ChefAlarm, but I was most excited to try cooking something sous vide and use the Pro-Series Needle Probe. This probe has a silicone coating around the cable which makes it perfect for placing in a hot water bath.

Cooking turkey is a traditional Easter meal for my family and I wanted to try something new this year. I bought a couple turkey breasts and got them ready to cook in the sous vide. I placed the needle probe in the centre of  breast, put it in a ziploc freezer bag so that it was ready to go in the water.

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The bag got clipped to the side of the pot and the turkey began cooking. Sous vide cooking creates some of the most juicy and tender meat. Since it is a unique form of cooking, it does not follow the traditional recommended temperatures for meat. In particular, poultry is done in the low 140Fs.  So, I set the ChefAlarm for 142F and placed it next to the pot.

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The ChefAlarm beeped when it reached the set temperature. I gave the turkey a quick sear and sliced them. They were perfectly cooked and delicious!

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I also used the ChefAlarm for roast chicken. This time, the regular probe was used and I placed it in the fattest part of the breast. I set the high temperature for 165F and let the chickens roast in the oven. Once done, the machine beeped and the chicken was amazing!

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The last recipe I tried with the ChefAlarm was for smoked meatloaf. I smoke lots of food and monitoring the internal temperature of the meat is the critical way to know when it is done. I stuck the probe into the centre portion of the meatloaf.

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The probe ran through the smoke vent in the top of the smoker. I folded the ChefAlarm into the standing position and left it on the top of the smoker. It would have also worked to use the magnet and stick it on the side of the smoker.

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After a few hours, the meatloaf reached 165F and was ready to eat. The taste was incredible and the ChefAlarm worked perfectly again.

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I love the ChefAlarm. Everything from the build quality to the features is excellent. It is excellent as a thermometer and also as a timer.  The ChefAlarm is durable and built to last. This is refreshing, considering I have used many different thermometers that feel like they could break anytime. I also love the case that is provided with the ChefAlarm, as it allows everything to be neatly packaged.

Buy this digital thermometer here – ChefAlarm 

Disclaimer: ThermoWorks provided me with the ChefAlarm. They did not pay me for this product review and the views expressed above are my honest reactions after trying the product.

About Steve Cylka

Steve is the author of The Black Peppercorn. He is a recipe developer and food photographer. His recipes have been featured on websites like Bradley Smoker, Times Picayune, Buzzfeed, and Basil & Salt. He has also authored and co-authored a couple cookbooks.

One comment

  1. I am looking for an accurate thermometer to make marshmallows for my grandson and wondered if this is the best choice of thermometer for this purpose? I think this thermometer would be a better choice if this is the case rather than the considering to purchase the Thermapen splash-proof model which doesn’t have a clip to attach to a pot housing the sugar syrup that needs boiling to the right temperature!
    I would appreciate your comments regarding my querie. I realize this is an expensive tool for the occasional use but I will then definitely use it for in oven use as well. I appreciate your feedback once again regarding what seems to be a popular and well made product albeit reading some unvavourable reviews that has troubled me. I also realize this item can only be purchased from ThermaWorks and I will have to contend with shipping costs as well given I live in Toronto.
    One other thing, do you recommend my ordering the needle probe as well? I am not as yet sure what this would be used for! Thanks for your reply. Best, Deena

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