I bought Tappecue's AirProbe Deluxe Bundle around 3 weeks ago. The bundle includes the Tappecue Touch unit, a power supply for the Touch, two wireless AirProbes and charging cradles and a Getting Started Guide. I have been familiar with the Tappecue brand for years and I knew that they were the first company to make a wi-fi enabled BBQ thermometer but I had never made a purchase from them.
A few years ago I had an unfavorable experience with the Meater Block. I love the concept of having a wireless probe to measure the internal temperature of my food and the temperature of the inside of the cooking chamber, I've just been waiting for a company other than Meater to "get it right". I believe that ads for Tappecue's AirProbe wireless thermometer started appearing in my Facebook feed early in 2020. I was an early supporter of Meater's Kickstarter campaign and I waited over two years for the product to land on my doorstep..... I vowed not to be one of the first to purchase the AirProbe.
As the year progressed, I did not hear much about the AirProbe on social media, no overwhelmingly great reviews but nothing negative either. Tappecue's reputation seems to be solid but the company doesn't appear to receive the same buzz in the BBQ community as Fireboard and ThermoWorks. Tappecue struck me as a company with a small but loyal following of consumers who have probably experienced their older products.
After Thanksgiving, I saw Tappecue's promotion for the AirProbe Deluxe so I decided to give it a try and placed my order. My package from Tappecue arrived shortly thereafter, but it fell off my radar some as I had also purchased the Weber Summit Kamado around the same time. I made videos of my initial impressions of the grill and a few days later, I made a follow-up video describing my discussion with a Weber executive about their plans to replace the early Summit Kamados with new grills with a sturdier stand.
Around Christmas, I finally got around to cooking on my Weber Summit Kamado for the first time. I thought it would be a good idea to also unbox my Tappecue Touch and the AirProbes and try them for the first time during that same cook. Unfortunately, my initial experience with the AirProbes did not go very well. The setup appeared to be smooth until I tried to connect my AirProbes to the Touch and my iPhone. I continuously received error messages on the AirProbe Direct screen (for a direct Bluetooth connection) in the Tappecue app. I then tried to connect the AirProbes to the Touch. While the Touch seemed to give me some readings from the green probe, I later realized that the green probe readings were not from my green AirProbe. To this day, I still don't know what the Touch was "reading" from the green probe since my AirProbes are the only Tappecue probes that I own and they weren't connecting.
Nonetheless, I figured that I must have been overlooking something in the setup process so I shut everything down until I could try connecting the AirProbes on a different day.
On New Year's Day, I decided to try again. I found a video by the makers of Tappecue where the lady showed the process for setting up the AirProbes. I noticed that when she setup the AirProbes using the the AirProbe Direct mode in the app, she did not make any mention of the Touch. I decided to try to connect the AirProbes while leaving the Touch turned off. This time it worked and I was able to connect both of my AirProbes to the app, both in iOS and Android.
Once connected, I inserted the AirProbes into my small Prime Rib that I was smoking on my LSG 20" offset smoker.
The green probe connected to the app right away and gave me temperature readings for the meat and the cooking chamber but the red probe was stuck on "connecting". I figured the red probe would connect after 10 or 20 seconds. Meanwhile, Luna - my 9-week old German Shepherd puppy looked like she had just pooped and was sniffing around it so I immediately rushed over to her which was probably around 30-40 feet away from the smoker.
After I cleaned up after Luna, I noticed that the app was showing that I was no longer connected to either AirProbe. I walked back to the smoker hoping that at a minimum, the green AirProbe would reconnect on it's own but it didn't. I waited a few minutes and I tried to force the app to reconnect but the app would not reconnect. Instead the app showed both AirProbes as "connecting".
All of this made me wonder if the AirProbes are unable to reliably remain connected because of the thick steel in the LSG that does an excellent job of holding temperatures inside of the cooking chamber. I went onto the Team Tappecue fan page on Facebook and asked if others had a sense of how well the AirProbes function inside of well made offset smokers like the LSG. One person replied that he wasn't sure about functionality with stick burners, but in using the AirProbes with his Assassin grill, he needed to make sure that the Touch unit was within 7-10 feet of the grill.
Although his response did not fully answer my question about AirProbes and stick burners, it did answer another one of my questions. Do the AirProbes work with the Touch? I assumed that they did because the app itself mentions using the Touch with or without AirProbes. Since my AirProbes were now connected to the app & my phone, I went ahead and turned on the Touch to see if it would also recognize the AirProbes. This time, the Touch saw and read temperatures from both of my AirProbes.
This was a big relief for me as I really want to like this product. Even if I can't use them inside the thick walls of the LSG, I'm hopeful that they will work inside of the Summit Kamado or inside of my other grills. Next time, I will use the AirProbes with the Touch and I will keep the Touch close to the smoker.
As such, my grade with the AirProbes and my stick burner is still an "incomplete" so there will need to be a Part 2 to this post. Unless I overlooked something in the setup process, it appears that the Touch should not be turned on when you initially try to connect your AirProbes to the app and your phone. If you have experienced something different, please leave a comment.
Here's a photo of the finished Prime Rib on the LSG.