I am an avid outdoor cook and tested a lot of useful gadgets over the summer. Here are my favorites, just in time for tailgating season.
• Meater wireless meat thermometers have impressed me since I started using them last year, with their ease of use, accuracy, ability to read both ambient and internal temperature from a single probe and the functionality of the well-designed app. The new Block is the ultimate expression of the Meater concept, with four probes mounted in a small wooden block that serves as both a charger and control center. You can use the Block probes with a smartphone or monitor its small but sharp OLED display. It is $269, and while not inexpensive, it is a good deal given all it offers. (meater.com)
• The $229 GoSun Sport Pro Solar Oven is easy to use and can achieve temperatures between 200 and 550 degrees even on cloudy days, though your time-to-temperature and cook times will be longer with less sun. The cookbox design retains moisture and flavor, and the product has a cult following, especially among campers. (gosun.co)
• Need to keep that food you cooked hot or cold? If you have craved the performance of a Yeti cooler but the high prices leave you chilled, Pelican has the answer. Made in the United States in an ecologically friendly factory, Pelican coolers are something of an open secret that is finally coming to greater public awareness. The Elite series coolers provide equivalent (some YouTube reviewers say better) performance to Yeti, along with a superior latching system and commercial-tough construction that is backed by a lifetime warranty.
Despite these competitive advantages, they typically sell for less than comparable Yeti models. I have a $149.95 20QT Elite and love the looks, sturdiness and its impressive ability to keep things hot or cold. I was able to keep ice in it for over a week, which ranks in the top tier of performance. Through the end of September, you can use the code SEPT15 on pelican.com to save 15%, which brings the price to $127.46. Compare that with the $199.99 price of the Yeti equivalent, and you can easily see the value, especially with the better latch system and lifetime warranty. By the way, the 15% discount code applies to everything on the Pelican website except phone cases.
• OK, technically earphones aren't food-related, but if you like to listen to music while you cook, check out the clearance sale on Sbode Wireless Sport Earbuds. They have been a very popular recommendation the past 18 months. Over 90% of reader feedback was positive, with purchasers praising their sound quality, comfort and value. The earphones are now discontinued and on clearance at amazon.com for only $14.99. Even if you own high-end earphones, they make great backup earphones for your gym bag or briefcase.
Q: When I read about the Q Acoustics 3020i bookshelf speakers, I inferred that the 25-watt Cambridge Audio AM5 amplifier is adequate for them. Then I saw that the speakers require 50 watts at a minimum. Did I misinterpret what you said?
A: No. You don't say where you saw the 50-watt notice, but the speakers are recommended for use with amplifiers 25 watts per channel and up. The AM5 amplifier is 25 watts into 8 ohms, and the 3020i speakers are 6 ohms, which means the amplifier will produce more than 25 watts with them. You will be fine.
Send questions to Don Lindich at email@example.com. Get recommendations and read past columns at soundadvicenews.com.