Gifts for the outdoor chef and more – Camp Chef pellet grills, ThermoWorks Dot, GoSun Go, more on Panasonic Home Chef (Week 44, 2020)

Sound Advice
By Don Lindich

Week 44, 2020

Q. I read your article about the Panasonic Multi-Oven and absolutely love the concept. Do they make a version that mounts under kitchen cabinets?

-L.J., Estell Manor, NJ

A. The Multi-Oven has a vent in the back that releases hot air so this must be taken into account when mounting. Panasonic offers the NN-CD87KS trim kit that creates a space around the oven if it is built into cabinetry. If you looking for a replacement for your over-the-range microwave, Panasonic says this oven is not designed for that.

Q. I have an older TV with a coaxial digital audio output, not the optical digital connection used with most soundbars. Is there a way I can use my TV with a soundbar?

-R.K., Oakland, CA

A. You can purchase a coaxial-to-optical digital converter and use it between the TV and soundbar. The Techole brand converter is a good one and sells for $15 on Amazon.

More high-tech gifts for the cooking enthusiast: Last week I introduced readers to the Panasonic Home Chef Multi-Oven, which combines a microwave with an air fryer, broiler and convection oven. This week I have a few gift suggestions for those who like to cook outdoors.

ThermoWorks makes some of the best temperature-monitoring devices available and last year I recommended both their $34 ThermoPop instant-read thermometer and $99 Smoke BBQ Alarm Thermometer. This year you can add the $35 ThermoWorks DOT Alarm Thermometer with Probe to the list. The DOT combines the accuracy ThermoWorks is known for with survivability up to 700 degrees F.

Want to try cooking with the sun? The GoSun Go is a small solar oven that sells for $139. The GoSun Go uses solar rays to bake, roast, steam, or boil, even in cold or cloudy weather. It only weighs 2 pounds and has enough capacity to cook a meal for two people.

Electrically-powered wood pellet grills can be used to grill, smoke, roast and bake and have become increasingly popular for their ease of use and the way they add wood flavor to your food. I love to cook outdoors and after years of hearing a friend rave about his wood pellet grill and its great flavors, I decided to get one for myself. I researched and purchased multiple pellet grills over the course of two years, but none of them satisfied me and one was an absolute disaster. Last spring a great salesman called “Camping Joe” introduced me to Camp Chef, and I have been a happy camper ever since.

The Camp Chef Gen 2 Slide & Grill wood pellet grill ($499) is available exclusively at Dick’s Sporting Goods. It was the best-built and most reliable of all the makes and models I tested and has a patented ash cleanout system that makes it about as easy to clean as a gas grill. A sliding deflector exposes the flames for grilling over fire, it has lots of cooking area and includes two temperature probes. The Gen 2 has an advanced digital controller that provides precise temperature control as well as the ability to set the smoke level as well as the temperature. The Camp Chef Gen 2 Slide & Grill is a phenomenal value because it sells for less than entry-level models from other brands, but with far superior construction, features and operation. What a find!

This gift recommendation is particularly apt for me because I just purchased another one as a gift for my sister, and she is absolutely delighted with it. Learn more at and