How to Choose a Meat Thermometer

When cooking meat it is imperative that you allow your meat to reach the correct temperature before serving. The use of a meat thermometer is key to finding out the accurate internal temperature of your meat. There are many types of meat thermometers available. With some basic knowledge and pointers, you will be able to select the perfect meat thermometer for you.

Meat thermometers come in 4 basic styles and some variations come with some fancy upgrades!

Liquid-Filled Meat Thermometers are pretty much your classic meat thermometer that you may have seen your mom or grandmother use. It takes about 1 to 2 minutes for a liquid-filled meat thermometer to register an accurate internal temperature and you need to make sure the thermometer is placed at least two inches into the thickest part of the meat. Liquid-filled meat thermometers can be placed in meat while it is cooking, but cannot be used on thin cuts of meat. This basic meat thermometer can be used for foods other than meats such as casseroles and soups.

Bi-metal Meat Thermometers are oven safe and also take about 1 to 2 minutes to register a temperature. These are a bit different than the classic liquid-filled meat thermometer. A bi-metal meat thermometer has a round face with a dial, while the liquid-filled is flat. This meat thermometer can be used in meat while it is cooking, but needs to the stem of the thermometer to be inserted a little bit deeper than the liquid-filled meat thermometer.

For quicker reading of the internal temperature of your meat, try a Digital Meat Thermometer. Similar in look to a bi-metal meat thermometer, these digital thermometers offer a LED display of the temperature of your food. Readings are accurate in about 10 seconds, but cannot be used while the meat is cooking. This digital thermometer only needs to be placed at least 1/2 inch into your meat.

A bit more costly alternative is the Oven Cord, thermocouple type meat thermometer. These meat thermometers give readings in 10 seconds or less and are designed to be left in the food as your meat is cooking. An oven thermometer has a digital read-out and many come with audible alarms to let you know when your meat has reached the correct internal temperature. These meat thermometers are also excellent for thin cuts of meat.

For the grill, you can choose from any of the above meat thermometers, or you can check out the new tong/fork style thermometers. These grill thermometers look, and are, an actual working grill tong/fork, but they have a meat thermometer built into them!

Want to get even more high-tech with your thermometer? How about a remote for your meat thermometer? Simply insert the stem into your meat and select how want it cooked. When the meat is cooked exactly to your liking, the receiver will let you know by beeping. Both the receiver and the transmitter (which is attached to the probes) display the progressive meat temperature in 5-second intervals on their easy-to-read LCD screens. The receiver also displays a clock and timer.

As you can see, there are many types of thermometers available. Today’s meat thermometers are certainly not what Grandma used to use!

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