After planning, shopping, preparing, and cooking a meal, the last thing you want is to slice into the meat and discover it’s either undercooked—well below rare—or beyond well done.
Cooking meat can be puzzling. A tasty result comes from knowing the weight, cooking time, and temperature for desired degree of doneness: rare, medium, or well. Even if you follow a recipe to the letter, there are other variables that can throw off your calculations, such as thickness of that steak or chop you plan on serving.
Instead of playing a guessing game and potentially ruining the star of your dinner, as well as for safety precautions, use a meat thermometer to gauge interior temps. That’s the most surefire way to determine doneness.
Taking the temperature
When conducting a meat thermometer review, there are a couple of distinctions to consider:
• Instant read or standard
An instant read thermometer is used after the meat is out of the oven or off the heat. Standard meat thermometers are oven-safe, so insert them before roasting your chicken or tenderloin.
• Dial or digital
Choose the format you’re most comfortable reading; however, digital thermometers generally cannot go in the oven.
For the most accurate temps, follow these guidelines:
• Roasts, steaks, and thick chops: Test the thickest segment of the meat, avoiding any contact with bones or fat.
• Whole chickens or turkeys: Slip the probe into the inner thigh (dark meat takes longer to cook) near the breast. Don’t let it touch bone.
• Thin chops and burgers: Place the thermometer in sideways to gain an internal temp.
A thorough meat thermometer review should also include a look at manuals to see if they have a chart or reference guide of the appropriate and safe temperatures for various cuts of meat.
Meat Thermometer Reviews
The 5-inch stainless steel probe is ideally suited for thinner cuts of meat, but it’s large digital display makes reading temperatures easy. To save battery life, it automatically turns off after 10 minutes.
Whether you prepare dinner in the oven or on the grill, test the meat’s interior temp with this instant-read thermometer. The swiveling head allows users to position it for convenient readability, and you can choose between Fahrenheit or Celsius measurements. MSRP: $10.99
Even after meat is taken off the heat source, the residual internal heat keeps cooking it, so this thermometer’s 1-second updates give cooks more accurate readings. A thinner probe means a smaller puncture site, which helps keep juices from seeping out. After cleaning, slip the thermometer into its anti-microbial storage case. MSRP: $18.99
This thermometer boasts a wide temperature range, from -58 to 572 degrees Fahrenheit, and shows results within 6-8 seconds. Its extra long probe is perfect for use on large chickens or turkeys, and can even be used for candy making. MSRP: $49.99
Don’t forget, as well as meat thermometers, there is a whole range of candy thermometers too, so feel free to check out our reviews.