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Old 06-26-2008, 08:24 PM   #21
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You don't need to compare two thermometers. Just boil some water and put the one thermometer in. It should read 212 (assuming you are at sea level).
But even if your not, both thermometers should read the same, if not one is off.
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Old 06-26-2008, 09:04 PM   #22
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I held both thermometers under hot tap water just now. My digital read 130F, the old dial type ten degrees cooler.
I don't know.... I read somewhere when you cook a chicken and stick the thermometer in the breast it will read 180 when done and the thigh will read 160 when done.
It has always worked for me without the chicken tasting like cardboard. Guess I better hang onto this digital thermometer. I don't want to have to learn new numbers
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Old 06-26-2008, 09:55 PM   #23
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Originally Posted by pacanis View Post
I held both thermometers under hot tap water just now. My digital read 130F, the old dial type ten degrees cooler.
I don't know.... I read somewhere when you cook a chicken and stick the thermometer in the breast it will read 180 when done and the thigh will read 160 when done.
It has always worked for me without the chicken tasting like cardboard. Guess I better hang onto this digital thermometer. I don't want to have to learn new numbers
The problem with your test is that it doesn't tell you which thermometer is wrong, both may be, because you don't know the temperature of the water.

Using boiling water or a bowl of water loaded with ice cubes gives you a baseline to test both the thermometers.

Everywhere I have read about doneness temps for chickens, the recommendations are 160 F for breasts and 180 in the thigh.
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Old 06-27-2008, 06:58 AM   #24
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The problem with your test is that it doesn't tell you which thermometer is wrong, both may be, because you don't know the temperature of the water.

Using boiling water or a bowl of water loaded with ice cubes gives you a baseline to test both the thermometers.

Everywhere I have read about doneness temps for chickens, the recommendations are 160 F for breasts and 180 in the thigh.
True. It was just a quick test while I was in the kitchen.

I don't remember where I read those temps. It may have been on the instructions that came with my beer can chicken rack from Wally World, which I have thrown out. It was for cooking a whole bird and gave the two temps in two places as a way to tell when the chicken was done. Regardless of my thermometer being off, the breast meat has always been a higher temp than the thighs when checked. I transferred this info to when I cook the pieces separately and that may be wrong.
But it comes out
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Old 06-27-2008, 07:17 AM   #25
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The biggest problem with cooking a whole chicken is the different amounts of time different parts of a chicken require to cook. As a result, you risk overcooking the breasts by the time the thigh meat near the joint with the body cooks through.

Dark meat, just like the breast meat, is safely cooked at 161 F. However, the texture of teh dark meat improves with a little more cooking to the 180 F level.
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Old 06-27-2008, 08:34 AM   #26
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I'm in the 160 breast...180 thigh camp .....For whole birds, I have found that the "butterflied' birds work well when BBQing...Cooking the majority of the time with the bone side down, and good placement in relation to the fire I have been able to achieve the above temperatures fairly consistently.
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Old 06-27-2008, 08:44 AM   #27
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Originally Posted by pacanis View Post
True. It was just a quick test while I was in the kitchen.

I don't remember where I read those temps. It may have been on the instructions that came with my beer can chicken rack from Wally World, which I have thrown out.
It sounds like either you mis-read it or it was a mis-print.
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Old 06-27-2008, 08:52 AM   #28
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Could be, GB, but it seems to make sense that the thinner meat (breast) would read a higher temp than the thighs when doing a whole bird. To me anyway.
And that's probably why I always liked the thighs cooked above 160, especially if my thermometer is off the wrong way.
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Old 06-27-2008, 08:57 AM   #29
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There is different fat content between white and dark meat though so the thickness is not the only factor. White meat has less fat so it dries out much quicker and at lower temps.

The bottom line though is that if you are happy with how you have been doing it then it is right for you. That is all that really matters as long as you are cooking it to a safe temp, which you are. Try it the other way around just once though to see what you think.
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Old 06-27-2008, 09:00 AM   #30
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Could be, GB, but it seems to make sense that the thinner meat (breast) would read a higher temp than the thighs when doing a whole bird. To me anyway...


While that's true, it's not necessarily desirable. As white meat is leaner than the thighs, it is prone to drying out more quickly when cooked to a higher temperature. The problem is exacerbated by the fact that the thigh is pressed up against the body and requires a longer cooking time than the breasts which are out in the open.
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