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Old 08-20-2009, 09:53 PM   #1
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Meat Thermometer

I just bought an instant meat thermometer and tried it. I was just cooking a chicken breast (about an inch in thickness) and even when the chicken was ready, the thermometer still read 120F. I became suspicious so I cut it and of course, the chicken was done.

I tried putting the thermometer in boiling water to test it and found out that unless the stem was dipped in about 2 inches, it would not come close to displaying the right temperature (it actually still read lower than 212F but closer than when it was dipped in about an inch deep, which read about 180F.)

Is there a recommended meat thermometer? Do people even use them????

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Old 08-20-2009, 10:00 PM   #2
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I use a Polder magnetic digital thermometer/timer with oven proof probe. I've been using it for 4 years and have no complaint.
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Old 08-20-2009, 10:03 PM   #3
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I have this one: Amazon.com: CDN Proaccurate Stainless Digital Thermometer: Home & Garden

I'm very happy with it. You should definitely go with a digital model rather than a dial type.

With any thermometer, you must insert an inch or two of the probe into the meat, aiming to get the point as near as possible to the center of the thickest part of the meat.

Test yours with boiling water and a cup or small bowl filled with water and ice. It should be within 1 or 2 degrees F of the targeted numbers. Dial type thermometers are adjustable. Usually by turning a nut under the dial.
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Old 08-21-2009, 12:09 AM   #4
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One of the best instant read thermometers is the Thermapen, but it's also quite pricey. I use mine all the time, and all it takes is just inserting the tip to get a good reading. I also have a Thermoworks probe thermometer for roasting, and it works very well too.
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Old 08-21-2009, 08:31 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RPCookin View Post
One of the best instant read thermometers is the Thermapen, but it's also quite pricey. I use mine all the time, and all it takes is just inserting the tip to get a good reading.
This is what I use as well. I have found it to be the most accurate thermometer and the easiest to use. The downside is the price. If you plan on using a thermometer a lot then it is well worth it though.

With less expensive thermometers, as you have found out, the part that takes the temp is higher up in the probe which means you can not use it on thin pieces of meat. With the Thermapen it is in the very tip so you will not have that issue.
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Old 08-21-2009, 10:12 AM   #6
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I have one of these.. ProAccurate Instant Read Large Dial Thermometer - CDN - CDN Thermometers & Timers

Never had a problem getting accurate readings..
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Old 08-21-2009, 10:20 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RPCookin View Post
One of the best instant read thermometers is the Thermapen, but it's also quite pricey. I use mine all the time, and all it takes is just inserting the tip to get a good reading. I also have a Thermoworks probe thermometer for roasting, and it works very well too.
I may get one of those for my in-laws. My FIL is trying to do the cooking since MIL is suffering from Alzheimers and cannot cook anymore. He complains about over cooking meat since he's afraid of bacteria. If he had one of these, he could check the temp and have a decent roast!
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Old 08-21-2009, 01:38 PM   #8
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Many instant-read food thermometers are adjustable. Often there's a hex nut where the probe attaches to the dial, and there's a sort of wrench on the plastic tube that goes over the probe when it's not in use. You calibrate it with boiling water (212 at sea level -- varies with altitude) and ice water (32 degrees).

I also have a Thermapen, which is worth the price because it is extremely accurate and truly instant.
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Old 08-23-2009, 02:12 PM   #9
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The Thermapen responds in about 4 seconds and costs about $85.

CDN Pro Accurate Quick Kit Digital, is just as accurate as the Thermapen, responds in 10 seconds, and is only $17.95.

Is 6 seconds worth $57.00 to you?
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Old 08-23-2009, 02:41 PM   #10
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The Thermapen is currently available from the manufacturer for $74: ThermoWorks - Home of the Original Super-Fast Thermapen!

And despite the conservative claim that it reads in 4 seconds, it actually reads in about 2 seconds (I just checked it with my coffee). And yes, that speed is very important to me, especially when I have my arm stuck in the oven or over a hot BBQ grill.

The Thermapen is accurate to within 1%, which isn't all that important in cooking but it's comforting to know that, unlike other instant-read thermometers if used, it's right.

It's NSF certified and meets the USDA requirements for accuracy.

The probe needs to be inserted only about an inch for an accurate read.

And the -inch tall numbers in the digital readout are large enough to read at arm's length, important when you're checking something in the oven or on a hot grill.

Lastly, it has a range of -58 to +572 degrees, making it more versatile than most others.

So, yes, for the same reasons that Cook's Illustrated gave the Thermapen three stars (highest rating) in accuracy, speed, and functionality and gave it the only "highly recommended" rating in its June 2008 review, it's worth the extra bucks to me.

Of course, I think nothing of spending $200+ on a kitchen knife, so don't listen to me.
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