"Discover Cooking, Discuss Life."

Go Back   Discuss Cooking - Cooking Forums > General Cooking Information > Cookware and Accessories > Cook's Tools
Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
 
Old 01-06-2008, 07:43 AM   #1
Assistant Cook
 
Join Date: Aug 2007
Posts: 39
Question Digital probe

Hi,

We bought a digital probe thermometer with an alarm by Acu-Rite the other day at Walmart for around $10 and we tested it tonight on a turkey tenderloin. The instructions on the tenderloin were to cook it to 165 degrees at 325 degrees in the oven. The probe seemed to read 165 degrees way too early in the cooking process. We tested the matter with a second meat thermometer we owned and it tended to show the meat as 15-20 degrees cooler than the probe.

To test the probe again we placed it in boiling water and it read 212 degrees like it should. Now we're wondering if we did not use the probe properly or if the probe is not very accurate when in meat because it was inexpensive. Is there a special way to place the probe in meat? Or do the probes tend to be off? Any suggestions would help.


Thanks,
Jamie

__________________

__________________
jamoehope is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-06-2008, 09:47 AM   #2
Certified Pretend Chef
 
Andy M.'s Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2004
Location: Massachusetts
Posts: 41,401
It could be that you positioned the probe incorrectly. The tip of the probe should be as close to the center of the thickest part of the meat you are cooking.

With a digital thermometer, if it reads boiling water and ice water correctly at 212 F and 32 F, then the readings in between will be aurate as well.
__________________

__________________
"If you want to make an apple pie from scratch, you must first create the universe." -Carl Sagan
Andy M. is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 01-06-2008, 10:01 AM   #3
Chef Extraordinaire
 
Uncle Bob's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2006
Location: Small Town Mississippi
Posts: 17,392
Maybee the second thermometer is giving you a false reading. Did you test it as well?
__________________
There is only one Quality worse than Hardness of Heart, and that is Softness of Head.

Kool-Aid...Think Before You Drink
Uncle Bob is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-06-2008, 01:43 PM   #4
Senior Cook
 
Join Date: Mar 2006
Posts: 496
Quote:
Originally Posted by Andy M. View Post
It could be that you positioned the probe incorrectly. The tip of the probe should be as close to the center of the thickest part of the meat you are cooking.

With a digital thermometer, if it reads boiling water and ice water correctly at 212 F and 32 F, then the readings in between will be aurate as well.
This is based on altitude. I can unequivocably tell you that where I live, if water is boiling, the temperature is not 212F. Doesn't seem to be relevant in this case, but throwing it out there for any future readers who stumble upon this and get to enjoy the world of thin oxygen as I do.

Anyhow, Andy is absolutely right on positioning. It could be a number of things--you could have part of the probe touching part of your cooking surface. This will cause heat transference and give you a false reading. Or the probe could be touching bone. This will also give you a false reading. If it's not inserted far enough into whatever you're measuring, same deal. If it's inserted too far and is too close to the bottom of the meat instead of the middle? You get the idea.

If it turns out that your probe is inaccurate, I'd recommend heading to Bed Bath & Beyond and buying one of their Sunbeam probe thermometers. They're 20 bucks each, but they're just about flawless. I have 4 of them in my house. Or if you really want to splurge, find the one Weber makes for grilling. It's not only capable of standing up to much higher heat temperatures (standard kitchen probe thermometers can actually have the insides of the probe melt/malfunction at high temperatures), but it's remote, so you can monitor temperature from anywhere. Those are about 50 bucks.
__________________
Poppinfresh is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-06-2008, 09:20 PM   #5
Assistant Cook
 
Join Date: Aug 2007
Posts: 39
Quote:
Originally Posted by Andy M. View Post
It could be that you positioned the probe incorrectly. The tip of the probe should be as close to the center of the thickest part of the meat you are cooking.
We tried testing the probe out in ice water as well, but we did not get the water down to 32 degrees? How might be the best way to test freezing?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Andy M. View Post
With a digital thermometer, if it reads boiling water and ice water correctly at 212 F and 32 F, then the readings in between will be aurate as well.
We wondered about where the probe ought to be placed. We did not know if the tip is what reads the temperature or the whole surface of the probe.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Uncle Bob View Post
Maybee the second thermometer is giving you a false reading. Did you test it as well?
We didn't think to test our other thermometer! Good point. I'll try that next time I test our probe.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Poppinfresh View Post
This is based on altitude. I can unequivocably tell you that where I live, if water is boiling, the temperature is not 212F.
We live at sea level so I do not think altitude is a factor. I understand what you're saying though when cooking at high altitudes.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Poppinfresh View Post
If it turns out that your probe is inaccurate, I'd recommend heading to Bed Bath & Beyond and buying one of their Sunbeam probe thermometers.
Thanks for the tip. I'll consider that.

Thank you, everyone!
__________________
jamoehope is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-06-2008, 09:55 PM   #6
Head Chef
 
Rob Babcock's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: USA
Posts: 1,281
Usually the probe reads right at the tip. To ice calibrate, fill a glass with ice. Run a bit of cold water on it, then swirl it around & let it sit for a minute or so. Stir the water towards the bottom with the tip of the probe. If you used a glass completely full of ice, the temp will be very close to 32 degrees F.

It's tricky to use a probe on very small peices of meat, as you may have noticed. You have to get it in the middle of the thickest part. As has already been mentioned, bone can conduct heat and give you a reading not indicative of the temp of the rest of the peice.

The price of the probe doesn't necessarily indicate the accuracy.

If it reads very close to 212 with boiling water and 32 with ice water, it's probably not the probe. More likely you didn't get it situated right.
__________________
If we're not supposed to eat animals, then how come they're made out of meat?
Rob Babcock is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-06-2008, 10:35 PM   #7
Senior Cook
 
Join Date: Sep 2004
Location: S. W. Minnesota
Posts: 157
It's happened to me that if the probe is mostly sticking out of the meat, it will read high. This has happened on a small venison loin that read done, but was obviously too rare. I suspect that the heat could be moving down the shaft and affecting the reading at the tip.
I now try to get more of the probe inside the meat by inserting it on the longest axis of the meat, still keeping the tip in the center.
It also helps to let the meat rest for a while with the probe still inserted.
__________________
Walt Bulander is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-06-2008, 10:58 PM   #8
Master Chef
 
Michael in FtW's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2004
Location: Fort Worth, TX
Posts: 6,592
Probe thermometers - more especially the less expensive ones - do not read "at the tip" ... they actually read over an area from the tip to about an inch or so up from the tip of the probe ... so it's quite easy for a properly calibrated thermometer to read "wrong" depending on where it is placed within the meat - especially if the meat is thin. And, placing the probe too near a bone will also throw off the reading.
__________________
"It ain't what you don't know that gets you in trouble. It's what you know for sure that just ain't so." - Mark Twain
Michael in FtW is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 01-07-2008, 06:34 AM   #9
Certified Pretend Chef
 
Andy M.'s Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2004
Location: Massachusetts
Posts: 41,401
Quote:
Originally Posted by jamoehope View Post
We tried testing the probe out in ice water as well, but we did not get the water down to 32 degrees? How might be the best way to test freezing?...
I fill a small container with water and a lot of ice cubes then swirl the probe around in the middle of the container, keeping the tip away from the edges.
__________________
"If you want to make an apple pie from scratch, you must first create the universe." -Carl Sagan
Andy M. is online now   Reply With Quote
Old 01-08-2008, 12:42 AM   #10
Head Chef
 
Rob Babcock's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: USA
Posts: 1,281
Quote:
Originally Posted by Michael in FtW View Post
Probe thermometers - more especially the less expensive ones - do not read "at the tip" ... they actually read over an area from the tip to about an inch or so up from the tip of the probe ... so it's quite easy for a properly calibrated thermometer to read "wrong" depending on where it is placed within the meat - especially if the meat is thin. And, placing the probe too near a bone will also throw off the reading.

Mine seem to read near the tip, but I have a bit spendier ones. The best way to use one is to insert it long ways, parallel to the edges of the food. For instance, if you were cooking a whole porkloin, you'd stick it in the end, horizontally. Same for a chicken breast- if it's laying down, stick it in the end, parallel with the cooking surface. That way anywhere the probe is likely to be reading from, it will at least be in the center when measured the thinnest way.
__________________

__________________
If we're not supposed to eat animals, then how come they're made out of meat?
Rob Babcock is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off



» Discuss Cooking on Facebook

Our Communities

Our communities encompass many different hobbies and interests, but each one is built on friendly, intelligent membership.

» More about our Communities

Automotive Communities

Our Automotive communities encompass many different makes and models. From U.S. domestics to European Saloons.

» More about our Automotive Communities

Marine Communities

Our Marine websites focus on Cruising and Sailing Vessels, including forums and the largest cruising Wiki project on the web today.

» More about our Marine Communities


Copyright 2002- Social Knowledge, LLC All Rights Reserved.

All times are GMT -5. The time now is 11:58 AM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 4
Copyright ©2000 - 2016, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.