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Old 11-26-2006, 02:57 PM   #1
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What's wrong with my oven?

Ok, it might not be the oven, I must be doing something wrong Meat just doesn't seem to ever get cooked in my house! I always worry about meat being undercooked so I've been using thermometers. Well, I can never follow the time directions on recipes anymore, it takes me at least twice as long, if not longer. It goes on forever and by the time the thermometer shows a decent temperature the outside is all burnt and I feel like tossing it. I even thought the thermometer must be wrong at first, but now I use two, so I'm sure it works. Any tips?

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Old 11-26-2006, 02:59 PM   #2
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Do you pre-heat your oven before you start to cook your food?
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Old 11-26-2006, 03:30 PM   #3
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As a second "check" measure, be sure your thermometers are accurate. Bring a pot of water to boiling, which is 212 degrees F. Insert your thermometer(s) in the hot water. If they register 212 degrees, they're accurate. And, yes, you should be preheating your oven.
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Old 11-26-2006, 03:47 PM   #4
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Is it an electric oven? I also echo the same concern about preheating. I know my oven has an indicator that lets me know that it has reached the desired temp.

That is a strange thing to happen with your oven. If it is electric, I wonder if the heating element is bad or maybe the internal temp gauge of the oven is off.
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Old 11-26-2006, 04:18 PM   #5
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Buy an oven thermometer and ensure your oven temperatures are accurate. It sounds like that could be the problem.
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Old 11-26-2006, 05:19 PM   #6
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I do preheat the oven, but I'll try the oven thermometer and see what it does, thanks! : ) I'll test the other thermometer too, thanks for the tip Katie.

I do sometimes forget to let the meat get to room temperature first, I suppose that doesn't help either. Well, I did manage to save my roast today : ) It took almost two hours longer than expected, but it was delicious.
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Old 11-26-2006, 05:24 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Andy M.
Buy an oven thermometer and ensure your oven temperatures are accurate. It sounds like that could be the problem.
My oven temp is 30 degrees off so until I'm ready to pay an electrician to put a new heat element in, I'm using an oven thermometer.
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Old 11-26-2006, 06:14 PM   #8
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You should pre-heat your oven before using it and also buy an oven thermometer.
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Old 11-26-2006, 09:25 PM   #9
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If the temp is off, you probably need either an adjustment to the thermostat or a new thermostat.
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Old 11-26-2006, 09:46 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Half Baked
My oven temp is 30 degrees off so until I'm ready to pay an electrician to put a new heat element in, I'm using an oven thermometer.
If it is consistently off by the same amount you may just need to recalibrate. With my oven that just means pulling off the knob and making an adjustment with a screw driver to the back side of it.
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Old 11-26-2006, 09:50 PM   #11
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How old is the oven. Like many have said, it could very well be the thermostat. A very simple fix.
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Old 11-27-2006, 12:38 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Katie E
As a second "check" measure, be sure your thermometers are accurate. Bring a pot of water to boiling, which is 212 degrees F. Insert your thermometer(s) in the hot water. If they register 212 degrees, they're accurate. And, yes, you should be preheating your oven.
Actually this is not a recommended way to check a thermometer unless you live near sea level. Here in Denver, water boils at about 206. At higher elevations it can get to well below 200. The most dependable (and recommended) way to check a thermometer is to fill a glass with ice cubes, then fill it with water. Let it set for a minute to stabilize, then the reading should be 32. This works at any elevation.
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Old 11-27-2006, 10:31 PM   #13
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As has been stated before - it sounds like your oven thermostate is way out of calibration - especially since it consistently cooks too slow. You need an oven thermometer - one that will monitor the thep of the oven, not the probes that you use to monitor the temp of the food you are cooking.

I would suggest the Taylor #5921N Commercial Oven Guide thermometer. It's the most accurate and doesn't ever need to be calibrated - unlike the "dial" type that use a metal spring that will get off with time and useage. They will run you about $15 no matter where you get them ... for Sur La Tab to Ace Hardware to Target. The above link was to Amazon just because they have the best picture - and you can enlarge it. Since you have an Ace Hardware there in Key West I would try them first.

As for checking the calibration of "cooking" thermometers ... some can be calibrated and some can't. Dial types that can be calibrated should be set for the boiling point of water - since Key West, FL is at sea level that would be 212F. Digital models will usually have two calibrations ... a zero or set point (set to 32F) and a span which is set to the local boiling point of water, again 212F in your area. If your thermometer is a wet bulb type - it doesn't need recalibration.

CHECKING YOUR OVEN:

Get a sheet of paper and down the left side make a column ranging from 200F to 550F (or whatever you higest oven temp is) in 25 increments. This isn't quick but it will give you an idea of what you are working with.

Place the top oven rack in the center position of the oven and put the oven thermometer in the middle of the rack (this should be the middle of the oven) - and preheat to 200F, wait for 5 minutes after the oven indicator says it is at temp. Pull the thermometer out, check the temp, put it back in the oven, and record this next to 200 , ie, 200 = 135. Bump the temp up 25 (to 225) and repeat. Keep repeating this process until you reach the top end of your oven temp range. When you are done you will have a chart of the actual oven temps you get from the dial settings.
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Old 11-30-2006, 10:17 PM   #14
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Yup, you can't get closer to the sea level than Key West : )

Thanks for the tip. I might try that method later, but it looks like I've found the problem already. I've tried preheating the oven at 350 and at the moment the indicator turned off, the oven thermometer gave a reading of about 310 (-_-); But then I tried preheating it for a longer period of time, and when I checked it it was at the right temperature : ) I'm gonna test it out a few more times to make sure. I hope the meat cooks now! : D
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Old 12-01-2006, 12:56 AM   #15
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I'm gonna go out on a limb then and say if you want 350, set for 400 and see where it is. You are off by 40 degrees(obviously) so set it to 400 and see if it is between 350-360. Sounds like a case for calibration.

I though people in Key West only cooked on a grill, or drank their dinner(like I did when I was there).
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Old 12-01-2006, 09:11 AM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by biev
Yup, you can't get closer to the sea level than Key West : )

Thanks for the tip. I might try that method later, but it looks like I've found the problem already. I've tried preheating the oven at 350 and at the moment the indicator turned off, the oven thermometer gave a reading of about 310 (-_-); But then I tried preheating it for a longer period of time, and when I checked it it was at the right temperature : ) I'm gonna test it out a few more times to make sure. I hope the meat cooks now! : D

Longer preheating seems to be the answer.
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