Whether you’re roasting a Purdue supermarket special for a few hours in the oven or a perfectly trimmed brisket all day in your smoker, keeping tabs on internal temperature is essential. For safety reasons you need a meat thermometer, which also ensures the meat you’ve slaved over leaves the grill or oven at that ideal level of doneness (There’s a big difference between medium and medium rare).
Sure, there are a number of techniques seasoned chefs can utilize — seeing if the juices run clear on chicken; pawing at the flesh of steaks to eye the springiness — but why would you do that when there’s so many excellent, accurate meat thermometers? After all, nothing ruins a chef’s ego like having to throw something back on the grill because someone said their ribeye was undercooked.
This is the age of the ultra-accurate meat thermometer and there’s no shortage of excellent options. You can choose between a digital meat thermometer or if you’re old school, a regular dialed probe like your mom used at Thanksgiving. High-tech upgrades also abound: There are Bluetooth options that send temperatures right to your phone and infrared options that get a reading of your coals.
So, if you’re in the market for a new meat thermometer, there are a number of excellent sales happening right now. These are our favorites.
This is a great meat thermometer for beginner cooks, because it's programmed with preset USDA approved temperatures for different types of meat at various cooking levels. It normally costs $30.
This meat thermometer sounds an alarm when your food is ready, and you get a large screen with huge digits, making it easy to read current meat temperature and settings. It’s pocket-sized. And it has a nice temperature range: 32 degrees F to 572 degrees F (0 degrees C to 300 degrees C).
This thermometer, which is normally $20 and which you stick into a turkey or chicken or rack of lamb, accurately measures temperature from 0 degrees to 220 degrees F while cooking.
This is the meat thermometer you want to use in the oven. It has a glow in the dark readout, because you don’t want to keep opening and closing the oven door to see if your ginger-crusted pork loin is done. Because, to borrow a barbecue platitude: If you’re looking, you ain’t cooking.
This Bluetooth meat thermometer, normally $63, pairs with your phone or tablet to give you accurate readings from up to 150 feet away. It's the choice for the regular griller who doesn't want to hover over hot coals.
This wireless meat thermometer has four probes, an alarm, a timer, and a rechargeable battery. You can monitor several hunks of meat at once. It can handle temperatures of up to 572 degrees F.
This $70 meat thermometer has six food-grade stainless steel probes that can handle temps of up to 572 degrees, and has a remote range of 300 feet outdoors. So if you're one to BBQ all manner of meat for your friends, you need this thing.
The thermometer connects to the probes, which go into your meats. And then you get readouts and updates on your phone. So your brats are just browned enough, and your chicken breasts always tender and juicy.
If you aspire to be Aaron Franklin of Franklin Barbecue, you need this infrared meat thermometer, which used to cost $30.
Squeeze the handle on this Cuisinart infrared surface thermometer and it will record the surface temperature of anything you point it towards. It measures the surface of temperature of anything and everything. It’s especially great for identifying hot spots on the grill, so you can put thicker slice where they’ll cook faster.
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