There are a tremendous number of instant-read and leave-in meat probes available
to cooks who want to take the guesswork out of cooking meat. Instant-read
thermometers are inserted into the meat to check whether the desired temperature
has been reached, while leave-in thermometers are inserted at the beginning
of cooking and can safely be left in the oven or grill to monitor cooking
continually. Although leave-in thermometers are more convenient, their probes
are fragile and more prone to defects than instant-read thermometers. Some
leave-in thermometers come with a separate wireless remote monitoring device
and other advanced features. The majority of these thermometers have digital
readouts, but some inexpensive instant-read thermometers use analog displays,
which some users may find hard to read.
Experts and owners suggest looking for the following when choosing a meat
- Digital models are easier to read. Some analog readouts are compressed, making it difficult to determine
the exact temperature. A digital thermometer, on the other hand, takes
the guesswork out of reading the temperature with a numerical readout.
An illuminated display makes reading easier in dim light.
- A wide temperature range adds flexibility. If you plan to use your meat thermometer for deep-frying, buy a thermometer
that has a temperature range of at least 400 degrees Fahrenheit, preferably
450 degrees, to prevent damage from the hot oil. A higher temperate
range is also necessary for grilling to withstand the heat from flare-ups.
you want audible alerts? Many digital thermometers have an alarm or
voice alert that sounds when the desired temperature has been reached.
This eliminates the need to monitor the thermometer.
- Do you want adjustable target temperatures
or presets? Some digital thermometers use preset USDA-recommended temperature
levels and only let the user select the type of meat and degree of
doneness, which may exceed individual preferences. Meat thermometers that
allow for manual temperature adjustment let you customize cooking times.
- Longer probes
are easier to use, but more fragile. You might not be able to reach
the center of a thick cut of meat with a short thermometer, but longer
probes can be more fragile.
- Waterproof thermometers are easier
to clean. Some instant-read thermometers are waterproof and can be
safely cleaned in the dishwasher. Waterproof thermometers also hold up
better when grilling outdoors during wet or humid conditions.