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Old 03-01-2006, 06:41 PM
sixto's Avatar
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need recommendation for kitchen meat thermometer

My wife wants to replace the seemingly inaccurate railroad spike meat thermometer with one of the new digital units. Can anyone recommend one? Are the contact ones better than the IR type?


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Old 03-01-2006, 06:51 PM
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All I know is don't put it in the dishwasher, whichever one you get.
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Old 03-01-2006, 08:07 PM
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Not much luck with the digital.
They don't seem to accurately reflect the temp of the meat, just the spot you place on.
I have tried several, the most reliable is still the needle probe with temp gauge. Find one that tells what temp range results in rare, medium, and well for different meats.
Always allow 5 minute rest time, which usually ups the final temp reading by at least 5 degrees.
The best gadget I got was a multiple digital timer... it can do 4 time settings, forward and reverse ie set for 5 minutes, or elapsed time.
PS..I worked my way through college cooking in restaurants.
The best cooking results are from even surface temps (meaning grill), searing larger cuts, fewer "flips", monitored cooking time, and letting the meat rest before cutting!
Good luck,

Last edited by cbrook; 03-01-2006 at 08:33 PM.
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Old 03-01-2006, 08:07 PM
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I've used a digital type thermometer that was shaped like a big fork (mainly used for grilling). I did not like the digital thermomter, it was slow in responding and required batteries.

My favorite meat thermometer is the old fashion little analog type about the size of a pen. No batteries, fast responding and accurate. Most Chef's I see use this type as well.

As far as manufactures go I can't recommend one over another since I only have one which is labled "Good Cook".
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Old 03-01-2006, 08:16 PM
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Dunk the thermometer into a glass of ice water. Calibrate it by holding the nut underneath the dial and twisting the dial until it's 32F.

You can test meat temps by inserting a knife blade into the meat and sticking it to your lower lip.

Cold: Raw
Tepid: Very Rare
Warm: Rare
Can't hold for more than 3 seconds: Medium
Burn your lip hot: Well Done

Or something like that.
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Old 03-02-2006, 07:23 AM
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I have been using a digital for the past few years . . . the one I have found to be quite reliable is by Component Design, Portland, Oregon. It is a model DT300. Steve
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Old 03-02-2006, 02:16 PM
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Since cooking is usually defined as the application of the right amount of heat for the right amount of time . . . we have several thermometers in the kitchen drawer.

The most used is the digital probe thermometer for roasts and grilling, since most large pieces of protein don't care about time or the brand of oven or grill you have . . . it's all about internal temp. Good ones have timers and alarms built into them, along with a "pre-done" warning that goes off when the item is within 10 degrees of done. As for accuracy, it's highly dependent on where and how the probe is inserted. 45 degree angle and all the way to the core/thickest part is best. Leave the probe in the roast until it has rested.

An "instant read" digital is also great for checking sauces and smaller items.

Those digital thermometers built into grilling forks are great . . . for checking liquid temps, since the last thing you want to do is to continue poking holes in meats unless you really want to ventilate it to drain all those nice juices.

Every kitchen should also have an oven thermometer and a fridge thermometer.
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Old 03-02-2006, 02:28 PM
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Just because it is digital does not mean it is accurate. Even an expensive one. All thermometers need to be calibrated.

I'm in the food business. For thermometers used in cold apps (ie - incoming raw meat), we use ice water, a certified mercury thermometer, and calibrate all cold thermometers and probes to the indicated certified thermometers reading. We read ice water at 32f on a consistent basis

When calibrating hot thermometers (ie-internal cooked meat temperature), we use boiling water, the certified thermometer, and calibrate all other indicators to the reading. Normally, we read about 210f in boiling water. We are at about 650 feet ASL here. Boiling point will change with barametric.

So, figure out your barametric, adjust your water boiling point to that pressure, then calibrate your thermometer to that temperature. Calibrating your thermometer to ice water for internal heat will not give the same results as calibrating to boiling.

Just being anal.........

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