At some point, almost everyone in their life has come down with the horrible malady of food poisoning. Even worse, at some point, almost everyone in their life has been served a horribly cooked steak. A good digital grill thermometer can help prevent both of these afflictions.
The United States Dept. of Agriculture recommends that most meat products especially turkey, pork, ground beef and veal should be cooked to at least 160 degrees to be considered safe for human consumption. How is a person to know when the meat reaches this temperature? A good digital thermometer is the key to this answer.
Today there are many types of thermometers for the home chef. For grilling, the cook should consider 2 types of thermometers. One thermometer to monitor the temperature of the grill and one to monitor the temperature of the meat.
You may point out that many grills come with a thermometer installed on the hood of the grill. But, let me point out that this is not where you cook your meat. You cook it on the grill and that is the temperature that you need to know. It is also a good idea to check if your thermometer is accurate. To do this, you will need to do two things. First, hold your thermometer in about 3 inches of boiling water, not touching the bottom of the pan near to the heating element. The thermometer should read close to 212 degrees. Then hold the thermometer in a glass of crushed ice water. Make sure there is plenty of crushed ice, as much as you can squeeze into the glass. The thermometer should read at close to 32 degrees. Make sure you calibrate or test both thermometers in this way to ensure thermometer accuracy. When you have accomplished this calibration test, I challenge you to test your home oven and refrigerators for safe and accurate temperatures. You may be surprised!
There are several varieties of thermometers to test how done the meat is. One is the “instant read” thermometer. You open the lid to the grill and stab the thermometer into the thickest area of the meat, avoiding the bone, as the temperature there will differ. When using this type of thermometer, you need to pick out a thermometer that reads the temperature super fast, because while you are waiting for your reading, valuable heat is escaping from your open grill.
Another type of thermometer is a “leave in probe”. These thermometers often-time have a separate monitor that you can carry around with you. You can set the alarm on the monitor to go off after a certain amount of time has elapsed or a certain temperature has been reached. There is even a digital probe that “talks” to notify you of the state of your grilled fare.
With the advent of the new digital grill thermometers, even ones that will actually tell you in a voice that “dinner is ready” there are no longer excuses for undercooked, dangerous foods or dried up tasteless foods. Try a digital thermometer and serve meats cooked to perfection.