Using a meat thermometer in your cooking ensures your roast beef, steak, chicken, or fish is cooked well and tastes really great. On top of that, you feel confident that it is cooked thoroughly and is safe to consume. But is it safe to use in the oven or on a pan? There are many kinds of cooking thermometer available and it can be bewildering to decide which one to buy.
Can you leave a meat thermometer in the oven? Yes, if you are using the kind of meat thermometer designed for such. It is either the “dial oven-safe thermometer” or the “oven-going meat thermometer,” otherwise known as the “oven-safe bimetallic-coil thermometer.” The prong should be inserted at least two inches into the center of the largest portion or thickest part of the meat to be cooked without touching any bone, fat, or the pan.
If you prefer a digital meat thermometer that can be used inside the oven, the one with wireless technology capability could be the best bet for you. The probe inserted into the meat is equipped with a sensor that sends information to a wireless portable device. That means having the option to leave the kitchen while the food in the oven is cooking. You can attend to something equally important and at the same time, monitor the cooking and know when it’s time to go back to the kitchen.
Learn more about the many different ways you can check if your food is cooked enough to make it safe to eat it. You don’t want to get sick or hospitalized because of food poisoning.
Read on and know about cooking your food to the right temperature and length of time with the help of meat thermometers. Also, get a thermometer specifically designed to fit your requirements, preference, and work practices in the kitchen.
Also referred to as a cooking thermometer, a meat thermometer lets you monitor the internal temperature of the meat, such as steaks, roasts, and other cooked foods. The internal temperature of the meat being cooked should be close to the ‘doneness’ of the meat. Cooking meat, pork, poultry, or just about any kind of food that needs to be cooked for human consumption should be done well to a temperature that can eliminate the pathogens present in the food. This may cause illness when that food is eaten.
Recommended/Right Temperature for Cooking Different Kinds of Food
POULTRY: As with beef and meat, the thermometer should be inserted into the thigh without hitting the bone.
Temperature to reach: 74 °C or 165 °F
BEEF, LAMB, OR VEAL: Insert the thermometer without hitting any bone, cartilage, or fat.
Temperature to reach: 63 °C or 145 ° for medium-rare
Temperature to reach: 77 °C or 170 ° for well done
PORK: Insert the thermometer and avoid touching any bone, cartilage, or fat.
Temperature to reach: 71 °C or 160 °F
GROUND MEAT: Insert the digital food thermometer right through its thickest part. Hamburger Patty: Insert the thermometer from the side to the center of the patty. Each piece should be checked due to uneven heat.
Temperature to reach: 71 °C or 160 °F for patties made of beef, lamb, veal, or pork
Temperature to reach: 74 °C or 165 °F for patties made of poultry
CASSEROLES AND EGGS: Insert the thermometer into its thickest area.
Temperature to reach: 71 °C or 160 °F for casseroles
Temperature to reach: 74 °C or 165 °F for eggs
FISH: Temperature to reach: 70 °C or 158 °F
SHELLFISH: such as clams, mussels, oysters, scallops, crabs, lobsters, and shrimps
Temperature to reach: 74 °C or 165 °F
Note: Throw away any shellfish that did not open while being cooked.
Different Kinds of Thermometers for Cooking
Here is a short description of the different kinds of cooking thermometers to choose from according to your requirements
Oven-Safe Bimetallic-Coil Thermometer: This is a food thermometer that you stick in the food before putting it in the oven, and can stay in the oven throughout the entire cooking process. Mostly used for large food items like turkey, roast beef, or ham. This food thermometer is necessary to monitor well the temperature of the food while it is cooking.
Dial Instant-Read Thermometer: The thermometer’s stem is inserted into the food at least two inches. To use it on thinner foods, insert it through the side of the food. Examples are chops, burgers, and patties. Usually, it will give the reading of the temperature in 15 up to 20 seconds. The dial instant-read thermometer is not used in foods while it is being cooked.
Digital Instant-Read Thermometer: Its probe is inserted into the food half an inch or more and will provide the temperature reading in 10 seconds or so. The digital instant-read thermometer is commonly used to check the ‘doneness’ of both bigger cuts and thinner foods. Examples are steaks, chops, and burgers. It is not designed to be used while the food is being cooked.
Dial oven-safe thermometers: The thermometer is first inserted about two inches to two and a half inches into the food’s thickest part, and then put into the oven. It can be left on the food while cooking. After one or two minutes, a reading can be made. It can be used for casseroles, roasts, and soups, but it is not recommended for foods that are thin.
Thermometer-fork combination thermometers: This type of thermometer is designed for getting the temperature for grilling, giving results in two to ten seconds. It should be inserted at least a fourth of an inch into the thickest part of the food. The fork’s sensor must be fully embedded in the food.
Microwave-safe thermometers: As the name indicates, it is designed exclusively for microwave ovens only.
Disposable temperature indicators: It is for one-time use only and then disposed of. These indicators are available in specific ranges of temperature. They are made from temperature-sensitive materials and will give a reading in five to ten seconds when the material’s color changes.
Pop-Up Thermometers: Poultry sold in the supermarket may have one inside. When it is cooked, the thermometer automatically pops out as the food reaches the right temperature for ‘doneness’ and safety
What is so good and not so good about Digital Meat Thermometers
A digital thermometer model may have features that add convenience and advantages an analog model cannot have, such as a beeper to indicate that the meat has reached a preset temperature, a more accurate reading, and can be much faster
|A few models cannot be calibrated while the ones that can may be difficult to carry out.|
Digital thermometers have easy-to-read, bigger displays that can be clearly seen even in low light. Especially when using thermometers that you can use in the over, this feature will help you see what the temperature is without having to open the oven door to do it.
Some brands use cheap electronics components resulting in bad customer experience that makes some people think twice about buying one.
Every kind of gadget, electronic component, and appliance, to name a few, has a digital version of its analog counterpart. It is a growing trend.
It can either give erratic or inaccurate readings when they malfunction, which happens more often with digital products than with analog ones.
You can preset the time or the temperature of the meat you are cooking on the grill or in the oven. So, if someone wants their steak rare and others want theirs medium, you can set each probe accordingly, and the temperature alarm will go off to alert you when the preset time or temperature has been reached for each meat.
Gives the flexibility to preset time or temperature for cooking the meat on the grill or oven, so it is possible to cook it rare, or medium-rare.
Digital devices need batteries to function and some models will just go ‘dead’ without warning.
What is so good and not so good with Analogue Meat Thermometers
Use traditional technology and mechanical parts that some people have more trust in and prefer.
Most have small dial displays that may be difficult to read, especially in low illumination or from a distance.
Do not need batteries to function.
They generally don’t have any additional features, such as letting you know when your meat is done.
Calibration is easily done.
Accuracy is less than that of a digital thermometerNeed more time and effort to monitor the cooking to achieve how you want the meat done
Is there a digital meat thermometer that can stay with the food or meat while being cooked inside an oven?
Most digital meat thermometers cannot stay inside the oven while cooking. You have to take out the food and do a reading using the digital thermometer.
But there are certain brands that carry models with remote control read-outs. That is, a probe inserted into the meat or food being cooking in an oven or on a grill will send the information via remote control to a handheld portable device on which you can monitor the progress and be alerted if the cooking is finished.
Now, that’s the kind of thermometer that’s right for you if you want to monitor your cooking without having to take the food out of the oven. In short, it works so much like an oven-going meat thermometer.
Other Ways Your Food Thermometer Can Be Used That You May Not Know
- Checking and Preparing Baby’s Food
Babies are such delicate creatures that the food you feed them should not be too hot that it may hurt them. The thermometer may be used to check that the temperature of the food is just right for him. Compared to using the palm or the wrist to check how hot the food or water is, doing it with a thermometer is more accurate, much safer, and more sanitary, helping to eliminate bacterial infection.
- Checking How Hot Your Bath Water Is
You can use a thermometer to check if the bathwater is just the right temperature to bathe in, that is, not hot but just pleasantly warm to the skin. You don’t want to shower or step into a bathtub with water that can scald or burn your skin. Testing the water’s temperature with just your finger may be deceiving or not enough. Checking the temperature with a thermometer is more accurate, eliminating unpleasant and dangerous consequences.
- Reheating Leftover Foods
It is not enough to reheat leftover foods in the microwave oven. You have to check if the internal temperature of the food after reheating it is safe enough for consumption. When reheating food, aim for a temperature of 140 °Fahrenheit for processed foods, and 165 °Fahrenheit for most other foods.
- Checking Beverage Temperature
When it comes to hot beverages, you simply place the thermometer in the drink to determine its temperature. It will tell you if it is ready to drink or still too hot to take. Drinking too hot beverages may not only be unpleasant; it can burn your tongue.
- Cooking Rice and Eggs
Using a thermometer can take the guesswork out of knowing when boiling water is hot enough to cook rice or eggs.
- Monitoring Oven Temperature
You can determine the temperature in the oven with the use of a thermometer and set the desired temperature for a food to be cooked in it. Even while the meal is cooking, you can monitor the temperature by the thermometer’s beeping sound or alert.
- Ice Cream and Baking Pastries
When baking pastries, the food thermometer can be used to know when the pastries are ready for consumption. A thermometer can measure the temperature to see if it is already cooked.
Custard is prepared from milk or cream with egg mixed in for thickening. It is prepared in various consistency depending on the recipe. Being milk-based, it is prone to salmonella contamination that should be heated at about 160 degrees Fahrenheit to kill the salmonella bacteria.
Most people don’t realize how vital the food thermometer is in the matter of good health and nutrition. All we know is so superficial such as chefs and gourmets using it to perfect their culinary creations. But It plays an important role in safeguarding our health and safety. How? You might ask. Here are the facts.
- To know if a food has reached its safe internal temperature
Most people can’t tell when a food item has reached its safe internal temperature by merely looking at it.
Most of the time, we believe we can tell when food is cooked the right way by just looking at it. It may seem okay like it’s cooked well enough because of how it appears on the outside. But judging food by how it looks is not enough. The food may appear cooked well on the outside, but its safe internal temperature may not have been reached. The only way to be sure it has is to check it with a food thermometer.
- To avoid overcooking
Overcooking decreases the nutritional value of food and makes it less delicious. Checking the temperature with a food thermometer will help to prevent it.
- To help reduce the danger of foodborne disease
Checking the internal temperature of food with a thermometer will ensure that your food has reached a high temperature enough to destroy the bacteria in it.
Essential Tips on the Use of Food Thermometer
- When checking the internal temperature of a food, insert the food thermometer into the food’s thickest part without touching the bone, fat, gristle, or cartilage.
- Check the internal temperature of food near the end of the cooking, right before the food is estimated to be done.
- Before and after using your food thermometer, always clean it with hot, soapy water.
- Always refer to your thermometer reading with the recommended Safe Minimum Internal Temperatures chart to see if it has reached the safe temperature.
In closing, don’t forget to use your food thermometer when you take out a TV dinner out of your refrigerator
In spite of the impact of health and wellness consciousness among many people, which is a good thing, we sometimes couldn’t help reverting, maybe temporarily, to old habits simply because of lethargy or boredom. It could be a stopgap measure for a temporary situation. Or to make little compromises just to help us get through a tough day.
It’s like taking out a shallow-tray frozen dinner, or a TV dinner, just so we don’t fritter away some few, precious remaining hours of the evening having to cook. What a convenience that is but not necessarily healthy, you would agree.
Unless you cut down the risk by using a food thermometer. Here’s how to do it. Read the cooking instructions on the label and follow it. If you want to reheat the TV dinner in the microwave, follow the ‘standing time’ recommended in the guidelines. Sometimes called “carry-over cooking,” it simply means that some cooking continues even though the energy source has been turned off. Use your food thermometer to reach the recommended temperature and length of time in reheating your TV dinner safely.
Cap the day with a satisfying and safely reheated TV dinner while enjoying your favorite evening TV fare, and a relaxing evening with your whole family.