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How to Choose the Best Meat Thermometer for You

Each year in the U.S., 1 in 6 Americans suffer from a bout of food poisoning. It sends hundreds of thousands of people to the hospital for care every year and can even be life-threatening for some.

While some instances of food poisoning come from food suppliers or manufacturers, most of the risk lies in your very own kitchen.

One of the culprits is not cooking meat to the right temperature. That’s why a meat thermometer should be a staple in every kitchen.

Read on to learn how to choose the best meat thermometer for your cooking needs and budget.

Oven-Safe Dial Thermometers

The most affordable and widely available type of meat thermometer is the dial thermometer. A glass-covered dial features an arrow that physically points to the temperature of the meat once it responds to the temperature from the probe.

Since they’re oven-safe, you can leave this type in the meat as it cooks in the oven. That means you can check for doneness without opening the oven.

But, to check different parts of the meat, you’ll need to move the probe and wait a minute for it to register. The temperature for these models isn’t as precise as digital models. Plus, the glass top can be fragile and hard to store in a drawer.

Digital Instant Read Meat Thermometers

Instant read meat thermometers give you a precise temperature reading in less than a second. They measure the temperature from the end of the probe and display the number digitally.

These thermometers offer a much quicker and more accurate reading than oven-safe dial thermometers. But, the downside is you can’t leave them in the meat as it cooks because most models are not heated safely. Plus, they’re often more expensive than dial models.

Digital Probe Thermometers

If you’re looking for a quick temperature reading combined with a thermometer you can keep in the meat as it cooks, look no further than a digital probe thermometer.

Many people in the BBQ geekdom swear by these tools since they offer a constant temperature reading without disrupting the meat. They’re especially handy for smoking meat since it needs to cook undisturbed for many hours.

While most models use a cord to connect the probe to the monitor, you can find wireless and Bluetooth meat thermometers. Keep in mind that they’re much pricier.

The only downside to probe models is that they only monitor one area of the meat, which can lead to parts of it getting overcooked. That’s why many BBQ experts also use an instant-read thermometer to periodically check other areas of the meat.

Combining a probe thermometer with an instant-read will often give you the best results.

Choose the Best Meat Thermometer Today

When it comes to finding the best meat thermometer, it’s not a one-size-fits-all situation. It depends on what kind of meat you cook, how often you’ll use it, and your budget.

If you only need a thermometer to cook a Thanksgiving turkey, a dial thermometer is all you need. If you’re a grill master who considers meat your hobby, it’s wise to invest in a probe thermometer.

To find more tips on food and cooking, keep scrolling through our blog.


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