As promised, I’m back with more info on instant read thermometers, a gadget that I think is as important for grilling as the grill or the tongs. Most good grilling recipes specify what the internal temperature of most meats should be when they are properly grilled. The only way to follow those directions is with an instant read thermometer.
Instant read thermometers take the guesswork out of cooking by measuring the food’s internal temperature to ensure that it has reached a safe temperature to eat and isn’t undercooked. In other words, meat thermometers not only assure that meat has been cooked to a high enough temperature to kill harmful bacteria (such as Salmonella and E. coli that can cause food-borne illnesses) but they also assure that the meat is still juicy and tender when you serve it.
Old school methods of checking for doneness have so many drawbacks. Cutting into meat to check the colour is risky since the color of cooked meat varies significantly and each cut allows delicious juices to escape and makes your meat look terrible, too. Timing can be tricky since some grills get much hotter than others.
Follow these guidelines for proper usage of your instant read thermometer:
1. Completely insert the sensing probe (usually ½ inch to 2 inches long) into the thickest part of the meat.
2. For thin cuts such as chops, steaks or burgers, slide the probe through the side so that you can get the probe more deeply into the meat.
3. Avoid touching bone or fat with the tip of the probe since they conduct heat faster than flesh and can give you a false temperature reading.
4. For whole poultry, insert the thermometer into the inner thigh, pointing toward the breast. For chicken breasts or other pieces follow the rules for chops and steaks.
5. Always wash the thermometer probe in hot, soapy water after every use but do not immerse the gauge itself in water.