In Australia we love our meat and there’s nothing more satisfying than turning out juicy, tender and evenly cooked beef, lamb, pork and chicken. Be it an instant read thermometer or a digital meat thermometer with all the bells and whistles, such as wifi and Bluetooth, we have plenty of options to suit your cooking needs.
Why do you need a meat thermometer?
While there are many other factors to consider to get the best possible flavour out of your meat, having a meat thermometer takes the guesswork out of cooking and is by far the quickest and safest way of gauging the level of doneness as well as ensuring accurate temperatures, cooking times and stages.
We always recommend opting for a cooking thermometer to help with food safety so you don’t have to slice into your favourite cuts of meat prematurely, potentially drying them out - or worse, serving undercooked meat without realising!
What to look for when buying a kitchen thermometer or food thermometer
There are different types of thermometers for different purposes so it’s important to select one that is designed to suit your needs. For example, you can buy digital thermometers or a specific cooking thermometer for the BBQ, as well as specialist candy and deep frying thermometers.
Let’s take a closer look at the different types we have available:
The meat thermometer. Designed to give a consistently accurate reading, meat thermometers also help you retain the flavour and nutritional properties of your meat. While some models can be labelled as a specialist ‘bbq thermometer or grill thermometer’, you can use a regular meat thermometer to measure the internal temperature of barbecued food. However, these devices do sometimes come with extra features such as waterproof silicone casings, alarm notifications and long-life batteries (ideal when smoking or cooking meat outside).
The candy thermometer. Candy thermometers measure much higher temperatures than meat thermometers because cooking sugar requires a temperature range of up to 250 degrees celsius. They are also commonly made of glass as opposed to having a long stainless steel probe or backlight digital display. Sometimes candy thermometers are also lumped together with deep frying thermometers and that is usually due to the design’s ability to take a higher temperature reading.
The oven thermometer. Having a separate oven thermometer is much more accurate than relying on the built-in gauge and that is because cookers vary drastically with some spots attracting more or less heat than others.
The fridge/freezer thermometer. Monitoring the temperature of your fridge or freezer can help stop your food from going off too quickly; a fridge that isn’t cold enough can actually exasperate bacteria growth. So, these thermometers work in a very similar way to oven thermometers, both often having a dial face, and can be left inside the fridge or freezer to help you keep track of fluctuations.
Do thermometers come in different styles?
They sure do! Here’s a closer look...
Liquid. Liquid thermometers are mostly used as candy thermometers. The volume of liquid increases with the temperature, forcing it to rise up the tube.
Probe. A probe thermometer is composed of two bonded metals that expand at different temperatures. With heat, the strip of metal bends or twists and the temperature is recorded on the display.
Dial. A dial thermometer or dial meat thermometer has a circular scale and uses a metal pointer to indicate the temperature measurements. This design is also common in oven and fridge thermometers.
Digital. A digital thermometer has a temperature-sensitive thermistor and a microcomputer, which accurately shows the temperature on an LCD display. Wireless options are also available.
Programmable. Programmable thermometers, such as a wifi or Bluetooth thermometer, take remote readings and are commonly built with an alarm which sounds out when the required temperature has been reached. Some of them are labelled as a ‘smart meat thermometer’ and come with a downloadable app as well as a host of bonus features.
What is an instant read thermometer?
An instant read meat thermometer makes an excellent cooking tool because you don’t have to wait long to get a reading. They often come with different sized probes and getting one with a large probe is ideal for roasting and for thick cuts of meat - although choosing the right thermometer probe depends on how you think you’ll use it more than being an indication of whether or not it’s a quality product. A digital instant read thermometer will display the temperature on the screen and typically lets you move between celsius and fahrenheit.
Most thermometers give instant readings but what varies is how they offer up the temperature. For example, wifi or smart meat thermometers will use your connectivity to display the meat temperature on a downloadable app while more traditional digital probe thermometers simply tell you then and there - you just have to remember to take the time to check.
Can you leave a meat thermometer in the meat while it is cooking?
It depends on the model, but oven-safe models in a dial design can stay in place while the food cooks; be sure to insert the stainless steel probe on your meat thermometer about two inches into the thickest part of the meat - a long probe will be required. Always read the directions before use.
Which digital meat thermometer is best for meat or the BBQ?
The best meat thermometer for grilling or barbecuing doesn’t have to be the most complicated option but it does help to have extra features like a waterproof design or alarm notifications so you can multitask without the worry. Any options from top brands like Inkbird, Avanti, Oxo and Heston Blumenthal will provide highly accurate and precise readings.
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