The meat thermometer is one of the best tools you can use when cooking any type of meat. It doesn’t matter if you’re a home cook or a seasoned professional chef, meat thermometers are a must-have if you want to cook meat perfectly every single time. Finding the right thermometer for your needs can be quite challenging; given the vast amount of models and brands out there. However, there’s no need to worry. We are here to help you.
In this article, we’re going to look at the best meat thermometers available in the market today. We’ve picked the best meat thermometers based on how well they perform. We’ll also provide a guide on what you should watch out for when buying a meat thermometer, some tips during your shopping, and what’s the best method of using them.
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Why Buy a Meat Thermometer?
The meat thermometer is one of the most underrated kitchen accessories. We’ve all been there where we just finished cooking something and we think – is that whole chicken cooked all the way through?
A meat thermometer takes all the guesswork of cooking any type of meat. Whether you’re roasting, grilling, baking, or even deep-frying, it lessens the chances of your meat overcooking or undercooking due to temperature guesswork.
Having this assurance is especially important when you want to serve a lot of people during events. You don’t want to be serving overcooked turkey during Thanksgiving. It will also eliminate the stress during a hectic grilling or BBQ session. Having a meat thermometer on the ready can be really handy. Here are five benefits of using a meat thermometer.
Never have your barbecue come out dry and overcooked ever again. With a meat thermometer, you’ll have accurate information on the internal temperature of the meat you’re cooking. This way, you’ll be able to take them out once they reach the desired temperature.
No More Guesswork
It is very hard to know if the meat you’re cooking is ready by just looking at it. If you only use cooking time to determine readiness, you might have different pieces perfectly cooked while others are undercooked or even worse– burnt. By using a meat thermometer, you can determine readiness via a target temperature which is far more accurate. You’ll be able to cook your favorite meals to perfection every time.
Perfectly Cooked Steaks, Every Time
We all love a perfectly cooked steak. However, each person has their preference on how well it should be cooked. If you’re used to cooking your steak well-done, you might have a hard time serving medium rare for guests who request them. By using a meat thermometer, you can ensure that each steak is cooked right according to requests.
Reach and Maintain Safe Temperatures
It is very important to cook meat until it reaches safe temperatures. This is to eliminate any harmful bacteria inside the meat. Plenty of people end up in the emergency room due to food poisoning. It is our responsibility as cooks to ensure that the food we serve is safe to eat. To reach and maintain this safe temperature while cooking meat, a meat thermometer is highly recommended.
Reheat Your Food to Safe Temperature
Most of us will have leftovers in the fridge, especially after a gathering or event. Instead of throwing these leftovers away, we should reheat them for another day. However, reheating can be quite tricky, especially for large whole meals. This is where a meat thermometer will aid you. No more will you have leftovers with hot exteriors and cold interiors ever again.
Things to Look for in a Meat Thermometer
Before shopping for your new thermometer, let’s look at the things that you should look out for. Knowing these features will ensure that you buy the right meat thermometer for your needs. Do note that a meat thermometer is quite different from a cooking thermometer.
Meat thermometers generally provide accurate temperature readings a lot faster compared to cooking thermometers. This is to minimize the time you have your oven door or grill top open. With that said, let’s look at the different factors you should look out for in a meat thermometer.
Meat Thermometer Type
There are two different types of meat thermometers – instant-read and probe-type thermometers. Depending on what you cook and the temperatures you use, you might need one or the other. Instant-read meat thermometers are inserted into the meat but only for a few seconds tops. The other is the probe thermometer, also called the in-oven thermometer. The probe thermometer stays inside the meat while it cooks. The cook can see the current temperature via a display that sits outside the oven or grill.
Both the instant-read and probe thermometer have digital and analog versions. There are also meat thermometers that connect to your phone via an app. Most digital instant read thermometers are also waterproof, so that’s a plus.
Sensitivity and Response Time
Sensitivity and response time is some of the most important factors you should consider, especially for instant-read thermometers. You should go for instant-read thermometers that can provide accurate readings in 3 seconds or less. The faster the response time, the less time the oven or grill is open. This will ensure the least amount of heat is lost whenever you check the temperature. Sometimes, these displays are magnetic that sticks to your oven door.
Various brands of meat thermometers will have different max temperatures they can read. If you utilize high-heat cooking methods, make sure that your meat thermometer can withstand high temperatures. This is especially important if you deep fry a lot or are into candy making. If you’re unsure about what you’re cooking, it might be best to get a meat thermometer that can handle temps above 700F.
A waterproof meat thermometer is a great option if you’re dealing with plenty of fluids during the cooking process. It can also be handy if you’re grilling outdoors, where it might rain or have pool splashes all over. Most digital meat thermometers in the market today will be water-proof.
Alerts and Display
You should look for meat thermometers that can show and tell what you need when you need them. There are plenty of digital probe thermometers that can alert you when it hits a target temperature. This is a very useful feature, especially for those that tend to forget to check-in.
Newer models of meat thermometers have features that let you monitor them on your phone. There are also digital meat thermometers that can have multiple timers and alarm settings you can choose from.
Depending on the type of meat you’re cooking, you’ll want to consider the probe length. Longer probes are recommended for whole poultry and large cuts of meat. Shorter probes are great for smaller meats and other delicate ingredients that you don’t want to disrupt too much.
Top 10 Best Meat Thermometers for 2021
Now that you know what to look for in meat thermometers, let’s look at our top 10 picks for the best meat thermometers in 2021. We’ve scoured the internet and tested plenty of thermometers to find the best available. Let’s get right into it!
1. Thermapen Mk4
The Thermapen Mk4 is easily one of the best instant-read meat thermometers out there. It takes only two seconds for the Thermapen to provide an accurate temperature reading. This makes the Thermapen one of the most precise meat thermometers available in the market today. It doesn’t have a hefty price tag without a reason.
If you’re looking to upgrade an old meat thermometer or want to buy your first, the ThermoPop is a great option for its price. Its design is fairly simple, with an easy-to-read display that can measure temperatures of 58F to 572F. Great reading performance and build quality for its price range.
3. Meater Smart Wireless Meat Thermometer
Looking to splurge on some fancy meat thermometer? If yes, we recommend the Smart Wireless Meat Thermometer from Meater. This smart thermometer can provide accurate temperature readings on your phone while you relax away from the oven or grill. Not only that, but it also features a “Guided Cook System” app that tells you the best time to take out your food. This feature is great for beginner cooks.
4. Good Grip’s Chef’s Precision Digital Leave-in Thermometer
Unlike most digital thermometers, this in-oven thermometer is special as it is safe to leave in while your food cooks. It has a large screen which lets you easily see the current temp with a glance. This model’s readings are also super accurate.
5. Classic Instant Read Pocket Thermometer
This small thermometer is one of the most used in professional kitchens. It’s fairly old school but very reliable. It can quickly read the temp of any type of meat, no matter how thick. Its small build also makes it very portable in a busy kitchen.
6. ThermoPro Instant Read Long Probe Meat Thermometer
Looking for a meat thermometer that won’t singe your arm hair off? This one is for you. This long probe meat thermometer will provide with an accurate reading while keeping your hands safe from the intense heat.
7. AcuRite Digital Meat Thermometer
If you want to cook your meat low and slow, then this digital meat thermometer is for you. It has all the USDA-recommended preset temperatures already programmed in. All you need to do is set an alarm, and it will notify you when your food has finished cooking. You can set the timer up to 10 hours.
8. Habor Instant Read Thermometer
This model is by far the most popular meat thermometer on Amazon. Plenty of reviewers note its convenient size, easy-to-slide pen clip protective cover, and blazing fast readings.
9. Rubbermaid Instant Read Thermometer
Another great budget option, this instant-read meat thermometer does what it says on the tin– it provides accurate and instant reading every time. This is perfect for those who just want a reliable instant-read thermometer without various fancy features.
10. Kizen Digital Instant Read Thermometer
Finally, our last entry is the Kizen Digital Instant Read Thermometer. What’s unique about this model is that it’s a waterproof meat thermometer. You won’t have to worry about damaging it while cleaning up.
How to Use a Meat Thermometer?
Whenever you’re cooking meat, the best time to measure the temperature is when you’re approaching the end of the cooking cycle. This is true whether you’re cooking in the smoker, the oven, grill, or even the traditional stovetop.
You should watch out to not check the temperature too much. Jabbing too many holes in the meat will result in flavorful juices flowing out which can dry out the meat.
To use digital meat thermometers, insert the probe tip about an inch into the thickest part of the meat (insert sideways into burgers or chicken breasts) for the most accurate temp readings. The temp reading should drop as the probe moves into the meat. If the temp rises, you’ve pushed the probe too far.
Once you’re near the end of the cooking process, check to see if it’s at the right temperature. Make sure to take out your meat before it is completely done due to carry-over heat. The heat inside the meat will continue to cook it.
Lastly, be careful not to release too much heat from the grill or oven to keep the temps as consistent as possible.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is the most accurate meat thermometer?
From what we’ve researched, the most accurate meat thermometer currently out in the market
is the Thermapen Mk4.
What meat thermometer do chefs use?
A lot of chefs in professional kitchens use the Classic Instant Read Pocket Thermometer. This is because it is a very accurate thermometer, very portable, and also budget-friendly.
Do professional chefs use meat thermometers?
Yes, professional chefs use meat thermometers to cook the best meat meals every day.
What meat thermometer should I buy?
It depends on your needs and budget. Instant-read thermometers are great if you’re always in the kitchen. On the other hand, a probe thermometer is great for people who cook meals for long periods.
What are the best wireless meat thermometers?
Our pick for the best wireless meat thermometer is the Meater Smart Wireless Meat Thermometer.
Are wireless meat thermometers any good?
Wireless meat thermometers are great if you want the convenience of wireless technology and phone applications. You can leave it in the meat while you do something else and monitor the temp in a phone application.
Why is Thermapen so expensive?
Thermapen is very expensive because it provides one of the fastest and most accurate temp readings in the market today.
Is the Meater plus worth it?
Depending on your budget, the Meater plus may be worth it. If you’ve got the $100 to splurge on this fancy thermometer, we recommend it. The convenience it provides is rivaled by none. It is easily the best smart meat thermometer.
Who makes the best BBQ thermometer?
We believe that Thermoworks thermometers make the best BBQ thermometers today. But check back here before you buy one as our list is updated every year!
Can you leave a thermometer in the meat while smoking?
Smoking meat will require high temperatures. Make sure that your leave-in thermometer can withstand the high temperatures of the smoker before you leave it in.
This concludes our guide on the best meat thermometers you can buy in 2021. We hope that you’ve learned something new about digital thermometers and probe thermometers and grab the best deal suited to your needs.