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Whether you are a pro chef or just the designated cook for the family you can’t deny the value of a good meat thermometer. Versatile and good quality ones can work for a variety of meat and will prove to be a useful assistant in the kitchen.
Whether you’re grilling, roasting, or using your trusted oven a meat thermometer is your best bet at making sure that your food is cooked right. You don’t want to learn the dangers of undercooked meat and how wasteful overcooked meat the hard way, right?
So read on as we learn how to use a meat thermometer in the oven.
Table of Contents
What is a Meat Thermometer and Why Should You Use One?
It’s really not just a fancy way of cooking or preparing your dinner. It’s one of the best ways that you protect your family from any undesirable pathogens that might be induced by uncooked meats. It’s also one great way to make sure you don’t overcook your food or maybe ruin the flavor of everything.
There are two types of meat thermometers– Analog and Digital. A meat thermometer is a device with an attached probe to pierce your meat so you can get a reading of its internal temperature.
There are meat thermometers that are slow to read and are not meant to be left on the meat as you cook it. There are units though that are ideal to be left inside the meat as you cook it and are instant-read varieties. This is where you get hints of what type of meat thermometer to get and use with whatever it is that you are cooking.
Some meat thermometers come with dual probes, Bluetooth connectivity, and so many more features to make your life more convenient. Now let’s learn how to use one for your oven-cooked meals.
Meet the Oven Going Meat Thermometer
What’s the best way to monitor the temperature of your meat inside your oven? We will tell you what – use an oven-going meat thermometer. The name itself implies that it’s the perfect type to use amongst all meat thermometers when you’re cooking using your oven.
The same as with the other types of meat thermometer this one should not cost you much, maybe around $12. They are super convenient to use and easy to read. They can go in any size as well as cut for the meat that you are working on. Whole turkey, chicken breast, roast the list goes on.
This is one of those meat thermometers that you can leave on the meat before grilling or putting it in the oven and it can remain in there for the duration of the cooking process. Here are a few tips on how to use it.
Oven-Going “Dial” Meat Thermometer
- Make sure to insert the thermometer 2 inches into the center or maybe the largest or thickest muscle of the meat that you are cooking at the very least.
- Make sure that your thermometer should not touch any bone or fat and even the pan as you pierce it. If you do, then you won’t get accurate readings as these properties conduct heat differently and you always want to measure the temperature for the meat and not of anything else. This mistake can cause undercooking or overcooking your meat.
- Make sure to remember the ideal or recommended temperature for the meat that you’re cooking so you won’t be in any danger caused by undercooked meat.
- It’s also a good practice to push the temperature a little bit farther unto your meat. This way, you’d know when the temperature decreases that it’s not cooked properly just yet. When the temperature stays the same then you know that your food is quite ready.
Oven-Going “Probe” Meat Thermometer
This type of oven-going meat thermometer is a bit more expensive than the previous variety (well, just a tad). They are quite trendy though and a lot appreciates the added functionality. It’s got a wired probe that is meant to be inserted into the meat and then it goes to a base that can sit nicely outside your oven.
This design won’t require you to keep on opening the oven door and putting your face at risk of any burning plus heat won’t escape as much. You can read the current temperature of your turkey (for example) and monitor it comfortably and conveniently.
Some of these oven-going probe thermometers also come with a programmable feature that allows you to set up an alert once your meat has reached the recommended temperature. That means you’ll have some freedom and won’t always have to keep looking into your oven and you’ll have time to do something else.
What are the Temperature Gradient and Thermal Center?
Remember when we said that you should make it a habit to push your thermometer further unto your meat as you cook it? That’s because of what we call temperature gradient.
Temperature gradient basically refers to the difference of the temperature of your meat for example your turkey from its outer edges right unto its thermal center. The thermal center, on the other hand, is what you should aim for should you be inserting a meat thermometer probe into your meat. This is to ensure that you get only the most accurate temperature as you cook it.
This is true for meats such as a rack of lamb, ribs, and turkey. For chicken, it’s advisable to pierce the thigh and always make sure to avoid the bones!
[PRO TIP: Target temperatures for a variety of meat and even seafood should be around 145 to 165 degrees Fahrenheit.]
Anything Else That I Need to Know?
We have a few more tips and tricks for you as you cook your meat in the oven.
- A digital thermometer especially the wireless variety can help you tremendously and ease the process of cooking for you. They have preset or you can pre-set temperatures and can just notify you through a convenient alarm when your meat is ready. Great for multitasking and when you’re preparing for a huge dinner.
- Both a digital probe and instant-read meat thermometers can offer great convenience and flexibility for your cooking.
- For best results and accuracy, you must make sure to calibrate your thermometer now and then. To do this, all you need to prepare is iced water and put it on a bowl then submerge your thermometer in it for 30 seconds. Make sure that the iced water reads 0 degrees Celsius or 32 degrees F. Do this regularly and you’ll; save yourself a lot of trouble.
To know how to use a meat thermometer in the oven opens a lot of possibilities for us. For one, your cooking will now be a whole lot better in terms of flavor and you’ll save the family from any health issues undercooked meat can cause.
We utilize the oven almost every day and so we must know our way around it. Using a meat thermometer will also prevent any mishaps or accidents in the kitchen especially burning our hands or face when working with the oven.
The time to enjoy good food with the family starts now!
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