It’s hard to get excited about meat thermometers, I get it. (And you’re not even the one who has to write an article about them.)
But like regular dental cleanings, car oil-changes, and grill scrubbings, meat thermometer usage is something that you must do to avoid severe repercussions.
There are serious risks to undercooking food. There’s campylobacteriosis, which can cause fever, muscle pain, and bloody diarrhea (fun!). There’s E. coli infection, which can lead to stomach cramps, nausea, and blowing chunks (weee!). There’s listeriosis, and yersiniosis, and so much more.
Meat thermometers help you avoid all this. And all you have to do is stick the thing into the meat, give it a few seconds to do its job, and then either wait a little longer for the meat to keep cooking or pull it.
Digital-read (not analog) meat thermometers are the industry standard, as they’re more accurate and are what chefs use. (You’re reading a number, not eyeballing it.) And while pricey digital-read meat thermometers do exist, you really don’t need to spend lots of money on one unless you’re super into cooking.
That said, there are a ton of these meat thermometers on the market—and not all of them are that great. So here are the 10 best meat thermometers you should consider buying, based on your level of kitchen commitment. They range from basic and straightforward, to advanced and technical.
Whether you’re feeding just yourself or a huge group of friends or family, turn to these digital-read meat thermometers to handle the job.
How To Use A Meat Thermometer
But before we get into our top 10 meat thermometers, let’s get back to basics. Chances are many of you didn’t spend too much time in the kitchen pre-COVID days, but alas, 2020 has brought on new hobbies like cooking, and now that we’re swiftly moving into 2021, you consider yourself a semi-professional. Especially for new chefs, there is nothing worse than spending hours roasting a fancy piece of meat only to undercook it. The trick to using meat thermometers is to stick it into the thickest part of the meat, avoiding fat and bone.
It’s an easy kitchen task, but your meal can be reunited if done wrong. You’re looking to record the lowest possible internal temperature in the deepest darkest center of the meat. If you at any point see the temperature on the thermometer start to rise, know that you’ve gone too far.
Another tip (for larger roasts only) is to check the meat temperature about 30 minutes before the recipe expects it to be fully cooked, to make sure you’re on track. The meat will continue to cook once taken off the heat, so allow about five minutes of resting time as a part of the “cook time.” Check out the Food Safety’s Safe Minimum Cooking Temperature Chart for a more specific guideline on cooking and resting temperatures.
Taylor Digital Instant Read Pocket Thermometer
Press the “on” button (the little one on the lower left). Jab the meat thermometer needle into whatever you are temping. Wait for the reading. That’s it. No bull. It’s cheap, simple and straightforward and a good entry level option.
Cuisinart Multi-Tool Instant Read Thermometer
This meat thermometer includes just a few more features than the prior (namely a hey-that’s-actually-useful corkscrew and bottle opener). The temperature-read prong folds into the handle, which is nice, because then there’s one less piece to lose. Why do one task when you can do four?
Lavatools PT12 Javelin Digital Instant Read Meat Thermometer
People sort of geek out over this top meat thermometer, if you can believe that. That’s largely because unlik