The Best Meat Thermometer
Updated: Nov 19, 2020
If you’re gonna play in Texas, you gotta have a fiddle in the band. If you’re ever gonna see a rainbow, you got to stand a little rain. And if you’re gonna properly cook meat, you gotta have a good meat thermometer. There are truths in life, my friends!
Lots of people cook without a meat thermometer. I used to be one of those people. For years, I hacked into my meat mid-cook to look at the inside and then served meat with slits in it. But now that I have a meat thermometer—a quick, easy-to-use, good quality one—I don’t know how I ever lived without it. If you don’t have one, we need to have a talk. I’ll pat your hand and tell you gently, “It’s time.”
Food safety is one reason to make sure you have a good thermometer--you cannot tell by eye whether your food has reached the proper temperature. But there is another reason as well. Meat is expensive, especially clean meat such as grassfed beef, pastured pork, or free-range chickens. Overcooking and undercooking can ruin your pricey meat. No one wants that.
This is the one I have: a Thermapen from Thermoworks. We bought it because my husband loves to watch America’s Test Kitchen and this thermometer was their top pick. We’ve had great luck following America's Test Kitchen's advice; they do extensive product testing! We’ve had our thermometer for about eight years and I think we’ve replaced the batteries once.
The Thermapen is very quick, accurate, and easy to use--there aren't any buttons to press; you just open the arm and go. It reads nearly instantly with a clear display. The arm of the thermometer is adjustable, so you can insert it into your meat from any angle. It's a wonderful gift idea for the cooks in your life, but you should definitely have one for yourself!
Here’s a link to a little chart for you to determine what temperature your meat (and other foods) should reach to be considered safe to consume, courtesy of foodsafety.gov.