Cooking can be easy and satisfying when you have the right tools in your kitchen. Whether a regular cook or a starter, a digital food thermometer will get you extremely granular with your baking, smoking, roasting, and grilling, narrowing in your doneness preferences degree by degree. Having the best food thermometer means never sitting in front of your smoker or oven door distressed wondering if a few minutes will spoil your dish. Below are some of the questions you need to ask yourself before purchasing a food thermometer because once you know what you want, why you want it, and how you want it, the process of searching for it becomes easy.
Table of Contents
Why Do You Need a Digital Food Thermometer?
Different ingredients require certain temperatures – It is extremely difficult to achieve the right temperatures by merely guessing. You require a temperature chart and a digital food thermometer for you to prepare each ingredient to the right temperatures.
Lowers the risks of contracting foodborne diseases – Under-cooked food is not safe for consumption as it may contain harmful bacteria causing foodborne illnesses. On the other hand, overcooking lowers the nutritional benefits of food as overheating depletes vitamins and this makes it difficult even for the body to digest. Overcooked food is drained of all the flavor and may also contain bacteria causing foodborne diseases. Consider using an instant read thermometer as it will help you cook a healthy meal accordingly.
When preparing food for a baby – Normally, a baby’s food is regarded safe for consumption at 165 °F (74°C). Food heated above this temperature may result in serious burns to the baby. Also, food heated below this temperature may lead to foodborne diseases. Overcooking a baby’s food may also diminish the nutritional value. Whether cooking or heating, an instant-read food thermometer will help you achieve the right temperatures.
To determine the internal temperature of food – Determining the doneness level of food by just looking at it is not enough. It may lead to overcooked or undercooked food hence exposing your family or guests to foodborne illnesses. Certain meat like beef steak may require proper heating to have it done internally. You may consider using a steak temperature chart, which is easily accessible on the internet to determine the right temperatures for internally well-done meat, and you can only achieve those right temperatures by using a food thermometer.
To maintain the perfect flavor and taste of your food – Overcooking food may result in dryness hence burnt food. As a result, the flavor and taste of the food are distorted. The flavor and taste of undercooked food are also different from the one that is done perfectly. Therefore, a kitchen thermometer will help you maintain optimum temperatures throughout your cooking and achieve the best flavor and taste.
What Are the Types of Digital Food Thermometers?
Infrared Thermometers – They are unique as they measure the temperatures from the surface area. They are not dipped in food. They have an infrared light that is used to give a quick reading. They are convenient for instant checks on a holding line since they don’t have a probe that requires cleaning from time to time.
Probe Thermometers – They have a probe that can be put in thick cuts of meat during the entire period of cooking. They are suitable for the oven or smoker as the probe remains inside throughout the cooking process. They have a display unit that sits outside the oven and an alarm that rings once the right temperatures are achieved. They also have a wireless remote thermometer that can be used to monitor and regulate temperatures from a distance.
Instant Read Thermometers – They are also called thermistors or instant-read probes. They are very popular and are best used for quick measurements of internal temperatures when preparing small servings of meat, fish, or poultry. Most of them are potable hence increasing their convenience as they are easily accessible.
What Are the Factors to Consider When Selecting the Best Digital Food Thermometer?
Speed – A good food thermometer should respond to measurements instantly between 1-3 seconds. However, there are factors that affect a thermometer’s speed and they include: the probe thickness, quality of circuitry, distance between probe and circuitry, and the position inside of food. Therefore, a good kitchen thermometer should have a thin probe, high-quality circuitry, and a very short distance between the probe and circuitry.
Reproducibility – Refers to the ability of a thermometer to produce the same results every time it is used. When your thermometer produces different results of the same product at the same temperature level it means it is unreliable and should be left for a certain period to rest before another use. This will allow the physical properties of the thermometer to return to normal and can sometimes restore accuracy. It’s, therefore, advisable to clean the probe and stem after every use and to calibrate regularly.
Accuracy – A good food thermometer has been tested and approved by the relevant authorities. It is advisable to reset the thermometer once per year to counteract drift, which occurs when a thermometer slowly loses accuracy.
Resolution – It simply means the smallest increment of measurement on a thermometer, and it is either a tenth or a hundredth degree. A thermometer that displays a tenth degree resolution means that it will read to the nearest 0.1°C, while a thermometer with the hundredth degree of resolution displays a greater measurement display capability.
Readability – It should have an ultra-wide display with huge digits for visibility even from a greater distance. They should also have a backlight for easy reading even in a dark place.
Intelligent magnet – It should have a magnet; this makes it easy to stick on a metal cooker throughout the cooking process and enhances the safety of the thermometer.
Waterproof – A waterproof thermometer can serve you a long way as it won’t be affected by spillages or when cleaning the probe and the stem.
Always visit the manufacturer’s website before buying a digital food thermometer. There, you will have all the information regarding the features of the kitchen thermometer you choose to settle for and you will come across the best reviews from those already using the thermometer.
Discover more recipes and learn kitchen tricks by joining our cooking family on Facebook.