best food thermometer

How to find the best meat thermometer for grilling and smoking meat?


Grilling and smoking are the two opposite ends of the temperature spectrum when it comes to outdoor cooking. Grilling is hot and fast, with searing high direct heat and quick cooking times. Smoking on the other hand is low and slow with indirect heat and multiple hour-long cooking times. Not only are the cuts of meat you choose for each cooking style important, but so are the tools you use as well.


What are the three most common types of thermometers?

There are three main types of meat thermometers on the market today: Digital instant-read, dial, and Thermocouples. These thermometers are differentiated by how quickly and accurately they read a temperature, and where the temperature gauge sits in the stem.

Dial thermometers are the oldest version of meat thermometers, the slowest and least accurate. The stem is usually thick and needs to be inserted up to two inches into the meat so the temperature sensor can take an accurate reading. They also can take a minute or two to get an accurate reading.

Digital Instant-Read thermometers usually have a slender stem with the temperature sensor only a ½ inch past the tip of the probe. They have a much faster response time than dials, but still can be slow to reach an accurate temperature.

Thermocouples are the gold standard of fast, accurate and dependable temperature readings. The temperature sensor is located at the tip of a very narrow stem, reducing damage done to the meat by checking its temperature and allowing you full control of where you are getting your reading. They are also fast, near instantaneous, and certain probes (like the ChefsTemp Quad Xpro) can be left in during cooking.


Cook Chicken

Direct, high heat, grilling requires speed and accuracy. You do not want to linger over your food as this could burn your hands and release the heat from your grill. For this task, a trusted instant read thermometer, with a large LCD or digital display, is perfect for the job. The Chefstemp FinalTouch and Pocket Pro are built with durable stainless-steel probes and top-of-the-line thermocouple technology to give pinpoint temperature readings in mere seconds. That is key for keeping your hands safe and the heat of your grill inside the lid.

A thermocouple thermometer has several advantages over any other type on the market. Two of these advantages are speed to reach the accurate temperature (or temperature sensitivity), and the temperature gauge placement in the probe. The gauge is built directly into the tip of the probe giving you complete confidence in your placement in the piece of meat. Remember the goal is to always find the thermal center of the meat, or the part that is furthest away from all of the edges.

chefstemp pocket pro cooking thermometer 01
Chefstemp Temp a Chicken Thigh 01

It is not advisable to use leave in probe thermometers while grilling due to the intense heat that comes from the fire and flareups that can damage the cables and probes. The probes and cables are rated to 700°F (371°C) but some grease flare ups can create temperatures of over 1000°F (538°C).


Quad Xpro

Smoking has the opposite requirements than grilling. Smoking requires you to pay attention to the ambient temperature as well as the internal temperature of your meat. The cook times of smoked meats are also much longer, some smoke sessions can last up to 24 hours or more! To best ensure your smoker is keeping a constant temperature, and your piece of meat is not getting overcooked, you need a leave in probe thermometer such as the ChefsTemp Quad XPro with RF remote. This amazing piece of technology has four probe slots, one that can be used for an ambient temperature probe as well as 3 internal meat probes. This allows you to prep your smoker, add your meats with color coded probes, then step away. You can quickly and accurately monitor your cook from up to five hundred feet away thanks to the RF remote with high/low temperature alarms.

As always, we recommend doing a final spot check with a probe thermometer to ensure your meat is cooked to your desired temperature before pulling from the smoker. Please refer to our Safe Temperature Guide Here to ensure that your meat is perfectly cooked. Always better to be safe than sorry.


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Final touch X10
chefstemp wireless meat thermometer
chefstemp pocket pro cooking thermometer 01

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