How To Get An Accurate Temperature Reading
Before using a food thermometer, read the manufacturer’s instructions. Read about how far to insert the thermometer in a food to get an accurate reading. Here are some simple steps to ensure you get an accurate temperature reading when using a food thermometer:
First confirm that the thermometer is accurate by using either ice water or boiling water. Your thermometer should read 32°F in ice water, and 212°F in boiling water at sea level.
Step 2: Calibrate it.
Calibration of a thermometer means ‘fine-tuning’ it to maintain its accuracy and precision. It is a process that ensures the thermometer takes the correct readings. Read the manufacturer’s instructions about how to adjust your thermometer, as needed, to ensure you get an accurate reading. You can calibrate your thermometer in Ice Bath or Boiling Point of Water.
Step 3: Place it properly.
Placement is very important to get an accurate reading. Penetrate the food with the probe and place the very tip of the probe in the area where a temperature measurement is needed. When testing doneness in most foods, take readings at the very center of the thickest portion, this is because this will be coldest part of the food. For larger foods, take readings in several locations to verify the entire portion is done. Finally, make sure not to touch bone, fat or gristle.
For large food like chicken thigh, it can be difficult to place the tip of the probe in the thermal center. When using a thermometer such as a ChefsTemp Final Touch X10, push the probe tip past where you think the center of the thigh is. After this, slowly pull the probe out until the temperature drops on the display screen. Watch the temperature fall in ‘real time’, it will keep dropping until it reaches the thermal center of the thigh. Use this technique with all larger foods where the it is not clear where the thermal center is.
HOW TO USE FOOD THERMOMETER?
There are several steps you need to do to use a food thermometer correctly. First you need to make sure it is accurate to within two degrees, to do this you need to calibrate it. There are two ways to calibrate a food thermometer. The first is to calibrate using the ice water method. this is done by taking a drinking glass, filling it with ice, then adding water to the the ice, then you want to insert the temperature probe into the ice water and once it gets to 32⁰ you then press the set button on an instant read thermometer or turn the dial on a manual thermometer to 32⁰. The second method is the boiling water method, it is not the safest way to calibrate a thermometer but it will work. first put water in a pan, place the pan on the burner and bring the water to a boil, then place the sensor probe into the boiling water and press the set/calibrate button and it will set to the water temperature which should be 212⁰. if you are using a manual thermometer you would then turn the dail to 212⁰.
CAN A MEAT THERMOMETER BE WRONG?
The short answer is yes. Meat thermometers can get out of calibration when being used to take temperatures and then removed from one heat source and brought back into normal temperature if the temperature range is drastic. It is a good practice to calibrate your thermometer daily, it only takes a couple of minutes to do it using the ice method which is the safest way to do it, and this will give you accurate temperature readings. Calibrating the ChefsTemp Thermometers is an easy process, and can be done in a couple of minutes by filling a drinking glass with ice and water, then immersing the temperature probe into the water, wait for the thermometer to stabilize and then calibrate it to 32⁰F or 0⁰C.
HOW DO I KNOW IF MY FOOD THERMOMETER IS ACCURATE?
The best way to determine if your food thermometer is accurate is to calibrate the thermometer before you use it, this will insure that your temperature readings are accurate from the first use. Calibrating a thermometer is easy and can be done two ways, the ice method, or the hot water method. The Ice method is safer and only takes a couple of minutes, the hot water method requires boiling water to calibrate the thermometer with. The steps for the hot water method are fill a pot with water and place it on the stove burner, bring the water to a boil, insert the probe into the boiling water and then calibrate the thermometer setting it to 212⁰F or 100⁰C. The ice method is much simpler, fill a glass with ice and water, insert the probe into the water, calibrate the thermometer to 32⁰F or 0⁰C and you are set to go.
SHOULD A MEAT THERMOMETER START AT ZERO?
All cooking thermometer start at Zero. They should all have a good range and should show on the readings the temperature of the room before inserting them into the meat and should give you an accurate temperature reading of the meat before you place it in the oven as well as showing the temperature progress as it cooks. If you are using a manual cooking thermometer it will show on the dial what the room temperature is the same as a digital. Some of the leave in manual thermometers will go below zero but they all show the temperature of the place they are at, whether that is in a drawer, on the counter, or in the oven.
HOW DO YOU CALIBRATE A MEAT THERMOMETER WITHOUT ICE?
The only way to calibrate a thermometer without ice is to use the hot water method. This method involves setting your thermometer to the temperature of boiling water, 212⁰F or 100⁰C. It is not the safest way to do it but it will work. You need to fill a pot with water and place it on a stove burner and bring the water to a boil, then insert the probe of the thermometer into the boiling water and set the temperature. This way to calibrate a thermometer is not the safest way to do it because you have to place your hands over the boiling water while you calibrate the thermometer. The ice method is the recommended way to calibrate a thermometer.
HOW OFTEN SHOULD A FOOD THERMOMETER BE CALIBRATED?
Food thermometers should be calibrated before each use. In a commercial setting this would be once each day at the start of the day, or recalibrating if you drop the thermometer. Most home cooks do not use the food thermometers daily, even though they should especially when cooking proteins, making bound salads, and other items that require cooking. Accurate cooking temperatures means safer food. No one wants to make someone sick because they didn’t safely cook the food and this applies to home cooking as well as grilling, barbecuing, smoking meats, or any other type of cooking such as baking and roasting. safe food makes for great gatherings.
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