How to Use a Meat Thermometer Properly?
Today we are going to discuss how to use a meat thermometer, how to calibrate a digital thermometer, and how to properly take a temperature with a meat thermometer.
We will be using the ChefsTemp Final Touch X10 digital thermometer.
This is a battery-powered, digital thermometer, that is incredibly accurate and will give you an accurate temperature within a few seconds. These thermometers are one of the best thermometers on the market today.
You might be wondering just how important a thermometer is to cooking great food. If you are a professional chef or a home cook, cooking time and temperature are critical to a perfect dish. Meat temperatures determine doneness and depending on the cut of meat you are cooking, some items like ground meats and poultry require higher-finish temperatures than say a steak, chops, or roasts. Therefore, cooking temperature becomes critical. These minimum temperatures are also critical for food safety against foodborne bacteria and viruses, such as salmonella and e-Coli. Everyone wants to eat great tasting and great looking food, but we also want it to be safe to eat, and that requires knowing what temperature your food has been cooked to.
Also, time and temperature must be monitored after you have cooked your food and have leftovers to deal with. They need to be moved from a hot serving temperature to a cooled down temperature to safely store them and prevent viruses and bacteria from causing your leftovers to spoil. This is called the temperature danger zone and it is critical to get through this temperature zone as quickly as possible to keep your food safe to eat. The temperature danger zone is from 40-140 degrees, and when you cool food down you need to get it from 140 to 70 degrees within two hours and from 70-40 degrees in an additional two hours. If you cannot, you should probably discard the leftovers.
Thermometers are also critical in ensuring that when you reheat leftovers you get them to the correct temperature in a specific amount of time so that they go back through the temperature danger zone quickly and get up to serving temperature. The correct reheating temperature for leftovers of any kind is 165 degrees. It does not matter whether is soups, pasta, meats, etc., they all must be reheated to 165 degrees to be safe, and you should only reheat them once.
You might be thinking how am I supposed to remember all this, and how do I make sure I got my food to the right temperature? Well, that is where the ChefsTemp Final Touch X10 comes in. This thermometer will help you make sure that all your foods are safe. Below you will see a chart of some basic cooking temperatures for meats and casseroles, ground meats, pork, poultry, and fish.
- Beef, Veal and Lamb – these meats can be cooked to temperatures as low as 130 degrees and as high as 165 degrees, the following is the doneness temperatures:
- Rare 130-135
- Medium rare 135-140
- Medium 140-145
- Medium well 145-155
- Well done 155-165
- Roasts should be cooked to a minimum of 155, however, if you are cooking roast beef for say sandwiches, you will pull it at 140 and allow it to rest for at least 20 minutes, and then you will follow the recommended cooling procedure to store it so that you can slice it once it is completely cold giving you better cuts.
- Ground meats, poultry, casseroles, and meatloaves must be cooked to 165 degrees.
- Whole pork cuts, chops, and roasts must be cooked to 155 degrees.
- Ground pork must be cooked to 165 degrees.
- Seafood is best served at a final cooking temperature of 145-145 degrees.
- Reheat all leftovers to 165 degrees.
- Cool all foods from 140 degrees to 70 degrees in two hours, and then from 70 degrees to 40 degrees in an additional two hours.
Now that we have talked about cooking temperatures and what they should be, we are going to look at the ChefsTemp Final Touch X10 as a unit.
The unit consists of a digital LCD display, a rotatable temperature probe, on the back it has a cover secured with two screws, and inside that cover is a reset switch, a calibration switch, and two AA batteries. For any thermometer to be accurate, they need to be calibrated, there are two methods, one is dangerous, using boiling water, and the other is completely safe and much easier to accomplish, and that is the ice water method.
Calibrating your X10 thermometer:
First, get a two-cup measuring cup and fill it with ice and water. Stir it, and then you will open the thermometer so that the temperature probe is open, and the LCD screen is on, and you will have the back cover off. Insert the temperature probe into the ice water and give it about a minute to get to the lowest possible temperature. Ice water usually has a temperature between 32.8 degrees and 33.2 degrees, once your thermometer has reached this temperature, press the button marked cal. to calibrate the thermometer.
Using the thermometer to check the cooking temperature:
All thermometers, whether digital, or a manual thermometer have a temperature zone on the probe, if you look closely, you will see the probe has a smaller diameter part at the end of the probe, this is the part which measures the temperature when it is inserted into foods. You should insert the probe portion into the item you are measuring until this smaller part is completely into the item being measured. If you are taking temperatures on a turkey or chicken, the place you need the temperature is at the bone in the thickest part of the thigh and you will insert the probe into that part all the way to the bone to get an accurate temperature. Always clean and sanitize your probe with soap and water, hand washes it. Dry it and it is ready for the next temperature test.
Remember, the thermometer is your best tool for safe foods, use them often, and use them right, and your family will be safe, and you will not experience food born illnesses, will have great foods to eat, and peace of mind knowing you did everything in your power to cook it well and to cook it safely.
The Finaltouch X10 thermometer from ChefsTemp gives an accurate reading not only for the inside of food but for surface temperatures as well. The diversity of the thermometer’s usage is second to none compared to other thermometers. By getting a reading within 1 second, the Finaltouch X10 from ChefsTemp is prepared to take on any task it is given.
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