The simple answer is the finished internal temperature of your meat, whether it’s a steak, chicken or turkey, brisket or tri-tip, will be one of the largest determinants of the quality, taste, and guest satisfaction of all your hard work.
An instant read digital meat thermometer is a mandatory barbecue or grilling accessory!
A fork test or touch test or eyeballing isn’t good enough. Professional barbecue competitors never leave this crucial element of barbecue to guesswork.
Now that we’re clear on that;-)–let’s discuss some options. I know–I’ve tried at least 15 digital thermometers and every one has some advantages and disadvantages.
First is the electronic probe thermometers that have two units. One is local to your cooking, and the other is an alarm that alerts you when your meat reaches a certain, pre-set temperature. Those are handy. Except for one thing: they break.
I have gone through FIVE different brands and models of the electronic digital meat thermometers, some costing over $40, and every last one has failed within one year.
Typically, it is the probes that go first. Most are not waterproof, and I’ve toasted two by simply washing them with soap and water. Never again. Don’t go there.
Another option is going big and getting the best, and that would be the Thermapen. Go ahead, check it out. Very cool looking and highly accurate. Now, look at the price.
Like most of you, I’ll buy quality the first time in many cases, especially for something I use a lot. A friend has a Thermapen, and lent it to me for a weekend. I loved it. Felt great, looks cool, worked perfectly. I was curious though. How much more accurate was it than my $18 commercial grade, waterproof, digital meat thermometer? You probably know how to calibrate–just bring water to a boil and start comparing readouts. The Thermapen showed 213 degrees. My cheap little digital read 211 degrees. That is a variance of less than 1%. I returned the Thermapen, thanked my friend, and crossed it off my list.
I’ve had the Taylor Commercial and Waterproof Digital Meat Thermometer for nearly three years, and it’s never failed me
It’s accurate, reads instantly, cleans up with soap and water as it’s waterproof (never buy a thermometer than isn’t) and here’s the best part: I paid about $15 for it.
The negative: It comes in a seriously ugly yellow orange holder. There’s nothing cool about this one.
It’s the Model T of digital thermometers. It’s basic. It’s simple to use. And, it always works. It will cost you less than $18.
I’d love to sell you a Thermapen. I’d make at least 500% more money from the product affiliate link. But, if I can’t justify it for my use because of the cost, I can’t recommend to you either, unless you’ve got to have the best, or are willing to pay up big to be the cool kid, OR if you want to give someone a special gift that truly does radiate cool. I’d gladly accept one from you;-)
The Taylor Commercial Waterproof Ugly Digital Thermometer is waiting for you here.