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Is it me or my meat thermometer?

  • j
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I have a sort of new Oxo Instant Read thermometer. I don't do a lot of cooking that requires a meat thermometer but when there's a temp in a recipe, or when I made pork for the first time recently, I decided I should use it in the name of food safety.

When I did the pork I inserted it into the middle of the chops and waited for it to stop rising (took it out of the oven to do this.) It never got to the specified temp but eventually I decided it had to be done -- the chops were overcooked, just slightly short of shoe leather. Then tonight I am making a turkey meatloaf where a recipe mentioned an internal temp of 170 -- but again the thermometer is no where near the temp after the specified cooking time. Is it me, the thermometer, or am I using it incorrectly?

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  1. Thermometer reads can be inconsistent, due to mostly human and some mechanical errors.

    To avoid the mechanical, I buy two devices at a time, and calibrate them on boiling water. While not perfect, it's an 'effective enough' way to dial them in and get cooking.

    That said, my intuition is becoming more right all the time, when judging those times where reads seem higher or lower than they should be.

    1. Here's a thermometer that always works: your lip (body temp is 98º). Cook the piece of meat for the appropriate amount of time (google it), insert a metal probe into the meat, wait 15 seconds, pull it out and put it against your lip: still cold? It isn't done yet. Just warm - nearly there. If it's hot, let it rest on a rack under foil for 5 - 10 mins then slice it up.

      1 Reply
      1. re: ChefBill

        That's very old skool but works every time, and we never had instant read thermometers back in thoses days, anyway.
        BTW, metal probe = a shish kebab skewer is fine.
        "Then tonight I am making a turkey meatloaf where a recipe mentioned an internal temp of 170 -- but again the thermometer is no where near the temp after the specified cooking time."
        Another problem could be the OP's oven, that's should be checked and calibrated as well.

      2. Could be the thermometer calibration, but could also be oven calibration. I'd grab an oven thermometer to ensure you're cooking at the temperature you think you are.