Another Thermometer Question--Snap Judgment?
- kaleokahu Nov 15, 2011 01:04 PM
DW is getting me a thermometer for my birthday, and I'd like to have it by T-day...
I was all set to have her buy me a Thermapen (know they're good), and then I started wondering if I'd be happier with a corded unit that can be used in the oven/BBQ.
Obviously the Thermapen is more portable, but am I going to be happy pulling roasts and birds out of the oven every time I check? Equally obvious, am I going to garrote myself on the cord?
OK, so if you had to have ONE (for now), which style would it be, and why?
An instant-read thermometer (like the Thermapen) and a probe thermometer (separate base and metal probe on a cord) serve different functions, so in a perfect world you'd have both. The instant-read is good for quickly checking temps on items that you are active while cooking but that you don't want to leave a cord dangling out of (things that you flip/move while cooking, stuff in a deep fryer, etc.) - it needs to respond quickly, so that you can check and move on. The probe thermometer is for larger roasts and other items that sit still for a long time and you need something to stay in there and tell you when it's done (so a quick temperature reading isn't particularly important).
My $.02: The Thermapen is nice, but waaaaay overpriced at around $90. For $25 you can get a perfectly serviceable digital instant-read thermometer, and for another $35 or so you can get a very nice probe thermometer (Sur La Table has one for $35 that measures both the temp of the food and the ambient temp of your oven - great for barbecuing or confirming the accuracy of your oven temp) - both for less than the price of a Thermapen. That's what I'd do, personally.
Well I'll chime in with my 2 cents. I've had an inexpensive Taylor Digital Instant-Read Pocket Thermometer for YEARS. It gets used almost every single day and has survived being dropped dozens of times. Amazon has these for under $10. It's not a thermopen but it's fast enough for me and darn accurate.
I also have a remote thermometer that's supposed to be pretty good ... and honestly I have never used it. It seemed like a good idea at the time. I can't recommend getting one - if you are going to get a really good instant thermometer then go with something small and portable. They are incredibly useful.
One tool that has been very useful is the mastercool infrared thermometer with laser. It's very helpful to know exactly how hot my pans are, when making crepes or other dishes that are temperature sensitive.
Thanks for your input. I ended up getting a Taylor digital instant-read (Model 9867FDA) from a brick-and-mortar INDIE kitchen store. The sales associate sold me on it over the Thermapen (which they also carry) for several reasons. First, she claimed the Taylor registers at the extreme tip more so than the Themapen, and the thinner part of the probe is longer, so as to not poke as big a hole in delicates, like fish. Second, the Taylor is just a little more hand-filling, and fits my hand better. Third, the Taylor takes 2 AAA batteries, rather than the $ watch batteries of the Thermapen. Fourth, the Taylor's readout is bigger than Thermapen's and is automatically backlit when opened. Fifth, the Taylor was certificated to be calibrated to FDA standards; I called Taylor, and they confirmed that they give this model enhanced QA. Finally, the price--$57 vs. $89--for the difference, I can also buy the Thermoworks corded workhorse, the TW362B, for my oven.
In fairness, Thermapen claims 3-second reads, THIS Taylor claims 6 seconds. And the Taylor is in a butt-ugly color that can only be described as "Bannana Slug", not the dozen bright Thermapen colors. But I'm happy with the choice, features and price. Thanks, DW!
PS: For those grousing about the fragility of the probe cords, the sales associate highly recommended the Thermoworks because the cords are replaceable and inexpensively so.