Online food safety training teaches us that cooking proteins to the proper temperature reduces the risk of food-borne illnesses, but we need to use the right tools to make sure that we are getting accurate results. This week, we’d like to explore the different types of probe thermometers and how to make sure that your product is properly cooked before serving.
Types of Meat Probe Thermometers
Every commercial kitchen is required to have a thermometer to ensure proper temperature control, but there are several different types to choose from:
- Instant-read dial probe thermometers
- Digital instant-read probe thermometers
- Digital forked thermometers
- Oven-safe probe thermometer
Due to their affordability, certified kitchen managers often choose to provide their staff with instant-read dial thermometers. While they are designated as “instant-read,” many dial thermometers take up to a full minute to produce an accurate reading. We don’t recommend this style of thermometer for checking the internal temperature of thin proteins such as burgers as the metal stem can pick up heat from cooking equipment or provide a lower reading when exposed. This style of thermometer must be calibrated and checked for accuracy fairly often as the dial can be off by a few degrees with constant use.
Digital thermometers cost a little more than dial thermometers but provide an easy-to-read interface to check the temperature of your cooked product. Depending on the brand, these thermometers can calibrate themselves when placed in ice water, allowing you to be confident with their results. Some of these have a forked prong which will give an accurate reading when checking roasts and larger cooked meat products.
The thermocouple is the most versatile probe thermometer. These work well for checking the internal temperature of both thin and thick products and produce a reading in seconds. These are rather costly, so many outlets prefer to keep a few on hand rather than purchase one for every staff member.
Oven-safe thermometers are a handy tool if you are slow cooking or smoking your product. These can remain in your roasts or large pans of food to monitor the internal temperature throughout the process. These come in two distinct styles, one has a dial at the end of a probe while the other has a probe attached to an oven safe cord which leads to a digital readout outside of the oven. This feature allows you to easily view internal temperatures without opening your oven.
What types of thermometers do you utilize in your facility?