How To Use A Meat Thermometer In The Oven

There are many ways people try to ensure their meat has been properly cooked, but the only way to be absolutely certain that it is cooked as it should be is with a meat thermometer. In this article we will show you how to use a meat thermometer properly when cooking meat in the oven, on the grill, or on the stove top. This method works no matter how you are cooking your meat and it’s the absolute best way to do it. No longer do you need to worry about the guesswork involved with feeling how tough meat is or basing your cooking solely on time in the oven, on the grill, or on the stove top. Continue reading to learn the steps involved in this technique and become a master of your kitchen.

How to use a meat thermometer properly?

  • Pull the shelf out a bit that the meat is resting on so that you can get access to the meat easily.
  • Insert a digital instant read thermometer probe into the thickest part of the meat ensuring that you have gone past the middle.
  • Slowly slide the thermometer probe back out through the meat paying attention to the temperature as you go.
  • When the temperature reads at its lowest point when the probe tip is near the middle of the meat, that is your most accurate temperature.
In the video, Kenji pushes the thermometer all the way through the meat and then slowly begins pulling the thermometer back through the meat to get the best reading. I prefer not going all the way through as I prefer to keep the holes in my meat to a minimum but he’s a more talented chef than myself so you may want to give his technique a try first over mine and see how you like it.

Learn More About Digital Meat Thermometers:

Best Rated Instant Read Meat Thermometer

Can you leave a meat thermometer in the meat while it’s cooking?

It depends on the type of thermometer you’re using. We suggest using a digital instant read thermometer which definitely shouldn’t be left in the meat while it’s cooking. Thermometers that have been designed to be left in meat while cooking in an oven, on the grill, or elsewhere are slow to react to temperature changes and are less accurate. If that is what you have to work with at the moment then it’s certainly better than testing the firmness of the meat or relying solely on time. Try to get the end of the probe as close to the center of the meat as you can for best results.

What temperature should chicken be cooked?

White meat chicken should be cooked to 150 degrees while dark meat chicken should be cooked to 165 degrees. Whether you’re cooking chicken breasts or a whole bird, try to find the thickest part to insert the probe. You want to limit the amount of times you stab the bird as the hole will allow the juices to escape. If you need to check the temperature more than once try using the same point of entry. This will produce the best and most juicy chicken. It’s very easy to overcook chicken so using a thermometer is an excellent way to ensure that it is properly cooked.

What temperature should turkey be cooked?

Turkey should be cooked similar to dark meat chicken, which is to say that it should be cooked to 165 degrees. You’ll want to check the temperature in the thickest part of the breast, thigh, and or wing. Like chicken, it’s easy to overcook turkey and get a very dry result. Definitely use a thermometer on this traditional Thanksgiving meat.

What temperature should red meat be cooked?

Red meat should be cooked to 120 degrees for rare and 140 degrees for medium. If you want to cook your red meat to well then why are you bothering with a thermometer? ;)

It should be noted that the USDA specifies 160 degrees as the minimum safe temperature for cooking red meat. This is because E. coli dies at temperatures above 155 degrees. Beware that eating undercooked meat can be bad for your health but good to your taste buds.

Wrapping Up:

Using a Meat Thermometer

Cooking various meats to their proper temperatures is not just important for safety but for an enjoyable meal. No one enjoys seeing the forced smiles from their family as they gnaw away at the dry turkey at Thanksgiving. Hopefully now that you how to use a meat thermometer properly whether in the oven, on the grill, or on the stove you will be able to consistently cook meats to absolute perfection and satisfy even the most demanding foodie family member or friend. You’ll want to practice this method a few times before bragging about your perfect cooking skills, but once you get the technique down you’ll be master of the kitchen.

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