When cooking or roasting meats, using a meat thermometer is an effective way to ensure meats reach a minimum internal temperature of food safety. Different meats require cooking at different temperatures. A meat thermometer can be a line (analog) or digital style. Some thermometers remain in the meat while cooking, but others are inserted only when you want to check the internal temperature of the meat. The use of a meat thermometer properly helps to prepare the meat perfectly and avoid disease.
1 Wash the thermometer probe thoroughly with dishwashing detergent. Rinse the probe with warm water. Be careful when washing the probe that no other part of the thermometer is immersed in water if the thermometer is not water resistant.
2 Start cooking the meat according to your recipe. Allow the cooking time to elapse until approximately 30 to 45 minutes before the cooking time will end.
3 Insert the thermometer probe into the thickest part of the meat. Avoid placing the probe near the bones and the fat pockets, because these areas will give you an inaccurate high thermometer reading. Center the probe in a fleshy area of the meat, making sure that the probe does not penetrate to the lower area of the meat. If the meat is thin, insert the probe on the side of the meat until it reaches the center.
4 Check the thermometer probe after inserting it. There may be a visible sensor on the probe that must be inside the meat to provide an accurate reading. If the thermometer has a sensor, be sure to push the probe in the past of this sensor.
5 Read the temperature on the thermometer. Remove the probe from the thermometer and insert it twice more to get two more readings. Comparison of temperatures to determine if the meat has finished cooking.
Tips and warnings
- Insert a thermometer probe into casseroles or egg dishes in the center of the pan and keep the probe touching the bottom of the pan.
- Some examples of minimum common food temperatures are casseroles – 165 degrees F; egg dishes – 160 degrees F; Ground beef – 160 degrees F; ground birds – 165 degrees F; cow, veal or lamb – 145 degrees F (medium rare), 160 degrees F (medium) and 170 degrees (well done); Pork – 160 degrees F and poultry – 180 degrees F.