All about cooking thermometers

If you don't have a kitchen thermometer, you may not be cooking things properly. In fact, most professional chefs depend on cooking thermometers to ensure that meats, seafood, poultry and other foods are cooked to perfection every time. This not only ensures food safety, but also guarantees that juices are sealed in and that meats are tender and delicious.

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Digital and Analog Food Thermometers

There are several different types of food thermometers for the kitchen, each of which is used slightly differently. First, thermometers come in two basic types – digital and analog. Analog thermometers, also called dial thermometers, read temperatures the old-fashioned way and display it using a needle on a dial. Digital thermometers use a high-tech instrument to read temperatures, which are usually displayed as a number on an LCD screen.

Both analog and digital cooking thermometers can produce an accurate reading, however, you're more likely to get a good reading with a high-quality digital thermometer. In addition, digital meters produce a reading more quickly.

Types of Kitchen Thermometers

Aside from digital and analog, there are a few different thermometer types to select from. A stick thermometer is the most common type. To use it, simply insert the thin metal end into the meat or other food you wish to test. Fork-style meat thermometers are also great options, because they double as a meat fork that can be used for carving. Again, simply insert the fork end into your meat to test it.

What is perhaps the most easy-to-use thermometer is the pop-up thermometer. This disposable single- use thermometer is a small plastic device that is inserted into a roast or poultry. When it reaches the perfect temperature, a small red tab on the end will pop up automatically – there is no need to even read the temperature! Roasts and turkeys will often come with these disposable thermometers already inserted for even more convenience.

Finally, if you're interested in a professional-grade thermometer, consider a digital probe or thermocouple. These high-quality devices are also used in professional kitchens, will last for years under heavy use and can be used to determine the temperature of any food with an extremely high degree of accuracy.