Different types of Meat Thermometers and How to Use it

The one thing that people find most objectionable is under-cooked food. You can do everything well with the meat you are about to serve your guests, but it all comes down to the degree of its doneness, which one cannot assess without any sort of quantitative aid. 

Not only does underdone or overdone meat taste poor, but it is also infernally unhealthy. Various foodborne diseases, including food poisoning, can occur if one consumes underdone or overdone food. But how can you know the “degree of doneness” of the food while it is cooking?

Thankfully, we are living in that period of techy-age where virtually everything can be measured mathematically. Measuring the meat's temperature is just like measuring a person's temperature; what do you do to measure a person’s temperature? That’s right; you use a thermometer.

Similar is the case here, but instead of using a clinical thermometer, you use another specialized thermometer called a meat thermometer.

How is a Meat thermometer Significant?

Meat thermometer keeps a check on the doneness of the meat you are cooking with a pre-set temperature, reaching which the thermometer will inform you with a loud sound. Neat, isn’t it?

You do not have to be a professional chef to use or know how to use a meat thermometer. In fact, it is a very popular commodity amongst barbecue lovers. You can prepare the exact same dish every time you wish to show off your cooking skills in front of your friends and family.

Using a meat thermometer is very easy as long as you know the basic concept of measuring the temperature. In this article, I strive to aid you in your endeavor of measuring the temperature of your food to the best of my abilities. It is imperative to follow the steps properly, or you may get faulty results.

How to use a Meat Thermometer?

Meat thermometers are of various kinds. You have Oven-going meat thermometers and Instant read-thermometers, and the process of measuring the temperature of the meat is different in both cases.

Under the Instant-read thermometer, you further have a Dial-instant-read thermometer and a Digital-instant-read thermometer. Before learning how to use the meat thermometer, note the kind of thermometer you have, and follow the instructions of each accordingly.

Oven Going-Meat Thermometer:

As the name suggests, this thermometer is the kind that is placed in the meat and goes inside the oven for cooking with the meat itself.

In this way, the thermometer is allowed to keep a second-to-second watch over the meat and alerts you as soon as the pre-set temperature is reached.

You can also choose not to keep the thermometer placed in the meat if that suits you. This type of thermometer is widely used for larger meats such as chicken, turkey, and roasts.


Step 1 - Place the thermometer

Hang the thermometer inside the oven along with the meat and start cooking.


Step 2 - Keep an eye on the thermometer

Keep a close watch on the temperature and check the readings for the desired temperature range.


Step 3 - Meat ready

Once it reached the desired temperature, take the meat out of the oven.

Instant-read Meat Thermometers: 

This thermometer is not meant to be inside the meat while it cooks. The function of instant-read is to “instantly” take the temperature to give you a fair idea about how much cooking it needs before it is perfectly done.

These are less technologically enhanced because they cannot sustain inside the oven and leave the idea of the meat's doneness on personal discretion.

Thus, in contrast, an oven-going meat thermometer is much better when it comes to effective performance. Instant-read meat thermometers come in the dial and digital form.

Dial instant-read thermometer:

Dial instant-read thermometer consists of a traditional dial indicator and shatterproof lens. It measures and displays the value in analog format—both Celsius and Fahrenheit scales available on the dial. Follow the below steps to use this thermometer.


Step 1 - Find thickest part

Locate the central part of the meat or the thickest part if the former is unachievable. 


Step 2 - Insert thermometer

Insert the thermometer in the located region for at least two inches into the meat. If the food is thin, insert it from the side of the meat


Step 3 - Check the readings

Read the temperature that appears on the thermometer and extract it before putting the meat inside the oven. It cannot sustain inside the oven or grill.

Digital instant-read thermometer: 

The Digital instant-read thermometer's process is similar to the Dial instant-read thermometer, but instead of Dial, it gives the digital format value. Not much effort is needed to operate this thermometer just follow the steps below.


Step 1 - Insert thermometer

Insert the thermometer half an inch into the meat and take note of the temperature. This thermometer works well with both thin and thick meat cuts.


Step 2 - Check the readings

Once the temperature has been registered, pull the thermometer out.

Voila, you have perfectly cooked meat to treat your friends and family. The taste and texture would exactly be the same every time you prepare the dish if you follow the steps properly.


Meat thermometers eliminates the possibility of the meat tasting different or unhealthy when you have guests over to your house and cannot afford to have any room for mistakes. 

Of course, it may take you 2 or 3 tries before you perfect the use of a meat thermometer, but once you get the hang of it, no one can resist complimenting your el polo! I hope you found this article helpful.

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About the Author


I am Tim, a weather enthusiast who loves to watch hurricanes and all other harsh weather conditions. I studied B.Sc(Meteorology) at the University of Miami. With excellent knowledge of Weather Forecasting, Meteorology, and Environmental Science, I am currently working in San Francisco as a Meteorologist. Also, I am a member of The Weather Channel and AccuWeather. In this blog, I will write a detailed review of Weather instruments that you need for survival and other activities.