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Serving up perfectly cooked meat from the oven is hard work. A meat thermometer can help you cook the meat at exactly the right time and temperature to match the way you want to serve it.
If you’ve never used a meat thermometer before, then you may be wondering whether you have to stick the thermometer into the meat several times to check the internal temperature.
Can you leave a meat thermometer in the oven? Well, the quickest and easiest answer is, if you don’t know, then don’t leave it in the oven.
Most meat thermometers aren’t rated to stand the high temperatures inside an oven. However, there are some thermometers that are made to go in the oven. We reviewed some of the best here.
It is better not to guess and have the thermometer melt, or even worse, explode, in the oven. But, do not fret. You do not need to leave your thermometer in the oven.
All you need to do is figure out how long what you are cooking generally takes and then go from there.
Let’s say you are cooking a turkey. Well, first, how big is the bird? If it’s a 14-pound turkey, you need to research how many minutes per pound a turkey takes in the oven. You will find out that in a 325 degree Fahrenheit oven, a turkey will cook at a rate of 15 minutes per pound. Now, do the math. You get 210 minutes or 3.5 hours. So, you’ll probably want to start checking the turkey at the 3-hour mark. It will be done when it reaches 165 degrees Fahrenheit in the thigh.
In this article, we will look at different types of meat thermometers, in order to help you figure out which one you need in your life right now.
What is a Meat Thermometer?
A meat thermometer is a recommended gadget for all kitchens to ensure proper food safety. Using a thermometer means that you can check if the meat is properly cooked without having to cut into it to have a look.
Other than food safety, cooking food to its best serving temperature is another reason why you should use a meat thermometer.
The vast majority of meat thermometers will have a long(ish) metal rod on the end of them, which you poke into the meat to take a reading from inside the meat. Several different thermometers can be purchased for the kitchen, so make sure that the one you buy states that it is for meat.
Any kind of meat should always be cooked thoroughly before serving to protect yourself and your family from foodborne diseases. Poultry should be cooked to a minimum temperature of 165 degrees, and pork to a minimum temperature of 145 degrees.
You need to insert the meat thermometer into the middle of the meat, making sure that the tip of the thermometer isn’t touching any bone or the baking tray.
For larger joints of meat, you should always make sure that you take the temperature from the thickest part of the joint. For poultry, this will be on the thigh. In slimmer cuts of meat, you can insert the thermometer in through the side of the meat.
Types of Meat Thermometer
Whether or not can you leave a meat thermometer in the oven will entirely depend on what type of meat thermometer you buy or already own. Here are the different types.
Instant-read Meat Thermometers
These thermometers give you a reading within about 5 to 10 seconds, although some are much quicker than others. They are not oven-safe, so if you are cooking meat in the oven, you will have to remove it briefly to enable you to get a reading.
Depending on the temperature of the meat, you can then choose to carry on cooking it, or keep it out and let the meat rest while you finish up everything else.
Oven-safe Meat Thermometers
Oven-safe meat thermometers are exactly as they sound—safe to leave in the oven. If your thermometer doesn’t specify that it is oven-safe, then you should definitely assume that it’s not.
Oven-safe meat thermometers can be either the analog dial-type thermometers or digital probe thermometers that you can leave in the food while it cooks. Newer thermometer models also have wireless capabilities that allow you to monitor your food from far away. The ThermoPro TP-20 wireless thermometer is an example of this type of thermometer.
These are great for cooking joints of meat as you position the thermometer while the meat is still raw and cold (it’s also easier to find the right position). Put your joint of meat in the oven and keep an eye on the dial! When the thermometer is reading the correct temperature, you know that your meat is cooked and ready to eat.
Tips for Using a Meat Thermometer
Test your thermometer regularly
Make sure that your meat thermometer is giving you the right temperature readings by putting it into a bowl of ice water. Your temperature reading should be 32 degrees Fahrenheit in ice water. Hence, if it reads anything other than this, you will either need to reset/calibrate your thermometer or buy a new one.
Keep it clean
It is important to clean a meat thermometer regularly after each use. Avoid cross-contamination by washing your meat thermometer after every use. Use boiling water or food-safe sanitizer to clean the probe end and then dry thoroughly to avoid rust.
You can practice where you are going to take a reading from by sticking the thermometer into the meat while it’s still cold. This is especially helpful in poultry so you can ensure that the thermometer is deep into the thigh, and not touching any bone.
Read the instructions
All meat thermometers are slightly different, so if you have an instant-read thermometer, then read the instructions to find out how long it takes to display the correct temperature. Some thermometers can take up to 20 to 30 seconds, so if you read the temperature sooner, then it is likely that the reading will be wrong and you may end up overcooking your meat.
Meat thermometers are a fantastic addition to any kitchen. Not only can owning one keep you and your family safe, but it can also help you avoid serving up overcooked, dry meat ever again.
Whether or not you can leave a meat thermometer in the oven entirely depends on what kind you have. If the packaging doesn’t directly specify that your meat thermometer is oven-safe, then it probably isn’t.