Best meat thermometer
November 28, 2009 8:46 AM   Subscribe

What is the most accurate and reliable meat thermometer?

I don't care if it has digital whatnots and remote-control soforths, though I am not against those things. I just want to know what meat thermometer actually does the best job of measuring the temperature of a piece of meat in the oven and then conveying that temperature to me.

I live in the United States, at exactly sea level.
posted by Ignatius J. Reilly to Food & Drink (10 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Most digital thermometers are going to be your best shot.

"Luckily, temperature changes the way electrical currents move through certain types of metal, and that makes reliable and accurate digital thermometers possible." Alton Brown, Good Eats.

I've got one just like this one. Never had any problems.
posted by royalsong at 8:55 AM on November 28, 2009

I have the Polder version of the one linked by royalsong, and it works fine, too. I don't think there is too much difference among the brands in terms of accuracy, but some may hold up longer than others. My Polder has lasted close to a decade (with some jiggling to get best results).
posted by Admiral Haddock at 9:03 AM on November 28, 2009

I'm a fan of the classic pocket-style chef's thermometer. Accurate to within 2 degrees. I would not use anything that has to stay in the oven, since it's not "instant" enough to move around and probe different parts of the meat.

This digital version might be worth a try, but it still has an accuracy of 2 degrees.

For a lot more money, Cook's Illustrated says this Thermapen is the gold standard they measure all others against. The manufacturer claims accuracy of +/- 0.7 degrees F., the readout is in 10ths of degrees.
posted by beagle at 9:04 AM on November 28, 2009 [1 favorite]

Although, of course, I've never double-checked the readings on my thermometers, so they may be way off! You might check Cooks Illustrated--I'd trust their assessments.
posted by Admiral Haddock at 9:05 AM on November 28, 2009

I have a Thermapen and it is awesome. It comes with a certificate from a testing laboratory indicating the accuracy and precision of the individual unit.
posted by grouse at 9:27 AM on November 28, 2009 [1 favorite]

Thermapen is awesome; the Polder is a good one if you want to be able to leave a probe in a roast.
posted by Mngo at 10:21 AM on November 28, 2009

I've got one just like this one. Never had any problems.

I strongly nix the Taylor digital thermometers. My wife, who is a fantastic cook, was never able to get consistent readings from them... then the thermometer went belly-up after a couple of weeks with an error. I Googled around and found this error is actually very common and that it literally breaks if it's exposed to anything above 350F; also customer service there seems to be pretty shoddy. I used to think Taylor was awesome back in the 1980s and 1990s as we used them in our laboratory, but I'll never support this company again.
posted by crapmatic at 10:40 AM on November 28, 2009

Nthing the Thermapen.
posted by gudrun at 11:18 AM on November 28, 2009

Yes, Thermapen.
posted by Nelson at 1:36 PM on November 28, 2009

I have two Thermapens, the original as well as the pocket version, I love both, though I now almost always use the larger, since it is both faster, and more accurate (thus less time out of the oven). A few years ago, Cooking for Engineers did a Review of major thermometers, including the Thermawork pens, which I found useful.
posted by thebestsophist at 6:04 PM on November 28, 2009

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