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I've Got The Electronic Thermometer Blues

post #1 of 14
Thread Starter 
I don't know if this is happening to anyone else, but I can't seem to get accurate readings from any model or make of electronic thermometer. I do well with the good ol' Taylor analog quick read thermometer but I have my eye on one of those new electronic thermometers that have remote display so you can be inside whilst grilling on the BBQ and have a display in your hot little hands. Says it transmits up to 100 feet! But I digress....I've tried several different makes and models of electronic thermometers and I get the same result each time. I poke the sensor down into the meat, it reads a nice, chilly 40-50 degrees, close the lid to the grill and start cookin, then after about 5 mins, the dang themometer starts beeping telling me the meat has already gotten to 160 degrees! That's just not possible! So I throw out the thermometer and take out my old taylor instant read. I've tried at least 5 digital thermometers and get the same result. Is there something I'm doing wrong? Is there some kind of sweet spot on the probe that I'm missing? Just so you know, I usually push the probe all the way into the meat. All the way into the thigh on chicken. Maybe your not supposed to push it in all the way? Maybe the tip is where the reading takes place and that has to be in the center of the meat instead of almost poking out the other side? I dunno folks, any help or ideas would be greatly appreciated. I would really like too buy that shiny new thermometer that has the remote probe so I don't have to keep running out and checking the temp every so often. I know this post is way too long but I had to rant.
post #2 of 14
Those things run on batteries. So the first thing I would do is make sure the batteries are really, really fresh. Also, they may be intended for thick cuts of meat, so you might expect to get false readings on steaks, ribs and such. And maybe the old-fashioned way isn't so terrible. After all people did just fine without those new-fangled gadgets before they were invented. And yes, the tip of the thermometer is where the sensor is, so you will want that [the tip] to be locatated at the center of the meat.
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"The pressure's on...let's cook something!"
 
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post #3 of 14
I'm with you on this one, amazingrace. I think we lose our ability to use our senses when we rely too much on technological devices. I imagine they've been designed in the first instance for the needs of large kitchens, when it's impossible to be constantly watching, smelling, touching, tasting, listening. Fair enough. And if you're working like a one-armed paperhanger even in a home kitchen with many things going on at once it might be nice to get a rough indication from an instrument, but in the end, what counts is what we determine by taste, touch, smell, etc etc.
"Siduri said, 'Gilgamesh, where are you roaming? You will never find the eternal life that you seek...Savour your food, make each of your days a delight, ... let music and dancing fill your house, love the child who holds you by the hand and give your wife pleasure in your embrace.'"
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"Siduri said, 'Gilgamesh, where are you roaming? You will never find the eternal life that you seek...Savour your food, make each of your days a delight, ... let music and dancing fill your house, love the child who holds you by the hand and give your wife pleasure in your embrace.'"
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post #4 of 14
Virtually all of the "electronic", i.e. digital, thermometers that I've used measure the temperature at or very near the "tip" of the probe, UNLIKE analog types.
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Specialties: MasterCook/RecipeFox; Culinary logistics; Personal Chef; Small restaurant owner; Caterer
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Chef,
Specialties: MasterCook/RecipeFox; Culinary logistics; Personal Chef; Small restaurant owner; Caterer
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post #5 of 14
Yes, sure, but meat has changed too. You can't use the standard fail-safe test on chicken, which is to stick a knife or skewer in and see if the juices run clear. Now that chickens are insanely young and wildly oversized, they will run blood when cooked well past the safety point.

My experience is that the batteries matter more than anything.

Second, buy a thermometer that has a test or tare function. Bring a pot of water to a rolling boil and stick the thermometer in it until it gives a steady read, then reset it at 212F / 100C (at sea level, of course). If you do that, you should get a fairly accurate reading with a decent brand and fresh batteries. If you can't reset the value, you have no idea -- try the boiling water test and see what your thermometer reads.
post #6 of 14
I've had several of the cable connected thermometers and they all failed. Impossible to use on the grill. It seems the heat from the lid throws the whole thing off. Two of them had cable failures withing a few weeks of purchase. Maybe the remote ones would work better if there's no temp cable involved. I love the concept of a temp alarm for getting roasts right on temp, but don't plan to spend any more money on them. I second the Taylor instant read. Works every time.
post #7 of 14
>>>UNLIKE analog types.

uhmmm, I use one of those low tech analogs - has an 8 inch probe with a round dial at the top. the indicator does not move until the ice cube is about 1/2 inch from the end.

I don't use it on 1 inch thick steaks - those I just poke. a big roast is more trickier.
post #8 of 14
Many of the remote BBQ thermometers are made for BBQ pits and not grills. The cable itself won't stand up to high heat which I suspect is your problem. I have toasted several when temps spiked for some reason (like a grease fire) in the BBQ pit. Maverick does make a high temp probe but I don't think it is good past 450 which is still below temps you may see when grilling.
post #9 of 14
I can see your point, but i never could get the thermometers to work, never put them in the right place i guess, but i use the thin knife in the meat method (and sometimes i use a probe of a thermometer, but don;t look at the number, i feel it on my lip). This works well for me, because i stick it deeply into the meat, doesn;t matter where the point is, and if any part of the knife is not hot, the chicken is not cooked.

And thermometers don;t work at all in some things like jams, since they don;t need to cook to a certain temperature, but to a certain thickness - and that depends on the fruit, how ripe, how much pectin, etc, and varies from batch to batch - one batch will be done long before the "correct" temp and another will not be done till it;s much higher.

For sugar syrup, i never went wrong with the drop of syrup in the ice water trick - i do pretty elaborate baking, make my own fondant, etc, but maybe there are specialized applications that require more precision, but not what the home cook will be likely to attempt, i dare say.
"Siduri said, 'Gilgamesh, where are you roaming? You will never find the eternal life that you seek...Savour your food, make each of your days a delight, ... let music and dancing fill your house, love the child who holds you by the hand and give your wife pleasure in your embrace.'"
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"Siduri said, 'Gilgamesh, where are you roaming? You will never find the eternal life that you seek...Savour your food, make each of your days a delight, ... let music and dancing fill your house, love the child who holds you by the hand and give your wife pleasure in your embrace.'"
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post #10 of 14
I've used the same Maverick ET73 that has cabled probes, for over two years without any problems whatsoever. To get accurate readings make certain that the probe is placed away from any bone(s) and the bone-meat interface.

Check out this site for further information concerning temperature measurements:

Measuring Temperature In The Weber Bullet - The Virtual Weber Bullet

Best and I'm a foodie.   I know very little but the little that I know I want to know very well.

 

-T

Brot und Wein
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Best and I'm a foodie.   I know very little but the little that I know I want to know very well.

 

-T

Brot und Wein
(1 photos)
 
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post #11 of 14
I mostly use the force like some sort of cooking Jedi. I also poke meat with a finger. For whole roasted chicken I use an instant read, cause I am a cheap so and so and they seem to last longer then any other thermometer I have used.
"In those days spirits were brave, the stakes were high, men were real men, women were real women, and small furry creatures from Alpha Centauri were real small furry creatures from Alpha Centauri. "
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"In those days spirits were brave, the stakes were high, men were real men, women were real women, and small furry creatures from Alpha Centauri were real small furry creatures from Alpha Centauri. "
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post #12 of 14
Hey, cool it, Lilly Bird.

Best and I'm a foodie.   I know very little but the little that I know I want to know very well.

 

-T

Brot und Wein
(1 photos)
 
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Best and I'm a foodie.   I know very little but the little that I know I want to know very well.

 

-T

Brot und Wein
(1 photos)
 
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post #13 of 14
That is why I still use the old school spring-type dial thermometer. I buy them for our cooks as well because they seem to stay around the kitchen a lot longer. The digital ones look good on their kitchen counter at home I guess.
Michael
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Michael
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post #14 of 14
I get all my dial/analog thermometers from Tel-Tru, better made than Taylor and with a much larger selection.

Best and I'm a foodie.   I know very little but the little that I know I want to know very well.

 

-T

Brot und Wein
(1 photos)
 
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Best and I'm a foodie.   I know very little but the little that I know I want to know very well.

 

-T

Brot und Wein
(1 photos)
 
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