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Novice question about my meat thermometer not reading correctly

post #1 of 3
Thread Starter 

I am just now learning how to cook things other than the curry my mom made when I was a kid.

 

For a steak, I sometimes use the grill but today I can only pan fry, and no I have no cast iron skillet, yet.

 

Last time I did this, both sides were really black, and the new meat thermometer didn't even read close to 140. If I went by the thermometer, it was 125, rare.

 

However, the inside was not rare.

 

 

Am I using the thermometer wrong? Do you put it in after you think your done cooking?

 

Also for pan fry, how hot should I get the pan before I put the steak on? and then do I lower to 6? 1-9 are my options. I want a medium and medium rare steaks.

 

Thanks.

post #2 of 3
Quote:
Originally Posted by goutie View Post

I am just now learning how to cook things other than the curry my mom made when I was a kid.

 

For a steak, I sometimes use the grill but today I can only pan fry, and no I have no cast iron skillet, yet.

 

Last time I did this, both sides were really black, and the new meat thermometer didn't even read close to 140. If I went by the thermometer, it was 125, rare.

 

However, the inside was not rare.

 

 

Am I using the thermometer wrong? Do you put it in after you think your done cooking?

 

Also for pan fry, how hot should I get the pan before I put the steak on? and then do I lower to 6? 1-9 are my options. I want a medium and medium rare steaks.

 

Thanks.


Alright, there are a few variables to deal with here, first is your thermometer. To put it simply, they go out of whack quite easily and yours probably needs to be calibrated. If you've got an "analog" dial-type thermometer there's a great thread here that tells you how to do just that.

 

http://www.cheftalk.com/forum/thread/15724/instant-read-thermometer

 

If it happens to be digital you should consult the owners manual for instructions.

 

When it comes to actually using it, yes, you should wait until you think the steak is about done to check the temp. The less holes you have to poke in your steak the better! Also, remember that the temperature of the steak will continue to rise after you take it out of the pan to rest, so you'll want to take it out a shade under where you want it to be.

 

As for your stove I can't really give you an answer, 1-9 on yours is not the same as 1-9 on mine. One alternative you might try (So long as your frying pan is also ovenproof) is searing the meat on the stovetop and finishing up in the oven. Again there is a really good thread here that deals with the subject.

 

http://www.cheftalk.com/forum/thread/41684/finishing-a-steak-in-oven

 

 

 

 

 

post #3 of 3

I think the key is making sure you have a solid thermometer for what you are trying to. I recommend the Thermapen it is fast and accurate. However, I would not recommend using a thermometer for pan frying a steak. Use your finger and push down in the center and see how firm it is. The firmness will tell you how done it is. A great way to tell if the meat is done to your liking is to do the following.

 

  • Touch the steak and get a feel for how firm the meat is.
  • Then touch your thumb with with you index finger and with your other index finger feel the fleshy part underneath your thumb. This will give you roughly the same firmness for a rare steak
  • Next move your thumb to your next finger (middle) and then feel the fleshy part under your thumb and this will give you the same firmness as a medium rare steak.
  • Keep moving your thumb over to the next finger until you finally get to the pinky. In between the middle finger and the pinky will be medium and when your thumb and pinky touch you will have well done.

 

The best way is to keep cooking steak and just get a feel for how firm the meat is and what it is telling you. Hope that helps.

 

Thanks,

Nicko 
ChefTalk.com Founder
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Thanks,

Nicko 
ChefTalk.com Founder
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