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Old 08-29-2009, 02:25 PM   #21
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Originally Posted by TromboneAl View Post
Does anyone have a thermometer (or way of using one) that actually tells them when the meat is done?
YES! I use one of those "remote" temperature probes. The kind you leave inserted in the meat and have a wire that goes out of the grill to a readout. I've tried several - cheap, expensive - they all seem to work very well. I don't grill without it!

The one I seem to use the most is a cheap white timer/remote thermometer that I picked up at Walmart. Walmart is showing this for $15.98, but mine is not that fancy.


Oh, I see Al, you already found this solution. Talking thermometer - sounds like fun!

Audrey
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Old 08-30-2009, 12:34 PM   #22
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Originally Posted by freebird5825 View Post
I own one of those round metal/glass analog ones, and use it only for turkey or roasts (which I rarely make). The trick with that type is to insert it before cooking, so it reacts to the internal temp changes in real time.
A probe type one came with my convection oven. I never used it.
I use a good old fashioned roasting/cooking chart to time meats.
Simply cut things open to see, as you did.
But then isn't this just measuring the ambient temperature of the oven mainly? I have the same problem as the OP and consider these thermometers less useful than the cut open and eyeball method.
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Old 08-30-2009, 01:19 PM   #23
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But then isn't this just measuring the ambient temperature of the oven mainly? I have the same problem as the OP and consider these thermometers less useful than the cut open and eyeball method.
Are you talking about the temperature probes? The ones that stay in the meat during cooking? These aren't measuring oven temps. I've found these to be very reliable.

I haven't used the cut open and eyeball method in years.

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Old 08-30-2009, 01:48 PM   #24
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But then isn't this just measuring the ambient temperature of the oven mainly?
I've thought about this. You've got the probe which has perhaps one inch in the meat (150 degrees), and three inches in the air in the oven (350 degrees). But what I figure is that the higher heat capacity of the meat overwhelms the lower heat capacity of the air, so the temperature registered is close to that of the meat. Make sense
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Old 08-30-2009, 02:01 PM   #25
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On fowl, stab it with your probe, ignore the temp, and watch the juice that comes out. When it no longer has a pink glow to the juice, it is done. On beef, the instant you get one drop of blood on top, it is juicy and done, assuming you only turned it once. With pork it had better be low and slow, off the flame, and it's just done when it's done (you'll know).
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Old 08-30-2009, 02:38 PM   #26
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I've thought about this. You've got the probe which has perhaps one inch in the meat (150 degrees), and three inches in the air in the oven (350 degrees). But what I figure is that the higher heat capacity of the meat overwhelms the lower heat capacity of the air, so the temperature registered is close to that of the meat. Make sense
Actually, I think it is only the tip of the probe that contains the temperature sensor. If it is a thermocouple in the probe tip, then the sensing is indeed occurring where the two dissimilar metals meet.

From my hands-on experiments that is how my temp probes all seem to work.

Aaaah - here from the FAQ on the Taylor web site http://www.taylorusa.com/faq-thermometers
Quote:
How far do I have to insert my food thermometer in my food?

For digital food thermometers, the temperature sensor is located under ¼” from the base of the tip of the stem/probe. This area needs to be inserted as close to the center of the food as possible.

On analogs/mechanical/bi therms/instant read/meat thermometers, the temperature sensor is approximately 1.5” long so the tip of the stem/probe needs to be inserted at least 1.5” into the food, as close to the center as possible. If measuring a hamburger, steak or chicken breast, hold the food horizontal and insert the thermometer into the side of the meat, not through the top. In some units, you may see a small “dimple” in the stem/probe. That is the amount of the stem/probe that needs to be inserted into the food, as close to the center as possible.
The language on that first bit is a little unclear, but it has always seemed to me that the sensing is occurring in that first 1/4 inch or so. I guess "from the base of the tip" they mean the base of the little triangle/cone that makes up the probe tip. So maybe 1/2 inch at most.

Audrey

P.S. Look, I'm an engineer and I just love to instrument everything - preferably with digital readouts and alarms!
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Old 08-30-2009, 04:42 PM   #27
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Good, that's explains it. But the thing that's confusing is that the entire shaft of the probe is metal, and I would think that that metal would conduct the heat and tend to keep the whole thing at the same temperature. It's good that we have the time to overanalyze this thing.
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Old 08-30-2009, 05:39 PM   #28
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No, it doesn't in fact work that way. The temperature sensors that I worked with used the electrical current effect caused by the heat at the junction of two dissimilar metals (or something like that) - so it was the junction that did the sensing. There are other sensors as well. Yep, you don't have to worry about how the rest of the metal conducts heat.

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Old 08-30-2009, 05:54 PM   #29
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I use a basic analog Taylor instant-read. << $20. Instant-read's are not meant to be left in, you get a pretty stable reading in 10-15 sec. and take it out. For big roasts its essential, but I'm learning to cook small things primarily by "feel".

FYI... FDA aside, you really don't want to cook a chicken breast to 170. I usually pull them off around 145-150, and during resting they will "carry over" cook to about 155-160. Cooked, but still moist.

Also, the best way I've found to test for doneness by "feel" is to pinch from the sides, not poke the top. If the top has a good sear, its sometimes misleadly firm.
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Old 08-30-2009, 06:06 PM   #30
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I saw on Barbecue University TV yesterday that for chicken breasts you stick the probe in an edge towards the center of the breast. Going in edgewise would seem to make sense for all thin meats. Also cover a brick with foil and set on top of breasts to help get professional-looking grill marks.
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Old 08-30-2009, 06:59 PM   #31
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I use a basic analog Taylor instant-read. << $20. Instant-read's are not meant to be left in, you get a pretty stable reading in 10-15 sec. and take it out. For big roasts its essential, but I'm learning to cook small things primarily by "feel".

FYI... FDA aside, you really don't want to cook a chicken breast to 170. I usually pull them off around 145-150, and during resting they will "carry over" cook to about 155-160. Cooked, but still moist.

Also, the best way I've found to test for doneness by "feel" is to pinch from the sides, not poke the top. If the top has a good sear, its sometimes misleadly firm.
I concur..I use a Taylor digital and have good success
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Old 09-06-2009, 09:26 AM   #32
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P.S. the remote thermometer with voice announcements is great for making yogurt. You can chill in the living room, and it will announce when the milk has reached 180 and when it has cooled to 115.
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Old 09-06-2009, 10:38 AM   #33
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Al, You don't need no stinking thermometer (well keep them for turkeys but not for grilling ). Just eyeball the meat for a medium london broil , It is five - seven minutes on each side and for those chicken breasts it is probably 3-4 minutes on each side .
wow. i must cook my stuff a lot differently than you. i would put those breasts (marinated) on a small piece of nonstick foil and grill them on medium (about 350-ish degrees) for at least 10-12 min per side....up to 16/side if they are big ones. it is the most tender chicken ive ever had....visitors are always amazed
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