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TEXARKANA, Ark. –
Kitchen thermometers are a kitchen tool everyone should have in their utensil drawer
and use regularly. They are essential when cooking meat, poultry, and egg products
to prevent undercooking, know that your food has reached a safe minimum internal temperature,
and also to prevent foodborne illness.
It is the only reliable way to determine that your meat, poultry, and egg products
are cooked to the correct temperature. Most pathogens are destroyed between 140 and
Unfortunately, research shows that many consumers judge the color of the food to see
if it is done instead of using the most reliable method of a thermometer. Some say
they go by recommended cooking times, and trust their experience and judgment. This
can be misleading and wrong. Let’s look at cooking hamburgers for instance. One out
of four hamburgers turn brown in the middle before reaching a safe internal temperature
of 160 degrees F. so color isn’t always the best indicator.
So how do you decide what thermometer is best for you? There are numerous reliable
thermometers on the market today; many which are inexpensive. Digitals, instant-reads,
probes for the oven and microwave, disposable indicators and sensor sticks, pop-ups,
and even barbecue forks are everywhere. They are high-tech and easy to use.
The Dial Oven-Safe thermometer reads in 1-2 minutes. Place it 2 to 2 1/2 inch deep
in thickest part of food. It is generally used in roasts, casseroles, and soups. This
thermometer is safe to leave in the food while cooking.
The Digital Instant-Read gives a reading in 10 seconds. Place at least 1/2 inch deep
away from the bone. This one can be used to measure both thick foods such as roasts
and thin foods, such as soups. It is not designed to remain in the food during the
Convenient for grilling is the Thermometer-Fork Combination. It reads in 2-10 seconds.
Place at least 1/4 inch deep in thickest part of food. It can be used in most foods,
but is not meant to remain in foods while it is cooking.
The Dial Instant-Read reads in 15-20 seconds. Place it 2 to 2 1/2 inch deep in thickest
part of food. The temperature is averaged along the probe, from the tip to 2-3 inches
up the stem; therefore, it must be inserted sideways. It can be used in roasts, casseroles,
A pop-up thermometer is commonly used in turkeys and roasting. These one-time use
thermometers pop up when the food reaches final temperature for safety and doneness.
It is recommended to check the temperature in other parts of the food with a conventional
thermometer as well.
Using a food thermometer is the only sure way of knowing if your food has reached
a high enough temperature to destroy food borne bacteria.
So the next time you are wondering if something is done, reach for the thermometer
that works best for you.
For your free chart to know the final temperature of most foods, click Don't Trust the Sniff Test or contact the Miller County Extension Office, 870-779-3609 or visit us in room 215
at the Miller County Courthouse. We're online at email@example.com, on Facebook at
UAEXMillerCountyFCS/CarlaHaleyHadley, on Twitter @MillerCountyFCS or on the web at
By Carla Haley-Hadley County Extension Agent - FCSThe Cooperative Extension ServiceU of A System Division of Agriculture
Media Contact: Carla Haley-Hadley County Extension Agent - FCSU of A Division of AgricultureCooperative Extension Service400 Laurel Street, Suite 215 Texarkana AR 71854 (870) 779-3609 firstname.lastname@example.org
The Arkansas Cooperative Extension Service is an equal opportunity/equal access/affirmative
action institution. If you require a reasonable accommodation to participate or need
materials in another format, please contact your County Extension office (or other
appropriate office) as soon as possible. Dial 711 for Arkansas Relay. The Arkansas Cooperative Extension Service offers its programs to all eligible persons
regardless of race, color, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, national origin,
religion, age, disability, marital or veteran status, genetic information, or any
other legally protected status, and is an Affirmative Action/Equal Opportunity Employer.