No one likes a steak that is unrecognizable or burnt to a crisp. If this has happened to you, you might have tried various different tips and tricks like poking the meat with your finger to determine if it is well-done. But this is not exactly accurate or pleasant. As a good barbeque cook, you want to keep your guests and yourself happy with the perfect steak exactly as they ordered it every time. But if you want to remove the risk and stress of timing everything exactly right, a barbeque or good grill thermometer can help.
Why use a thermometer?
You might be an experienced outdoor chef, or you might just be getting used to your first grill but you will already know that meat can be a tricky thing to get just right. Especially if you have guests with varying tastes from rare to well done, how do you know the meat is cooked? And when you start adding different types of meat into the mix, how do you know when chicken and pork or beef is done exactly right and will be good to eat.
You can use your intuition, or experience, but a disappointed guest will soon have you looking for a more accurate test. And worse, undercooked or overcooked food is not only a waste of money but it can leave you or your guests in hospital. So a meat thermometer is both a handy tool and a safety device.
No more guesswork
The best grill thermometer takes the guesswork out of grilling. Once you get used to how important it is, you will list it under the same usefulness as your knives, forks and tongs. As a good cook and griller you know the best meat is juicy, flavorful but also safe to eat. A thermometer will help you be sure that your food is cooked exactly right, with no dangerous bacteria lurking. It will also help you prepare your meat to different tastes, for the friend who likes it just seared second away from completely rare to the guest who prefers it completely and utterly well-done.
Types of Thermometers
So you want to get a thermometer and stop all the guessing games, but where do you start. Sometimes some grills or ovens will come with an analog thermometer included, so why do you need to go out and buy a new one? The answer is easy, accuracy. If your thermometer isn’t accurate you might as well go back to not using one. Most of these analog thermometers are bi-metal dial types. They really aren’t as accurate as a good digital thermometer, or a well designed accurate updated analog model. Some of these thermometers can prove an existing bi-metal one wrong by almost a 100°F (37°C).
More Types of Thermometers
Now that you have decided to get a nice new thermometer there are still more types to consider. Some function very directly and only take the temperature of the meat (either in Fahrenheit or Celsius). Other come with a few more additional features, like alarms, or backlights. Some other models are wireless so you can check on the temperature without having to go outside. (A big plus in those cold climates, where you grill even when it is snowing. Respect to you.) Some you can even program. So there are many options available. There are basic ones if you just want a quick idea to very sophisticated models for those of you smoking and grilling all different types of meat.
How to use your thermometer
The way you use your thermometer will depend on the type of model you get. But some of the basics will be the same for all different types. The important component of a meat thermometer is the probe. The probe is the metal stick that you will use to measure the temperature of the meat. You want to test the temperature of the food, or as close to the food as possible.
So when you place the probe locate it carefully to the side of the food and about an inch away from the grill surface. Some thermometers will come with attachments that do the measuring for you. But if you don’t have one, you can easily buy it separately or simply use some foil to lift the probe a little.
When you measure the temperature of the meat itself, do so at a few different spots. Meat will sometimes heat unevenly and may be perfectly hot at the edges but not in the center. In this case, insert your probe where the meat is thickest and push it a little past the center. Then slowly remove it and take a look at the lowest temperature it records. Then test one or two other locations as well, just to be sure.
A Little Maintenance
Remember to treat your thermometer just as well as you treat your trusty grill. Clean your thermometer probe after each use, and keep it dry. You don’t want the probe to turn into the nasty dirty thing that gives you food poisoning, when you bought it to avoid this. Store it safely and it will give you many good readings for all your cook outs. Make sure that the batteries are functioning and don’t leave it to face the elements. A simple and obvious tip is to read the instructions from the manufacturer carefully. They often also have a few helpful hints.
Best Grill Thermometers
Not every grill thermometer is made equal so here are our top five recommendations you should consider before buying a grill thermometer for your next barbecue.
The Weber 6492 digital display instant-read thermometer is a product that boasts of excellent accuracy that will come in handy when you have to ensure perfect cooking time for your meat, poultry or fish.
- The Weber thermometer has a swivelling head that rotates, enabling easy and quick temperature reading, which is offers high accuracy
- The 15-minute auto shut-off feature ensures that the battery is not wasted until the point where you have to replace it without giving it too much use
- It has a protective sleeve for probe
- It works amazingly well with both gas and charcoal grills so you don’t have to worry about the power source of your grill
- The protective sleeve for the probe ensures that the thermometer does not get damaged due to temperature extremes while grilling
- The ease of use is a great advantage of this thermometer, which is just a slip-in-slip-out device for monitoring cooking temperature
- The thermometer takes a couple of seconds to settle at the exact temperature
- You may find it acting funny by poking into somewhat uncooked food, and even meat residues sticking to it on insertion. The temperature can start jumping around or it may not be able to read it at all
- The battery may die down in the middle of the operation, so you need to be sure about the temperature. A battery lasts less than a year on this thermometer so make you that you have a spare one when you start grilling
It’s quite a breeze to use and effective as long as it lasts. Its multi-compatibility function is its main advantage, as you can use it on both gas and charcoal grills without inconvenience.
The Webber 6492 thermometer is a good option for your grilling. However, you must take into account the fact that the battery and its connections are not the best on the market so you will have to buy a spare battery before using it, and possibly clean the battery compartment every once in a while.
As long as you do this, this instant-read digital thermometer will show you a super-fast temperature of your food in a quick shot.
The Habor Digital Stainless Cooking thermometer is an excellent product that gives you the opportunity to use it on all kinds of food, from meat, milk, grill, BBQ and even bath water, with complete accuracy and without fear of damage.
- The LCD screen on this thermometer ensures a quick and accurate reading result in just 10 seconds
- The device includes a battery upon purchase and it is programed to shut down automatically after 10 minutes as a battery-saving system
- It is a thermometer that is designed to measure a wide temperature range of -50 to 300 degrees C, simplifying instant reading for a variety of cooking needs
- It has a long 5.9 inches probe that ensures safety from burning your hands while measuring the cooking temperature
- It can be used for both indoor and outdoor cooking thanks to the high quality stainless steel and its storage in a plastic tube
- The probe tip is quite slender, thus ensuring that there is no leakage of the meat juices while using the thermometer on your food
- The handle has an easy grip and does not cause pressure on the hand
- It comes with a unique slim-fitting case where you can easily store it
- This thermometer includes a 45-days money back and 188-month warranty
- It measures temperature to the tenth of a degree (i.e. 70.6°C)
- Users have complained of a significant error margin so that the reading may not be completely accurate
- Thermometer tends to be damaged quite easily if water gets onto the electronic parts of it
The Habor Digital Stainless Cooking Thermometer is a great value-for-money product as long as you don’t expect 100% accuracy and accept the fact that it’s not going to last forever.
This is a product that you will have to take care of, but as long as you do, you will have a thermometer that will work not only for grilling but also for many other tasks in your cooking, like deep-frying, milk temperatures, and bath water. The long needle is extremely helpful thus facilitating temperature reading and afterwards cleaning.
It also comes well protected in a plastic tube where it can be stored, making it more durable than those without a storage device.
The ThermoPro TP20 is one of those unique products that surprisingly come with a lifetime warranty, making it a valuable asset to have. A company that ensures their product for a lifetime is a company that trusts its products’ quality, so this is always a great sign.
- It is a digital wireless thermometer equipped with a dual probe that will allow you to monitor your food and check its temperature from a distance of about 300 feet away. This means you won’t have to stand over the grill all night long!
- It has temperatures which are preset for as many as nine varieties of meat, with their doneness levels as recommended by USDA. These preset temps can be set according to your tastes
- It has a lifetime sensor probe warranty, which means that if, after a few months, you start experiencing incorrect temperature readings, the brand will provide you with a brand-new sensor probe for free!
- The instrument also provides manual temperature setting if wanted
- It is a thermometer that does not require any type of synchronization
- It works on oven without any inconvenience
- Its LCD screen is back lit
- Its dual probe technology allows you to monitor two different pieces of meat simultaneously
- It features a countdown and count up timer
- Presents a rubber sleeve case
- The probes are made of stainless steel
- You don’t need to get into a hassle-packed set-up process as it doesn’t need any syncing and has a simple interface for ease of use
- With its back-lit feature, you can easily use this thermometer in low light conditions without straining your eyes
- The probe is made of high-grade stainless steel and has a step-down design for precise and fast reading
- The probe wires come rated for a temperature between 32 degrees F to 716 degrees F, with alarm alert for programmed temperature
- It’s receiver is splash proof and comes with a belt clip
- Temperature accuracy is apparently a temporary affair and you may find the instrument acting awry after a few months
- The probes tend to fall out of the receiver, which is not something you would want while checking your food temperature
The ThermoPro TP20 is certainly one of a kind product on the market. This wireless, remote dual probe thermometer has a list of unique features that make it stand out between all the other options.
The probes have been reported to fall out of the receiver, but some other customers state that they only need to be pushed hard enough for them to stay. Given that this is the case, the ThermoPro is easily the best option for your grilling: it will not only allow you to enjoy the night without constantly watching over your food, but it is also a thermometer that is oven-friendly!
It might be a bit expensive for those who are on a low-budget. However, for a lifetime warranty, 60$ does not sound so bad, does it? Especially when you are acquiring a tool that will be a great help in your cooking.
The Luxe thermometer has an impressive range of features, making it a good lifetime investment for your kitchen. Let’s review them so you can decide for yourself.
- It comes with a lifetime money back warranty
- The temperature range is wide (-40° to 230°C), and it offers an excellent temperature control with a high accuracy on the results
- Accurate reading is delivered in as little as 4-6 seconds, with a unique recalibration feature to ensure precision
- The instrument is durable and sturdy, and it comes with a stainless-steel case and a protective sleeve that keeps it safe from any heat damage increasing its longevity
- It is programed to automatically shut off after 10 minutes, extending your battery’s life
- It has temperature recall and holding capability
- The thin probe is made out of stainless steel
- The thin pointed stem ensures that your meat juices remain intact while using the thermometer as it does not leave big holes on your food
- This one-time purchase does not require replacements and comes with several useful accessories: a pocket clip so that you can clip it to your clothing while cooking and a spare watch battery
- It does not read temperatures as quickly as the manufacturers claim it does
- Temperature accuracy is also suspect, which means you would need to depend on your intuition to some extent to get it right
The Luxe Grill Digital Thermometer is an option you can choose if you are prepared to personally supervise the reading process, taking into account the error margins. As long as you are willing to do this, the thermometer is actually a great buy: it has a thin probe that won’t destroy your meat, it is a long-lasting item and it comes with a protective sleeve to ensure its durability.
It also has a lifetime money back warranty, which means that if it ever stops working you can always ask for a new one, or flatly ask for your money back right away!
This digital thermometer from Alpha Grillers is adaptable for both grilling and cooking of meat and BBQ.
- It is easy to use and requires no major effort to set it up
- It has a large dial for easy and accurate reading in 4-7 seconds of insertion on your food
- It has an auto power off when you flip the probe back into the unit
- It is great for both, outdoor and indoor use
- The package includes a laminated meat temperature guide for quick reference, in case you are not sure what temperature you should be aiming for!
- It works well on every type of grill: gas, charcoal, electric, infrared
- It includes a lifetime money back warranty
- It has a back magnet for easier setting
- It comes with a HOLD button that allows you to freeze the display
- The AAA battery is included in the package
- The package includes an exhaustive quick-reference laminated guide on meat temperature
- It works for all types of cooking and on all types of cooking equipment, including deep frying oil and even wine or beer brews
- It is low-budget friendly
- Its extra-large and bright dial allows you to see the temperature reading even under the sunniest of weathers!
- It uses triple A batteries while most of the other thermometers use the less common watch battery
- Probe is difficult to open and you may need to use some kind of a file or knife to do so every time
The Instant Read Thermometer by Alpha Grillers is an extremely affordable device considering the quality and efficiency it boasts of, so you really have nothing to lose if you decide to go for it.
Nevertheless, you will most likely keep it as this is a product that does its job properly and works on every type of grill and on a great range of food.
Another great feature is the AAA battery it uses, which is easier to replace than a watch battery.
A meat thermometer for your next barbeque is a real handy tool: it will stop you from guessing when your food is cooked and eliminate the risk of taking your meat or poultry out too soon, or too dry. There is certainly nothing more daunting than a dry piece of meat after a long time under the sun and in front of the grilling heat.
The proper thermometer will help you when you want to cook a turkey or smoke some ribs, and if you use it well, your guests will think you completed a cookery course overnight. You won’t have to worry about the safety of your food before serving it and you will soon be able to make more complex meals on your grill.
In order to acquire a good grill thermometer, you should always consider all of its features and whether it seems to offer some utility for your particular plans or not. Remember that not all of them are made to be used in the over, and some others are prone to fail in reading accuracy.
Lastly, if there is something that you should always have in mind is that if you make a small sacrifice in order to obtain a slightly more expensive thermometer with a lifetime warranty, you will not be able to notice it, but this will be saving you money in the long run! Most of the thermometers stop working after a while, so you better have your ensured or you will find yourself buying a new one altogether for every grilling season.
Choose wisely, and happy grilling!