Before a tool will give you a healthy return on investment, it has to be put to work in the right way. That means you have to know how to use it! While a quick glance at the guidebook will give you an indication of best practices and absolute don’ts, it doesn’t hurt to get a little reminder now and again. Here is a refresher course on how to get the most out of your Super-Fast Thermapen.
#1 Your Thermapen doesn’t test “doneness.” It tests temperature – and very accurately at that. While temperature is the most effective gauge of the doneness of food (while it is cooking), cooked food will eventually cool. Your Thermapen will only tell you the temperature of food at its current temperature – not how hot it got. (If you want to know how hot it got, use this!)
For example, if you took your Thermapen to a restaurant to test the doneness of your steak as it comes to the table, it would give you a super-fast and accurate reading of the temperature as it was currently, What it wouldn’t tell you is the temperature of the steak as it came off the grill, which would have been the temperature that determined its doneness.
While cooking, remember to look for the highest temperature reached in the thickest part of the food to judge doneness.
#2 Your Thermapen will not lock in on a reading. What some see as a “broken/erratic” thermometer is actually a professional, super-sensitive, highly accurate thermocouple probe that detects changes in temperature to a tenth of a degree.
When you first penetrate meat on the grill, the Thermapen display will change very rapidly as it moves from ambient temperature to the temperature of the meat being probed. Within three seconds the rate of change will slow dramatically giving you an accurate reading, but it will not stop changing completely. As the meat continues to cook and the tip of your probe moves through the meat, the Thermapen will continue to detect variations in the temperature.
If the changing tenths become a distraction, you can remove them from the digital display by adjusting the settings in the battery compartment here.
#3 A clean Thermapen is a faster and more accurate Thermapen. After each use make it a habit of cleaning the probe. Keeping your thermometer clean will not only prolong its life, but it may just save yours. Think about it, you’re sticking the tip of the probe into meat that you’re not sure is thoroughly cooked – hence the need for a thermometer. That means the meat at the tip of the probe could likely be raw. If you simply fold away the probe you run the risk of contaminating your thermometer and your dinner.
Always wipe down your thermometer probe after every use to ensure that you and your family are protected from food borne illness. Don’t forget to also attend to the body of the thermometer. Over time, oil and other residue can seep into the cracks and crevasses of your meter and render it useless. Even if you have a Splash-Proof model.
Finally, Don’t forget what your Thermapen IS capable of doing! To put it simply, your Thermapen will give you the fastest, most accurate temperature information you will find in an affordable professional grade thermometer. It can be used to check the internal temperatures of meats, poultry, fish, vegetables, casseroles, desserts, candy, breads, doughs, sauces, drinks and more. Some people even use their Thermapens to check the temperature of their bath water.
Get creative and think about the ways in which an accurate temperature reading could improve your life. Making the commitment to use the Thermapen regularly will help you achieve the best results – in whatever capacity you choose to put it to work.