With proper use and care, your ChefAlarm® and DOT® alarm thermometers and probes should last through years and years of summer BBQs and holiday meals. Here are the tips—the do’s and don’ts—to help you prolong their life and get the most out of your ThermoWorks alarm thermometers.
Product Quick-Start User Guides
First and foremost, it’s always a good idea to review the user manual whether you’ve just purchased a ChefAlarm or DOT for the first time, or if you’re a thermometry pro and just need a quick refresher. There you will find operating instructions for all features and functions, tips for use, cautions, and a handy chart of recommended food temperatures. (Both are in printer-friendly PDF format: DOT Instructions, ChefAlarm Instructions)
Ideal Cooking Applications for DOT and ChefAlarm
ThermoWorks® alarm thermometers like the ChefAlarm and DOT are designed to track temperatures over an extended period of time with moderate-heat cooking methods such as smoking, oven-roasting, deep-frying, homebrewing, and Sous Vide. DOT is not meant to be used in place of a digital instant-read thermometer, such as a Thermapen MK4 or a ThermoPop, or used with broiling.
To Keep Your ChefAlarm or DOT Fit as a Fiddle…
- Probes should not be attached directly to a rack. The high heat of the rack will cause damage to the probe, transition, and cable. Use a clip.
- The meter’s body should not be affixed directly to a smoker or grill’s lid. The high heat will melt the plastic housing.
- Do not put the probe in the dishwasher, or place the entire probe in a sink of water. Submerging the entire cable will cause damage.
- Avoid pinching the cable between hot surfaces such as a cast metal grill hood (while grill-roasting) without some insulating protection. Most grills or smokers will have a notch, hole or padding to accommodate a cable while the lid is closed.
- Do not leave the thermometer itself in the smoker or oven (only the probe—properly placed in the item being tracked—can handle those cooking temperatures)
- Use the Pro Series® Grate Clip to hold an air probe above the grate (protecting the probe from extreme heat).
- Clean the probes by wiping with a damp cloth and kitchen cleaner. Clean after each use to prevent cross-contamination.
- Keep the thermometer’s LCD screen out of direct sunlight to avoid damaging the display.
- Store Pro-Series probes with the cables free of kinks, and coiled, wrapped or hung loosely (not pulled and wrapped tightly).
Understanding Thermal Ranges
It is important to understand the difference between BBQ and grilling in order to avoid damaging your probe. The times and temperatures in the method being used determine what cooking applications each product is best suited for. The high heat cooking method of grilling involves temperatures from around 500°F (near the grill surface) up to 3,000°F (with flare-ups). See the thermal ranges for the housing and probes below:
Storing Your Alarm Thermometer
Store your thermometer properly after cleaning. This will prolong the life of both your probe and thermometer, and will also prevent spreading of harmful bacteria through cross contamination.
Pro-Series probes should be stored loosely without any kinks in the cables. Wrapping the cable around the ChefAlarm meter pulls it tight, putting enough stress on the cable that it could possibly become damaged. Instead, coil the cable and place it carefully in the ChefAlarm’s case.
When to Use Different Pro Series Probes
The ChefAlarm comes with a 6-inch High Temp Cooking Probe while the DOT includes a 4.5-inch High Temp Straight Penetration Probe. Both of these probes are great for general purpose smoking and roasting, but additional probes can be purchased depending on your needs:
➤ High Temp 12-inch Probe
The 12-inch High Temp Probe is useful for large cuts of meat, deep-frying, large pots and homebrewing.
➤ Air Probe with Grate Clip
To monitor the air temperature of your smoker or oven, use the High Temp Air Probe With Grate Clip. This probe is also a great tool for testing your oven’s accuracy.
➤ Waterproof Needle Probe
The Waterproof Needle Probe is ideal when you need to track the temperature of meat in sous vide cooking.
Unlike the other Pro Series probes, the needle probe’s transition is submersible in water, but other liquids (such as mash when brewing beer) can corrode the silicone with prolonged exposure.
Additional accessories available for ChefAlarm and DOT are:
➤ Pot Clip
We understand even with the most meticulous product care and use, problems may still arise. Contact a member of our Customer Care or Technical Support teams with any questions or concerns. You’ll be directly connected with a ThermoWorker at our headquarters who understands the products and is ready to assist you.
Key Points to Remember:
- Use the right thermometer for the cooking application
- Take care of probes by not exposing them to temperatures beyond their thermal range, or to liquid beyond the probe shaft (except for the waterproof needle probe)
- Clean and store properly after every use
Understanding product care and thermal ranges help you know why specific products are recommended for specific applications, and will prolong the life of your ChefAlarm and DOT. Take care, and long live your thermometers!
Joe E Lecocke says
Thank you for providing this information. It is always very useful and reassuring to have it available.
You’re very welcome! We compiled a list of the most frequently asked questions and problems received by our customer care and technical support teams, and this information was what they felt like would be most helpful for our customers.
Thank you for your comment,
Rodney McKee says
Loving my smoke alarm.
Have 3 sensors so far and use Command™ Clear Small Cord Organiser Clear Strips 17302CLR to hang them up out of the way. Works perfectly.