This morning we got a call from a customer complaining that her “Thermapen® is erotic…” Now, we know people love their Thermapens, but seriously!
Upon further clarification, what she meant to say was that her Thermapen is “erratic.” “It keeps changing while I’m trying to get a reading!”
The answer to this complaint is, of course, that it’s the temperature that is changing while she is trying to get a reading, not the Thermapen. The Thermapen is doing exactly what it always does—displaying the exact temperature at its tip.
The temperature of food, on the other hand, is very dynamic, particularly while it is cooking, and the Super-Fast Thermapen is fast and accurate enough to show minute changes in the temperature while they occur. The tip of the Thermapen probe can be pushed through a food helping you find the coolest center and can show differences in temperature from one spot in the food to another (different parts of a whole Turkey can differ by as much as 20°F [11°C]).
While it can take 2 or 3 seconds for the Thermapen to move from the ambient temperature (room temperature) to the temperature of a food or liquid, once its micro-thermocouple has homed in on the current temperature, it is very quick to sense and display changes (the display refreshes every half-second).
Of course, these minor changes can be hidden by changing the display resolution of the Thermapen from tenths to whole numbers (see The So-Called “Speed Button”). Whole numbers can be very comforting.
Sometimes people have a mentality that cooking thermometers should be like bathroom scales or speed guns and lock in on the temperature once it is detected, but think of the Thermapen more like reality TV, giving you the real-time updates as the action happens.
The takeaway? If the Thermapen numbers are changing, rest assured that the food’s temperature is changing!