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How To Use a Digital Meat Thermometer

Don't rely on chance or guesswork when it comes to properly cooking meat and poultry dishes. Take their temperature to be sure they are fully cooked.

Instructions

  • TIP: Check a cookbook or the internet to learn the appropriate temperature for the dish you are preparing.
  • Step 1: Remove the thermometer when the dish reaches the desired internal temperature.
  • Step 2: Wash the portion of the thermometer that has been in contact with the meat with warm, soapy water, and then dry and store it for future use.
  • FACT: On July 4th, Americans eat over 150 million hot dogs.
  • Step 3: Read the thermometer and compare the reading to your desired temperature. Oven-safe thermometers continuously update their display as the meat cooks. Spot-check thermometers take about 15 seconds to register the correct temperature.
  • TIP: Bone will be hotter than the meat that surrounds it. If you hit bone, it will skew your reading.
  • Step 4: Calibrate your thermometer to heat by inserting the last two inches of the stem into a pot of boiling water. If it doesn’t read 212 degrees, adjust it according to the instructions.
  • Step 5: Calibrate your thermometer to cold by inserting the last two inches of the stem into a glass of ice shavings that has been topped off with cold water. If it doesn’t read 32 degrees, adjust it according to the instructions.
  • Step 6: Insert the thermometer into the thickest part of your meat so that the last two inches of the stem reach its center.
  • Step 7: Choose between an oven safe thermometer, which stay in your dish the entire time it is cooking, and one that's inserted periodically for a quick temperature test.

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