The SLMan Guide To… Meat Thermometers

The SLMan Guide To… Meat Thermometers


Anyone serious about what they do in the kitchen or behind the barbie should own a meat thermometer. Jason Webb, director of Electronic Temperature Instruments, tells us why…

First and foremost, why should you use a meat thermometer?
The primary reason people use a meat thermometer is to ensure the meat is cooked thoroughly. You can’t take for granted how critical that is. However, there is greater emphasis on poultry, especially if the internal temperature hasn’t reached the safety mark of 75°C. Thermometers are widely used to ensure food quality can be repeated. Where lots of recipes refer to timings, the difference in ovens and settings can produce different temperatures which will impact the final result. Using a meat thermometer can help you achieve perfectly cooked meat at home, every time.

How do you use one properly?
It’s important to use a meat thermometer correctly. The probe positioning is key in getting an accurate measurement. With our Thermapen, the sensor is centred in the probe tip, so you must ensure it’s placed in the thickest part of the meat you’re measuring because that would usually be the part that takes longest to cook. A turkey breast at Christmas is a great example of using the thickest part of the meat to ensure it is cooked to perfection. The diagram below demonstrates this:

And you can use one on any meat?
Yes. Chicken and turkey are some of the most difficult meats to cook right. With the use of a meat thermometer, you have a scientific way of making sure the food you’re serving is safe to eat. Beef is often served medium rare, so make sure you give the beef enough time to rest before serving. Using a thermometer can ensure any Sunday roast is perfectly cooked.

Can you use them on other foods like fish?
Yes. Most thermometers have an ultra-fine tip which can be used in very thick or even delicate foods to get the correct temperature. Fish is an important one to get right because it is often overcooked which means flavour is lost and it dries out.

What should you consider before buying one?
There are a lot of variations on the market, but the most important thing to consider is how accurate and fast they are – though this isn’t typically something the lower cost ones will advertise. Speed of response is another key element in choosing the correct thermometer; you don’t want to risk losing heat or flavour because you’re simply waiting too long for a temperature reading. Look for one with a fast-response stainless steel probe to give an accurate reading within a couple of seconds. Purchasing a very low-cost thermometer can actually be more expensive in the long run – remember: buy cheap, buy twice.

What do you think makes a thermometer a worthwhile investment?
A good roast beef joint costs in excess of £20. The ‘price per use’ of a meat thermometer will soon outweigh the overcooked or undercooked stress in the kitchen.

Do they tend to have any other features?
Absolutely. You can use a temperature guide to help make your thermometer more versatile in the kitchen. Most good models can be used on cakes, bread, jams and liquids where you need an accurate reading such as caramel and syrups.

How long should one last?
Most good thermometers come with a two-year warranty, but they are generally known to last a lot longer than that.


Ready to invest? Here’s the SLMan edit of the best meat thermometers out there right now…

Best All-Rounder

Thermapen Professional Thermometer, £64.80
The UK’s top-selling food thermometer can be used on meat, poultry and fish, measuring up to 299.9°C. It’s a great all-rounder for roasting, barbecuing and everyday cooking, testing the true temperature of food in just three seconds.
Buy it here

Best For Roasting

DOT Digital Oven Thermometer, £36
This digital oven thermometer is ideal for roasting meat and fish, thanks to its accurate reading display and inbuilt alarm, meaning you can insert the probe into your food and wait for a flash when optimum temperature is reached. It’s also water resistant so won’t mind contact with liquids and gravy.
Buy it here

Best For BBQs


ThermoPro TP02S Digital Meat Thermometer, £9.99
This one’s a great tool for achieving the perfect meat temperature on a hot barbecue. Thanks to its long probe, you won’t burn your hands, while its ultra-sensitive tip means you can get a quick and accurate temperature of even the thickest meats.

Buy it here

Best For Tech

Meater True Wireless Smart Meat Thermometer, £89
This high-tech smart thermometer connects to your phone for a wireless temperature reading. It can estimate the total cook time of your food and send you notifications when it’s ready to serve. One for true meat connoisseurs.
Buy it here

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