Someone much smarter than me once gave me this advice: “The secret to wealth is to build something which will never break.” This is great advice, but the tragedy of the modern era is that very few manufacturers take it to heart. Like with many products, the market for grill thermometers is full of poorly conceived concepts and shabby products. This article will walk you through what you need to know when buying a right grill thermometer, and hopefully help you select the perfect thermometer for your needs.
The Basics of Grill Thermometer
Let’s start with the basics. When you look past all of the add-ons and fancy new technology, there are only two key considerations: accuracy and reliability. So where do these qualities come from? They come naturally through simplicity. The more complexity you build into a product, the higher the chance that something will go wrong. Keep in mind that grill thermometers are, fundamentally, incredibly simple products which perform a very basic task. It may be interesting or cool to buy a $50 talking remote thermometer, but how much value does that really add to your life over a $10 one which does its job well?
Maybe you’re the type that just loves cool new gadgets. No problem with that, but.there are still some other simple rules to keep in mind. The first is to focus on accuracy. Most thermometers on the market are quite accurate, but digital thermometers track temperature faster and can be significantly easier to read.
Reliability is also of the utmost importance. Whether you are considering a digital thermometer or a bi-metal thermometer, look for a few simple things. Does it look or feel cheap? How sturdy is the material that makes up the probe and housing. If you are set on buying a digital thermometer, ensure that the housing is made of flame and heat resistant materials like silicone. How much clearance is there between the probe and the housing (is it sufficiently long to provide space between the heat source and the housing)?
Getting More Complicated
Once you have found a small number of thermometers that are well reviewed, meet your requirements and appear to be reliable and accurate, there are a few more considerations which can be used to further narrow down your search.
I live by Alton Brown’s axiom that there is no place in the kitchen for a unitasker, or a product that fulfills only one specific also applies to grill thermometers. If you like to use an oven to cook meat, you need to buy a thermometer which is also useful for keeping tabs on oven-cooked food. Are you a beer brewer? Some, but not all, grill thermometers can also be used to gauge the temperature of your wort. Are you a candy maker? Many, but not all, grill thermometers also double as candy thermometers.
You should also start thinking about additional functionalities that would be useful to you. If you love to entertain and cook for large numbers of people, a wireless or remote grill thermometer will free you up to do other work in the kitchen while your meat grills. This type of thermometer is also great if you like to kick back with your friends and family and watch the game instead of hover around the kitchen. Just set the receiver up next to your beer and glance over occasionally to see when your meat is done.
Cheat Sheet of Grill Thermometer
Hopefully this helped. If you don’t want to read through all that text, here is a simple and quick checklist to keep in mind when you start shopping for a new grill thermometer.
1) Reliability and accuracy are key. Keep a close eye on product reviews and brand name, as well as manufacturing and design quality.
2) Simplicity never fails. More complexity means a higher probability of error or failure.
3) Stay away from unitaskers! Think about other roles you need a thermometer to fill and search out a model which suits all of your needs.
4) Your thermometer should suit your needs. If you need mobility, choose a wireless thermometer. If you like to hover over your meat, don’t waste money on bells and whistles.
Taking Care of Your Wireless Grill Thermometer: Make It Last For Life!
Possibly the biggest problem faced by owners of wireless grill thermometers is the short life span of these products. Since they often retail for over $50, savvy consumers can’t be blamed for being hesitant to purchase one. However, these are nifty little gadgets, and can be a great addition to the kit of even the most cost conscious grill-master if they are used properly.
The main Achilles heel of these thermometers lies in the cable which runs between the probe and the transmitter. While these cables are engineered to hold up to high temperatures, they are also quite thin and are not designed to resist high pressure or abuse. If they are crimped or placed under high pressure, the thin wires inside the cable can lose their ability to transmit information, rendering them all but useless and forcing you to either replace the cable or buy a new thermometer.
So how does one protect this cable from being damaged? Easy: don’t close your grill’s lid on it!
Go outside and look at your grill. If you have a gas grill, look on the main grill housing on either side where the lid meets the grill pan. You should see one or several small holes in this general area through which the probe can be inserted and the cable can run through. It’s that simple!
Charcoal grills can be somewhat more tricky, but they usually have a set of 2-4 holes on the top with a swivel cover. Even if you want that closed while you grill, you can leave it open just a notch and run your probe and cable through it without any noticeable effect on your end product.
If your grill doesn’t already have these holes, you can (theoretically at least) drill a hole yourself. There are a multitude of videos and tutorials online about drilling through metal, and it would be best to check one of those out before beginning. However, I can say that you will need a powerful drill or drill press, and should use a cone bit designed for drilling through metal. Luckily, you will only need a small hole just large enough to accommodate the probe and cable. This hole should not have any effect on the structural integrity or performance of your grill.
There you go! One simple change in your grilling habits can ensure that your expensive wireless grill thermometer is something that you buy for life!
10 Ways To Ensure Food Cooked On A Barbecue Is Safe And Pleasurable To Eat
Every year barbecues are responsible for thousands of cases of food poisoning and sometimes death amongst the more susceptible groups.
Barbecues are great. The foodstuff tastes good, it’s a social event and it gives a person who doesn’t usually cook (usually the husband/boyfriend/male partner) time to shine with their culinary skills. However, there are two major reasons why barbecues cause poisoning.
Cross contamination of ready to eat ingredients (such as bread rolls for burgers/sausages/steaks) from raw meat juices which contain pathogenic bacteria. The cook handles the raw meat products, do not wash their hands and transfers the deadly bacteria to the bread rolls, ready for eating and illness.
Heating food to a temperature that will allow survival of pathogens. Foodstuff must be heated to a temperature that will kill the bacteria and render it safe to eat.
Here are ten things you can do to prevent a bout of foodborne disease which will result in illness and possibly death, including some quality tips:
Keep raw ingredients totally separate from ready to eat foods.
Wash your hands well in soapy water after touching raw meat and raw vegetables. (Soil on raw vegetables is a major source of pathogenic organisms.
Check the internal temperature of cooked foods to ensure it has reached at least 75AC or 167AF. This temperature will ensure that it is safe to eat.
Do not touch pets during the preparation of ingredients as they harbour many illness causing organisms.
Wash salad ingredients well in cold running water. Salad leaves are a major source of germs.
Keep turning the meat over whilst it is cooking to ensure it doesn’t become burnt on either side.
If using a charcoal barbecue, ensure the coals are covered in a light grey ash before cooking. If you use a lighting fluid or firelighters to ignite the coals, wait for the flames to die down or your meal will taste of kerosene.
For better tasting rolls, grill the cut sides on the barbecue.
When the meal is cooked, keep it hot or serve it straight away.
You can use electric, gas or charcoal barbecues, the coal ones, however, give a better outdoor flavour to the food.
So barbecuing is a great way to meet new and old friends and family. Even cooking over burning wood in a forest is something that adds greatly to your camping experience, but always make sure you prepare, cook and serve your food safely. One of the most useful devices you can use during outdoor cooking is a Digital Grill Thermometer. It is not expensive, but it can prevent serious illness and possibly death.
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Choosing the Right Grill Thermometer
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