You know that meat thermometer that has been sitting in the drawer for years? Perhaps you got it as a gift or maybe you bought it on a whim years ago and just never got into the habit of using it. Reality is; the majority of people check the doneness of their meat by touch or sight. However, not using that meat thermometer; at the very least is most likely robbing you of a more pleasurable culinary experience. At its worst; it increases the risk of foodborne illness.
1. Most importantly: Prevent Illness.
Meat needs to be cooked to a specific temperature to ensure dangerous bacteria are killed. Specific temperatures vary depending on the cut of meat. For specific safe meat serving temperatures for different cuts of meat (beef, chicken, port, etc) refer to our chart here.
2. Prevent Overcooking
I am definitely guilty of this one! For years, I was scared to serve undercooked chicken or pork resulting in dry, tough, and just plain undesirable dinners. When using a meat thermometer, one can ensure that your meat will stay tender and juicy, while at the same time guaranteeing that your meat is cooked safely.
3. Avoid Guessing
Often recipes give or recommend a specific time for cooking. The problem with this is; no two cuts of meat are the same; nor are any two situations (outdoor temperature, variation in oven/bbq, consistency of the cooking devices temperature). When preparing different cuts of meat, if you are using time alone as an estimate of doneness; you will have varying unsatisfactory results.
Using a meat thermometer consistently when preparing dinner is a quick and simple way to ensure food safety, while increasing the tenderness and juiciness those meats have to offer.
Guest post by Michael Haas of AngryBBQ