Tip Tuesday - Food Temperatures and Digital Thermometer

Tip Tuesday - Food Temperatures and Digital Thermometer


Every kitchen needs basic kitchen equipment – sharp knives, whisks, silicone spatulas, wooden spoons, cutting boards, hot soapy water, etc. I could go on and on. In my kitchen I have the basics and then several favorite gadgety items I’m not sure I can live without.

For instance, I love my glass, chemistry-lab-beaker-like stock seperator.

And my assorted sizes of scoops.

And my bench scraper.

But, one of the gadgets I love best and would encourage all to buy in this season of the grill is a digital thermometer. For several years I cooked with an instant read thermometer an essential tool to accurately measure the final temperature of food, particularly meat that requires a final temperature of a specific degree: pork, ground beef, poultry, and even leftovers.

Last year, I bought this digital model and I now wonder now why I hadn’t purchased one sooner. It can be preset to the final temperature and the probe/wire are heat-proof meaning the probe can be left in the food item with the white screen sitting outside the oven or grill. It beeps when  the preset temperature is reached and some models even have a portable remote beeper that beeps just in case you walk out of the kitchen or into the next yard to chat with your neighbor.

About appropriate temperatures: In order to keep food safe and kill any illness-producing bacteria such as E. coli, Salmonella, Trichinosis, Campylobacter, etc. the final temperatures below should be reached. Larger cuts of meat and large birds continue to cook once out of the oven or off the grill, so the cooking can be stopped 5 to 10 degrees before the final temperature is reached. This will allow the meat temperature to rise, killing bacteria, but not overcook the meat:

Ground beef – 155  F

Whole or ground poultry – 165 F

Pork – 160 F

Leftovers – 165 F

Steaks – beef, lamb, bison – cook to desired degree of doneness. No final temperature recommended.

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