Temperature Probes – Yes or No?

 

It has to be a yes! Not only for cooking meat but for any foods that need cooking the temperature probe is one of the most useful pieces of equipment in the Kitchen. You won’t see celebrity chefs use them on the TV (I think it must be pride) but I guarantee they are used in the best kitchens up and down the country.

 

When it comes to meat the temperature probe does two things, it guarantees the meat has been cooked thoroughly taking away any risk of food poisoning, perfect for barbecues and secondly it gives you precision; want make sure your rib of beef is medium rare every time a temp probe is the answer because as we all read in the recipe books every oven cooks differently.

 

So, how do you use a temperature probe?  It is simple. When it comes to cooking meat products that aren’t served medium or rare i.e. poultry, sausage and burgers ( burgers can be served rare but it carries a risk) then just ensure the product is cooked to 75°C. You check by probing the thickest part of the cut and try to get the tip of the probe in the centre of the cut. So for a chicken breast you would probe the thicker end of the breast, on burger you would probe the centre and the same for a sausage. As as useful tip you can also use the same method for checking meals such as frozen lasagne which is always  difficult to gauge when ready.

 

When it comes to cooking beef, well done, medium or rare and lamb, pink the temperature probes comes into it’s own. The table below shows you what temperature you need to achieve the desired level of doneness. It doesn’t matter whether it is a steak or a joint the target temperature remains the same. What I have found to be the case is that when cooking joints if aiming for a temperature remove it 2°C under the target as when the meat is resting (resting is vitally important and a whole other blog) it will continue to cook and reach the desired temperature.

 

So what do you look for in a decent temp probe? I have used about 4 different models and I can tell you it is worth spending a bit more to get a decent one. Anywhere between £15-£20’s will get you a good one. I personally prefer the all in one type as opposed to the probe being separate on a wire. Finally and importantly you want one that gives a reading quickly. It does usually take anywhere from 15 to 30 secs to get a reading but you do not want to be waiting for two minutes.

 

 

 

 Food

Temperature

Ground meat

Beef, Pork, Veal, Lamb 75°C/160°F
Turkey, Chicken 75°C/165°F

Fresh Beef, Veal, Lamb

Rare 45°C/113°F
Medium rare 64°C/145°F
Medium 71°C/160°F
Well done 75°C/170°F

Fish

Well done (all fish) 63°C/145°F

Fresh Pork

Well done 75°C/170°F

Poultry

All poultry 75°C/165°F

Ham

Fresh (raw) 75°C/160°F

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