Why Using a Barbecue Meat Thermometer Can Help Make Your Cooking Safer and Better
Sometimes it’s very difficult to work out whether the meat on a barbecue grill is correctly cooked, especially if it’s a large joint of meat or a large bird such as a chicken or turkey. Over-cooked meat will disappoint your barbecue guests, and undercooked meat can be a health risk.
Stories of illnesses after BBQ’s are not unusual and sometimes undercooked BBQ food can require emergency medical treatment in hospital.
A barbecue remote meat thermometer is a good solution to these problems. It can be used to measure the internal temperature of large roasts, steaks and other cooked foods. It does this by means of a probe which is inserted into the meat during or after cooking. The degree to which the meat has been cooked is indicated by its internal temperature.
Should You Always Use a Meat Thermometer?
If you are barbecuing fresh steaks it’s not uncommon to cook them rare. Many people prefer them that way. But when you are cooking processed meats (e.g. burgers or English sausages) and large meat joints, chickens, turkeys and ducks they must be cooked until their interior temperatures are high enough to kill harmful bacteria such as Salmonella and E. coli (two of the commonest causes of barbecue meal illnesses).
Many people that barbecue regularly will tell you that you don’t need a barbecue meat thermometer if you mostly cook steaks, sausages, hot dogs and burgers, because there are simple manual techniques for testing whether they’re cooked or not, and, in the case of steaks whether they’re rare, medium or well done.
But if you’re cooking large numbers steaks, burgers, hot dogs and sausages you’ll find it much easier and safer to manage your cooking if you use a meat thermometer.
How to Use a Barbecue Grill Meat Thermometer
There are lots of different types of barbecue grill meat thermometer, but all of them comprise the same basic components — a long probe and a gauge. The probe is long enough to be inserted into the thickest part of the meat and the gauge attached to it (either directly or by a wire) can either be analogue or digital.
The ones with a gauge directly attached to the probe are called instant-read meat thermometers. They used to be the most common type used for BBQ’s, but now electronic remote-read meat thermometers have become very popular. As the name suggests these consist of a probe and a remote digital gauge which is either attached to the probe by wires or linked wirelessly to the probe through a transmitter station.
Whatever type of meat thermometer you use the tip of the probe must be inserted into the thickest part of the meat, but it must not touch any bone in the meat because if it does it’ll give an overestimate of the meat temperature. The sensing areas of the probe are always clearly indicated and can be from ½ inch to 2 inches long. Take the length of this sensing area into account when inserting the probe into the meat (i.e. make sure it’s at the center of the meat).
If you are cooking chickens, turkeys and ducks, insert the probe into the thigh area near the breast. For red meats, roasts, steaks, burgers or chops insert the probe into the center of the thickest part (i.e. in the case of a steak push the probe into the side, and for an English sausage insert it from the end).