Friday, August 22, 2008

Time and Temperature

Let me begin this by saying that pop up turkey timers are crap.

Ah. That's off my chest! Seriously though, if you've been trusting those little plastic pieces of garbage at all, I hope you're not wondering why your turkey is dry. That's all I'm saying. I learned really early on that you just can't rely on them. If they ever do get around to popping up, they usually do it when your turkey has reached the consistency and flavor level of styrofoam. Blech. Who wants to celebrate ANYTHING with styrofoam?

I'm thankful that I learned the lesson of the meat thermometer early. I know some folks never learn that one at all. It makes such a difference, and it's handy for other things besides turkey, such as meatloaf and roast chicken. You end up cooking things just until they're done without risking getting the creeping crud due to unsafe temperatures. All the flavor and juiciness is preserved. It's a win-win situation!

Well, a few weeks ago, my meat thermometer died. I was roasting a chicken, and it had been in the oven for the recommended amount of time, but the dial said it was a mere 100 degrees. It looked done. It felt done. I was so confused. I grabbed another stick thermometer that was in the drawer, stuck it in the thigh, and it immediately ran all the way up to it's highest temperature, which was 130. Well, crap. This meant my chicken was not the 100 degrees listed on the meat thermometer afterall, but I didn't have a thermometer that was working properly that went up high enough to tell me what temperature it actually was.

Luckily, I live in the most awesome shopping area EVER. Seriously, most everything I could ever need is located in a 3-5 mile radius, including a Linens & Things, a Target, AND a Bed, Bath & Beyond. I whined to my husband and he ran up the street to go buy me a new meat thermometer. I suspect he was hungry and he really wanted dinner ASAP.

This is what he brought home:

Isn't it lovely? I feel so high tech now with this fancy new probe thermometer. It's digital, so no guessing with a dial. It tells you the temperature of whatever it is that you're cooking as well as the oven temperature, which is great, because to be honest I don't trust the thermostat on my crappy apartment oven. It has a long heatproof cord so I can leave the probe in whatever I'm cooking and have the box just sit on the counter. I can tell it what temperature the meat needs to reach and it will sound an alarm to let me know when it's there, so I don't have to keep checking it. It has a timer which I can set for hours, unlike all my other timers which go by minutes and max out at 6o or 99. There's a magnet on the back so I can just smack it on the side of the microwave.

Best of all - it's fast! I'm making bread today, and when I went to check the temperature of the water for my yeast, all I had to do was dip the probe into my measuring cup of warm water and in a couple of seconds it told me the exact temperature. No more squinting to try to see the teensy markings on my old thermometer!

I love this gadget. :)

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Blogger Cookie said...

That's so cool. I think you have me convinced I need to get a meat thermometer. Thanks for sharing!

9:38 PM  
Blogger Susanne P. said...

i have one of these and i LOVE it! my mom still uses the pop-up turkey timer and in all my years i have never known her to have a dry turkey. she could cook and shoe and make it amazing. damnit!!

9:07 AM  

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