Picture this: A sizzling hot steak cooking on your backyard grill, slathered with your fave barbecue sauce, ready to jump off the grate and into your mouth. Well it’s almost summer, so that picture will soon be a reality. But before you hastily grab that steak off the grill for a party-sized chomp-down, may we suggest making sure your meal is thoroughly cooked? We know, it’s a bummer, but we swear, you’re just one temperature test away from inhaling your burger.
Not sure how to go about this extra cooking step? As part of their Home Food Safety program, the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics and ConAgra Foods have the details on properly using a food thermometer, which they say is the only way to determine if foods are fully cooked and safe to eat.
“You can’t rely on color, smell, taste or texture alone to determine if meat is thoroughly cooked,” said academy spokeswoman and registered dietitian nutritionist Heather Mangieri. “In fact, one out of every four hamburgers turns brown before it’s been cooked to a safe minimum internal temperature. The only way to know food is done is to use a food thermometer.”
Check out this comprehensive chart from FoodSafety.gov on safe minimum cooking temperatures for different types of meat, poultry, eggs and seafood.
And here are five food thermometers you may want to add to your shopping list.
If you love everything Apple, the iGrill should be calling to you right about now. iGrill communicates with your iPhone, iPod or iPad via a secure, long-range Bluetooth connection to ensure your food is cooked at the right temperature and safe to eat. It also features customizable temperature alarms, remaining-cooking-time display and kitchen timer. Even cooler, iGrill alerts you via your iPhone, iPod or iPad when the food’s ready.
OXO’s version works by pushing a button and inserting the probe into meat for an instant, accurate readout in Fahrenheit or Celsius. The thermometer displays the temperature in large numbers that are easy to read. Bonus: Recommended temperatures are printed on the storage sleeve.
The Super-Fast Thermapen is a professional tool, which was originally designed for commercial kitchens, labs and manufacturing plants. Made by hand in England, the Thermapen is fast and accurate and can be used on meats, fish, casseroles, reheated foods, breads, cakes, deep frying and candy.
This self-adjusting thermometer features a touchscreen and voice alerts. Its probe sensor monitors cooking temperatures, counts down cooking times and automatically recalculates the timer if the cooking process is faster or slower than anticipated.
These single-use, cardboard thermometers eliminate cross-contamination and do not need to be recalibrated like regular thermometers. The tip of the T-Stick changes from white to colored, indicating a safe temperature has been reached.