Want to monitor the temperature of the food you’re cooking? Wondering if a food thermometer is a good idea and how they work?

Here’s a quick primer on food thermometers and the varieties available.

We know: All About Food Thermometers

What’s a food thermometer?

Food thermometers are used to measure the temperature of foods as they’re cooking. Particularly when you’re cooking meat, a thermometer can help you determine if the meet has been fully heated and is safe to eat.

Why do I need a food thermometer?

Food thermometers help you determine that the food you’re cooking has reached a temperature that will kill bacteria in food. Millions of people get sick every year from food bacteria. Undercooked food is especially dangerous for young children and older people.

FACTS from the Department of Agriculture:

  • 1 out of every 4 hamburgers turns brown in the middle before it has reached a safe internal temperature.
  • You can become sick anytime from 20 minutes to 6 weeks after eating food with some types of harmful bacteria.

How do food thermometers work?

There is a huge variety of food thermometers on the market currently. Some are meant to remain in the food while it’s cooking, others are not. Many have specific purposes, others are more general purpose.

For example, there are meat thermometers, baking thermometers, candy thermometers, digital thermometers, dial thermometers, pop-up thermometers, remote and wireless grill thermometers, thermometers with probes, and disposable thermometers. Prices range from a few dollars to the hundreds of dollars.

What are safe food temperatures?

Here are some temperatures from the U.S.D.A.

FoodDegrees Fahrenheit
Ground Meat & Meat Mixtures
Beef, Pork, Veal, Lamb160
Turkey, Chicken165
Fresh Beef, Veal, Lamb
Medium Rare145
Well Done170
Chicken & Turkey, whole180
Poultry beasts, roast 170
Poultry thighs wings, legs 180
Duck & Goose180
Stuffing (cooked alone or in bird)165
Fresh Pork
Well Done170
Fresh (raw)160
Pre-cooked (to reheat)140
Eggs & Egg Dishes
EggsCook until yolk & white are firm
Egg Dishes160
Leftovers & Casseroles165

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