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Very hot decision.

Sara Tane
February 16, 2018

There are certain tool recommendations that we really mean, and a meat thermometer is one of them. They completely take the guessing game out of cooking meat and sometimes, you can’t put a price on that peace of mind. That said, these handy thermometers range in price from $20 to upwards of $100, so there are a couple things to keep in mind before you go spending all of your money on a single gadget. If you’re ready to enter the easy, carefree world of meat thermometers but you’re not sure where to start your search, here are 3 options for every kind of home cook.

For the Frequent Meat Eater

If this thermometer is going to be something that you’ll be pulling out several times a week, then you want to make sure it’s the best one out there. The industry standard is a Thermapen, according to test kitchen developer Robin Bashinsky, and if you’re someone who’s constantly searing steaks or roasting chickens, this tool is about to become your best friend. Generating a temperature reading in 3 seconds and possessing a 1,500-hour battery life, this is as good as meat thermometers come. Yes, it is $99, and that’s a lot of money to spend on a meat-cooking tool, however because you’re using it frequently enough, we like to think that you’ll get your money’s worth. Bonus: You can use this thermometer for just about any kitchen task that requires precise temperature control; beyond taking the internal temperature of animal proteins, you can use the Thermapen as a candy thermometer when working with boiling sugar, to take the temperature of your frying oil, etc.

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For the Average Meat Eater

For someone who is cooking meat or poultry just enough that it’s worth investing in a helpful thermometer, this Oxo digital leave-in thermometer is the option for you. Sure, it’s not as speedy, convenient, and sleek as a Thermapen, but it can surely get the job done. Not only will it alert you when you’re 10 degrees away from your desired temperature, but it possesses pre-set temperatures for 9 common types of meat, poultry, and fish. At $40, this isn’t going to break the bank, but you’ll still get some real use out of it.

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For the I’ll-Only-Use-This-On-Thanksgiving Cook

Look, we get it. Cooking meat and poultry at home can be somewhat intimidating. Is the meat done? Am I doing this right? Is this going to taste awful? If that’s you, then you’re probably better off saving your money (so you can spend it when you go out to eat the steakhouse) and opting for a cheaper thermometer. This digital instant read thermometer from Oxo is calling your name. Again, it might not have the longevity or bells and whistles that the Thermapen has, but if you just need to slide this into the thigh of your holiday centerpiece to make sure that it’s not raw in the center, then it’s probably not a bad idea to stash one of these in your kitchen. Your guests will definitely thank you.

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