For everyone who has sought after a medium-rare steak, perfect fish, or moist pork, nothing is more important than a good kitchen thermometer. Unfortunately, most of us don't know what constitutes a "good" thermometer! Because of this, I wanted to dedicate a post to going through some commonly used instruments, and the havoc they can wreak on your dinner.
First, let's look at the old fashioned dial thermometer. This has a metal coil inside that is supposed to expand at a specific rate as the temperature increases. This in turn moves the temperature dial and gives you a reading. Unfortunately, these are so inaccurate that you're probably better off without them, and if you do use them and wait for the dial to stop moving, your delicious dry-aged NY strip will be well done by the time you were waiting for a medium rare reading!
The second option in kitchen thermometers looks much like this dial one, but there is a digital readout on the end instead. This too is not a very accurate device, as the temperature reading node is actually located some distance away from the tip of the spike, not actually at the spike. This means if you want to take the temperature reading in the center of a steak, you actually have to push the tip up to a quarter of an inch past the center just to get the sensitive area at the desired spot. Not a big deal, right? Well, these can take up to 20 or 30 seconds to get an accurate reading, to which anyone who has ever taken a temperature reading and seen the digital numbers slowly climb upward can attest. On top of that, they're also not very accurate. Why even buy one?
My Thermapen- Bright red so that I can easily find it again
once I set it down.