I’ve spent the last few weeks thinking about how an instant read thermometer benefits me while grilling. I’ve put a lot of thought into this and now I am going to share what I’ve come up with.
We’ve all experienced opening up the grill to check on how our meat is cooking. Its edges look crispy, even pretty charred. You smell the juice dripping into the fire. A steady stream of smoke continues to billow out the seams of the grill. You know it has to be ready.
You’ve even set a timer so you could be sure that the meat is cooked to the exact temperature. Your guests have waited long enough and they are hungry. You turn off the grill, throw the meat onto a plate, and let it rest for a few minutes.
Now is the moment of truth. You cut down the center of your steak, and your heart sinks. The meat is still far too rare to serve to your guests.
Not only that, but now that you’ve cut into the steak, all the juices are pouring out. You throw the now cut-up steak back on the grill only to end up with an overcooked and dried-out piece of meat.
Your guests don’t complain, but you know you could’ve done better. You know what they’re missing out on. If only you could get perfectly cooked results every time, you grilled.
If you aren’t familiar with instant read thermometers and the benefits they bring, don’t worry!
In this article, we’ll give you a breakdown of what makes an instant read thermometer “instant read”. We will also give you plenty of reasons why you’ll want to invest in one yourself.
We’re huge fans of instant read cooking thermometers, and we know you’ll be too.
Let’s dive in!
Table of Contents
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What Are Instant Read Meat Thermometers?
Instant read thermometers consist of a stainless steel probe and a digital display. The probe goes into the center of the meat and the temperature displays on the screen. Depending on the model, they can tell you how hot your food is instantly, or at least in about 1 to 7 seconds.
That means you won’t have to stand around waiting for the reading to register. You can know exactly what’s going on inside your food practically in an instant!
The key difference between instant read thermometers and other meat thermometers is that they are designed to take the temperature fast.
They are not to be confused with probe thermometers that stay in the food while cooking. Instant reads are not meant to be left in the food while it cooks. They are for a quick check to see where you are at.
Why Buy an Instant Read Meat Thermometer?
This is exactly what this article is going to show you.
Using an instant read thermometer eliminates the guesswork when grilling. No more cutting meat open and trying to interpret the pinkness level. Instead, you’ll know immediately when your food is at the perfect temperature to eat.
Instant read thermometers work faster than traditional meat thermometers. They are also more accurate than leave-in thermometers.
When you buy an instant read thermometer, you can have the confidence that the food you serve to your family is cooked to order. It will not only be delicious but safe.
This leads us to our first reason to use an instant read thermometer.
They Guarantee Food Safety
Undercooked or raw meat can spread harmful illnesses like E. coli, salmonella, and even parasites. Guaranteeing that your meats are cooked to the proper temperature protects your family and guests from these contaminants.
Relying on juice color and guessing whether your food is ready to eat or not is not only tricky but is usually very inaccurate. Eliminate the stress by using an instant read thermometer.
Different cuts require different temperatures to be considered safe for eating. The United States Department of Agriculture recommends that whole cuts of pork, beef, veal, and lamb be cooked to 145 degrees Fareignheight with a 3-minute rest period. Ground beef, lamb, veal, or pork needs to reach 160 degrees Fahrenheit while poultry should be 165 degrees Fahrenheit before eating.
They Can Prevent a Doctor’s Visit
It’s estimated that over 48 million Americans contract foodborne illnesses each year. Of those, about 128,000 end up in the hospital.
The last thing you want is to poison yourself or someone you love. An instant read thermometer is a small investment to prevent doctor visits and medical bills.
Perfectly Cooked & Better Tasting Food
Not only will you prevent undercooking, but you’ll prevent overcooking and drying out your meat. Food will stay juicier, too, since you won’t have to cut meat open to examine the doneness. Cutting meat open causes all the delicious juices and flavors to rush out onto your plate or into the fire.
Keep your meat juicy and tender by ensuring you cook it to just the right temperature with your instant-read thermometer.
They Give Better Consistency to the Finished Product
Do you ever make a delicious meal and then try to recreate it for your friends, only to be disappointed at the outcome?
You can avoid inconsistencies by using an instant read thermometer. You can cook your food to the exact, perfect temperature every time.
They Let You Cook to Order Making Everyone Happy
Everyone likes their meat cooked a little differently. Your brother prefers steak that’s still mooing, while your mother-in-law wants it well done without a trace of pink.
How can you keep everyone happy? By cooking each steak to a different temperature so they can get exactly what they crave. The instant read thermometer will let you know the exact moment to pull the food from the grill so everyone gets what they ordered.
You Will Waste Less Food
We’ve all been to that BBQ where the “grill master” insists on cooking chicken legs or pork chops for everyone. You line up with your plate in hand, dish up, and start to take your first bite.
Then you realize that your food is clearly not cooked all the way. The juices are already running all over your other food, and the grill has already been shut down. All you can do is toss your plate in the trash and hope there are enough sides left over to fill you up for the rest of the evening.
Don’t be the guy that serves up undercooked or overcooked food that will only get thrown away. Cook your cuts to the exact temperature that will be safe and delicious for everyone.
They Save You Time & Money
Pulling food on and off the grill to repeatedly check it is a waste of time and a great way to ruin your meat.
Plus, certain cuts cost a lot of money, and the last thing you want to do is over-cook them.
Skip eyeballing the internal temperature and save yourself time and money by getting it right every time.
They Are Incredibly Easy to Use
An instant read meat thermometer is easy to use. Simply turn it on, stick the probe into the thickest part of the meat, and wait a few seconds to get the reading.
When you’ve reached the desired temperature, wipe the probe down with a damp cloth or wet wipe. You can store the thermometer in a drawer or wherever you keep your grilling accessories. It’s small, so it won’t take up much room.
An Excellent Tool for Their Speed of Use, Reliability, & Accuracy
It only takes a few seconds to get an accurate reading on your instant-read meat thermometer.
Many dial-style thermometers can be challenging to read and have to be in the meat during the entire cook.
Instant read thermometers only need to be used at the time you’re checking the temperature. Their digital display gives you an easy-to-read and precise reading.
They Complete Any Outdoor Kitchen Toolkit
We tend to focus a lot on the importance of the big equipment in your outdoor kitchen. But don’t let the compact size of the instant read thermometer fool you. It’s just as important as your other grilling accessories.
Instant read thermometers are a must-have for any backyard warrior when cooking. If you’re serious about your BBQ, then add one to your toolkit.
They Are a Versatile Cooking Companion
Using an instant read thermometer isn’t limited to grilling. Whether you’re smoking, grilling, sautéing, or baking, you can use the same tool. You can even use them for candy making.
It’s perfect for outdoor cooking but is as handy inside as well.
They Give You Peace of Mind Every Time You Cook
Gone are the days of worrying whether your food is safe for your guests to eat. Enjoy your delicious spread without giving a second thought to the doneness of the food. Simply read the thermometer and dish up!
They Make Great BBQ Gifts
Everyone needs an instant read thermometer in our book. No outdoor kitchen is complete without one. Give the gift of great food and peace of mind to your favorite grill master.
The great part is that while we love using them for the grill, instant read thermometers are incredibly versatile. You should use one for any cooking, whether inside or out!
What’s My Favorite Brand of Instant Read Thermometers?
Like just about everything, there is a great variety of instant read thermometers available online! We’re fans of ThermoWorks offering instant read and leave-in probe thermometers. They are truly the cream of the crop when it comes to thermometers and they’re incredibly knowledgeable about all things outdoor cooking. They have a great selection of folding and stationary-style thermometers.
Their customer service and support are second to none and they offer a best-in-class warranty. They really stand by their products.
Final Thoughts on the Benefits of Instant Read Meat Thermometers
The days of undercooked and overcooked meat are over. An instant read meat thermometer will change the way you grill.
You’ll no longer worry about whether your food is cooked to the desired temperature. You won’t have to cut meat open, releasing precious juices just to discover you need to put it back on the grill.
Your guests will always be happy with how perfectly you cook their meat to their requests. Better yet, you’ll never have to worry about spreading foodborne illnesses or ending the night with an unexpected hospital visit.
Instant read thermometers are easy to use, fast to clean, and don’t take up much room to store. They are faster and more accurate than traditional meat thermometers. That’s especially true for built-in grill thermometers.
The small investment pays off when you stop wasting time and money by not overcooking and drying out the meat. Whether you grill, smoke, or bake, an instant thermometer is a must-have for any outdoor kitchen. It’s a required addition to complete your grill master setup.
Yes, an instant read thermometer is a game-changer. If you’re not using one already, what are you waiting for? You’ll be more confident in your grilling, serve up better food, and enjoy a worry-free meal every time.
Now It’s Your Turn
I want to hear from you:
Have you ever purchased an instant read thermometer before?
Do you have any tips on buying instant read meat thermometers or have any feedback on a particular brand to share?
What features do you typically like to see in a food thermomoter?
Let me know by leaving a quick comment below.
If you still have questions, please feel free to send me a message.
Disclosure – At The Grilling Life, I am committed to researching and writing thoughtful, informative and editorially independent reviews of the best products for your outdoor cooking needs. If you like what I do, you can support me through my chosen links, which earn me a commission. This allows me to continue sharing with you my love for all things barbecue. Your support is truly appreciated.
A backyard warrior, certified carnivore, lover of good whiskey, grill master and I’m Living The Grilling Life!
I have a passion for cooking with live fire and smoke, no matter the weather. I’m a real person just like you, who loves outdoor cooking and BBQ. Food, fun, and time spent with family and friends are what it’s all about! It is my mission to take my passion and knowledge for outdoor cooking and all things BBQ and share this expertise in techniques and grilling equipment with you. In other words, Living The Grilling Life!
I have personally tested over 150+ Grills and Smokers and hundreds of grilling thermometers, temperature controllers, grill brushes, grilling tools, fire starters, and other BBQ products.