Why Upgrading to a Digital BBQ Meat Probe is Fantastic
All the best grillers know that temperature control is key for BBQed meat. Make sure you properly cook steak, chicken, pork chops and more with a digital BBQ meat probe. The immediate temperature reading makes an enormous difference when every second counts. When the clock is ticking, waiting for a dial probe can mean making a mistake. On the grill, the balance between undercooked, overcooked, and perfect meat is easy to misjudge. Digital BBQ meat probes are a clear-cut case of simply making food better.
I have been hearing people talk about how a digital BBQ meat probe is cheating when it comes to grilling and BBQing. In this article, I will be going to great lengths to show why this line of thinking is false and needs to be addressed and hopefully corrected. BBQ meat thermometers have numerous benefits that I will discuss, and I will also go in-depth on what makes the best meat thermometer probes so you can get your hands on one of the essential tools of a grilling or smoking chef.
Why Should You Get A Digital BBQ Meat Probe?
The biggest reason to get a digital meat thermometer probe is your health and the health of people you are serving your cooked meats. Multiple studies including THIS ONE show the dangers of undercooked meat.
Nearly 1 in 6 Americans last year got sick from improper handling and cooking of food. Nearly 128,000 people were hospitalized and 3,000 people we killed from consuming food pathogens. Getting yourself ill or worse yet, others sick is just not worth the risk at all.
The CCD states that proper food handling and cooking meats up to the safety temperatures they have given will eliminate all risk of food contamination. The four easy steps to keep food safe is keeping a clean work area, which includes utensils, keeping different foods separated, cooking meats thoroughly, storing, and chilling food properly after they have been cooked. If used correctly, your digital BBQ meat thermometer will ensure an even and entirely cooked piece of meat every time.
2.) Ease of Use
Many digital BBQ meat probes can measure two or more temperatures simultaneous. With an attached probe, the internal temperature of the meat is measured during the entire cooking process. A second probe measures the temperature right around the grilling area; i.e. near the food, you are cooking. This lets you easily monitor the internal temperature of the grill for perfect cooking. For those who are already cooking with charcoal grills and smokers, you understand how easily temperatures can fluctuate and how hard/long it takes to get the grill and smoker back to the right temperature.
You don’t need to worry about that anymore with the best meat thermometer probes. They have either receivers or apps that allow you to connect wirelessly and set parameters that will alarm you if your attention is needed. Want to make sure your grill stays around 350°? Set a notification up to alert you when your grill gets down to 340° so you know to throw a couple more coals on.
It is not just the grilling temperature that is being monitored but also the meat. You can now rest assured that your meat is cooked correctly and with preset alerts. It’s near impossible to overcook your meat as long as you are paying attention. Placing a probe in your meat while it cooks allows you pull your meat off at the perfect time to let it rest and soak up all the flavorful juices.
Your guests will be amazed how perfectly the steaks are cooked, how delicious your pulled pork is, or how juicy your brisket turns out because you knew exactly when to pull it off the smoker or grill. Taking the guesswork out of the equation helps perfect the grilling and smoking process for both amateurs and professional pit masters alike.
3.) Advanced Cooking Techniques
When you first start to smoke meats and want to take your game to the next level, a digital BBQ meat thermometer helps with the entire process. Large meats will hit the “stall” period when it seems like they are stuck at the same temperature forever. Once this happens, many people like to take the meats off the grill and wrap them in foil and finish the cook to the proper temp.
iGrill Mini Leave-In Meat Probe
The wrapping of meats holds in juices and even lets them simmer in the goodness, and helps speed up the final cooking phase. You can even put the meat with the temperature probe in an oven to finish the process saving on charcoal and wood. When pulled off the heat the wrapping is the perfect resting place for your meat so that it can retain all the juices. Having the best digital meat thermometer probe will allow you to know when exactly to pull it off the grill.
Wireless meat probes also enable you to keep the thermometer in the meat without puncturing the wrapping over and over again to check the meat’s internal temperature. A good digital bbq meat probe makes this process a breeze, and the results, ohhhhh the results of a perfectly cooked brisket, is a thing of beauty.
The last major advantage of getting a digital bbq meat probe is the savings it will immediately return you. Messing up one day of smoking meat is a killer on the wallet; trust me I have been there. All the hard work, time and money you spent on getting everything perfect only to take a test bite that is dry is one of the most unpleasant feelings in the world. Once you over cook meat there is no going back. Craving medium rare steak and looking down at well done, yeah it stinks.
Let’s look more in-depth into the cost of smoking a larger meat. For this example, we will use a pork shoulder used to make pulled pork. I chose this piece of meat because it’s in the middle of the cost range.
Also known as pork butt, an average 6-pound shoulder in the midwest runs around $60-$70 dollars. Add in the money you will spend on charcoal and wood chips over the course of 6-7 hours of grilling. We have not even got to the spices, rub, foil, butter, moisturizer (commonly apple juice), and BBQ sauce. Long story short, having one over cooked pork butt and the cost of even the high-end BBQ meat probes start to look like a bargain. Save yourself some money, time, and headaches by getting a meat probe.
What Makes A Good Digital BBQ Meat Probe
There are two main types of meat probes both with pros and cons. One is an instant or rapid reader thermometer the other is a leave-in probe. A rapid reader is a probe that displays the temperature fast and as accurately as possible. These readers are ideal for checking foods near the end of a grilling session making certain temperatures are right to pull the meat off the fire. The downside is they are handheld, and you have to be there at the time of readings. This type of thermometer does not read internal grill heat, can’t be left in the meat, and has no wireless capabilities.
A leave-in meat probe, however, is pretty much the exact opposite. Most of the best digital BBQ meat probes have multiple input sensors to monitor multiple meats at once as well as your internal grill heat. You can wirelessly connect to a smart device like your phone so that you can leave the grilling area with peace of mind. As mentioned before, you can also wrap it up with your meat, so you don’t need to poke holes through the wrapping to check the temperature.
What Makes A Good Leave-In Meat Probe?
Accuracy is the most important quality to a good meat probe. A good meat probe is extremely accurate. You can check your probes accuracy by setting water to a boil. Place your probe into the water, and it should read 212° F. Test a couple of times as you might hit air bubbles from the boiling water that throw off the readings. Note the difference and set your thermometer accordingly. You can also use ice water. This method is less accurate but gets the job done.
Fill up a glass of water with a lot of ice in it. Place your probe as close to a piece of ice as possible, and the reading should be at 32° or close. Again note the difference and calibrate accordingly. Calibration should be done once a year, but the best meat probes will need little to no calibration.
2.) Amount of Inputs-
The best BBQ meat thermometers have multiple input settings allow for two, four, eight, and some even 20 different probes to be used for reading temps. While 20 is probably more than anyone reading this needs, a good number is four inputs. Four inputs let you measure two different spots in the meats and two places around the grill to cover everything you would need during a smoke or grilling session.
Having just one probe in the flesh of meat can be misleading. Since meat often varies in size from one end to another and has different distributions of fat and bones in various locations. It’s helpful to get readings in multiple parts of the meat. I don’t know how many times I found one part of the meat 5°-10° warmer than another part.
This one is pretty straightforward. You BBQ thermometer will be put to the test with extreme heats, your handling, and the grill. Having a durable probe and wires from the probe (assuming it’s not 100% wireless) is important. Back when the wires were less durable I would shut the grill and damage the wires more times than I would like to admit.
The best BBQ meat probes have more functionality than others. There are multiple apps out there that wirelessly connect to the meat probes allowing you to set temperature warnings, temp alerts, grill time, and even have an index of the CCD’s proper cooking temps for multiple cuts of meat. These features allow you to focus on other things rather than needlessly worry for 18 hours during a long smoke.
Getting a good digital BBQ meat probe will save you money in the long run, keep you safe with food contaminants, and step up your grilling game to a whole new level. Gordon Ramsey always says a sharp knife is a necessity when cooking in the kitchen. Well, a good BBQ meat probe is a necessity for anyone looking to smoke or cook meat out on a grill.
As always, if you or someone you know could benefit from this article on the advantages of using a digital BBQ meat probe or you find this information useful, please consider sharing it with your grilling friends or on social media!
What is your personal digital BBQ meat probe recommendation? Let us know by commenting below!