Wednesday, June 16, 2010

The Power of the Probe


I've been cooking for long enough -- more like overcooking for long enough -- that using a probe thermometer felt like I was giving up. Like I stopped caring and started wearing sweat pants out of the house. I told myself I should be able to do better. I told myself I had experience. I should be able to put my thumb on a piece of meat, immediately gauge how firm it is and declare: medium rare! Then I would deliver it to the table and there would be deafening applause.

I got over it. I use a probe thermometer regularly now. I can vouch it  works; when you don't overcook things they  taste way better. The pork loin. The hunk of salmon. The chicken parts. I even used it on the first steak to pass through my door in half a year and it came out perfect, though there was a distinct lack of applause.

Invest less than ten bucks in one of these. It'll make you look like you know what you're doing. It did for me. Finally.

One note. Most thermometers recommend cooking pork to a temperature that renders the meat criminally overcooked and tough. I cut it back by several tens of degrees, and, while I have yet to catch a fatal disease, the pork has been way tastier.

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

I'm with you on this. I use a Thermoworks original thermometer/timer for $19. Check it out at http://www.thermoworks.com/products/low_cost/oven_temp_timer.html The probe can be left in place in either the BBQ (I'm a charcoal girl!) or in the oven (don't get the probe cord near the infrared broiler at 500 degrees the probe dies). It's great for roasts, especially a slow cook for pork or briskets. I always take off 10 degrees of the recommended temp. settings. The meat will continue to cook, after removing it from the heat, and raise the temperature to the final recommended temp. for the cut of meat. Last night I BBQ'd a wonderful strip steak and set the temp. on the unit for 134 degrees. I used the timer for searing the outsides, then covered it up to complete the cooking. It was a perfect Med. Rare, juicy steak. I leave it set under foil as I serve up the sides and then it's good!

Prime Meridian Photography said...

I recently purchased a temp probe too! Basically, I don't know how i lived without it - essential tool in the kitchen, period! Viva La Probe!