No matter what your recipe says, the best way to tell if meat is done is to use a meat thermometer. These are generally used with larger cuts of meat – such as roasts – or with whole chickens or turkeys.
- Push the meat thermometer into the thickest section of the meat you are cooking before you place the meat in the oven.
- Make sure the thermometer is not touching bone, but is embedded deeply in the meat itself.
- Put the meat in the oven at the recommended temperature.
- Leave the meat thermometer in the meat throughout the cooking process.
- Check the meat thermometer as soon as the recommended cooking time for the cut of meat you are preparing is almost finished. The reading on the thermometer – check the levels for the kind of meat you are cooking – will indicate when the meat is cooked throughout.
Meat thermometers come in a variety of styles, including dial types, probes and stand-up types of thermometers. Some probe thermometers allow you to connect the thermometer to a countertop unit that gives you the temperature reading without having to open the oven. Microwave-safe meat thermometers are also available.
Get a meat thermometer that is dishwasher-safe for easy cleaning.
Meat thermometers can be used for things other than measuring the temperature of meat. Some can – for example – check the temperature of water to be sure it’s safe to add yeast, or check the internal temperature of warmed-over leftovers to be sure they’re safe to eat.
A meat thermometer gets hot in the oven. Use care when reading it or removing it after the meat comes out of the oven.