No one wants to be the poor sap that takes on the 5-hour Thanksgiving turkey and get to carving only to have dry, slices falling apart upon knife contact. Or worse, have the holiday turkey be raw in the middle. Take the guesswork out of your cooking by purchasing three trusty thermometers – one for the oven, one for frying and one probe thermometer for meats.
It all starts with your oven. Regardless what temperature you set your oven to practically every one of them is off a few degrees. Hanging a cheap thermometer from one of the racks inside your oven will at least allow you to hone in your cooking temperature should your oven run hot or cool.
Fact: attempting to deep fry food without a thermometer is loco. For starters, it’s extremely dangerous. Should your oil get so hot as to reach the flashpoint - the point at which vapors can first ignite when mixed with air (400-degrees for Canola oil and 406-degrees for Extra Virgin olive oil) – you risk kitchen catastrophe and serious injury. On a lesser scale, properly frying food without monitoring the oil temperature is virtually impossible. Too hot and you get burned crust and an uncooked interior, not hot enough and your food sucks up oil like a sponge resulting in terrible tasting and overly fattening fare.
The third essential thermometer is an instant read thermometer. Available in digital or dial mode, these models are designed to be plunged into the cooked food when it is nearly finished to determine its internal temperature, and hence whether or not the food is done. They typically work well and can be counted on for accurate results. You can find one for practically any budget from the low-tech old-fashioned types to the fancier digital ones with timers and other bells and whistles. Either way, given the cost of quality meats and roasts these days, there’s no reason to be without one.