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Reliable Probe Thermometers


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Ever so sanitation conscious I rinsed the probe of my Polder meat thermometer before jabbing it into the roast. This is apparently something one should not do. Right now, sitting by my PC, the thermometer is reading an oven temperature of 359 degrees and an internal temperature of 325 degrees.

A few minutes later it has dropped to 337 and 314.

Got me to wondering if the probe is forever damaged or, given and hour or two to dry out, will it return to its earlier accuracy?

Holly Moore

"I eat, therefore I am."

HollyEats.Com

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Gave it about an hour and seems to be all better. The thermometer is down to room temperature and reacts to both hot and cold. Hopefully I'll end up with a rare roast. Really wish I knew what the hell I did with my trusty Taylor. I can find the sleeve but not the thermometer.

Holly Moore

"I eat, therefore I am."

HollyEats.Com

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I think I managed to "kill" four of the Maverick remote thermometers.

I bought a couple of These remote probe units to use in the barbecue and have since bought two more for use in the kitchen.

All are working just fine.

I also have this combination Thermapen gallery_17399_60_70770.jpg

which I use for bread, both dough and baked loaves, custards and things I am heating in the microwave, however I recently purchased some microwavable thermometers, if I could only remember to get them out and use them :rolleyes:

"There are, it has been said, two types of people in the world. There are those who say: this glass is half full. And then there are those who say: this glass is half empty. The world belongs, however, to those who can look at the glass and say: What's up with this glass? Excuse me? Excuse me? This is my glass? I don't think so. My glass was full! And it was a bigger glass!" Terry Pratchett

 

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  • 4 months later...

I just got the first thermometer that I really like: a CDN Quicktip:

http://www.amazon.com/Q2-450-Proaccurate-Q...12091967&sr=8-3

It seems like half the performance of a Thermopen at a quarter the price. Which about right for my purposes. I haven't used the thermopen, but people say it responds in a couple of seconds. The CDN responds in about 2 to 10 seconds (depending on how big the temperature swing is).

It reads the temp right at the tip, can be calibrated with the push of a button (using ice water) and so far seems accurate. Not bad for under $20.

Notes from the underbelly

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For UK people, I've had good results with one of these no-brand thingies:

http://www.cookmatesouthwest.co.uk/acatalo...hermometer.html

I've had two since 2005 - the first one stopped working after it (the body, not the probe) was left on top of a hot hob, but the second one's still working fine after a year or so of not-particularly-careful usage. I don't use it for oven roasting all that much (more for grilling, sauces, and double-checking my sous-vide cooker's thermocouple) but it does get partially immersed in water a fair bit, with no ill results.

Kamikaze Cookery: Three geeks cook. With Science. And occasionally, explosions.

http://www.kamikazecookery.com

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Hi,

The Extech 3972 seems to match the base Thermapen at less than one half the cost. Edit to add: This thermometer does not have a thermocouple sensor. I therefore assume that its performance does not match the Thermapen.

http://www.extechstore.com/browseproducts/...cket-Style.HTML

The Thermapen Combination has infrared. Kind of cool.

Tim

Edited by tim (log)
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the widely-available Cooper DFP450W does the job for 1/2 the price. The response time is a second or two longer but it's still quite fast; we're talking 3-5 seconds instead of 2-3. Plus it's both Fahrenheit and Celsius; Thermapens are one or the other, not both. And it has a lifetime warranty, vs 1 year on Thermapen. And it fits in the shoulder pen pocket on most chef's whites, which the Thermapen doesn't.

And it's dishwasher safe!

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  • 2 weeks later...
And about that lifetime warranty: the battery cover of my DFP450W broke a few months ago. I had bought the thing 3 or 4 years ago in another country and of course didn't keep a receipt. I contacted Cooper-Atkins head office in the US (which wasn't easy; they hide their e-mail address on their website so I resorted to fax) who put me in touch with a distributor here in Hong Kong, who delivered a replacement unit the next day; no charge, no questions. Not bad for a $35 product.

Well, my replacement DFP450W failed after fairly light use (display stopped working), so I'm now waiting for them to deliver the 2nd replacement under the lifetime warranty. This is getting tedious.

Channie, although the unit is said to be waterproof and dishwasher safe (the idea being that you can run it through a commercial dishwasher with the 'max reading' feature on to make sure it's hot enough to meet code), I wouldn't dare. The battery cover doesn't seem to be remotely waterproof.

Hong Kong Dave

O que nao mata engorda.

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My guess would have been that Hong Kong would be a great place to shop for electronic gadgetry like a probe thermometer! :smile:

Just an incidental 'heads-up' that there seems to be a cheap model Thermapen - the "Eco-Thermapen".

The normal Thermapens, and the Thermapen "FR" for fast reaction time (due to the slimmer probe, etc), are about £45 (inc VAT - our sales tax) in the UK (and more for the more precise versions),

This other thing seems to be discounted to about 1/3 of that price, about £15...

However, it has an on/off switch (rather than working from the hinge) and a slower (unquantified) response time. But it does have a max/min function (overriding the timed auto-off) and is (internally) user-selectable to F or C. And it runs on an ordinary AAA battery.

I'm tempted, but what I really want is a Thermapen FR...

Edited by dougal (log)

"If you wish to make an apple pie from scratch ... you must first invent the universe." - Carl Sagan

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  • 2 months later...
Hi,

The Extech 3972 seems to match the base Thermapen at less than one half the cost.   Edit to add:  This thermometer does not have a thermocouple sensor.  I therefore assume that its performance does not match the Thermapen.

Thread back from the dead. Because my CDN quicktip thermometer joined the dead.

Has anyone tried the Extech? Amazon has it for $36.

And despite some warriness of Taylor, I'm close to making the move on this:

http://www.comforthouse.com/cuissmarblen.html

Some sources have it for around $83 ... a chunk less than thermapen, plus a decent looking IR feature.

Edited to add:

i'm too impatient to wait around for sage advice. i ordered the taylor probe/ir unit. will report back.

Edited by paulraphael (log)

Notes from the underbelly

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Ok, the Taylor 9306 is really cool.

I should suspend judgement until it's lasted a year without breaking (no other digital thermometer has ...), or at least til i've cooked with it.

But after a solid half hour of playing with it, it seems like the coolest thermometer I've used.

Found for $84 online; a lot steeper than than the $17 model it replaced. But it's got a thermocouple, an infrared sensor, pretty good ergonomics, and it's waterproof (or so they tell me). My only complaint so far is that the max temperature the IR sensor can read is 482 F. I would love it if it went higher. The probe measures over 600 degrees, which is absurd. "Would you like your tenderloin well done, incinerated, or turned to glowing gasses?"

The probe seems accurate: I measured some boiling water and it was dead on. The IR sensor is harder to test.

Details here: http://www.partshelf.com/taylor9306.html

It was delivered to me at work. Within minutes I was pointing it at people and telling them how hot they are (within .5 degrees!)

Edited by paulraphael (log)

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I've had a digital taylor pocket probe thermometer that was labeled as a "pro model" of some sort that reads well into deep fry temps. About $25. It hasn't failed in >1 year and I just love the thing.

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  • 7 months later...

Bumping this back up to ask if anybody has a recommendation for a remote BBQ thermometer other than the Maverick. I bought a Maverick (the ET-73, I believe; it's the two-probe one) last year, and while there were lots of things I liked about it, it had a number of serious defects:

- terrible, idiotic design. You have to open the battery case to turn it on? Really?

- cheap parts, especially the on/off switches. One broke after about five months, which meant I have to take the batteries out to turn it off.

- the "food" probe burned out after four months, leaving me with only the "smoker" probe functioning.

Basically, I'm looking for something with the same functionality-- two probes and remote transmission for sure, with an alarm and timer as nice plusses-- but that won't break after a dozen smoking sessions.

I've looked online and don't see a lot of alternatives out there. That surprises me... is there something I'm missing?

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  • 5 months later...

Ok, the Taylor 9306 is really cool.

I should suspend judgement until it's lasted a year without breaking (no other digital thermometer has ...), or at least til i've cooked with it.

But after a solid half hour of playing with it, it seems like the coolest thermometer I've used.

Found for $84 online; a lot steeper than than the $17 model it replaced. But it's got a thermocouple, an infrared sensor, pretty good ergonomics, and it's waterproof (or so they tell me). My only complaint so far is that the max temperature the IR sensor can read is 482 F. I would love it if it went higher. The probe measures over 600 degrees, which is absurd. "Would you like your tenderloin well done, incinerated, or turned to glowing gasses?"

The probe seems accurate: I measured some boiling water and it was dead on. The IR sensor is harder to test.

Details here: http://www.partshelf.com/taylor9306.html

It was delivered to me at work. Within minutes I was pointing it at people and telling them how hot they are (within .5 degrees!)

I'm curious how this has worked out for you. Survived the year?

Thermoworks has an IR gun with K-type thermocouple probe on special right now for only a bit more. I suspect the quality is better than the Taylor product, but probably clunkier to use. Does anyone have any experience with similar setups?

 

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I'm curious how this has worked out for you. Survived the year?

Working great. No complaints. It might even be on the original batteries.

There may be a newer model that has an IR thermometer with a higher maximum temp; this would be a big improvement. I'd like to use it to check the oven when making pizzas, but my version tops out at less than 500 degrees.

Notes from the underbelly

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Taylor's specs have it going up to 626F. Since there's no self-cleaning cycle to tinker with in my oven, that would cover me even for pizza. Deciding between this and the Thermoworks combo I linked above probably comes down to how much one wants the ability to use other thermocouple probes. Edited by vice (log)

 

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  • 10 months later...

*Bump*

I used one of my Maverick remote-sensing smoker thermometers today and reconfirmed my suspicion that I Need Another Thermometer. It isn't that the calibration is off; I've checked that. The problem is that the portion of the probe sheath that isn't buried in meat heats up from the oven, transmits heat into the meat, and gives an unrealistically high temperature (or else actually cooks the meat from within). With sausage, today's fun project, the probe is simply too big to fit entirely in the meat. However, even with a roast it's hard to bury the entire probe. I think they make it L-shaped on purpose to prevent just such a measure.

I can confirm that the probe temperature is not representative of the meat temperature by putting an instant-read thermometer elsewhere into the meat and seeing that it's a good 30 degrees cooler. However, I'd rather not open the door to insert an instant-read thermometer. It lets out too much heat and smoke from my smoker.

I think the key must be to have the least-massive and smallest probe possible, and I seem to recall someone (Fat Guy?) saying so in an earlier topic. Haven't found that conversation, though.

None of the thermometer topics has been active lately. Maybe somebody has found a solution to this problem by now? Or can tell me where I'm going wrong?

Nancy Smith, aka "Smithy"
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"Every day should be filled with something delicious, because life is too short not to spoil yourself. " -- Ling (with permission)
"There comes a time in every project when you have to shoot the engineer and start production." -- author unknown

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... The problem is that the portion of the probe sheath that isn't buried in meat heats up from the oven, transmits heat into the meat, and gives an unrealistically high temperature (or else actually cooks the meat from within). ...

I can confirm that the probe temperature is not representative of the meat temperature by putting an instant-read thermometer elsewhere into the meat and seeing that it's a good 30 degrees cooler. However, I'd rather not open the door to insert an instant-read thermometer. ...

Have you calibrated your "instant read" thermometer?

Or established how long it takes to get to a steady reading?

"Instant read" is a misleading name. What it means is "don't leave it in while cooking".

Generally they are SLOW. Very slow. S L O W to get to where they will end up. 30 seconds? A minute?

Take a look at http://www.cookingforengineers.com/article/95/Kitchen-Thermometers

The other side of this is that the alloy used for your digital probe is actually chosen NOT to conduct too well along the probe.

Test it for yourself, by holding one end while you stick the other (pointed) end in some very hot water. Now try the same experiment with a metal skewer ...

Just about the fastest of any instant (ie non permanent) kitchen thermometer is still the "Fast Response" Thermapen. (Yes they do slower, more rugged ones that aren't Fast Response.) And there is a new (even faster) model since that CookingForEngineers posting. ADDED: The new model seems to be called the "Superfast Thermapen"

One of the ways it and the Fast Response models were made Faster is indeed to thin down the tip of the probe. Which makes it less rugged than the slower 'ordinary' Thermapens.

But for now, I believe your Maverick much more than you do! :smile:

Edited by dougal (log)

"If you wish to make an apple pie from scratch ... you must first invent the universe." - Carl Sagan

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Thanks for your comments, Dougal. I rechecked the calibration while I was comparing the response times of the remote-sensing thermometer and the instant-read thermometer in question. I learned the following:

The "known good" Maverick remote-sensing set reads boiling water at least 20 degrees high, and ice water at least 10 degrees low :blink: AND takes a good 20 seconds to stabilize :hmmm: ;

The instant-read thermometer responds more quickly (4-6 seconds) and gives sensible readings;

I have another Maverick smoker thermometer set that reads boiling water and ice water sensibly and responds only slightly more slowly than the instant-read thermometer. This set had been relegated to our travel trailer because it has that dimwitted design that requires removing the battery cover to turn it on. However, it seems to be the better set.

I haven't had time to recheck my claim that the probe conducts heat to the interior of the meat, but I certainly have no recent evidence to support that claim.

I wonder how much I'd have to pay to get a system that I could recalibrate as needed? If I buy a replacement probe, do I have to worry that it won't match the receiver it plugs into? This would be a factor for a thermocouple (J-type vs K-type, for instance) but I don't know whether it's a factor for consumer-level kitchen appliances. I know I've bought replacement probes (from Maverick) more than once, but of course have no idea which systems not have those probes.

Nancy Smith, aka "Smithy"
HosteG Forumsnsmith@egstaff.org

Follow us on social media! Facebook; instagram.com/egulletx; twitter.com/egullet

"Every day should be filled with something delicious, because life is too short not to spoil yourself. " -- Ling (with permission)
"There comes a time in every project when you have to shoot the engineer and start production." -- author unknown

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...

The "known good" Maverick remote-sensing set reads boiling water at least 20 degrees high, and ice water at least 10 degrees low :blink: AND takes a good 20 seconds to stabilize :hmmm: ;

...

I wonder how much I'd have to pay to get a system that I could recalibrate as needed? If I buy a replacement probe, do I have to worry that it won't match the receiver it plugs into? ... I know I've bought replacement probes (from Maverick) more than once, but of course have no idea which systems not have those probes.

Is it possible that what you are seeing arises from an inappropriate replacement probe?

I'm aware, for example, that the temperature probes for the various models of SousVideMagic are NOT interchangeable.

Perhaps someone else can offer suggestions for (re)calibratable continuous-read thermometers.

I know that, among instant-read types, the Superfast Thermapen (as well as coming with a proper certificate of traceable-standards calibration - two point I believe) CAN be single-point recalibrated by the user (though IMHO it would be rare for that to be sensible) and the suppliers do offer a certificated recalibration service for used models as a standard service.

Edited by dougal (log)

"If you wish to make an apple pie from scratch ... you must first invent the universe." - Carl Sagan

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...

The "known good" Maverick remote-sensing set reads boiling water at least 20 degrees high, and ice water at least 10 degrees low :blink: AND takes a good 20 seconds to stabilize :hmmm: ;

...

I wonder how much I'd have to pay to get a system that I could recalibrate as needed? If I buy a replacement probe, do I have to worry that it won't match the receiver it plugs into? ... I know I've bought replacement probes (from Maverick) more than once, but of course have no idea which systems not have those probes.

Is it possible that what you are seeing arises from an inappropriate replacement probe?

I'm aware, for example, that the temperature probes for the various models of SousVideMagic are NOT interchangeable.

Perhaps someone else can offer suggestions for (re)calibratable continuous-read thermometers.

...

It's quite possible that I inadvertently put in the wrong replacement probe, or switched some around in my kitchen stock. I haven't a clue how to re-sort them, short of mixing and matching and checking calibration as I go.

Yes, if anyone knows of consumer-grade remote-probe thermometers that can be calibrated at will, I'd like to hear about it.

Nancy Smith, aka "Smithy"
HosteG Forumsnsmith@egstaff.org

Follow us on social media! Facebook; instagram.com/egulletx; twitter.com/egullet

"Every day should be filled with something delicious, because life is too short not to spoil yourself. " -- Ling (with permission)
"There comes a time in every project when you have to shoot the engineer and start production." -- author unknown

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