Let’s see if the Thermapen is all it’s hyped up to be.
Up in front of the review board this week is the Thermapen. That’s a fancy name for a meat thermometer. By the looks of this device though, the Thermapen doesn’t seem to be your run of the mill meat thermometer.
Regardless of whether you’re a novice at grilling or an old pro, there are things from time to time that will downright aggravate the crap out of a person. An unreliable and lethargic meat thermometer is one such example.
The requirement of a meat thermometer is quite simple; accurately determine if the meat has reached the desired temperature and please advise before I grow old. Accuracy and speed…are we asking too much? That doesn’t seem all that difficult, yet most pitmasters could fill a shoe box with devices that proved otherwise.
Enter the Thermapen. Their sales pitch sounds good, albeit I’ve heard that before. According to their website, the Thermapen’s accuracy is better than ±0.7°F with a full temperature reading within 3 seconds. Now that’s NASA-like performance! Impressive as the specifications may sound, there’s only one way to confirm their validity. Let’s grill some chicken!
High accuracy to ±0.7°F (±0.4°C)
°F to °C reconfigurable
Auto on/off—no buttons!
1,500 hour battery life
As you may, or may not have noticed we barbeque a ton of chicken around here. Chicken is one of the few meats that must be cooked to a precise temperature without much variance…165°F (75°C) plus or minus very little. There is no such thing as a rare-cooked chicken. In our case, an accurate thermometer is also a food safety tool. We’ll test the Thermapen on a rotisserie bird.
The results are in and they’re fantastic. A whole chicken should have its temperature taken in a couple of locations before determining the doneness. At minimum, the thigh and the breast should be measured. The speed of the Thermapen was downright awesome. Several readings were able to be done in record time without keeping the grill lid off for long. Little heat was lost from the grill. Although the Thermapen’s temperature accuracy was never confirmed scientifically, the finished chicken proved it was precisely on the mark.
If you’re serious about smoking or grilling, get serious about your meat thermometer. The Thermapen should not only be on your wish list, it should be on your must-have list. Although it may seem a bit pricey at $79, compare the cost to an over cooked expensive cut of meat or to a shoe box full of faulty money saving meat thermometers.