© Denzil Green
Some Instant Read Thermometers are two pieces — one is a skewer for making a hole, and the other piece is the mercury Thermometer that you insert into the hole to get a reading.
Insert an Instant Read 2 to 3 inches (5 to 7 1/2 cm) into the meat, and leave there for about 20 seconds or until the dial stops moving.
After you have used a Meat Thermometer to check meat that wasn’t cooked, treat the Thermometer as contaminated and wash it before re-inserting it in the meat. Otherwise, when the meat is safely cooked and you put the Thermometer in, you could be re-introducing contamination.
Insert Meat Thermometers into the deepest part of the meat, without inserting into fat or touching a bone (as both will give you a temperature higher than the rest of the meat actually is). If you’re doing thin food, such as sausages or hamburger patties, then come in at them sideways in through the end.
The idea is that you are supposed to take an Instant Read Thermometer, insert it about 2 inches (5 cm) into the Patty through the side of it, and check the temperature. The problems with this are:
- Doing that is likely to split a whole bunch of all but the very thickest patties, causing lots of them to fall down in chunks through the barbeque grate and onto the coals, where they will no doubt be safe because no one will eat them;
- You have to leave the Thermometer in for about 15 to 20 seconds to get a reading;
- If it isn’t done (minimum 160° F / 71°C), then you have to race indoors and wash the Thermometer, as it may be contaminated and can’t be used again until it is washed with hot water and soap;
- Race back to the barbeque and repeat the procedure for the other 2 dozen hamburger patties that you’re currently in the process of cooking for the hungry crowd staring at your back.
The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) says 1 in 4 hamburgers is brown in the middle before it is actually safe to eat.