food-safety | 7 mins read

5 Best Food Temperature Gauges for the Modern Restaurant Kitchen

5 best food temperature gauges for the modern restaurant kitchen 1644386904 1662
Sanchari Chatterjee

By Sanchari Chatterjee

What is a Food Temperature Gauge or Food Thermometer?

When roasting a turkey or grilling a steak, you must make sure the meats are cooking at the right temperature. It's vital for chefs to hit the right internal temperature, especially when cooking meats, in order to kill harmful bacteria or germs in the food. Even with premium temperature controls on modern grills and ovens, it's impossible to correctly gauge the internal cooking temperature of food. This is where food thermometers (or in this case, meat thermometers) come in.

A food temperature gauge or food thermometer is a device that measures and displays the temperature of food while it is being cooked, or after it is done cooking. It can be used in cooking, refrigerating, and storage. Most food thermometers these days are digital. They give you an instant reading of food temperature. Food thermometers allow chefs and kitchen assistants to measure the internal temperature of a range of foods, including meat, bread, fish, and vegetables, accurately and conveniently.

  • According to a study by the University of Illinois, the average per capita meat consumption in the U.S. has increased over the years. In 2020, it stood at 264 pounds per person.
  • The Great Recession of 2008 reduced meat consumption in America.
  • 40% of the domestic corn crop and over 60% of domestic soybean production in the U.S. are used to feed livestock, the study said.

How to Use a Food Thermometer

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New to a food thermometer? Here's how to use thermometers to measure the temperature of food.

  1. Firstly, right after you buy a food thermometer, you need to test it. This can be done by dunking it in ice water or boiling water to check if the thermometer probe works accurately in different temperatures.
  2. Read the instruction manual of your food thermometer carefully and calibrate it correctly so you get an accurate reading every time you use the device.
  3. When your device is ready to use, know where to place the food thermometer to get the right temperature reading. This could be different for different foods. Usually, the long probe is inserted into the thickest part of a meat, cake, fish, etc.
  4. Make sure you do not touch any part of the insides of the oven or smoker grill during the temperature reading. Maintain utmost safety during the whole process and wear appropriate safety gear.
  5. Wait for a few minutes, or for the time stipulated by the user manual, to get the right temperature reading. In case of meat thermometers, you can keep the thermometer probe inserted in the meat to keep an eye on the temperature's progress.
  6. After the process is done, clean the food thermometer and store it safely in order to avoid contamination. This is an important food safety practice.

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A Food Temperature Gauge is Integral to Food Safety

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According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 48 million people fall ill, 128,000 are admitted to a hospital, and 3,000 die from food-borne diseases every year in the United States. Thus, food safety and extreme precaution when handling food consumed by the public, is of the utmost importance for those working in the restaurant business.

Animal meat often contains bacteria, viruses and germs that are easily transmitted to humans after consumption. In order to avoid this and follow the food safety guidelines put together by the authorities, it's important for chefs to properly cook food, especially meat, at high temperatures. Moreover, different kinds of meat have different temperature requirements. So, a food temperature gauge plays an integral role in the kitchen of a restaurant, bar or even a food truck that serves hundreds of customers every day.

Types of Food Temperature Gauges

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When looking for food thermometers, you have multiple options to choose from. Here's a look at some of them-

  1. Instant read thermometer- This one's an easy to use gauge that helps you check the temperature of any food by simply inserting it into the food and waiting for a few minutes. It will give an instant reading of the internal temperature of your meat, cake or fish.
  2. Meat thermometers- For restaurants serving different kinds of meat, food safety is often a point of concern. Meat thermometers and Grill Thermometers that are specially designed to withstand high temperatures in the range of 130-160 degrees Fahrenheit can address this concern and ensure that meat is properly cooked as per food safety guidelines.
  3. Oven thermometer- Ovens usually come with inbuilt temperature dials where you can set the temperature before the cooking starts. However, these often do not produce an accurate reading of the temperature of the food, putting it at risk of burning. This is why you need a special oven thermometer that will not only read the internal temperature of the food, but also the ambient temperature of the oven.
  4. Deep-fry thermometer- A deep-fry thermometer is specially designed to withstand the high temperature of food cooking in boiling oil. It is made of glass and can read temperatures even when dipped in 375 degrees Fahrenheit oil.
  5. Digital food gauge and Bluetooth thermometer- A digital food thermometer records temperatures with speed and accuracy, and sends the readings to your mobile app. This helps you to keep track of the cooking progress from afar instead of having to hover around the grill/oven throughout the process.

Using the right kitchen thermometer helps you meet the food safety standards set down by the Hazard Analysis And Critical Control Points (HACCP) System.

5 Features of a Modern Cooking Thermometer

  1. A modern cooking thermometer must work digitally and support Bluetooth/Wifi data transfer to a remote device, such as a mobile app.
  2. It should be able to speed up kitchen cooking by providing instant and accurate readings.
  3. The food thermometer should be oven safe and able to work in temperatures up to 375 degrees Fahrenheit and higher.
  4. It should support at least 4 probe thermometers that are color-coded and can be used for different food items simultaneously. You should be able to plug in the 4 probes at the same time to get real time updates of each food on the app.
  5. An alarm system to alert you when the oven reaches the cooking temperature you want. This is an important feature to have as you don't want to burn your turkey by overheating the oven.
  6. The food thermometer should be made of stainless steel. This will make it rust-proof and easy to clean. It will also prevent contamination and help Food Safety practices.

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5 Best Food Temperature Gauges For Restaurants

  1. Zip Thermometer- The Bluetooth temperature probe launched by Zip HACCP is an easy-to-use temperature gauge that provides accurate readings of cooking temperatures. It send these measures directly to the Zip HACCP app, whose clean interface and user-friendly deign makes it easy to read and store. Zip HACCP also promises top-notch customer service in case you face an issue running the system. Zip Thermometer is available on Hub Works, an app store dedicated to the restaurant industry.
  2. Meater- Meater offers three kinds of cooking thermometers that come with different Bluetooth ranges and probes. This thermometer is completely wireless and gives accurate readings with no need for guesswork. With the alarm notification system, you can sit back and relax while the cooking gets done.
  3. Thermopro TP Thermometer- The ThermoproTP Digital instant thermometer and Thermopromeat thermometer are two kinds of offerings by the same company. These have a Bluetooth chip that can cover a range of almost 500 feet. Thermopro TP also has a mobile app that you can use to track the cooking temperature from afar.
  4. Weber iGrill- This digital food gauge has an easy-to-use LED display, Bluetooth technology and also supports mobile connectivity. The 200-hour-long battery life helps you to keep the operation running without worry.
  5. Soraken Meat Thermometer- This one supports up to 6 probe thermometers. The Soraken Wireless Thermometer comes with a fine, minimalist design, color-coded probes and an LCD screen. You can connect the system to your phone using Bluetooth and receive real time updates.

Food Safety FAQs

Q1- When should I use a digital food thermometer?
A- Use an instant read thermometer when you think the food is almost done and needs only a few minutes to cook. This will give you an instant reading to make quick decisions about when to take the food out. Also, use meat thermometers that can be placed inside the grill or oven for a prolonged period while cooking meat. Common kitchen thermometers are not built like meat thermometers to withstand extreme heat for long hours.

Q2- How do I clean my digital cooking thermometer?
A- For food safety, and also for the longevity of the digital cooking thermometer, it is advisable to clean the device immediately after use. You can do this by washing it in warm, soapy water and leaving it to air dry.

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