According to USDA research, 1 out of every 4 hamburgers turns brown before it reaches a safe internal temperature.
What about pop-up thermometers that come already inserted into a whole turkey or chicken? According to the Huffington Post, “A pop-up turkey timer is probably one of the most unreliable kitchen gadgets of them all. And by the time it does actually pop, the turkey will be dry like sawdust.” Pop-up timers are set at much too high a temperature, and they are no substitute for a high-quality meat thermometer.
It’s not safe to eat undercooked food, but you don’t want to overcook your meat, either. Overcooked meats are dry and tough; properly cooked meat should be tender and juicy (is your mouth watering yet?). You need to know the recommended temperature for each type of food.
A couple of years ago, the government changed some of its temperature recommendations to include an option for cooking whole cuts and chops of pork, beef, and veal to 145 degrees Fahrenheit, with a three-minute “rest period” after the meat is removed from the oven. This rest time helps to destroy harmful bacteria while leaving the meat juicy and flavorful. You may still prefer to cook these meats to 160 degrees. It’s important to note that all ground meat mixtures MUST be cooked to 160 degrees and all poultry MUST be cooked to an internal temperature of 165 degrees for safety – the “rest period” does not apply to these foods.
If you are using an instant-read thermometer, insert it into the thickest part of the meat before you expect your food to be fully cooked. For additional convenience, use a leave-in thermometer or a digital thermometer with an oven-safe probe that can remain in the food while it is cooking. When you insert the thermometer or the probe, be careful not to poke through the food and make contact with the cooking pan, and avoid touching bone or gristle in order to get an accurate reading.>
Be sure to wash your instant-read thermometer shaft or stainless steel probe with hot water and soap. A nylon scrubber does a good job. AcuRite’s instant-read thermometers have stainless steel shafts for easy clean-up. For AcuRite thermometers with probes, you can detach the probe and clean it by hand or in the dishwasher.