What is a Probe Thermometer & How Does it Work?

What is a Probe Thermometer & How Does it Work?

July 02, 2019

Cooking should be an enjoyable experience, and you don't want to spend your time worrying about meat temperature. This can cause unnecessary stress, not to mention the health and safety hazard. For everything you need to know about temperature probes, read on!

What is a Probe Thermometer Used For?

You use a probe thermometer to ensure that your food reaches and stays at a proper temperature. When it does, this means that it's safe for you to eat. A grill temperature probe is a way to get precision temperature measurements with ease and reliability. 

Source - Wikimedia Commons

Safely monitor your food's temperature throughout the cooking time to ensure you don't overcook it. It's also important to use when you cool, re-heat, and thaw foods to monitor and ensure safe temperatures. Depending on the thermometer, it can give you accurate readings during BBQ cooking, in the oven and on the stove top. 

Source - Smartfire

How to Use a Temperature Probe

Using a digital probe food thermometer with your BBQ smoker makes it easy to confirm that your meats are at a safe temperature. Our guide will walk you through the process of using the probe correctly.

  1. When you start your smoker, insert your digital meat probe into the deepest part of your cut of meat. For steaks or a roast, this area is usually in the middle. Poultry is deepest along the depth of the inner thigh. Avoid coming into contact with the bones because it can give you an inaccurate readout on your cooking probe. Insert your WiFi BBQ temperature probe until it's in the middle of the meat. Don't go all of the way through. 

  2. If you have a dual system with a BBQ probe, you can attach the barbecue temperature probe directly to your grate. It hooks up to your control system, and you can seamlessly monitor both the smoker temperature and the meat temperature.

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  3. Read out the temperature showing up on your digital temperature probe. Ideally, you'll be able to sit away from your smoker and monitor your temperatures. The digital readout can tell you at a glance what your temperatures are, and you can adjust accordingly. 

  4. When your food reaches the desired temperature range, it's safe to eat. The Smartfire BBQ smartphone app enables you to choose your protein, cut and desired doneness and then will tell you the target temperature in either Celsius or Fahrenheit so you don’t need to remember everything!

How to Calibrate a Temperature Probe

You have to calibrate a probe thermometer to ensure that you get accurate readouts. You should do this regularly. Ideally, you should recalibrate or reset it before the first use, at least once a month. It is also important to calibrate if the probe is dropped or if it is exposed to a big temperature change. You accomplish this by taking the following steps; 

  • Fill a cup full of crushed ice. Add in just enough water so that the ice begins to float. The ice water's temperature will read 0°C, and this is your baseline that you can use to recalibrate your thermometer. 
  • Put the thermometer's stem into the ice water. Don't let your food temp probe touch the bottom or sides of the cup because this can throw off your readings. Wait until your thermometer needle stops moving. If it's at 0°C, you're good. If it's not, adjust it. 
  • If there is a calibration nut on your thermometer, use a wrench to turn it until your thermometer's needle points to 0°C. Keep it in the water while you adjust it to ensure accuracy. 
  • Always read your thermometer's manual before you attempt to recalibrate it. They'll usually give you instructions on how to do it properly for the specific brand. 

Source - Wikimedia Commons

Different Types of Cooking Temperature Probes

You can split cooking temp probes into four broad categories. They include: 

  • Resistance Temperature Detector - These thermometers read the resistance levels of film or wire wrapped around a glass or ceramic to the temperature. It's very accurate, but it's also the most expensive. 
  • Thermocouple Probe - These are the fastest types of instant-read probes with a two-to-five-second readout. The probe tips feature two fine wires. The intersection point temperature goes to a digital thermometer, though it does require careful calibration to ensure the reading is still accurate. 
  • Semiconductor-Based Sensor - This probe displays the average temperature it picks up along its bimetallic coil. It can take up to 20 seconds to get a readout, and they work best on more substantial foods that can be probed deeply. These probes need at least two or three inches to get an accurate temperature. 
  • Negative Temperature Coefficient (NTC) Thermistor - This probe provides precise and reliable temperature data according to resistance changes in the protein. When the temperature goes up, resistance falls, resulting in fast and accurate temperature readings across the entire temperature range that BBQ cooking typically involves. Smartfire uses factory calibrated and waterproof NTC Thermistors to provide optimum accuracy and responsiveness.

You want to have a quality probe thermometer around for food safety. Our customers know that Smartfire offers some of the best cooking probe thermometers in Australia, United States, United Kingdom and more broadly Europe. If you'd like your own, browse our store today.