One of the hardest things to learn when cooking is whether or not meats are done. It is something that I always struggled with, and I was always absolutely aghast at the thought of serving someone under, or over-cooked protein. I learned a lot of tips and tricks working at the meat shop, but teaching someone those methods without them being able to touch and feel was so difficult. A lot of the traditional methods of telling if meat is done are subject to sheer experience and can be affected by many variables including how you are cooking the protein, whether it was room temperature when you started and even how you have prepared it for cooking. I needed a method that was more precise and that I could more easily say “ok, you know it’s done when this milestone is met”.
My mother had always just cut opened one of the pieces to see if it looked cooked, but that always meant that one piece would dry out a little bit more than the others if any further cooking was required. A lot of people say to press the it and when it behaves a certain way, then it is done. I wanted a fool-proof solution. I present to you the solution that I found:
The Instant Read Thermometer.
These come in many shapes and sizes, as well as types, but a 3 second instant read probe thermometer is one of the easiest and best ways to know if that roast may need ten more minutes, or if that ten more minutes will make it too dry. It may be the difference between a pork chop that is moist and juicy, or a dry and sawdust-like mass. This little gadget will be a great companion addition to your bag of tricks in the kitchen.
The model I chose cost me about 75$, which was a little more than I was wanting to pay, but it has proven to be highly accurate, dependable, as well as easy to clean and use. You can find cheaper models that are a 10-15 second read for 20-40$, but I prefer the faster read so that I don’t have to stand there and wait. It’s truly a joy to use.
I think that the thing that I am most exultant about is that I never have to worry about whether or not I will be serving over or under-cooked foods. I always know, and that piece of mind is something that really helps me enjoy the process of creating the rest of the meal. Sometimes it’s the little things that help us to enjoy the greater things. This little thing, is something that I really and truly value in my kitchen.