I haven't bought a meat thermometer yet, but I'm planning on getting one that you can stick into a turkey as it's cooking. When I was thiking about using one I had a lot of questions that popped into my head.

Where in the turkey do I put it for the most accurate reading?

If I use a turkey bag do I stick it through the bag or in the bag?

Do I stick it in before I put it in the oven or maybe 1/2 way through cooking. Not sure how easy it is to stick a thermometer in a raw turkey...I'm thinking it's easier once it's mostly cooked?

Speficic brands of thermometers you like? Ones you didn't like that broke?

Any other helpful tips? I'm making my first turkey this year for Thanksgiving. :)

asked 14 Nov '09, 22:57

Sabrina's gravatar image

Sabrina ♦
accept rate: 14%

The thighs tend to be the last part to cook, for best results I put my thermometer into the thickest part of the thigh and angle it so it can be read without opening the oven. You can wait until part way through cooking, but I find the pointed tip goes in fairly easily anyway. If you have trouble you can use a skewer to make a pilot hole for the thermometer.

Once the thigh is at the correct temperature (about 82oC or 180 F), put the thermometer into another thick part of the bird to check, also note the juices running from the holes should be clear.

As far as makes or brands of thermometer go, the main thing to look out for is one with a large display and clear markings. It's also useful to have the temperatures for various types of meats marked on it (e.g. chicken and turkey should be 82oC/180 F).

For convenience's sake, one that is dishwasher proof is a bonus.


answered 14 Nov '09, 23:47

Rich%20Seller's gravatar image

Rich Seller
accept rate: 35%

I wouldn't have though to check 2 places...thanks for all the info! Funny to see you on recipe labs just now, I just upvoted one of your questions on mom4mom's. lol

(19 Nov '09, 08:07) Sabrina ♦

I get around, I post on about 10 of these sites (including my own, see my profile). I always check 2 places at least because my old oven didn't heat that evenly, so I'd rotate the tray a few times during cooking and check in several places to be sure it was properly cooked.

(19 Nov '09, 09:46) Rich Seller

My husband is on your film site. :) Luke Foust

(25 Nov '09, 22:53) Sabrina ♦

ha, small world isn't it

(26 Nov '09, 15:31) Rich Seller

Safe temperature for poultry is 165F, cooking it above will make the meat tougher (brining turkey beforehand will help the meat from drying)

165F=73.9C is the "US government official" safe poultry temperature - since 2006. Before it was 180F :). It is often said that poultry meat should be cooked till the meat is no longer pink. This is incorrect, most important is the final temperature. The "no-pink" indicator is foolproof, but meat will end up overcooked, so using thermometer is the way to go.

Thickest parts will take longer to cook, so as Rich recommended - stick thermometer into the thickest part, but make sure not touch the bones as they conduct heat better and can make reading incorrect.

Thermometer can be inserted through the bag in the beginning of cooking.

Also, when you take the turkey out of the oven it will continue cooking and internal temp will rise another 5-15 degrees because outer layers of meat will be hotter, so if you take the it out at 160 or even 155 and cover, the cooking will stop just at right temperature. This is also called "carryover cooking".

I have an electronic readout thermometer - polder i believe - that has a thermocouple probe connected to the display unit with about 4ft metal-cased wire - so you can have the probe inside the oven and the display outside. With that display you can set alarm at any temperature.

The only disadvantage of electronic thermometers - they are not water-proof. Only the probe part which is about 5 inches long can be immersed into the liquid. Remembering this will help you use this thermometer for a very long time.

Dial thermometers that can go inside the oven are ok, but it's not always easy to see the display inside the oven, they are not as accurate and obviously have no alarm.


answered 15 Nov '09, 21:04

Evgeny's gravatar image

accept rate: 0%

edited 15 Nov '09, 21:30

Wow thanks for ALL of the tips. I had heard about not touching the bone in passing from someone. Hmmm carryover cooking - so interesting, very good to know...I just realized the same thing with scrambled eggs recently.

(19 Nov '09, 08:11) Sabrina ♦

+1 for avoiding the bone, should have added that myself

(19 Nov '09, 09:47) Rich Seller

I've used the regular meat timers in the past; but in the last couple of years i've bought the turkey timers that you stick in the turkey before it goes in the oven and then it pops out of the turkey when its ready. I usually buy 3 to 4 and stick them in different places on the turkey so I can be sure that they all pop out. Its really easy to see, and i've never had an issue with the turkey being over or undercooked. I highly recommend them.


answered 25 Nov '09, 09:23

Redhdchic24's gravatar image

accept rate: 0%

Hmm, I've never heard of these, I'll have to check them out.

(25 Nov '09, 22:51) Sabrina ♦
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Asked: 14 Nov '09, 22:57

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Last updated: 25 Nov '09, 09:23

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