After a grill and a Slow ‘N Sear, your next investment should be in grilling thermometers. Cooking to temperature with a good instant read thermometer is key to perfectly cooked meat every time, and knowing the temperature of your pit is critical to making sure your food cooks at the heat you intend. (Remember, when using the Slow ‘N Sear, dome thermometers will always read higher than true pit temperature.) The product line from ThermoWorks achieves flexibility in function while providing quality options at every price point. Read below for some of our favorites.
Below are our recommendations for instant read and leave-in thermometers from ThermoWorks.
Instant read thermometers are quick reading thermometers that allow you to pop the lid open and quickly check your meat temps. These thermometers should never be left inside the cooker.
The value-oriented Thermopop retails for $29 and can read temperatures in 3 to 4 seconds. It has a button-operated rotating display for ease of use and back-lit digits, making it an excellent feature-packed option if budget is a major consideration.
There are two versions of the Thermapen: the Classic and the MK4 (pictured, left). Both are foldaway probes with super-fast (3 seconds) and accurate temperature readings making it a great upgrade from the Thermopop. The additional features offered by the MK4 – auto sleep/wake, auto-rotating display, back light and longer battery life – make it a worthwhile investment over the Classic.
Leave-in thermometers come with wired probes that you can leave in your cooker to monitor cooking temperature and/or meat temperature.
Smoke™ Thermometer – If you’ve seen our video review you know we love the wireless, dual-probe Smoke thermometer. It uses Pro-Series probes to simultaneously measure pit and meat temperatures. The back-lit display provides a single screen dashboard detailing min/max temperatures for each probe and hi/low alarms that are simple and intuitive to set. It also has a remote receiver with a range “up to 300 ft” allowing you to monitor temperatures without having to be directly beside the grill. It’s also noteworthy to mention the Smoke will have a Gateway accessory soon allowing you to connect it to your mobile device. It’s a rock star thermometer and our favorite for most cooks. At $99 it isn’t the cheapest thermometer on the market, but it offers numerous advantages that make it well worth the price.
We recommend DOT® as the lowest price option for long-term food temperature readings. This unit has a high temp alarm that’s very easy to set (no need for a low temperature alarm while cooking; if you do, we’re pretty sure you’re doing it wrong). It comes standard with a straight penetration probe that reads temps in about 5 seconds so DOT can also do double duty as an instant read thermometer when you want to spot check temps in several places. 5 seconds too long for you? Combine DOT with the ThermoWorks Pro Series needle probe and you can read temps in just 3 seconds.
ChefAlarm® – The lowest price Thermoworks option we recommend for single probe measurement of pit temperature. It features high and low temperature alarms with volume control and retains the highest and lowest temperature recorded during the cook. The base unit has an easy-to-read back-lit display including a count up/count down timer. It can sit on the counter or stick to a metal surface via attached magnets. The one downside with this thermometer is that it comes standard with a large curved hybrid probe and a pot clip (for measuring liquid temps in a pot). To measure pit temps we recommend you add a Pro-Series pit temp probe to your purchase, which comes with a grate clip.
Why we like ThermoWorks Pro-Series® probes. That’s an easy one. They’re just all-around better made than probes you find with cheaper thermometers. The probe wires are 4’ in length. In our experience this is the Goldilocks length… not too short, not too long. They have protective springs on both the probe as well as the connector to prevent the wire from being damaged. The point where the probe meets the wire is coated with silicone, which can resist high heat and help protect the probe from water damage. They read temps fast! From 3 to 7 seconds depending on model. And all of the probes we recommend sell for $15 to $17, so they’re not even expensive! It’s win-win-win-win.