A review and list of BBQ meat thermometers I use while smoking and grilling
When smoking meats, it is important to insure the safety of yourself and anyone who may eat the meat you cook by knowing when the meat is done. Food Safety information is also available on the FSIS Web Site.
Two thermometers are needed while smoking meats to ensure the food is smoked safely. You will need a thermometer for the smoker to measure the cooking air temperature, and a food thermometer to determine the internal temperature of the meat or poultry. Oven-safe, instant-read thermometers are excellent for measuring the meat temperature, and they work quickly so you will not lose much heat from opening the smoker door.
When using an instant read thermometer, insert it into the thickest portion of the meat you are smoking to get the most accurate internal temperature reading. Make sure the thermometer does not come into with contact any bones in the meat because the bones may be hotter than the meat, and a false reading may occur.
Cooking time depends on many factors: the type of meat, its size and shape, the distance of food from the heat, the temperature of the coals and the weather. Depending on the size of the meat, it can take anywhere from four to eight hours, or even more to smoke meat or poultry, so it's imperative to use thermometers to monitor temperatures.
The ThermoWorks Super-Fast Thermapen (Red) Professional Thermocouple Cooking Thermometer is probably the highest rated instant read thermometer there is. It is used by chefs and BBQ competitors everywhere, and accurately reads the internal temperature of any meat your are cooking instantly. It is definitely more expensive than other instant read thermometers you can find, but in this case you pay for what you get. You can even send it back to the factory to recalibrate it if needed. I use this model when I am competing in BBQ competitions. Thermapen definitely won't let you down!
The Weber Instant Read Thermometer works very well and is an affordable thermometer priced around $10.00. It will accurately give you the temperature of any meat you are cooking. I would say it is definitely more delicate than the Thermapen, but the price makes it a go-to for many cooks. I keep one as a back-up when I am participating in BBQ competitions, and I have one I use at home when I want to make sure I don't overcook meat.
You can sit on your couch and monitor the internal temperature of your pit and your smoker at the same time. The Maverick ET-735 allows you to know exactly what your pit and meat are doing at all times at distances of up to 100 feet. The remote monitor is also pretty darn handy. With the dual probes on this model, monitoring the internal temperature of your pit and internal temperature of the meat is very easy. I use several at the same time during BBQ competitions to make sure I know exactly what the internal temp of the meat is. No second guessing here!
For additional food safety information about meat, poultry or egg products, call the toll-free USDA Meat and Poultry Hotline at 1 (800) 535-4555; Washington, DC area, (202) 720-3333; for the hearing impaired (TTY) 1 (800) 256-7072. The Hotline is staffed by food safety experts weekdays from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Eastern time. Food safety recordings can be heard 24 hours a day using a touch-tone phone.