Everyone knows what an instant-read thermometer is. It’s a thermometer you stick into a piece of food and it instantly tells you the temperature. Right?
You wish. An instant-read thermometer is any thermometer that doesn’t have to be stuck into the food while it’s heating up in order to get an accurate reading. My old Taylor instant-read took about a minute to get a reading. When I break out the thermometer, it’s because I want to know whether something is done now, not so I can stick my hand into a hot oven for a minute like a jackass.
So I got a Thermapen. The Thermapen lives up to the phrase “instant-read”: you stick it in, and it tell you the temperature in four seconds, max, and usually more like two seconds. It has a range of -58°F to 572°F. It comes in colors, like the late iPod mini. There’s an optional belt holster, which of course I bought, because in my book there’s no such thing as an optional holster.
No thermometer is perfect, and there are a couple of downsides to the Thermapen. First, the quick reading depends on the thermometer having a thin, sharp tip. You could poke your eye out, but more to the point, it’s delicate. I don’t think it’s going to be a problem, but if this is something you’re worried about, you can order a Thermapen with a thicker tip that is hardier but takes ten seconds to read.
Second, you can’t switch the Thermapen between Fahrenheit and Celsius. You can get a Celsius-only model, but only in gray.
Third, and I know you’re waiting for this, the Thermapen costs a bundle. The thermometer itself is $85. Throw in the holster and shipping, and you’re close to $100. Do you really need a $100 thermometer? Maybe not. If you cook meat, make candy, or deep-fry regularly, the Thermapen will save you many headaches. If you don’t eat meat, candy, or fried foods, probably you gave up on this blog weeks ago. So I guess you need a Thermapen.
You can order the Thermapen from Thermoworks. I haven’t had the occasion to use their tech support yet, but this is an encouraging sign:
When you call, we don’t need to transfer you to a half-dozen different folks before you get what you need. We promise, no transfer or one transfer. And, we have real people answer the phone. No automated reception software.