By Tara Richter…
In all the years I’ve been cooking, I check whether meat is done by cutting into it, and ensure it’s neither red nor bloody. I have never used a thermometer, digital or otherwise, in cooking and have to admit I was a bit intimidated when I tried out the ChefAlarm by ThermoWorks.
ChefAlarm was designed for commercial use and has continuous max/min temperature display to let you know when your food reaches the degree setting you have specified. The alarm volume is adjustable so that it can be heard through all sorts of noises in a busy kitchen. ThermoWorks offers the new Pro-Series Temperature Probes, made for commercial use, which are more moisture-resistant and read faster and more accurate.
I decided to make a small beef roast to put the thermometer to the test.
I set the maximum temperature for a medium-rare roast and allowed it to monitor my roast over the next 2-3 hours. When the alarm rang, I cut into the roast and saw bright pink flesh and pink juices. I assumed the thermometer was completely wrong and stuck the roast back into the oven. After another half hour or so, I re-tested the temperature, and this time it registered way above my max temperature; in other words it was overdone. I was completely perplexed as I cut up the still pink and juicy meat. Once I let the meat sit for a few minutes I realized my error; I didn’t allow the roast time to ‘rest’ upon which the meat actually continues to cook and juices are reabsorbed. The once juicy and pink meat was now looking dry and tough. Had I taken it out when the first alarm rang, I would have had the perfect medium-rare roast. Lesson learned. Always listen to your ChefAlarm.
I asked my amazingly talented culinary & crafty Step-Mom to give the thermometer a try since she has far more experience than me in the kitchen and has used a variety of other digital thermometers. She quite liked the ChefAlarm and enjoyed that the probe reads the temperature very quickly and that she could set her maximum and minimum temperatures. She also appreciated the fact that the probe/cable could be kept in the meat while cooking and attached to the alarm piece, which with a strong magnet, she was able to stick on the fridge right next to the oven. She did say that because the thermometer reads the air temperature in the oven, it could cause the alarm to ring indicating that the meat is done when in fact it is not.
According to the Government of Canada website for Healthy Canadians, thousands of Canadians get food poisoning each year, further stating it is therefore important to cook food to a safe internal temperature to avoid getting sick. The website stresses that a person cannot tell just by looking and that the only reliable way to ensure that food has reached this safe temperature is through a thermometer with digital being the most accurate. Recently my nine-year-old and I suffered hours of torment with a bout of food poisoning, though the direct cause is unknown. One thing for sure is that it is definitely something I do not want to experience again, and ensuring safe internal food temperatures with my ChefAlarm will be a best practice in my household from now on.
Do you have a serious foodie on your Christmas List this year? Why not give them the gift of food safety to compliment their culinary skills and get them the ThermoWorks ChefAlarm. The handheld ChefAlarm retails for $59, however it makes an invaluable tool in any kitchen! Orders can be placed online on their fabulous website or by calling their toll-free phone number. ThemroWorks now offers their new Special FedEx Canada shipping method, which includes all local taxes, duty and transportation charges!