Few of us get to cook a bird as big as a turkey on a regular basis, so avoid the horror of a half-baked dinner this Xmas by investing in the best kitchen gadget ever.
It’s Xmas day, the turkey has been in the freezer for most of the year and in the oven since dawn. It’s on the table now, brown and shiny, everyone’s got their paper hat on, Gran’s been woken up and your horrible cousin has been sat a long way away from you. It’s all perfect.
Except as you carve the bird, you begin to realise it’s not cooked through. In fact, with the application of some electricity, there’s a good chance you could bring it back to life.
Disaster. Or dead relatives. Or both.
Alternatively, out of fear, you cook it far too long and it’s as dry as a desert in a drought.
The fact is that cooking any meat to the right succulence is as much a science as an art and when you’re dealing with unusual and large cuts, perhaps with the oven running slower than usual, all the charts and advice mean nothing.
The only way to be sure is to accurately measure internal temperature.And there is nothing more accurate than a Thermapen.
I’ve had one, The Classic, for over eight years, it’s still on the same battery. It has been a very true friend in the kitchen. I’ve used it for BBQs to avoid the dangerous sausage and serving a chicken leg that looks cooked because it’s burnt, but is actually half raw.
I’ve taken it all over Europe on self-catering holidays where I cannot trust the rented oven and I’ve used it to check the temperature when making my summer jam.
Professional kitchens will invariably have a Thermapen or two (they come in different colours so you can keep one for meat, one for fish etc).
I only had a few complaints about my Thermapen – first it wasn’t backlit so I could not see what it was displaying in a dark oven, or at dusk, and that the display was fixed so I often had to turn my head upside down to read it.
Well the new Professional model answers all that. It automatically senses the ambient light and illuminates when needed, while the display auto rotates 360 degrees depending on the angle it’s being held at. So, it also adjusts itself for left-handed users.
And there’s another new feature; the display goes off completely when it’s not being used (you can set the delay yourself) and comes back on again as soon as it senses that it’s been picked up. The AAA battery should last well into the next century. (Caveat. Battery may not last until the next century)
The rest is much the same. Solidly built with a case that’s washable and includes Biomaster Antimicrobial Technology, it’s also waterproof to IP66/67, which means it can keep water out at a depth of 1 metre for at least 30 minutes. Unless you’re cooking at the bottom of the sea, that’s plenty waterproof.
Its measuring range, from its needle-sharp tip, is a massive -49.9 to 299.9°C, or you can change that to degrees F, and it’s an instant read, one of the fastest, if not the fastest on the market.
Jab it in that sausage and the hole is so tiny, you won’t lose juice. Probe your steak and get it spot on for the doneness you like, whatever its thickness.
Check your pork and always eat at the safe temperature without overcooking it to tough tastelessness.And check that Xmas turkey all over.
The probe length is about 12cm, which means you can get a good way inside and be sure it’s cooked through.
The Thermapen Pro comes with a handy wipe-clean chart of correct temperatures to aim for, and the chart is magnetised to stick handily to your fridge door or oven side.
So, get yourself an early Xmas present you’ll be using for years and years to come
Thermapen can be found at www.thermapen.co.uk, Amazon & John Lewis
Thermapen Classic Thermometer: £51.60
Thermapen Professional Thermometer: £64.80