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The Proper Way to Use a Probe

By Cook's Illustrated Published November 2016

A probe thermometer allows you to track the temperature of large roasts, turkeys, and chickens as they cook so that you don’t have to repeatedly open the oven door and test with an instant-read thermometer.

A probe thermometer allows you to track the temperature of large roasts, turkeys, and chickens as they cook so that you don’t have to repeatedly open the oven door and test with an instant-read thermometer. Proper placement is particularly important when cooking at higher heat as opposed to low and slow, because there will be a large differential within just an inch of space in the food. Follow these tips for proper usage.

FOR UNIFORMLY SHAPED ROASTS: Place tip of probe in center of meat, which will hit target temperature last.

FOR POULTRY: Place in thickest part of breast since this area is easiest to overcook, while dark meat can handle being slightly overdone.

AVOID BONE: Touching bone will give incorrect reading. Insert probe until you hit bone, then pull back about 1/4 inch.

ENSURE PROBE IS SECURE: Check probe after closing oven door to ensure that it hasn’t been displaced.

SPOT-CHECK: When thermo­meter nears target temperature, spot-check other areas to see if they are also close.

HANDLE WITH CARE: Remember that probe and its wire are hot.