One of the most important, if not the most important aspect to cooking and serving meat is to ensure you’re serving it at the right temperature. Cooked too long and you have a hockey puck that might as well be tossed in the trash. Not cooked long enough, and you run the risk of hanging out on the toilet for the next 24 – 48 hours. In other words, you might want to think long and hard about determining whether or not that steak is at that perfect 135F by comparing its firmness to the fat in your cheeks.
A more accurate method for determining internal temperature would obviously be to use a meat thermometer. Sure, you’ve seen a slew of them in the grilling section of your supermarket, but they can take more than a minute before they display an accurate temperature and in my experience, their accuracy is questionable at best.
Enter, the king and reigning champion of all food thermometers: The Thermoworks Thermapen.
The Thermapen, as described by the manufacturer, is a food thermometer capable of the following:
- 3-second readings
- High accuracy – .7F
- Water resistant design
- Configurable for both Fahrenheit and Centigrade
- Auto On / Off – No buttons
- 1,500 hour battery life
The Thermapen speed test
To get a feel for just how fast and accurate the Thermapen really is, take a look at the quick and dirty video below.
Obviously, coming back up to room temperature after submerging the probe into ice and boiling water takes a little longer than the stated three seconds from the manufacturer, but thats not really what’s important. The reason you’d want to purchase this thermometer is because, as evidenced in the video, it will give you an incredibly accurate temperature when the probe is inserted into whatever it is you’re cooking in as little as two seconds. Better than what the manufacturer claims!
Thermapen build quality
The Thermapen is solid – there’s not a whole lot more to say about it. There aren’t any gaps around the LCD and the temperature readout is protected by a thick piece of plastic, so there shouldn’t be any concern about damaging it.
While it isn’t 100% waterproof, it is “water resistant / splash proof”, so again, no worries if you accidentally spill a little marinade on it.
Another feature I really like about the Thermapen is the size of the probe.
The bottom half-inch of the four and a half-inch probe is extremely thin so you don’t have to worry about gouging your steaks with massive holes each time you check the temperature.
The 800-pound gorilla in the room
Ok, so there’s absolutely no doubt that the Thermapen is a stellar product. It delivers accurate temperatures in just a couple seconds.
The primary issue with the device is price. Coming in at just under $100, the Thermapen isn’t one of the food thermometer impulse purchases you make while doing your routine grocery shopping.
In all honesty, I debated for weeks as to whether or not I wanted to pony up that much money for a food thermometer. I was seriously considering purchasing the very highly rated little brother to the Thermapen, the Thermoworks ThermoPop, which can be had for $30. The primary difference between the two thermometers simply being a 3-second or so delay on the ThermoPop.
Ultimately, I chose to purchase the Thermapen because quite often, I’ll have multiple items going on the grill while talking to my wife, watching my son, talking on the phone, imbibing in another adult beverage, or countless other things going on, so speed is pretty important to me.
I’ll be honest. I’ve been known to pinch a penny just about as hard as anyone you’ve ever met and I have no problem admitting that. The Thermapen is a VERY expensive device and to be frank, it’s not a necessity for your average backyard griller. The Thermoworks Thermopop is going to be a better choice for the majority of folks who just need a decent food thermometer and don’t want to spend an arm and leg for it.
On the other hand, if you’re grilling multiple times a week and need a food thermometer that’s not only going to give you near-instant, accurate food temperatures, but will also stand up to the abuse of being used constantly around a hot grill and various liquids, you need to pick one of these bad boys up. Once you get over the initial sticker shock, I can promise you that you won’t regret it as you pull perfectly cooked food off the grill, time and time again.
The Thermapen comes with a one-year limited warranty from the manufacturer.