Learn how to utilize thermometers to help you both thaw and get the temperature of your turkey while it cooks.
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My number 1 cooking tip for a turkey is having a thermometer on hand. It is the single greatest tool to have to reduce stresss. No more guessing of whether your turkey is raw or overcooked.
Let me tell you about the thermometers I would consider. All of them are from ThermoWorks. I have used other bands before but I found the to all be inferior when I started using ThermoWorks products. I can't tell you how many thermometers with probes I have bought over the years that didn't last me even a single year!
Here are ones to consider:
- DOT® Simple Alarm
- The Smoke X
- Square DOT
- Chef Alarm
- The Thermapen® ONE from ThermoWorks
- the ThermoPop
🔥 What Thermometer to Use to Cook the Turkey
This is the DOT® Simple Alarm Thermometer from ThermoWorks. You insert the probe into the turkey and it will tell you when it's done. This takes out all the guesswork. Even if the turkey comes with a pop-up thermometer those are set to pop when the dark meat is done but they are always inserted into the white meat, so when they pop the white meat is already overcooked as dark meat needs to be done to a higher temperature to have the right texture.
The DOT is pretty simple and easy to use. If you want something with more feature here are some other options for thermometers with probes.
|This one lets you set high and low temperature.
|This one allows you to have 2 probes so you can get multiple temperatures readings at once
|The Smoke X
|If you are smoking a turkey, this one allows you to monitor the temperature when you are inside with a remote unit.
When it says your turkey is done but you want to check to see if the turkey is done in other spots just to be sure, then you an use a either The Thermapen® ONE or the ThermoPop. I definitely think the Thermapen is better since it's faster and easier to use and read, but the ThermoPop is good as well as is cheaper, great if you are on a tight budget.
🌡️ Check out my podcast episode on How to Properly Temp a Turkey to learn all about how to get a good reading on a turkey with a thermometer. I have Chef Martin from ThermoWorks on to explain it in detail.
🧊 What Thermometers to Use to Thaw the Turkey
Now if you are dealing with a still frozen bird and need to thaw it quickly, I always recommend doing a ice bucket bath. If you haven't read it already check out my post How Long to Quick Thaw a Turkey Safely
The important part is making sure the water you are thawing the turkey in stays below 40 degrees. The turkey has to stay below 40 at all times, so bacteria can't grow.
I used my Smoke X to monitor the temperature. Because I was curious, I used the 2nd probe to just monitor the air temperature. I did mine outside and the air temperature that day was 40 or below the whole time, so it was absolutely perfect. If the air temperature is higher than 40, I know that I will eventually need to add more ice to the bucket in order to maintain a water temp of 40 or below.
The Chef Alarm, Square DOT, and DOT® Simple Alarm can keep track of the water as well. The Smoke X is nice because of the remote, so you can monitor the water temperature without having to go back and check it frequently.
In order to keep the probe in the water where I want it, I used a probe clip that ThermoWorks sells. It's really helpful when you want to track water in a pot or bucket. I use it when I am cooling my milk down for homemade yogurt when making it in my Instant Pot.