The High-Tech Food Thermometer Alton Brown Trusts Most

Alton Brown has made a career out of breaking down the science of cooking, and for so many recipes, the science all comes down to temperature. That's why Alton Brown believes that a high-quality food thermometer is an indispensable kitchen essential.

In order to get a temperature reading that is accurate and reliable, it is important to invest in the proper tool. With so many instant-read food thermometers on the market, it can be hard to navigate which one to buy. Plus, the prices can vary greatly from affordable to an actual investment.

Alton Brown has declared the ThermoWorks Thermapen One his favorite high-tech food thermometer. He likes this model because it is accurate, durable, and — maybe best of all — fast. How fast? It reads temperatures in one second or less. Now that's high-tech! It turns out that Food Network, Serious Eats, and even the New York Times all agree with Alton Brown. They too have ranked the Thermapen at the top of their list when testing kitchen thermometers.

The importance of speed and using a food thermometer correctly

Brown prefers the Thermapen One because it can achieve accurate readings fast. When you are hovering over a screaming hot grill, time is of the essence, and you want to get your hand away from the flame as quickly as possible. Even if you have invested in a quality high-tech food thermometer, it is important to use it correctly.

Food thermometers are often used to check the internal temperature of meat to see if it is at the correct level of doneness — but more importantly, to ensure that it is safe to consume. To do this, first and foremost, it needs to be inserted in the proper place on the piece of meat. This is typically at the thickest part and not near a bone. It also needs to reach the very center of the cut of meat, not just near the surface where it will, naturally, be hotter. Fortunately, Brown's favorite temp-reading tool registers within a 0.5-degree Fahrenheit accuracy.

Food thermometers can also be used to check the temperature of oil for frying, and they can be used in candy making. You can also use a thermometer to tell when a loaf of bread is done baking. Gone are the days of raw, doughy insides — just check the temperature before removing a loaf from the oven. In fact, you can even use one to take your butter's temperature for the best results when baking cookies or pastries.

Yes, precision in temperature is really that important

Precision is incredibly important when it comes to measuring temperatures while cooking. Just a few degrees can mean the difference between a steak that is still raw and one that is perfectly rare. Accuracy is important because you certainly don't want to ruin an expensive cut of meat or a holiday meal that you are about to serve hungry dinner guests.

Most important of all, measuring internal temperature is essential for food safety. When it comes to cooking poultry or pork products in particular, hitting milestones for internal temperatures ensures that any harmful bacteria that may be present has been killed, and the food is safe to eat.

If you are worried that the readings you are getting on your food thermometer are not accurate, you can always test it in a glass of ice water. It should read 32 degrees Fahrenheit after about 30 seconds — just make sure the thermometer is in the middle of the glass, not touching the sides (or bottom) at all. If not, Food Republic offers a tutorial on how to calibrate your food thermometer for proper readings.