Let’s talk about measuring the temperature of what you’re cooking as well as what you’re cooking in, the type of tools you can use, and how to know what you’re using is accurate. The single most important tool a BBQer or griller can own is a thermometer. This is a device used to measure the internal temperature of whatever it is you’re cooking or what you’re cooking it in. Thermometers come in many styles: single probe and multiple probe versions, digital and dial types. The main purpose of s single probe thermometer is to check the temperature of what you’re cooking. Multi-probe thermometers are great for measuring not only what you’re cooking but the temperature of your grill or smoker (cooker) as well.

I could spend a long time talking about thermometers, the various types, how each type works, and the pros and cons of each. Instead, let me explain a few basic concepts when it comes to using them and how to ensure they’re accurate.

Today I want to take a look at two general types of Thermometers, single probe and multi-probe. Let’s start with the single probe thermometers, often referred to as instant-read thermometers. If you can only own one thermometer, it needs to be a single probe. It’s the only way you can really know when your meat is properly cooked.

Using an instant-read thermometer is pretty straightforward. You want to check the temperature in the coolest part of the meat. In general, that tends to be the thickest part of the meat. Insert the thermometer probe into that part of the meat and wait until the reading on your thermometer stops rising. This will take anywhere from 2-14 seconds, depending on the thermometer you have. It’s really just that simple.

It really is that simple with a Thermapen.

My suggestion is to get the best you can afford. It’s no secret that here at GrillGirl.com we are big fans of the Thermapen, and with good reason. Yes, at first glance they may seem expensive, but in all honesty, it’s a really great value. It’s accurate, extremely fast, last for years, has a great warranty, and is repairable.

Another great option is the Thermoworks Thermopop. The Thermopop is a great little instant-read with a lot of the same features as the Thermopen for around $29.00. Thermoworks also has instant-read thermometers for as little as $19.00. If you just can’t swing a thermometer from ThermoWorks, head to Wal-Mart and get a $10.00 something. Just get a thermometer! Every cook needs at least one!

By the way, if you sign up for the Thermoworks newsletter, you will be notified of sales and be entered to win a Thermapen, which they give away each month. (At least they do at the time of this writing.)

The Thermoworks lineup.

Multi-probe thermometers

These type thermometers typically come with two or more probes on cables leading back to the thermometer’s main unit, One probe attached to the cooking grate to measure the cooker temp and the others inserted into the meat. A great example of these types of thermometers is the Thermoworks Smoke.

A Thermoworks Smoke multi-probe thermometer.

Go out and get yourself a thermometer. A Thermopen, a Thermopop, or something else. Just go get one and start using it today.

Until next time, Happy Grilling!

GrillGirl Contributor, Jon Solberg.

Jon Solberg, Expert Outdoor Cook who Makes His Own Charcoal! 

Enjoys long walks on the beach and good comedy….. Just kidding! A student of all things outdoor cooking, both low and slow or hot and fast. Charcoal, wood or gas it doesn’t matter. Not a big believer in the dogma of outdoor cooking. Continually looking for different ways. Loves to restore grills and smokers of all kinds. Born and raised in Mid-Michigan and understands there’s no offseason in live fire cooking.

**Affiliate links have been used in this post, which means I could make a small commission if any products are purchased. I only recommend products that I personally use and endorse. (Robyn)