How to Buy a Grill Thermometer
When it’s time to plate that blackened chicken or those seared steaks, you’d think the most important thing to touch the entree is the plate itself, right? Wrong: it’s the thermometer. Scrutinizing juices, visually inspecting interior cuts, and pressing into your flexed thenar (that’d be the wide mound under your thumb) are food safety myths persisting to this day. Any meat-checking advice you grew up on that isn’t “Buy an accurate food thermometer” is a possible fast-track straight to the hospital (and a costly bill), or – and here’s the real travesty – losing all those precious juices.
“What about my grill thermometer?” you ask. Well, using your grill thermometer means inaccuracies of typically 75–100 degrees Fahrenheit (blame physics for that one). A BBQ thermometer should pierce your food before it even spots a fork. Anything less is gambling with food safety. That’s not such a great idea: the Center for Disease Control (CDC) estimates 48 million cases, 128,000 hospitalizations, and 3,000 fatalities among Americans every year from food-borne illnesses. But you don’t have to overcook your food: you just need to know how to tell when meat is done.
Benefits of Grill Thermometers
By now, we’ve covered the key feature points you should evaluate when researching a grilling thermometer, dove into the variety of wireless options, given you a quick crash course on how these handy little flavor savors operate (for further detail, invite your nearest technician to your next cookout). But for those of you still on the fence with buying a grilling thermometer, we've drummed up the eight biggest advantages to keeping one —and we mean an accurate, durable one — within reach.
Guarantee Food Safety
Grill thermometers are the only reliable way to ensure that your food reaches appropriate internal temperature and eradicates food-borne illnesses.
With all other factors fairly equal, cooking to the same temperatures means repeatable results and tightening those delicious dishes to utter perfection.
Waste Less Food
Cooking your food to the right temperatures keeps undercooked food off your plates and can keep extra food waste out of your trash can.
Save Time & Money
Save the improvising for the spice rack — eyeballing internal temperature risks losing overcooked or distasteful food while wasting valuable entertaining and cooking time.
Better Tasting Food
Homing in on appropriate temperature not only grants a better understanding of what’s being cooked but helps you thin that spectrum to the perfect doneness.
Prevent a Doctor's Visit
With 48 million Americans suffering food-borne illnesses every year — and 128,000 of them needing hospitalization — save yourself (and your company) unexpected medical bills.
Completes Any Kitchen Toolkit
They’re not just for barbecue — most grill thermometers fill out any utensil drawer, making a multipurpose tool kit for all cooking endeavors inside or out.
Peace of Mind
During your barbecue bash, nothing’s more reassuring than knowing your guests are safe from sick stomachs as the forks rise and the finger food vanishes.
What to Look For In BBQ Grill Thermometers
Simply put, every BBQ grill thermometer should deliver spot-on temperatures through roasting hot conditions. And that’s enough, frankly. But the 21st Century is here to stay, and we can ask more from our safety devices — such as faster heat calculation, wireless reading delivery, automatic alerts, and sturdier heat resistance to keep that hood down and our cooking decisions informed. Those shining probes capable of truly calling themselves the best BBQ grill thermometers on the market are those that deliver on all of these fronts. They’re the ones that will keep you safe and your food delicious.
Sure, you can pop the hood for a temperature check, but that’s a quick-fire way to lose precious heat. Chances are, you’ll want grill thermometer components that can withstand the tenacity of the cooking without getting damaged or destroyed in the process (although, grills featuring probe ports make this an easier task). Your device should be able to withstand temperatures of up to 600 degrees Fahrenheit, and even higher in some cases.
If you like entertaining (and hate babysitting your grill), you’ll want a thermometer that can deliver their readings wirelessly. That means you don’t have to go back and forth between the grill and the device to get an accurate reading. Options abound for grill thermometers that can transmit those numbers over the air, but there are remote digital thermometer choices that bypass the need for a Bluetooth connection or a smartphone app.
Let’s say you found the perfect BBQ thermometer: borderline pinpoint accuracy, barely sweats through crackling flames, and enough range to let you focus on other tasks. Every grill master has lost track of time somewhere and darted back to blackened chicken — and this time, that wasn’t on the menu. Sidestep that burden with a thermometer that can ping you at certain temperatures, so you don’t have to keep checking your readings every few minutes.
Ease of Use
After all of that, the last thing you should worry about is deciphering illegible readings or counterintuitive interface choices. The thermometer you should use is the best one, and the best one is the one you’ll actually use. Decide on a device that doesn’t require a lot of brainpower or time fumbling with buttons and menus to get the job done. Your chosen thermometer should be able to deliver readings quickly with an intuitive design.
Wireless Thermometers VS Instant Read Probe Thermometers
Now that you understand what features to weigh, let’s talk about the designs you’ll find as you browse our well-rounded thermometer section. Firstly, you can split the category into two: wireless BBQ thermometers that allow you to check on your grill or smoker from a remote device or your paired smartphone, and instant read probe thermometers that shirk wireless capabilities for a faster, but more hands-on experience. While we find the benefits of wireless vastly outweighs any drawbacks, we offer both types — and we’re here to talk about them.
Wireless Grill Thermometers
- Observe food safety from afar with confidence
- Free yourself for multi-tasking and hosting
- Retain the heat lost through hood swings
- Minimize puncturing the sear barrier that keeps juices in
- Note: not as fast or precisely accurate
Leaving analog outdoor cooking in your rear-view mirror is as easy as a wireless grill thermometer. Not only do the features get more impressive with time, but their probes sit tight in your food on a heatproof cable. No more constantly vanquishing all that hard-earned, delicious smoke. They’re even nearly as accurate as the alternative, although nowhere near as fast. Careful with damaging the probe lines; those replacements can add up.
Instant Read Probe Thermometers
- Faster readings, always in short seconds
- Fantastic for the last-second spot check
- Stay acquainted with grilling conditions
- Requires piercing the sear barrier that keeps juices in
- Note: too fragile to stay in cooking meat
When you want exact temperatures of your meat faster that it took to get to the word “meat” in this sentence, you’ll want to consider an instant read probe thermometer. So, they’re not built to handle fire — but they’re called “instant” for a reason. We’re talking laser-focused readings in 2–4 seconds. You’ll check the meat more often, losing flavorful smoke every time the hood opens. Is it worth it? That’s for you to decide.
Types of Wireless Grill Thermometers
For those of you who’re stroking your chin at the wireless features, congratulations: you have more options to choose from! As it turns out, there are a number of ways to make that extended range work for you. Each solution to getting those readings efficiently from Device A (your grill) to Device B (your pocket) comes packed with its own perks and considerations. And hey—if you’re the “Buy it once, buy it right” type, here’s how you compare all those solutions.
- Easy smartphone connectivity for great features
- Wherever you get good Wi-Fi, you can check
- Mobile hotspots can make this work portably
- Note: hope your signal reaches your grill
These thermometers connect to your home Wi-Fi network and are often controlled by a mobile app. If you want a stronger range than radio frequencies can offer you, and you’d like to sometimes put numerous barriers (like walls) between your grill and you — that’s Bluetooth’s general weakness — then Wi-Fi is probably your best option. Just be aware of possible wireless congestion from many competing devices, and know your home’s Wi-Fi blind spots.
- Often pairs to a dedicated companion smartphone app
- Typically, the most feature-heavy thermometers
- Usually capable of ranges reaching 150+ feet
- Note: won’t like many physical obstructions
These grill thermometers are generally the most state-of-the-art option; they connect to your smartphone via Bluetooth, usually transmitting useful information to an elegant companion app. They also enjoy the furthest range of your wireless choices — while a remote digital thermometer is relatively short-range and a Wi-Fi device depends on there being, well, strong Wi-Fi around, Bluetooth ignores these limitations. However, they’re finicky about interference, and your smartphone battery life might pay for the convenience.
Remote Digital Thermometers
- Radio frequencies don’t interfere with Wi-Fi signals
- No smart features, but less to keep up with
- Arguably the most portable choice
- Note: don’t lose the remote
If you have a dozen smart devices hooked up and broadcasting, that interference could mean rush hour traffic for your Wi-Fi — especially with more smartphones coming over to unburden you of delicious burgers. Ditch the bells and whistles; head straight for the fast lane! Sure, that remote’s another device to lose, but it’s also free from the shackles of your phone’s battery level. Hey, that means it saves on juice! Everybody wins.
Infrared Digital Thermometers
- See accurate temperatures without contact in a blink
- Excellent for quick scans of cooking surfaces
- Handy for dozens of home applications
- Note: nearly useless for food safety
We’ll cover infrared thermometers because they’re handy to have, fun to operate, and everyone loves using them (including us), but let’s rip the bandage quickly: these measure surfaces, not internal temperatures. That said, if you want to know the exact heat of your cooking grates, here’s how you find out in no time flat (usually). They nearly never pair with phones — which spares battery levels all around — and aren’t tethered to signal strength.
Things to Consider
Still with us? Excellent! Now that you’ve learned all about the thrilling, no-holds-barred world of grilling thermometers, you’re ready to browse our assortment of heat-reading devices. Hopefully, you’re on your way to tastier dishes, better peace of mind, and more juice retained in those blazing meats — and higher personal satisfaction with your cookout style. While we still have you, here are just a few key points to send you further along your outdoor kitchen journey.
BBQ Temperature Controllers
While not grill thermometers per se, BBQ temperature controllers take up their duties and go the extra mile. Like a machine assistant shouldering the rigors of heat regulation, devices unburden you from micromanaging that smoking session. You might have noticed a key adjective there — smoking. Punch in what you want, attach one to a charcoal smoker, and it’ll engineer the conditions of the cooking chamber to practically perfect results. Some manufacturers see their value and make their own, so be sure to keep an eye out as you browse.
Replacement Thermometer Parts
While these devices are engineered to withstand piping hot environments, the more sensitive components can certainly be damaged: probe cables aren’t crushproof, and probes themselves can become chipped or compromised. Not to fear! We carry a variety of replacement thermometer and temperature controller parts, and any other parts you could possibly need are nearly always something our sales center can track down. Rest assured that if the worst somehow happens, you can swap out a failed mechanism.
They Make Great BBQ Gifts
Like we’ve said — no kitchen, indoors or out, is truly complete without one! For that special grill master (or barbecuing buddy) in your life, a brand-new grill thermometer can be an excellent choice for expanding their roasting repertoire. Bear in mind that infrared digital thermometers are useful in a multitude of other home purposes, and you’ll get the giftee scrambling to scan every corner of the house. While you’re at it… why not check out the rest of our wide selection of BBQ gifts?
We hope you’ve learned something new — or have at least armed yourself with fresh new knowledge for the next time you find yourself debunking meat myths. If you have any questions about these products (or any others we carry), click on that live chat button or pick up the phone and call our brilliant sales center at 1-877-743-2269!
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