Most helpful positive review
308 of 308 people found the following review helpful
Well worth the money - enhance your food and reputation!
on 2 August 2004
You can get cheaper cooking thermometers, but this really is a great piece of kit and well worth the extra money. I bought one on a bit of a whim, but I've been surprised at how much I've used it and how helpful it's been.
The thermometer comes in two parts, the electronic "box" and the probe. The probe is well made and has a good length metal cable that plugs back into the box. The box has two powerful magnets on the back, so you can stick it to the side of the oven if you wish or leave it on a worktop. Mastrad is a company that produces sophisticated thermometers for industrial and commercial applications. Their expertise has produced a top-quality thermometer at an extremely reasonable price.
You can use it in two ways, the simple "poke and measure" technique which just requires you to stick the probe into whatever you're cooking, and it will quickly read off the temperature (and tell you what the temperature should be for the most common foods).
Alternatively, you can stick the probe into the joint you're roasting, the cable comes out round the side of the oven door (should work on any type of oven - I've used it on an Aga & conventional oven), and it will monitor the temperature until it gets to exactly the right point, when a helpful alarm will let you know that it's done.
The fantastic thing is it does exactly what it claims & does it really well. If you want rare beef, select beef / rare, put the probe in the meat and it will tell you when it's done to perfection.
I have an Aga which at over 50 years old is wonderful but a teeny bit temperamental on occasions. Using the probe has allowed me to roast joints in a way that delivers truly superb results. The best way I've found is as follows: put joint of meat in pan (best if turn upside down to start with), add a couple of glasses of red wine, place probe into thickest part of meat, seal whole thing up with foil, cook at moderate heat in roasting oven. When the temperature is 5-10 degrees below target, remove foil, turn right-side up & continue to roast as normal. The meat will have browned by the time it reaches target temperature and you will have the most stunningly juicy & tasty joint of your life. Effectively the meat is steamed in its own juices & wine to begin with, and then browned and crisped at the end. The result is outstanding. Sure, you can cook like this without a thermometer but it is really hard to judge it right, and you often end up with either a dry or undercooked joint.
One point to note - the suggested cooking temperatures are for typical domestic use where the meat comes from the fridge, goes in the oven, and is eaten soon after it is cooked. You can also use "commercial" temperature charts which work off different assumptions (eg meat is at room temperature before cooking, meat will rest c.30 mins after cooking). These indicate lower target temperatures as the meat will continue to cook after it is removed from the oven. Match the appropriate temperature to your style of cooking, but I find their standard domestic temperatures work fine.
Overall, I love it, it works superbly, and allows you to be more experimental with your cooking without trashing the meal. This would be a great gift for any keen cook no matter what type of oven they use. The difference it can make to the quality of your food, not to mention your reputation as a cook, is remarkable.
May 2010 Update: 6 years on, I'm still using this for every roast I cook, and other dishes when required. Some elements of the digital display are no longer working, but that isn't a big deal - it is still very much useable. When it does give up the ghost, I'll definitely buy another as I think it is the perfect kitchen thermometer - well designed and well made. Still highly recommended!