When it comes to commercial kitchens, no tool is used more than the humble thermometer. Kitchen thermometers come in many shapes and sizes, from digital thermometers, to data loggers, meat thermometers, fridge thermometers and much more. There are also specialized thermometers like candy or coffee thermometers designed for niche trades. In fact, thermometers are used so frequently that many chef coats have built in thermometer pockets to always keep your trusty tool nearby. More often than not, you'll rely on your trusty digital thermometer (our favorite is this Comark Digital Thermometer) for quick readings on the line—few things are worse than an undercooked entree! At Tundra Restaurant Supply we feature a diverse selection of commercial thermometers from the industry's leading brands like Comark, Escali, Taylor Precision, San Jamar, Winco and much more.
Dial Probe Versus Digital Thermometers
Dial probe thermometers have long been a trusty method for attaining a quick temperature. These kitchen thermometers have a sensor that spans from the tip of the probe to roughly 2-3 inches up the stem of the probe. Though dial probe thermometers are cheaper than their digital counterparts, they require frequent calibration (Have you ever dropped your thermometer? You'll need to re-calibrate it.). Digital thermometers on the other hand feature a smaller sensor located in the tip of the probe, which makes it ideal for reading protein. Digital thermometers never need to be calibrated and are quick to give you a reading (perfect for the busy chef).
Food Safety and Kitchen Thermometers
When it comes to temperature, guessing is never a good idea. Thermometers can be used to ensure you're always maintaining safe, proper temperatures to limit and slow the growth of bacteria. Infrared thermometers are great for getting accurate readings without piercing the surface of your product. These thermometers are used frequently on new shipments. Always check the temperature of the product before receiving it—if your thermometer is reading a temperature above 40° don't accept the shipment! You don't know if your product was transported safely and it's not worth the risk of getting diners sick.
When holding product, either in a hot buffet, cold buffet, or refrigerated area, remember this simple phrase: keep hot things hot, and cold things cold. Protein should be cooked thoroughly to prevent the transmission of salmonella, E. Coli and other bacteria that could make guests sick. You should also regularly test the temperature of food that might be sitting in buffet tables or chafing dishes to ensure they're kept above 140° Fahrenheit.
All of your refrigerators, freezers, prep tables and more should be equipped with some kind of fridge thermometer to ensure that your product is staying out of the "danger zone." The danger zone describes the temperature between 40° and 140° Fahrenheit, where bacteria can proliferate. Thermometers help alert you to problems early, potentially saving you the cost of ruined product, or worse, getting someone sick. But remember—what good is a thermometer if you don't check the temperature? Be vigilant about your temperature logs or invest in a data logger to automatically monitor your equipment temperatures and alert you if something is amiss. That data will also be helpful for those unexpected health inspections.