A meat thermometer should be used for every meat dish you cook, especially during the holidays when turkey and ham are the centerpieces of most meals. Calibrating a meat thermometer is a quick 10 minute process that significantly improves food safety. The risk of contracting a foodborne illness during the holidays is high; ensuring food is thoroughly cooked is one of the best ways to mitigate this risk.
How to Calibrate a Meat Thermometer
You should calibrate a meat thermometer on a regular basis, especially when you're cooking for a large group of people. To calibrate a thermometer, you'll need a pot, water and ice. Fill the pot with water and plenty of ice. Put the thermometer into the ice/water mix and make sure it reads 32 degrees F (if the thermometer has a low reading).
Next, dump out the water/ice mix, refill the pot with water and bring it to a boil. Once the water is boiling, make sure the temperature on the thermometer reads 212 degrees F at sea level. Since water boils at different temperatures depending on altitude, check the table below for the appropriate boiling point.
Adjusting Your Meat Thermometer
If your temperatures are off at either reading, adjust the nut on the backside of the thermometer. Test again using both ice and boiling water until the thermometer gives the correct temperatures.
|Altitude (feet)||Boiling Temperature of Water (degrees F)|
|0 (sea level)||212.0|