TIP OF THE DAY: Calibrate Your Kitchen Thermometer | The Nibble Webzine Of Food Adventures - The Nibble Webzine Of Food Adventures TIP OF THE DAY: Calibrate Your Kitchen Thermometer | The Nibble Webzine Of Food Adventures
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TIP OF THE DAY: Calibrate Your Kitchen Thermometer

CDM meat & poultry thermometer available
at Amazon.com.

Many kitchen thermometers will be used on Thanksgiving to test the temperature of the turkey. Undercooked turkey means the possibility of salmonella; overcooked turkey most certainly means dry meat.

Given that 10 degrees can make the difference between good and dry, how accurate is your kitchen thermometer?

A chef will calibrate a new thermometer, then recalibrate once a week (or whenever it’s dropped), using the freezing or boiling method.

There is a calibration nut underneath the thermometers, at the top of the stem, right under the head. You’ll need a small wrench and some dexterity (or someone to help).

  • Ice Point Method: Pack a glass with crushed ice, add ice water and stir thoroughly. Wait four minutes and insert the stem of the thermometer. Hold it at least an inch from the sides and bottom of the glass. The pointer will stop moving in about 30 seconds. If the thermometer is not accurate within +/- 2°F of 32°F, adjust it. Keeping the thermometer stem in the ice, use the wrench to turn the calibration nut to turn the pointer to 32°F/0°C.
  • Boiling Point Method: Use boiling water and adjust the thermometer to the boiling temperature at your altitude—212°F/100°C at sea level. This may sound easier than the ice method, but the ice method is more accurate.


If your thermometer doesn’t have a calibration nut, contact the company’s customer service line for advice.

The harmful bacteria are killed at 150°F. The turkey should be removed from the oven when the thickest part of the thigh meat is 155°F but no more than 160° (be sure not to touch the bone).

That’s because food keeps cooking after it is removed from the oven. As the turkey stands to let the juices to settle for easier carving (15 to 20 minutes), the thigh meat will reach 165°F and the breast meat will probably be 10°F higher.


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