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Old 02-24-2013, 09:58 PM   #1
bbqfred
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Default Help me understand my thermapen

Hi All,

When I use my thermapen, something is not quite right. For instance, I cooked a tritip. I was shooting for 150 for medium. I use my thermapen and went horizontally (parallel to the grill surface) and measured 175! I way overshot my target. When I got it inside and let it rest and cut it open, it was rare in the middle. The middle is where I thought I got the probe end to.

Am I using it incorrectly?
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Old 02-24-2013, 10:11 PM   #2
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Well you might of got the edge instead of the middle Oh if CD stops by don't listen to him
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Old 02-24-2013, 10:13 PM   #3
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What Ron said.

Try taking the measurement at the center going straight in.
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Old 02-24-2013, 10:31 PM   #4
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Ive learned quite a few thermo's dont read properly if inserted sideways, i only put mine vertical now.
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Old 02-24-2013, 10:35 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Neonnblack View Post
Ive learned quite a few thermo's dont read properly if inserted sideways, i only put mine vertical now.
Really? the sensor is in the tip. Why would the orientation of the sensor make a difference?

Fred, have you double checked the calibration of your Thermapen with boiling water? It is possible that it is off.
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Old 02-24-2013, 10:39 PM   #6
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I dont know, but my walmart wireless thermo wont read horizontally, only vertically. I figure its the way the thermocouple works, but i have no idea. Have a couple dial meat thermo's that do it also.
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Old 02-24-2013, 10:44 PM   #7
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Good suggestions, all. Thank you. I'll check the calibration. I could swear I'm getting the tip to the center.
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Old 02-24-2013, 10:45 PM   #8
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A thermocouple is two dissimilar metals that are in contact with each other. They produce ann electrical voltage that varies with temperature. that reaction happens regardless of the orientation. The Thermapen uses a type K thermocouple which is chromel and alumel (both alloys of different metals).

If you care for the detail, here's a good description of how a thermocouple works...

http://www.facstaff.bucknell.edu/mas...pThermCpl.html

If you don't care, feel free to move along
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Old 02-24-2013, 10:50 PM   #9
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I have the same issue when I use it for steaks. If the steak was the temp my thermapen says it would be well done. When I cut the steak it's red, which is fine for me. My kid wants his with medium well.
I quit using it for steaks. I keep debating on selling it. My cheapy thermo works well.
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Old 02-24-2013, 11:40 PM   #10
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clearly your TP is malfunctioning. Get a blue one, it will work fine.
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Old 02-24-2013, 11:54 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jsperk View Post
I have the same issue when I use it for steaks. If the steak was the temp my thermapen says it would be well done. When I cut the steak it's red, which is fine for me. My kid wants his with medium well.
I quit using it for steaks. I keep debating on selling it. My cheapy thermo works well.
Yeah that is what I'm experiencing. I'll try to check the calibration, I'm doing another tritip tomorrow and I'll try going from multiple directions. At some point, I may try calling thermapen and seeing if they have any advice or if we can figure out if there is a defect in this unit.

I would love to be able to count on an accurate internal temperature to take out some of the guesswork for these thicker cuts of beef.
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Old 02-24-2013, 11:55 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chriscw81 View Post
clearly your TP is malfunctioning. Get a blue one, it will work fine.
Where were you when I bought the white
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Old 02-25-2013, 12:05 AM   #13
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Checked the calibration --
boiling was pretty much spot on at 212 F
a cup of ice water ~ 35F ...

So now that leaves only the location that i'm probing. I'll check that tomorrow.
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Old 02-25-2013, 12:25 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 1911Ron View Post
Well you might of got the edge instead of the middle Oh if CD stops by don't listen to him
Fark! I turn up in the first farking reply?

Okay, knowing that I will take a beating for this, a Thermapen is not perfect.

Some of us have had issues with readings on thinner cuts of meat. A tri-tip is not as thin as a steak, which is where I clearly misused my Thermapen, and committed blaspheme for suggesting that the Thermapen may have possibly given me a false reading -- it was totally my fault, of course.

IMO, probe thermometers are useful tools, but they can be fooled. Good instincts, acquired over time, are better than any tool. Yes, even better than a Thermapen.

Now I lay me down to sleep. I pray my Thermapen my soul to keep. If I should die before I wake, I pray my Thermapen my soul to take. Amen.

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Old 02-25-2013, 01:23 AM   #15
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I've found that if I probe my food too quickly after powering on my Thermapen the readings may be off, so I give it a few seconds until I see its adjusting to the ambient air temp before I take a meat reading. This doesn't seem to be a problem if its already on when I want to use it.

I think it's also useful to pre measure along the side of a cut and mark the depth you want with a finger, then insert the probe until your fingertip touches so you know exactly where you're getting your reading. With thin cuts I also tend to pick them up with tongs and probe from the thin edge. Easier to hit the middle of the meat, I think.
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