It's Cyber Monday, which means that, once again, we're hosting an exclusive sale on the Thermapen and the ThermoPop, our favorite kitchen thermometers. The deal lasts from now until Tuesday, November 29, at 11:59 p.m. (Eastern time). During these two days, you can get yourself a Thermapen Mk4 for $79.20 (20% off the MSRP of $99), or a ThermoPop for just $24 (17% off the MSRP of $29).
If you do any type of meat cookery whatsoever, a good digital instant-read thermometer is essential for perfect, consistent results. (Don't even think about using that "poke" test.)
There are all kinds of tricks and gimmicks for trying to keep meat moist as you cook it, but there's only one that really makes a significant difference: cooking it to the right temperature. In the days before precision cooking equipment was readily available to home cooks, we overshot our cooking in the name of food safety. We were told to roast turkey "until juices run clear," and pork chops were reduced to leather. With the help of thermometers, we can now guarantee both the safety of our food and its palatability.
Think: turkey with breast meat that's worth eating (try 150°F), or prime rib that nails that perfectly pink-centered medium-rare (130°F). Pork chops as juicy as bacon (135°F), steaks that are charred on the outside and rare in the center (125°F), and the juiciest chicken breast you've ever had (150°F).
There are plenty of thermometers out there, and, frankly, anything that can give you an accurate reading on temperature will do the job. But there's getting the job done, and then there's getting it done with style. The original Thermapen was the gold standard for kitchen thermometers. The Thermapen Mk4 is even better: Not only does it give readings with half-degree accuracy in a matter of seconds, it also has some neat new features, like a motion sensor that automatically turns on the display as soon as you pick it up (no more fumbling with the wand with greasy fingers), a backlit display that kicks on when you put it into a dark oven, and fully waterproof operation.
Don't have quite that much cash to drop? No worries: The Thermapen's kid brother, the ThermoPop, is on sale as well. It's one of the two winners of our inexpensive-thermometer testing, and it boasts splashproof, backlit, any-angle operation, plus accurate readings in just three to four seconds.