New thermometers

Discussion in 'Food & Cooking' started by w.debord, Dec 26, 2001.

  1. w.debord

    w.debord

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    After watching Alton Brown cook a roast using one of those new thermometers (the kind that stay in the roast with the oven door closed and you set its alarm to sound when it's reached the right temp.) cooking by temp. instead of cooking by time.....I bought one for my Mother.

    Do any of you computor wiz's know where I could find more infomation on how to use these thermometers? I'd like to give her some clear instructions, with possible examples....

    I looked back at Alton Browns show and it really didn't give me all the info. I was hoping to show her.

    I really think this is a brilliant concept....are any of you using one?
     
  2. mudbug

    mudbug

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    W.DeBord

    What is the brand of your thermometer? The more specific you are, the better we may be able to help.
     
  3. w.debord

    w.debord

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    Guess I need to ask Mom......I'll be back.
     
  4. cape chef

    cape chef

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    Wendy,

    If I may comment on these thermometer.

    I say this from a purely proffesianal opinon.

    I feel that (and I am not alone) peircing any meat as it roast will ultimatly leave you with a dry finished product. As protiens cook and change there chemical structure there is allot of activity going on iside that we cannot see. The blood is being forced to the center by the heat. To penatrate your roast at this time would just open a avenue for all of the blood and moisture to escape.

    I believe in instant read thermometers, But only used to insure proper holding or storing of things.

    I think that if someone has a basic guideline of cooking times and tempatures that they do not need this other thermometer.

    I am positive that this was developed for ease and safty, But it will detrack from the overall quility of the finished product
    cc
     
  5. w.debord

    w.debord

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    Hum, very very good points cape chef! I really didn't think about those.
    I was thinking about family get togethers where she times her turkey or roast and then when we'd get talking and she forgets.....sometimes it's too late and the item is over cooked. Sometimes she misses on the timing for cooking of other dishes in conjuction with the main item. Although she is a good cook, her age and health are slowing down her skills. She would open the oven and test the meat many times otherwise which has the same effect releasing juices, don't you think?

    Even after thinking about your points...I still think it would help her (at least she won't be jumping up and down as often... we don't even care so much about how the food tastes as much as it's being too hard on her physically).

    You've dashed my interest in owning one myself. But....I keep seeing new approaches to roasting meats with lower temp.s' then broiling at the end for color. Have you read about this? I know it's the opposite of what is practiced in most professional kitchens.....but it sounds like good science when you read it.


    Wouldn't temp. taking be less distructive with this method (lower heat)? Especially since your not taking the probe out until the item is ready to be served, unlike an instant read which would be releasing juice everytime it's stuck (and some people test multi times)?
     
  6. cape chef

    cape chef

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    Wendy,
    I do want to say that when I closed my post I did reconise that these devices are designed to minimize poor results and to help people. I am happy that this can help your Mom in the kitchen.

    When you say slow roasting at lower temps and broiling at the end for color I am alittle confused (normal :)) First, cooking times and tempatures depend on the cut of meat. Example..you would not slow roast a filet mignon or a sirlion. This requiers fast , hot cooking.Bottom rounds,shoulders,eye rounds ETC, requier slow,long cooking times. as far as adding color at the end this really does not add a great deal of flavor and since the meat is already cooked, broiling would really just dry out the exterior of the meat. There are different opinons these days on searing,Regardless if it does in fact hold in the juices,it does add flavor and help to develope your fond in the pan for your sauce.

    I am off to New york City so I will have to get back to you with more details (if you want)
    cc
     
  7. nicko

    nicko Founder of Cheftalk.com Staff Member

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    I am with Cape on this one, unless you want a dry product don't pierce the flesh till the very end.
     
  8. foodie jeff

    foodie jeff

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    To W.Debord in Chicagoland.

    This is in response to your inquiry concerning the roasting of meat (an appropriate cut) at lower temperatures and then roasting at a high temperature to finish. According to noted cooking teacher, food consultant and research scientist Shirley Corriher in her book CookWise, she recommends that meat be slow-roasted at a low temperature until it is about 20 degrees F. below the desired internal finish temperature. The oven should then be turned up to 500 degrees F. for a quick surface browning while reaching final temperature.

    According to Shirley: "I prefer the oven browning at the end, not the beginning of roasting." She explains, "[j]uices containing proteins and sugars have come to the surface during cooking, evaporated, and left a high concentration of proteins and sugars for fast browning." In other words, the slow-roasting avoids loss of liquids and preserves tenderness, while the high heat finish promotes flavor from the surface sugars and proteins.

    As far as the "Alton Brown" thermometer, it is a Polder. I have used one for years and find it a great tool, especially for cooking meat. I have used it to measure temperatures while smoking brisket, pork butt (shoulder roast), etc., and for roasting chicken and turkey. Unlike an instant read thermometer, it may be left in the meat and the temperature may be easily read from the digital display outside the oven. I do not seem to notice moisture loss from using the probe. In fact, a significant cause of moisture loss is high cooking temperatures, i.e., see Shirley's book and an article by Chris Kimball, publisher of Cook's Illustrated where he measured weight loss of roasts cooked at various temperatures. The Polder thermometer is great for monitoring the internal temperature of a smoked pork butt, which needs to be in excess of 190 degrees F. to be "pullable" for pulled-pork. If you are worried about moisture loss, simply insert the probe later in the roasting process.

    BTW, Alton's roast recipe was adapted from a recipe in CookWise. Alton attended New England Culinary Institute and he loves to use his Polder thermometer. Happy New Year and good roasting to you.
     
  9. mudbug

    mudbug

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    W.DeBord,

    Why don't you try this recipe for fun and see what you think? Even though you don't broil it at the end because you don't have to...

    Slow Roasted Sticky Chicken


    Did you ever get the specifics on the brand?
     
  10. mezzaluna

    mezzaluna

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    Wendy, when I think of a thermometer in the meat, I think of those aluminum potato nails. Their purpose is to conduct heat to the center of the potato to cook it faster. I'd be leery that the heat would be conducted to the area directly around the probe in the meat and not give an accurate reading of the rest of a larger cut, such as a roast. Just my fevered, amateur brain at work.
     
  11. w.debord

    w.debord

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    Thanks Foodie Jeff, you posted exactly what I was trying to mention (but I didn't know the exact sources to quote). I've read a couple articles backing that concept. There is also a group of scientists that work with a couple tech. chefs...and I read a lengthy article they published in one of the cooking magazines (probably food & Wine) that backed Shirleys tests totally.I t got so scienticfic....I couldn't repeat much of what I read......

    I thought Alton broiled in the end, but either way the point was a quick surface browning in the end vs. searing in the beginning.....etc... He actually took his roast out of the oven before it reached the '20 degrees under technique' and let it rest (like you would any roast) for 15/20 min. (in the mean time he turned up the oven temp. ) then on high heat put it back in for color (carmelized the outter layer).

    Logicly (to me) it seems this is mainly a method for larger cuts of meat....but does anyone address any smaller cuts, even fish Foodie Jeff? Why couldn't this be expanded?


    Also the probe is rather thin, I suppose there could be some increased heat around it but....well that's the point of my question here....
    I've been removed from cooking for soooo long now I'm not up with anything much on the hot side. It's like there's two camps....I just wonder if the old searing first camp has chosen this way knowing the new camps techniques and rejected them....or if maybe they haven't really given this much thought?
     
  12. foodie jeff

    foodie jeff

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    Yes, the method is suited to roasting larger cuts of meat. The long and slow cooking process is useful in breaking down (tenderizing) connective tissue. For small, tender cuts, Shirley explains: "[y]ou want the internal temperature to remain low to keep this meat juicy and tender. So, whether you grill, broil, or pan-broil, if you remove a steak from the heat rare to medium-rare, you should have juicy, tender meat." In effect, the high heat of a grill will carmelize the exterior, but one must not cook the meat too long as it will become tough. Shirley says it well: "If you get the interior of the meat no hotter than 140 degrees F., medium-rare, lengthwise shrinkage of the muscle and major water loss are minmized." It is much easier to sear a steak or tender cut over high heat than to attempt to cook it slowly and then carmelize the exterior with high heat.

    Most slow cooking methods for small cuts of fowl or fish will not result in a carmelized exterior, e.g., poaching and steaming. Small cuts of meat, can overcook quickly. You may cook these cuts on low heat to the proper internal temperature, but you do so at the expense of a carmelized exterior.

    I don't know whether there are two "camps", but each roasting method attempts to obtain the benefits of the "Maillard reaction", i.e., a carmelized exterior. Perhaps you are right that there has not been a lot of thought given to the subject, after all, most of cook and do not give much thought to the "science" behind it (me included). :)

    Happy cooking.
     
  13. w.debord

    w.debord

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    I don't know what to call it but there is the old school which most everyone belongs to. We are taught sear, then roast (into the 500 degree oven to finish). I don't think most people have read Shirley or others who have been studing this scientificly, literally.

    I understand the point for making things easier. But what if (now I know this will sound crazy, but....) on this same thought chefs slow cooked steaks (in mass for the evening) then did the heat blast to carmelize the exterior? They have that oven that holds prime rib so well at a low temp. (can't think of what it's called). I know waste will be everyones point. But you monitor other factors, you could monitor this one too???> It's really not any different then holding over the pre-seared steaks from the party that had some no shows.

    I just wonder what the results would be if they put the steaks in that (warming cabinet) to hold, then fired them to order? Instead of the reverse which is what all the chefs I've worked for do. Whenever we had parties with steak as a entree, they always grilled them off during the day then threw them in the oven for service. It just seems to me if Shirley is right about method then they should be doing this backward....NO?
     
  14. foodie jeff

    foodie jeff

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    I believe Shirley's method is limited to large "roasting" cuts and is not applicable to small, tender cuts. I would think that it would be very easy to overcook a steak which has been pre-heated/cooked at a low temperature, held and then fired with high heat. Since the meat would already be warm, the high heat would be rapidly conducted to the interior resulting in a tough and dry piece of meat. Perhaps an experienced chef would say otherwise.
     
  15. timjan

    timjan

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    I love the thermometer and i use it very often. Especially in school i temped everything all the time to learn how things looked and feeled like in different temperatures.

    It’s the temperature and not the time that will tell you when your meat, fish and egg things are ready.

    I don’t agree with Cape Chef and Nicko telling you not to pierce anything to prevent the juice bleeding out. If your poduct ends up dry, you have cooked it wrong. E.g. your big steak have probably been into a too hot owen, which means that A LOT of juice goes away as steam, or you have overcooked it, which is easy if you don’t use a thermomether, which means the cells can’t hold the water any longer.

    Learn about what happens inside the meat, read about cells and proteins. Learn about heat, temperature and time and you will improve your cooking dramatically! Go for an up to date book in fod science and learn the physics and chemistry behind your roastbeef!

    And remember, be critical to what you read and hear about the cookings ’how’ and ’why’ in recipes. There are no area of knowledge that are so dependent as ours upon old ’wisdoms’ and generation to genaration based knowledge.