Opening the oven door can be a serious hazard in a house full of young children. Even the most careful cook can’t predict when an accident-prone three-year-old will come careening around the corner just as she opens the door of a 400 degree oven. This is why a digital cooking thermometer is essential.
I purchased mine for $18 from Amazon about a year ago, and frankly I have no idea what took me so long to add this to my drawer of kitchen gadgets. It has made roasting meat far more streamlined and successful than my previous technique of opening the oven, letting all the heat escape, pulling out the meat, turning on the stovetop light, cutting into it, trying to gauge whether it’s done, deciding it’s not, returning it to the oven… and then overcooking it. Of course this is in addition to the aforementioned dangers of repeatedly opening an oven with wild kids running around…
Here’s how it works: I insert the thermometer probe into the thickest part of the meat (which will be the coolest while cooking) before putting my roasting pan in the oven. The digital display will stay outside the oven; I prop mine up on the countertop. Then I set the display to the temperature at which I want the meat to finish cooking. The thermometer beeps when it’s ready. Voila! That’s all there is to it.
There are times when you will be cooking pieces of meat of various sizes. In this case, I will insert the thermometer into the smallest piece (likely to cook the most quickly) and when it finishes, remove that piece from the oven, move the thermometer to the next smallest, and continue until they are all cooked properly.
Make sure when you remove the thermometer’s steel probe from the meat that you use an oven mitt… remember that it’s been roasting in a super hot oven and will absolutely burn your hand if it’s unprotected.
Here is a quick run-down of internal meat temperatures:
Poultry 165 F/74 C
Beef 140/60 C
Pork 145/63 C
Ground poultry 165 F/74 C
Ground meat 160/71 C
For a more in-depth description, I like to refer here.