Comments: This leave-in, or probe, thermometer is easy to use – occasionally too easy, it turns out, but we'll get to that in a minute.
OXO has taken the guesswork out of cooking meats, as the thermometer provides the option of selecting pre-set USDA or chef-recommended temperatures for all types of meat, poultry, and fish, and will signal when the preferred temperature is reached. You can also set any temperature of your own choosing, from 100°F (37°C) to 299°F (150°C).
We love this thermometer. It certainly is more expensive than some thermometers on the market, but there is an undeniable luxury to leaving the temperature probe in the meat – not overcooking fish, not having to lose much of the heat in a roaster oven when you open the lid again and again, not having the nagging feeling that you should be checking the temperature again, when you just checked it two minutes ago. There is also a great luxury in having a warning signal announce that you are 10 degrees from done. And it is always useful to have another timer around (especially one that counts down as much as 24 hours).
When you open up the package, you may think that it is missing the temperature probe (the reason you bought the thing in the first place), but then you find that the probe and its cord are handily stored inside the unit. The cord is more than 4' long, so you can set the base unit a fair distance from what you are cooking.
You can turn the warning beeper on or off (but then you must really be alert to monitor the temperature). There is a little tediousness in having to hold a button to cycle through minutes in setting the timer or temperatures in choosing to set the temperature manually, but it's fast enough. You can also measure in Fahrenheit or Celsius, and that's where our "too easy" comment comes in.
In one of our early tests of roasting a chicken, we couldn't figure out why this chicken was taking forever to cook. Turns out the little button on the back that switches between Fahrenheit and Celsius is awfully easy to flip, and we and our thermometer were measuring in Celsius and nearly roasted our chicken to a crisp. We saved it just in time, and it is not a mistake you would make twice.
The unit can be turned off while the timer is going, so be alert to warn any well-intentioned but unobservant kitchen mates that you have set a long timer. It also tells you when the two AAA batteries are low. As with any battery-powered kitchen tool, make sure you have spares on hand, especially as holidays approach. The probe is dishwasher-safe.