Probe all over the map

I seem to be having an issue with my probe – user error, maybe?

With the oven at 130 degrees, the probe is bouncing around between 117 and 124. It’s in a relatively thin steak (a bit more than 1/2" thick) inserted to within an inch and a half of the handle, right down the middle of the thickness of the steak.

Do I have it in too deep? Is my probe wonky? Any thoughts are welcome.

Hey Joel. That’s a bummer, but it does seem like the probe is possibly reading some of the ambient temp of the oven + your steak and getting some funky readings. Possibly try a larger cut of meat to further test, and we are here to help if there is anything happening that needs more attention!

Hey Joe, that’s an interesting problem you had.
Has it happened before?
Did you adjust the position of the probe when it was misbehaving?

Is it possible there was a small void or air pocket where the sensing tip was located? That could cause the erratic readings. The best probes only sense right at the tip so it doesn’t take much air to cause what you observed.

Do you get steady probe temperature readings in larger items?
If so, you likely had a probe misplacement and will never have that experience again.

And what was the purpose of using the probe in something so thin? You know the meat can’t exceed oven temperature and its temperature equilibrium was likely reached in just over 30 minutes unless it was partially frozen.

Isn’t cooking fun?

Keep well.

Hey Frank!

Long time! Hope you’re keeping well!

Now, you see, I didn’t realize equilibrium would be reached so quickly or I would not have bothered with the probe. I had intended to get the steaks to 120 degrees before searing them and bringing them to 130-135, These 8-ouncers are what I like to call “Tuesday steaks” – nothing so large and decadent as what I like to do on weekends, but still, you know, steaks. So, now that I know how quickly equilibrium is reached, I’ll put then in for 40 minutes at 120 next time and go from there.

Thanks as always for the insight.

Joe

chatnoir
July 30

Hey Joe, that’s an interesting problem you had.
Has it happened before?
Did you adjust the position of the probe when it was misbehaving?

Is it possible there was a small void or air pocket where the sensing tip was located? That could cause the erratic readings. The best probes only sense right at the tip so it doesn’t take much air to cause what you observed.

Do you get steady probe temperature readings in larger items?
If so, you likely had a probe misplacement and will never have that experience again.

And what was the purpose of using the probe in something so thin? You know the meat can’t exceed oven temperature and its temperature equilibrium was likely reached in just over 30 minutes unless it was partially frozen.

Isn’t cooking fun?

Keep well.

Oh – and I suspect you’re right, the problem I had was probably a placement issue. It is the first time I’ve probed anything quite this insubstantial.

Joe

chatnoir
July 30

Hey Joe, that’s an interesting problem you had.
Has it happened before?
Did you adjust the position of the probe when it was misbehaving?

Is it possible there was a small void or air pocket where the sensing tip was located? That could cause the erratic readings. The best probes only sense right at the tip so it doesn’t take much air to cause what you observed.

Do you get steady probe temperature readings in larger items?
If so, you likely had a probe misplacement and will never have that experience again.

And what was the purpose of using the probe in something so thin? You know the meat can’t exceed oven temperature and its temperature equilibrium was likely reached in just over 30 minutes unless it was partially frozen.

Isn’t cooking fun?

Keep well.

Hey Joe, all’s well thank you. Gradually getting back to a somewhat normal life. Hosted a dinner last weekend, my first in about 18 months. Did SV Dwaeji Bulgogi, - Korean BBQ Pork with Kimchi, pickled ginger, and Bibb lettuce wrappers. Guests were amazed at the meat’s tenderness.

Your Tuesday Steaks, or sandwich steaks, cook quickly, about 35 minutes or 2 minutes per mm.

Remember inches? Then it’s easy to remember as a general rule that heat diffuses through flat cuts of meat at 1 inch per hour. Roasts vary around half that time per inch but you will generally do them longer for added tenderness. Of course you’ll likely be using your trusty probe for certainty.

Your 40 at 120 should do you next time.
Easy on the sear too. All you need is a well preheated skillet, preferably cast iron. Then dry the steaks, apply a light smear of regular mayo, add seasonings of choice and hit the pan. 45 seconds should do that side. Flip, and cook half that long. Serve with 45-second side up.

Make life delicious and keep well.

2 Likes

Mayo? That’s a new one on me. I am definitely going to try that – thanks!

Hey Joe, i know you like to know about how food science can enhance your cooking, - so here’s the why.

The Maillard reaction can be improved by adding a little glucose, that would be the corn syrup sweetener in the mayo. Plus, a scant 2-finger pinch of baking soda stirred into that mayo smear will reduce the surface ph to improve browning. Just a little now, not enough to taste.

I first started using mayo when making grilled sandwiches because of the resulting golden brown colour and crispiness. Try it on your next Ruben Sandwich, which will always remind me of Nate’s Delicatessen on Rideau Street. They made a great one piled high with Montreal Smoked Meat.

1 Like

Love this – thanks!

But what if I use Miracle Whip?

:wink:

You won’t like the result. This cat rarely recommends artificial substitutes over wholesome real food.

Miracle Whip is an ersatz mayonnaise-like cooked dressing. It’s sweeter with starch and gum thickeners that are more likely to burn.

What’s a good cook like you having that gunk in your kitchen?

My mother is English Quebeçois. So it’s a cultural weakness. :slight_smile:

1 Like

You’re excused Joe.

Good grief! There just no accounting for the impact Mothers have on sons.

Jacques Pépin often credits his Mother for everything he cooks, so it can be a good thing too.

1 Like