s have been around for years, and they're surely a part of what we all remember when we think back to childhood cookouts. Styled simply, with a large gauge attached to a simple metal probe, these are the simplest and most reliable models on the market. This article will provide you with all the information you need about these thermometers, including how they work, their advantages and disadvantages and how to use them.
How They Work
Bimetal thermometers work on a simple principle: that different metals expand at different rates when exposed to heat. To put it simply, strips of two different metals--usually steel and copper, although this varies--are attached along their length to form a coil. When this coil is exposed to heat, the metal on the outside expands further than the metal on the inside. The resulting pressure results in the coil expanding and unfurling. When the heat is decreased the metal on the inside contracts more than the metal on the outside, causing the coil to contract.
This process of expansion and contraction can be precisely measured and mapped to a specific temperature scale. In grill thermometers, one end of the coil is attached to the thermometer housing and the other is attached to the needle, allowing the expansion and contraction of the coil to be tracked for a scaled temperature reading.
Advantages and Disadvantages
The main advantages of this type of bimetal grill thermometers lies in their ruggedness and affordability. Since they are based on a fairly old and common technology, high quality versions can be made very cheaply. In addition, this mechanism is quite rugged, and can withstand a lot of abuse and very high temperatures without the worry of damaging sensitive electronic parts. Most digital thermometers cannot be used so cavalierly without cosmetic or functional damage.
However, these thermometers do have a few glaring disadvantages. Digital thermometers can be more accurate and track temperature changes much more quickly, whereas bimetal thermometers usually require about 10-30 seconds to produce a reading. They can also be somewhat difficult to read accurately, which sometimes results in a wide margin of error (about 3-10 degrees) when used improperly.
Grill Thermometer Uses
These instruments can be used in two main ways: to gauge the internal temperature of meat and to gauge ambient temperature inside a grill.
Many modern grills incorporate a bimetal thermometer into their design, which allows you to track the ambient temperature of your grill. However,.if you have an older or less fully featured grill you can poke a thermometer through a hole in the grill to gain a general reading of the ambient temperature. This is a very handy thing to use in conjunction with a more accurate digital thermometer inside the meat.
If you want to read the internal temperature of a cut of meat, you can stick one of these into the fattest part of the cut and leave it in for about 30 seconds to gain an accurate reading. If using for this purpose, it is best to find one with a relatively thin probe which wont result in too much juice leakage.
Buying A Grill Thermometer
While there are too many considerations when buying a new grill thermometer to list here, there are a few simples rules to follow when your in the market for one of these. For starters, it is always best to look for one that is simple and well-manufactured. Reliability and accuracy flow from simplicity, so it is best to avoid thermometers which appear over-engineered.
You should also focus on some design aspects. Generally speaking, a longer, thinner probe is desirable. This keeps the gauge further away from the heat source and will result in less juice leakage when you pierce the meat.
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