If you are cooking thick meat like brisket or pork shoulder then measuring the internal temperature of the meat is crucial and for it one has to know how to use a Traeger meat probe.
A meat probe, sometimes called a meat thermometer, is a device used to measure the internal temperature of the meat to make sure that it has reached the doneness that you would want.
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Traeger is one of the best producers of pellet grills in the industry. They have technologically advanced grills that are both powerful and are really convenient to use for any type of recipe.
Searing steaks or even smoking meat can be done in the Traeger grill.
While it is easy to grill on a Traeger, using a Traeger meat probe is going to come in handy as you need to measure the temperature of the meat.
There are many different types of meat probes that you can buy but when you have a Traeger grill, you do not need any separate purchases as you get a meat probe along with the grill.
So, it becomes extremely important to know using a meat probe the right way, and using a meat probe is going to help you cook better in the long run.
If it is your first time using a grill then read till the end of the post.
So with this post, we will be looking at how meat probes in general work and how to use them as well as the meat probes that are specified for Traeger grills so you can cook your meat.
Types Of Meat Probes
There are two major types of meat probes that you can buy online or in stores like Target.
- The first one is an oven-going meat probe which literally means you can put in the meat probe in meat while cooking.
When cooking, there are meat probes that you can use while grilling or cooking steaks in the oven. These are oven-going meat probes and they can measure any type of meat.
2. The second type of meat probe is instant-read thermometers. These are meat probes that can measure the internal temperature of the meat within 20 seconds, sometimes even 10 seconds.
These types of meat probes are what we use to measure the internal temperature of the meat once they are outside of the grill or oven.
You use them towards the end of the process.
Traeger has an oven-going meat probe which means that you can use the meat probe that comes with the grill while the meat is cooking inside the grill. This, I think, is easier and more convenient.
So, can you leave the Traeger meat probe in while cooking? Oh, yes, you can and you should to get the exact internal temperature of the meat.
You do not need to rely on the timing of the cooking anymore as you will be instantly informed about the meat temperature without even opening the Traeger grill.
These days you also get wireless meat probes like the Meater Wireless meat probe which is pretty amazing as you need to insert the meat probe and read the temperature on an app on the phone.
It has a temperature sensor and it is a smart thermometer so if you want something wireless then definitely something to consider.
You do not NEED it but it definitely makes cooking a lot easier.
How To Use An Oven-Going Meat Probe
Oven-going meat probes are the type of meat probes that remain in the meat while it is roasting or grilling.
There are also two types of oven-going meat probes but they function pretty much the same.
Leave-in Meat Probes
Leave-in meat probes are usually analog thermometers with a sharp poking part. This part is what you insert into the meat and it is also the part that measures the internal temperature.
What you do is insert the thermometer into the meat at least two inches deep right in the center. I recommend using this type of meat probe when cooking thick cuts of meat.
Since you need to go deep in order for a leave-in thermometer to read the internal temperature of the meat, you will need to use it with thick cuts as it does not really work with 1 to 2-inch steaks.
It is very easy to read temperature probes on Traeger grills.
The temp probe placement is important and crucial in measuring the internal temperature of the cooking meat.
You can leave the Traeger probe in while cooking a brisket or meatloaf, basically thick meats.
Tip: Never allow the leave-in thermometer while cooking to touch either fats, bones, or the platform that the meat is being cooked on. Make sure that the meat probe is used on the actual lean meat.
Once the meat probe reads the temperature that is set on the recipe that you are cooking, push it in further and if the meat probe reads a cooler temperature, then cook the meat further.
If the temperature remains the same after you have pushed it further in, then that usually means that the meat is done cooking. Remove the thermometer and prepare the meat for serving it.
How To Use A Traeger Meat Probe (Oven-going Meat Probe)
Oven-going meat probes are the type of meat probes that are included in Traeger grills.
These are meat probes that have wires attached to them and the reader going out of the grill.
The same concept is applied with oven-going meat probes wherein you insert the meat probe into the thickest part of the meat for the entire time that it is being cooked in the Traeger grill.
Traeger meat probe placement is extremely important so make sure that you place the meat probe on the thickest part of the meat.
I say these types of meat probes are easier to use since you do not need to open the lid of the grill again and again in order to read the internal temperature of the meat.
You can leave the traeger probe in while cooking meat so that you get a constant temperature reading of the meat cooking inside.
This grill thermometer is extremely helpful when cooking thick cuts of meat like pork shoulder, pork butt, brisket, or wagyu briskets.
That is what Traeger meat probes offer.
Once you got the Traeger meat probe placement right, you can leave it in while cooking the meat and keep a check on the internal temperature of the meat throughout your cooking process.
Traeger also includes the base into the digital display.
So just like the temperature of the grill and the timer, the Traeger meat probe notifies you once the meat reaches the set temperature.
This is one of the best features of the Traeger meat probe and that is the reason you need to get your Traeger meat probe placement right so you can continuously monitor the temp.
Of the meat and know when it’s done. Also, it is very easy to read temperature probe on Traeger grills and keep track of the meat’s internal temperature.
It is one of the best Traeger grill accessories that comes with the grill purchase and the way the Traeger temperature probe works is the same for Traeger ranger, Traeger pr 34 series, Traeger ironwood, or Traeger tailgater.
When you push the probe selector switch on the Traeger grill’s control panel, the temperature that will be displayed on the screen will come from the meat probe.
The temperature of the meat will be on the display screen for 5 seconds before it reverts back to the temperature of the grill.
Tip- Since the internal temperature of meats do not go very high, the probe is not ideal for measuring extremely high temperatures
Traeger Meat Probe Placement
You need to insert the meat probe in the thickest part of the meat to get the right internal temperature of the meat being cooked.
As mentioned before, the meat probe placement is very crucial as if you place the meat in the thinner parts of the meat you can get a reading that is not ideal to get the recipe right.
So, the right way to measure the temperature of any meat that is being cooked is to insert the meat probe at the thickest part of the meat which in most cases is somewhere at the center.
Once you understand the right Traeger meat probe placement, you will never make a mistake in measuring the internal temperature of the meat.
How To Calibrate a Traeger Meat Probe
Calibrating a Traeger meat probe is extremely important and if you want to use a Traeger meat probe the right way.
So, knowing how to calibrate a Traeger meat probe is crucial before you start cooking meat on the grill.
It is important to measure the internal temperature of the meat that you are cooking. It is the only way to be 100% accurate of the doneness of the meat so you need the meat probe to be calibrated.
Calibrating a Traeger meat probe is pretty easy. All you need to do is to make an ice bath by filling up a glass with ice and adding water half an inch to the top.
If the ice floats from the bottom, pour some of the water until the ice touches the bottom of the glass. Get the Traeger meat probe and set it up for calibration in the settings.
Press the Menu button, then go to Settings, press Probe Calibration, and finally select Calibrate Probe. Once you do that, you can put the stem of the meat probe in the ice bath and stir for 1 minute.
The meat probe reading should be at 32 degrees Fahrenheit. If the meat probe shows otherwise, then you need to offset the meat probe by selecting Probe Offset on the settings.
If it still does not read the right temperature, then you will need professional help from Traeger itself. Luckily, they have supportive customer service so this will not be that big of a problem.
Once you have calibrated a Traeger meat probe, you can go ahead and use it to measure the internal temperature of the meat.
Tip -If you have any Traeger meat probe problems, it is always a good idea to recheck the calibration of the Traeger meat probe.
Traeger Meat Probe Problems
Regardless of knowing how to calibrate a Traeger meat probe, if the meat probe on the grill is still not working then you might want to figure out what is causing the problem.
There is a very good chance that your thermometer has an offset and this might cause higher readings than the actual internal temperature of the meat.
To know more on how to adjust the offset on a Traeger grill, just check out this post on the Traeger website where they discuss different Traeger meat probe problems.
I did not face a lot of Traeger meat probe problems so I will try my best to guide you to the right resources.
How To Use Instant-read Meat Probes
Instant-read meat probes or thermometers also come in two different types. An instant-read meat probe can either be analog or digital so you can choose whichever you like better.
The main concept behind instant-read meat probes is that they measure the internal temperature of the meat within 10 to 20 seconds.
This means that they do not need to be inserted into the meat while cooking.
In fact, these meat probes are not recommended to be used in the oven or on the grill as they are usually made from plastic.
Analog Instant-read Meat Probe
If you have an analog instant-read meat probe, then all you need to do is insert the meat probe at least two inches into the meat. This is for roasts or thicker cuts of meat that are cooked.
Once the timer of the recipe is done, insert the analog meat probe into the center of the meat. If you are cooking thin steaks or burgers, then you will need to insert the analog meat probe from the side.
That way, the stem of the thermometer can reach the center of the meat without piercing through it. Wait for about 15 to 20 seconds and the meat probe should register the temperature.
If the meat probe reads 5 degrees below the desired internal temperature, then it is cooked. You just need to allow the meat to rest as it will cook further and you can leave the meat probe in it.
Digital Instant-read Meat Probe
Digital instant-read meat probes are easier to use. All you have to do is find the center of the meat by overshooting the meat probe or poking the meat all the way through with the probe.
After the stem of the digital meat probe goes through the meat, slowly pull it back and stop for 10 seconds in the center. You will know it is the center of the meat if it hits the coldest internal temperature.
Remember, the center of the meat is the coldest part of the meat so if the meat probe reads the lowest internal temperature, then you have hit the center of the meat.
This is really convenient for thinner cuts of meat or thin burgers as it is quite hard to find the center. After just about 10 seconds, the meat probe will read the internal temperature of the meat.
Note: Any type of instant-read meat probe should never be left in the meat while the meat is being grilled. Use the instant-read meat probe only when the meat is out of the Traeger grill.
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