Ever since the pandemic began, my wife & I have made a point of cooking more. In the past, I’ve eyeballed when my chicken, fish, or steak was done cooking, but I wanted a more accurate way to prepare my meals. This resulted in me reaching out to ThermoWorks, a leader in instant-read thermometers, to check out the ThermoPop and Industrial IR Gun, two products that will make sure I get that perfect medium steak every time.
ThermoWorks sent over their ThermoPop, which has transformed the way I cook, but more importantly, how I appreciate food. Before cooking with the ThermoPop, not only was there a lot of guesswork being done on my part, but I trusted online recipes, which meant I had to continually monitor my meats as they were cooking to ensure they were correctly done. Occasionally, this meant that my medium steaks ended up being more “medium-well,” but that is no longer the case. And paired with the ThermoWorks Industrial IR Gun, I always know now when my cast iron pan is ready to go.
The ThermoWorks ThermoPop is an instant-read thermometer that is simple to use; it will help you rethink your approach to cooking, regardless if you’re stuck in the house, or if you have a grill in your backyard. The first time I ever saw an instant-read thermometer being used was at a restaurant, where the chef came to our table, wearing the ThermoPop in his Chef Coat. I asked what it was, and he answered that it was an instant-read thermometer that would allow him to measure the perfect temperature at the press of a button by merely inserting the metal rod into steaks, fish, and poultry at any angle. So fast forward to 2020, and I am using the same product to get the same things done at home. I guess you can call me “Chef Gregory” now.
The ThermoPop comes complete with a rotating display, so regardless of whether you are right-handed or left-handed (like me), you’ll always be able to get a clear and precise read on the temperature of your meals. The ThermoPop can read a temperature range of -58 to 572°F (-50 to 300°C), and it comes complete with a switchable °C/°F setting so people like me, who don’t know Celcius, can easily decipher the temperature of their food.
But before I talk about how I use the ThermoPop, let me touch on the ThermoWorks Industrial IR Gun.
The Industrial IR Gun is an infrared thermometer with a single-laser pointer; I use it by pointing at my cast iron pan (typically without oil in it) to get an instant temperature reading. Before you cook any foods, especially meats, you want to make sure the pan is already hot. With the Industrial IR Gun, you’ll never have to do the imprecise “water” test — you know, the one where you splash water at an empty pan to make sure it sizzles, indicating that the temperature is appropriate. With the Industrial IR Gun, I always get the right cooking temperature with no guesswork.
As you can see with the Industrial IR Gun, all it takes a quick point directly into the center of the pan, and it will return with an accurate temperature reading using a 12:1 distance-to-target spot ratio. What this means, according to ThermoWorks, is that at 12″, you can accurately measure a 1″ spot diameter.
This works due to the cone-shaped design that sits behind the laser sensor. For accuracy’s sake, the Industrial IR Gun allows you to let go of the trigger and still get a reading for a few seconds if you choose to check a different spot on the surface.
This comes in handy for my wife & I when we’re making shrimp on the stovetop grill, for instance. Since the stovetop grill has ridges to provide “grill marks” on our food, being able to find the hot and cold spots allows us to make sure that we place the shrimp in the proper area to get the desired cook and temperature we need.
Using the Industrial IR Gun goes hand-in-hand with the ThermoPop mentioned above. With the ThermoPop, I can easily distinguish the temperature of the items cooking, including steaks that splatter when cooking in butter.
With a single button at the top, the ThermoPop allows you to see its desired functions quickly, even with single-hand use. As I mentioned earlier, I like my steaks to be cooked medium; before, my method was to let my steak rest after cooking for a certain amount of time, and I would hope that it was cooked properly.
Now, I don’t have to do that, as I can simply take the ThermoPop, stick it in the steak, and once the steak gets to roughly 120-130 degrees, I can take it off of the cast iron pan and put it on a plate to rest and internally cook to 140 degrees. That’s what ThermoWorks states will end up being a perfectly juicy medium steak — and they are not wrong.
Overall, the ThermoPop has been an absolute delight to use, allowing me to avoid the guesswork that it would otherwise take for me to do it any other way. Eventually, I will get as good as Perry and Coach are with the everyday grilling and cooking steaks, but I know with the ThermoPop and the Industrial IR Gun, I will always have an evenly cooked steak or a fully cooked piece of salmon. If you don’t want to spend a fortune, and you want a quality temperature-sensing system that will last you a long time, don’t just get the ThermoPop — make sure you also get the Industrial IR Gun to make sure the pan or grill you are about to cook on is ready for your foods!
Source: Manufacturer supplied review sample
What I Like: Accurately cooked steaks; I am finally able to get MEDIUM (not medium well) steaks consistently; The accuracy of both the Industrial IR Gun and the ThermoPop have greatly improved my cooks
What Needs Improvement: Nothing