I wish there was a universal answer to how long something should be cooked. Or rather, a permanent, unchanging answer. My answer is almost always “until it’s done”. While this is definitely not the answer most are looking for, it is in fact the most accurate answer.
There are so many variables in pit sizes, pit types, cooking temperatures, cuts of meat, and other environmental variables that it is nearly impossible to give one, straight-forward time. The only foolproof way to get some clarity with these variables is by cooking to a particular internal temperature.
To measure internal temperature and eliminate some of the “how long do I cook this” worry, a thermometer is required. While any thermometer will work, it is important to use one that is highly accurate and reads fast. Not to mention one that has the smallest tip possible to keep from leaving large holes in the meat. I only use ThermoWorks Thermapens and ThermoWorks ThermoPops. I chose ThermoWorks because they have been listed as the best by some of the most trusted resources in all of cooking, including America’s Test Kitchen, Amazing Ribs.com, and Consumer Reports. There is a reason they are the best reviewed and most revered thermometer on the market.
These thermometers read quickly, are extremely accurate, and are able to take a beating with high heat exposure. They are even battery thrifty: I’ve had batteries last over four years in mine.
I believe in ThermoWorks Thermapens and ThermoPops so much that I have given them as a gift to every person I have taught to cook. Other than my knife roll, these thermometers are the only tool I refuse to cook without. The Thermapen is not the cheapest thermometer on the market, but it is the best. Do yourself a favor and buy one as soon as you can to avoid the mistake from learning the hard way.
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558 E. 64th Street
Holland, Michigan 49423