How to calibrate a barbecue thermometer using the boiling water calibration method. Your barbecue thermometer needs to be calibrated at a minimum of once a year and more often the more they are used. Up to once a day for food establishments that use and abuse them frequently. Also if your thermometer is dropped or bounced around at all it will need to be calibrated again.
To calibrate a barbecue thermometer using the boiling water method:
Step 1: Bring a pot of clean water to a full rolling boil. For an even more accurate reading use distilled water.
Step 2: Immerse the stem the thermometer into boiling water a minimum of 2 inches and wait at least 30 seconds. It is going to be hot so hold your thermometer over the water with a box or open end wrench.
Step 3: Without removing the stem from the pan, hold the adjusting nut under the head of the food thermometer with a suitable tool and turn the head so the thermometer reads 212 °F or the correct temperature for your elevation (see chart below).Lower air pressure at high elevations affects the waters boiling point.
Elevation and water boiling point temperature chart.
Note: The temperatures on this chart have been rounded off.
Altitude ft. Boiling point water °F
0′ 212 °F
500 211 °F
1,000 210 °F
2,000 208 °F
5,000 203 °F
6,000 202 °F
8,000 197 °F
10,000 193 °F
12,000 190 °F
In Akron our elevation is 1004 feet above sea level so water here will boil at 210.2 degrees. To find out your city’s elevation simply Google “(your city name, your state) and elevation” the refer to the chart or for your exact elevation OR you can go to elevationmap.net and use the find me feature. For example: While Akron is 1004 ft above sea level our street is 1023 ft above sea level.
Is a Certified Food Safety Professional, KCBS member and has over 10 years experience in the food service industry.
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