The Pit Boss Probe makes cooking chicken easily and quickly to the right temperature easy without constantly lifting the lid. Whether cooking wings, whole chicken, thighs, or tenders, you’ll learn where to put the probe to ensure you’re cooking to the right temperature. So let’s take a look at where you put the Pit Boss probe when cooking chicken.
To get the most accurate readings and ensure the chicken is cooked to a safe internal temperature, insert the probe into the thickest part of the chicken without touching any bones. You’ll place the probe in the thickest part of the breast for chicken breasts and whole chickens. When grilling wings or thighs, insert the probe into the thickest part of the chicken, ensuring it doesn’t touch the bone.
Now that we grasped the basics of probing chicken, we can take a more in-depth look at how to do it properly to avoid any risks of food borne illnesses.
Why Use A Probe When Cooking Chicken?
A probe makes it easy to cook the chicken to the proper temperature without constantly monitoring the grill. For example, when using the Pit Boss probe, you can check the internal temperature of the chicken by glancing at the LCD dashboard without lifting the lid.
This makes it easier to grill the chicken to the proper temperature, but the chicken will also cook faster. Constantly lifting the lid on the grill will make the food cook longer.
Where to Probe Different Cuts of Chicken?
We all have our favorite cuts of chicken. Some love dark meat, while others love white meat. Regardless of your favorite cut, it’s essential to understand where to put the probe to get the most accurate readings.
Here are a few tips to help you probe the different types of cuts of chicken:
White meat is one of the easiest pieces to cook with a probe. Insert the probe into the thickest part of the meat without poking through the opposite side and grill to an internal temperature of 165°F.
When grilling a whole chicken, place the probe in the breast and thigh areas, as these are the thickest parts. I prefer placing the probe in the breast, as you’re less likely to touch any bones. When using the breast, place the probe three quarters along the breast. I usually use my fingers to determine where to place it.
If you’d rather probe the thigh, find the the thickest part of the thigh, which is located near the joint where the thigh meets the chicken’s body. Insert the probe slowly, making sure it doesn’t come into contact with bones.
Wings and Drumsticks and Thighs
The dark pieces of meat consist of delicious dark meat with bones. It can be challenging to use the probe because they don’t have a lot of thick parts. When cooking wings, stick the probe into the meatiest part of the wings.
Drumsticks will be easier to probe than wings and thighs. When I’m cooking wings and thighs, I avoid probing the wings because I find it hard to find enough meat to probe.
If you probe the thickest part in a drumstick, you can also tell when the other pieces are done. Check the wings and thighs before the drumsticks using a handheld thermometer because chances are they will reach 180°F.
I always cook my chicken pieces with bones to 180°F because I’ve found that the pink around the bones cooks better.
How Deep Do You Insert The Probe?
Most thermometers require you to insert the tip into the halfway point of the probe. Of course, it depends on the type of thermometer you’re using. You can always check the owner’s manual to learn how to use it properly.
Whether you’re using the Pit Boss meat probe or any other probe, you can insert the probe further into the white meat than dark meat.
This is because white meat, like breasts and chicken tenders, do not have bones.
How Often Should I Probe Chicken?
Probe the chicken as soon as you place it on the grill, and don’t remove the probe until it reaches the proper temperature.
Probing Mistakes to Avoid
Some of the biggest probing mistakes people make is using a broken or inaccurate probe that gives inaccurate readings. The great thing is you can do a test to ensure it’s working properly before cooking.
Make sure you’re using a probe that provides accurate readings. Here are some other mistakes people make when using a probe to cook on a grill.
Use A Handheld Thermometer
Unfortunately, knowing whether a probe is 100% accurate is impossible. I always use a handheld thermometer to check the internal temperature before removing the probe. Knowing that my family won’t have to worry about food-borne illnesses from eating uncooked chicken gives me peace of mind.
Placing the Probe In The Wrong Area
It’s essential to place the probe in the proper area to get a proper reading. Always place the probe in the thickest part of the chicken, regardless of the cut. Avoid hitting any bones or cartilage.
Also, ensure the tip of the probe does not come into contact with the grill grates.
Can You Probe Chicken With Bones?
Yes, you can, and I do it all the time. Probing chicken with bones is more challenging because the meat is tougher because the legs are actively worked muscles.
When probing bone-in chicken, stick the tip of the thermometer into the thickest part of the chicken. Push the end of the probe until you hit the bone, then pull back on the probe until the tip stays in the thickest part without hitting the bone.
You’ll get an inaccurate reading if you push the probe too far and the tip continually touches the bone while cooking.
What Type of Probe To Use?
The best probe to use for chicken is one you leave in during the entire cook. It makes it easier, and you don’t have to keep probing the meat, letting the juices escape. Most name-brand pellet grills and smokers come with a leave-in meat probe. It makes it easy to cook large chunks of meat to perfection.
Fortunately, most meat thermometers come with easy-to-read displays and long probes. Hence, taking the temperature from a safe distance is straightforward. It’s best to wear heat-proof gloves, especially using a metal thermometer.
On the other hand, you also could go for a remote thermometer. You can leave those in the brisket while you cook it, so you’ll always know its temperature. Most will work via an app on your phone, so you can monitor the temperature without lifting the lid.
At What Temperature Is Chicken Done?
Chicken is safe to eat when it reaches an internal temperature of 165°F, even if it has pink around the bones. Most people prefer cooking dark meat to an internal temperature of 180-190°F because it doesn’t get tough like white meat.
No matter how you like your dark meat, eating any cooked chicken below 165°F can cause food poisoning as it may contain harmful bacteria such as; Salmonella, Clostridium, etc.
Symptoms of food poisoning consist of:
- Stomach Pain
Severe cases can lead to hospitalization or even death.
Conversely, an overcooked chicken will be dry, tough, and chewy, making it impossible to eat.
So, when your probe reads 165°F on white meat, take it off the heat and let it cool.
Place the probe in the thickest part of the meat, regardless of the cut. Stick the probe horizontally into the thickest part of the meat without hitting the bone, cartilage, or any part of the grill grates.
Leave the probe in place until it reads 165°F for white and dark meat.
If it’s your first time using the Pit Boss thermometer probes, learning how to use them will take time. Eventually, as you continue using them, you will learn where to place the probe when cooking chicken.