Your Grilling Thermometer Needs a Potato

Your Grilling Thermometer Needs a Potato
Photo: Claire Lower

Last week, as I was preparing my grill to cook this lamb shoulder, I faced a crisis: I could not find the little metal clips that came with my grilling thermometer. If you are unfamiliar with these clips, they are meant to hold one of your thermometer probes above the grill grates so it can measure the ambient temperature inside your grill. I can get along without one if I’m grilling chicken thighs or whatever, but knowing my grill temperature is crucial when I’m smoking those meats (be they pork, turkey, or lamb).

Usually, when this happens (and it happens quite often), I use a strip of aluminium foil to fashion a little probe holster, but I am currently out of foil and keep forgetting to buy more. I did manage to find a binder clip (the one-time unofficial Lifehacker mascot), and that worked, but — as clever commenter panthercougar pointed out in their clever comment on my lamb post — I could have used a potato.

Screenshot: Claire LowerScreenshot: Claire Lower

“Regarding this ‘Stick one thermometer probe in the thickest part of lamb, and another probe on a clip to measure the ambient temperature of the grill,’” they wrote, “if you don’t have a clip (I don’t), you can either wrap a bit of foil around the middle of the probe or stick the probe through half of a sacrificial potato to keep it from falling through the grates.”

I personally love the idea of a sacrificial potato, and I love how stable the potato is. Stab the potato, place the potato on the grates. The potato will hold your probe for the time of your cook, after which you can thank the potato for its service and award it a purple heart. (It has been both stabbed and grilled in the line of duty, after all.)

If you do not have a small potato like the one in the photo above, you can halve or quarter a large potato. Whether you eat the potato afterward is up to you. I would probably try a bite at least.

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