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How can the internal temperature of a roast get higher than the oven temperature? I have seen recipes that cook pork at 120 degrees C and get the internal temp much higher than that.

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You've seen pork recipes that bring pork to an internal temp of over 250F? Really? That would be charcoal. –  Jolenealaska Nov 4 '13 at 1:23
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I don't suppose you have a meat thermometer in Fahrenheit and have misread something like 150F as 150C? –  PeterJ Nov 4 '13 at 1:49
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Yes, that appears to be the cause of my confusion. I was looking at an oven temp in Celsius and a internal temp in Fahrenheit. No wonder I couldn't figure out how it could be possible. –  kim Nov 4 '13 at 3:32
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Yep, I kind of figured that one :) I'm glad that Seasoned Advice was of service. –  Jolenealaska Nov 4 '13 at 4:23

2 Answers 2

Besides a unit of measure mistake, It is possible to get this kind of read-out, even with accurate thermometers. Though the roast can not be hotter than the oven, no more than a bowl can be hotter than the soup it holds.

Possible causes:

  • Oven temperature was read after the door was opened (cooling the air inside).
  • The dual read thermometer's tip is poking through the meat and actually reading oven temperature while the oven read portion touching the meat and actually reading meat temperature (so, reverse read).
  • Some ovens can cool down faster than the food inside (generally not a good thing)
  • If the roast was partially frozen before cooking, and the oven temperature sensor is close to the meat, the temperature can seem reversed for a while.
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This is vanishingly unlikely (that is to say, practically impossible) under the laws of physics. Without an exothermic reaction in the food product (which would release heat), it is not possible, and no such major reaction exists in any meat.

The recipe must be badly written, or you have misread it.

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