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As above really, or is a specific air temperature probe really needed?

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    If I am understanding you correctly a meat (or probe) thermometer is designed for meat or other solid or liquids. Checking your oven's temperature requires a thermometer that measures the air temperature. My meat thermometer will register the temperature of the kitchen if I leave it out and on. But it the plastic and electronics in it would melt in the oven. Nov 26, 2021 at 15:33
  • @SteveChambers that's why the OP said "with a cable probe" - the plastic and electronics stay out of the oven, the probe goes in, just as it does when it goes into the meat.
    – rumtscho
    Dec 1, 2021 at 9:35

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Possibly. The main potential issue is that the measurement range of the thermometer may not go as far as normal oven temperatures, or might not be accurate in that range. (Read your thermometer's manual to find out.) Additionally, the thermometer will take longer to settle on a reading when first put in the oven, because there's limited heat transfer to the probe's body.

Other than that there's nothing fundamentally different between measuring air temperature and food temperature, and things should work fine.

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There are a number of digital oven thermometers that will work - just Google 'Digital Oven Thermometers'. The main issue is temperature range of everything that is going to be in the oven. (And if the cable is too thick, will the oven close properly)

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a thermometer doesn't care what to measure.

Whether it's meat, water or air, it will still show the temperature of the probe. Probe will show the temperature of the surrounding environment. If the probe resides in the air, it will show the temperature of the air, after initial temperature of the probe reaches the temperature of the air. This may take some seconds, or a minute, depending on the probe and temperature difference.

One must, however, ensure that probe resides in an environment withing allowed temperature range. Meat thermometer probe is usually a thermocouple, most likely K-type, so common household temperatures, including the hottest possible oven temperatures of 300°C, are within the range (but don't trust me here, verify your probe range first). Metal cable cover is a good indication that probe can sustain very hot household temperatures.

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I have a Taylor brand probe thermometer, and can tell you that it will not work for measuring the oven temperature.

Once it gets above around 200°F (maybe 214°F/100°C), it just shows ‘HI’, and not an actual temperature.

And the probe melts at some point. (I don’t know if it was through general cooking, or a cleaning cycle on the oven… I had taken to leaving it tied onto the oven handle, and it ended up inside the oven at some point).

I’ve actually destroyed a few of them through the years, and would love of the company sold replacement probes. Luckily, they’re still really good timers, so I still have 3 of the base units

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