My Oven Ruined My Dinner Party

by David Slade, Willow Seasonings and  Blends /

You have a big dinner party planned and your famous Sweet Heat roasted chicken dinner has been requested. You just finished an upgrade to your kitchen last week and you are excited to show off your new gourmet kitchen.  One of the upgrades was the latest double oven units, this will be the first time that you have taken your new oven for a spin. 

 The dinner party starts at 6:00 PM and dinner will be served at 6:30 PM. You know that the dish that you are preparing takes approximately two hours cooked at 350 degrees. You usually pull your dish out 15 minutes before serving time to allow it to rest 10 to 15 minutes before carving into it.  You are a stickler for internal temperature and know that you must cook this chicken to 165 degrees Fahrenheit in the thickest part of the breast to ensure that it is done.   

Around 5:45 you pull out your trusty ThermoPro instant read thermometer and check the temperature of the bird…. you get a reading and are horrified; the internal temperature is reading 135 degrees, and you need to pull this chicken out in about 30 minutes.  You think to yourself that the thermometer must be bad and grab another…. reading of 137.  Uh oh, what do you do now?  

All ovens cook at different temperatures and may not be accurate to what the oven temperature says. Ovens can vary 30 degrees or more plus or minus, this variation can cause disasters with your cooking if you are not aware of the difference.  So how do you fix this?  

When you get a new oven or if your oven seems to be cooking too fast or slow the first thing you should do is verify the actual cooking temperature of the oven.  To do this, you need to move one of the racks to the center position of the oven and place an oven thermometer on the rack. Turn the oven on and heat to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Once the oven reaches 350 degrees check the reading on the oven thermometer that you placed in the oven, if your oven has a glass window check the temperature without opening the door.  If you must open the door to check the temperature, do it as quickly as possible to get an accurate reading.  If the temperature varies by 15 degrees or more, you should calibrate your oven.  If the variance is less than 15 degrees you could adjust the cooking temperature up or down as needed, however this is not a fool proof method as the variance may increase or decrease as the cooking temperature increases or decreases.   

If you need to calibrate your oven refer to your owner’s manual and follow the calibration instructions.  If the variance is a lot (30 degrees or more) you may want to have a technician perform the calibration. 


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