A meat thermometer is a thermometer used to measure the internal temperature of meat, especially roasts and steaks, and other cooked foods. The degree of "doneness" of meat correlates closely with the internal temperature, so that a thermometer reading indicates when it is cooked as desired. Meat should always be cooked so that the interior reaches a temperature sufficient to kill pathogens that may cause foodborne illness; the thermometer helps to ensure this.
The probe can be inserted into the meat before starting cooking, and cooking continued until the desired internal temperature is reached. Alternatively the meat can be cooked for a certain time and taken out of the oven, and the temperature checked before serving. The tip of the probe should be in the thickest part of the meat, but not touching bone, which conducts heat and gives an overestimate of the meat temperature.