Just like you can’t unring a bell, you can’t uncook an overdone steak, burger, or roast. That’s why many pro chefs and home cooks use digital thermometers to make sure the meat they’re cooking is done to the correct (and with some meats, safe) temperature. While monitoring elapsed cooking time at a certain temperature or heat level is the longstanding method of cooking meat to the desired level of doneness, there are several variables at work that can wreck a meal. Inconsistent or even inaccurate oven temperatures mean that you can over- or undercook a turkey or a roast without knowing it. Barbecue grill heat levels vary widely, so the amount of time necessary to cook a burger on high heat on one grill may turn that burger to leather on another. And there’s thickness and density of the meat. Steaks and chops vary widely in thickness and consistency, so the amount of time necessary to cook one steak medium-rare will turn another to medium-well. Digital thermometers are more affordable than ever, and are a good investment considering that one can save a meal.