A phantom target with a known linear temperature gradient has been developed for validating microwave radiometry for measuring internal temperature profiles within human tissue. The purpose of the phantom target is to simulate the temperature gradient found within the surface layers of a baby's brain during hypothermal neuroprotection therapy, in which the outer surface of the phantom represents the skin surface and the inner surface the brain core. The target comprises a volume of phantom tissue material with similar dielectric properties to high water-content human tissue, contained between two copper plates at known temperatures. The antenna of a microwave radiometer is in contact with one surface of the phantom material. We have measured the microwave temperature of the phantom with microwave radiometry in a frequency band of 3.0-3.5 GHz. Our microwave temperature measurements have small 0.05 degrees C (type A) uncertainties associated with random effects and provide temperatures consistent with values determined using theoretical models of the antenna-target system within uncertainties. The measurements are in good agreement with the major signal contribution being formed over a near plane-wave response within the material with a much smaller contribution from close to the antenna face.