Digital BBQ Fork

How'd you like a professional chef to help you grill? You can get the same results by using the Thermo Fork. Or at least that's what it claims. The built-in thermometer is supposed to help you get grilled meats done to perfection. Or will theThermoFork just leave you sizzling?

We light some charcoal and get ready to grill a couple of hamburgers and chicken strips. Our chef is Brandon Borgfield, of Cape Girardeau. And like many of us, getting meat done right on the grill used to be a guessing game. "What I usually do is just cut it open," says Brandon. "I don't have a thermometer, so I cut it open to see how pink it is." But not this time!

We're trying the Thermo Fork, battery-operated, instant read thermometer that has sensors in its prongs. The Thermo Fork has indicator lights running up the front of it. After you prick the meat, simply watch the light climb up the ladder until it stops. That's the temperature of your meat. The fact it's a fork means you can also turn meat, or transfer it from the grill to a serving platter.

"It feels pretty heavy-duty, like it would pick-up meat and stuff," agrees Brandon. After several checks, the poultry indicator lights up, showing us one chicken strip is done. The Thermo Fork claims to accurately read temperatures within eight seconds. And it promises to work on thin strips of meat. So we're time it on a chicken strip. It takes 13 seconds. Another test took 17 seconds -- more than double the manufacturers promise, but still pretty quick.

Next we compare its accuracy to a regular meat thermometer, which really aren't recommended for use on the grill, but we're making an exception just this once. They both read well done, but it takes the traditional thermometer much longer to get the reading. Finally, we cut the meat open to see what it looks like. "It looks like it pretty well done, like the fork told me it would be," adds Brandon. "There's no pink. It's ready to eat." The Thermo Fork is as accurate as a meat thermometer.

The head detaches so you can wash it. And it definitely keeps your hands cooler. But it does take longer than the promised eight seconds. And it's slow to reset itself, making it hard to check several burgers quickly -- but our recommended remedy for that is dipping it in a glass of cool water. Taking all that into consideration, we give the Thermo Fork an A-. You can find these new barbecue forks at almost all big department stores for about $10.