Thermo Spatula: "Does It Work?"

Medium, medium rare, well done...everyone has a preference. These days, meat doneness is not just about taste-- there are safety concerns. Meat thermometers are relatively inexpensive, but it's just one other thing to drag outside when you're working the grill. That's why we were fascinated by a little gadget we saw on TV called the Thermo Spatula. This week, we put it to the "Does It Work?" test.

The Thermo Spatula is the new temperature reading spatula from the people who brought you the Thermo Fork. Insert two AA batteries and start cooking. We start with two burgers. We'll cook one medium, the other well done. We flip them once and we're ready to take our first reading, just for fun. The Thermo Spatula has an appendage on the side-- it's a meat thermometer. Stick it in the center of the thickest part of the meat and watch the indicator lights on the handle. The lights start with very rare, move up to well done and include an indicator light for poultry.

Because of the way the thermometer is mounted on the side we had to move the burgers around to a position where we could get it down into the pan. We get a reading on the burger we're trying to get to well done..."very rare," it says on the handle. The other burger is not registering yet. Eventually, one of the burgers reaches "medium"... right around 148 degrees. Seconds later, the second burger jumped from medium to well done, around 169 degrees.

It's time to cut into both burgers. The "medium" burger looked a little rare to us. The "well" burger still a hot pink center--more like a "medium" burger should turn out. Everyone we showed agreed. Either we weren't able to get to the middle of the burgers when we checked them, or the thermometer needs to be calibrated.

We cooked some chicken so we could test the "poultry" setting. When the Thermo Spatula told us to do so, we pulled the chicken out of the frying pan. We checked them, and all were thoroughly cooked.

So, "Does It Work?". Meat doneness is pretty serious business and while I would never completely turn it over to this little device, I could see there would come a point where you'd learn what the readings really mean. We give it a "maybe."

The handle releases from the spatula part of the Thermo Spatula so you can put the spatula half in the dishwasher.

We paid $9.99 for the Thermo Spatula at Walgreen's.  It's also available online.

Joe Terrell, Reporting