Outdoor grill covered with cheap flavorful cuts of meat and poultry

Outdoor Grilling on a Budget

Getting our outdoor grill cleaned, polished, and ready for summer got me thinking about how much fun it would be to celebrate. After all, the first day of summer comes but once a year, so why not do things up right with an amazing menu and a few good friends to kick off the season even if that means grilling on a budget.

Outdoor grill covered with cheap flavorful cuts of meat and poultry


What happened next I can only attribute to a momentary lapse of good judgment.

I visited the website of Lobel’s of New York, “the best source for the finest and freshest USDA prime dry-aged steaks, roasts, specialty meats, and gourmet products that money can buy.”

Unveiling the mother of all outdoor grills seemed like an event worthy of a few high-quality American Wagyu steaks delivered overnight on a bed of dry ice. I checked the price. Gulp! One 20-oz Porterhouse steak: $159.95—plus overnight shipping.



Beautiful Wagyu Porterhouse Steak from Lobel's New York

Photo: Lobel’s New York


Just the thought of forking out more than a hundred bucks on a single steak jerked me back to reality with enough force to cause whiplash.

Surely, there has to be frugal ground somewhere between Lobel’s and what’s left of the buy-one-get-one-free hotdogs sitting in the freezer.

Professional butcher, John Smith, and author of Confessions of a Butcher: Eat Steak on a Hamburger Budget and Save $$$ says that the cheap cuts of beef are often the most flavorful. And also the toughest. But don’t let that discourage you from buying those meat-counter bargains. If you know the tricks you can buy the flavorful cheap cuts of meat without ending up with meat that is bland and tough.

Select first

Don’t get your mind set on what you’ll be grilling this weekend before you get to the store. That particular cut may not be on sale. Instead, go with an open mind. Zero-in on the cuts of meat that are in season, plentiful and well-priced. And if it’s really cheap? Buy extra for the freezer.

RELATED: Worst and Best Ways to Grill Chicken


A marinade is the secret to making a tough cut of meat as succulent and tender as a prime cut. Just make sure your marinade of choice contains acids like vinegar, lemon, and wine. Acid breaks down the meat to make it tender. Enzymatic action from wine, beer, cider, and soy sauce also help.

Here’s my favorite marinade for any cut of beef, even kabobs. This is so flavorful and loaded with tenderizing acids you’re going to understand why I call this a miracle in a jar.

All-Purpose Beef Marinade

    • 1 1/2 cups vegetable oil
    • 1/2 cup soy sauce
    • 1/2 cup white wine or balsamic vinegar
    • 1/3 cup lemon juice
    • 1/4 cup Worcestershire sauce
    • 2 tablespoons ground dry mustard
    • 2 1/4 teaspoons salt
    • 1 tablespoon ground black pepper
    • 1 1/2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley

Combine all ingredients in a jar or other container that has a lid. Shake well until fully mixed. Pour over meat and cover. Allow marinating overnight, turning often.

MORE: It’s All About the Sauce


The only way to guarantee that your meat will be moist, tender, and cooked to a safe temperature is with a food thermometer. Forget the “poke test” where you’re supposed to be able to discern a piece of meat’s level of doneness by poking at it with your finger. You need a decent thermometer that can get deep into whatever you’re grilling.

The easiest and most reliable way to serve a perfectly grilled fare is with a probe alarm. You simply insert the probe and then sit back and wait for it to reach the temperature you have designated.

ThermoWorks ChefAlarm is my pick for the best probe thermometer out there. It’s a few dollars more than the cheapest thing you could find, but this is the probe thermometer you will use and rely on for years—decades—to come. It is super accurate, reliable and durable, too.

Two styles of digital thermometers from Thermoworks

A less expensive, easy-to-use, and reliable option is the ThermoWorks ThermoPop digital display food thermometer. This pocket thermometer rotates the display in 90-degree increments. Hold the ThermoPop in either hand or read it when it’s upside down—any angle that’s convenient. To check the temperature, simply insert then wait for 3 to 4 seconds for a digital display. Comes in a choice of  9 cool colors.

First Published: 6-26-18  ▪︎ Last Updated: 7-9-19

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179 replies
  1. Carol Gamble
    Carol Gamble says:

    Would love to surprise my husband with a Thermapen. My husband considers himself to be a ‘grill master’ and most of the time he is. I think he would really enjoy this product and make him bbq even more which is win-win for me! Thanks for the opportunity

  2. Kresti Lyddon
    Kresti Lyddon says:

    My husband just charred bratwurst last Saturday – put them on the grill and walked away (forgot to set a timer to check them). They were VERY WELL DONE! A thermometer might have saved us! 🙂 I’d love to win! It would ensure future grilling is just at the right temp!

  3. TM
    TM says:

    Every year I enter a barbecue contest at a local winery. We don’t find out the type of meat until 48 hours before the event. Two years ago it was brisket, and I won 3rd place! Last year, however, it was ribs. I’ve always struggled making fall off the bone ribs. I loaded up my smoker and spent the night smoking the meat to – perfection. Or so I thought. My ribs ended up being the worst things on the planet. But I’ll be back next year!

  4. christine albano
    christine albano says:

    I am a terrible cook. I overcook everything out of fear of serving raw meat. The Thermapen sounds like the answer. Then perhaps my family could actually enjoy the food I make. Thank you for writing about Thermapen and offering the chance to win one.

  5. David Heath
    David Heath says:

    One of my son’s best friends (Dave), who had moved away to a small town in Colorado, was coming back to surprise my son for his birthday. Dave was bringing his fiancée, who had grown up on a ranch, and I thought grilled steak would be the perfect dinner choice. Grilling confidently, we served them and had a great meal. But after everyone had gone home and we started cleaning up, I noticed the reason Dave’s fiancée had not eaten much of her steak: it was beyond rare… raw! Too late to apologize in person, I was mortified. She had been so gracious that I didn’t have a clue anything was wrong.
    Oh for a good meat thermometer!!!

  6. Susan Dunwell
    Susan Dunwell says:

    Getting a new grill and being a novice griller, I thought I would be smart to start with kJ something easy with our first-time guests – hamburgers. Little did I know that they liked their burgers very well done! Politely, they asked me to return the burgers to the grill, not just once but several times, about five times! Meanwhile, they insisted my husband and I eat our own. We finished our meal before theirs’ even began. What an embarrassment for all of us and what a poor hostess! I haven’t served burgers since! A good meat thermometer like ThermoPop or ThermaPen would really be useful at our next gathering, if ever we dare have one!

  7. Teri Broich
    Teri Broich says:

    I am the worst with grilling. I am a single Mom so I am usually trying to juggle the grill and the veggies inside. Usually I end up thinking this needs to be on the grill a little longer (guesstimating) and end up drying it out so you have to put so much sauce on it to make it edible. I could sure use a MK4 to help me know instead of guess! Thanks for consideration!

  8. duffy10
    duffy10 says:

    Once when hosting a bbq, my husband was tending to the grill and wasn’t sure if the meat was done or not. Not wanting to serve it undercooked, he kept the steaks on a few minutes too long. Imagine our faces when a fire within the grill broke out and then the entire grill exploded! Needless to say the steaks were certainly well done.

  9. Amy Spencer
    Amy Spencer says:

    My husband recently used birthday money to buy a new grill. A ThermaPen would be great for checking the temperature of the chicken kabobs he’s been obsessed with making since getting the grill.

  10. Beth
    Beth says:

    Having an instant read thermometer is so important to cooking success and safety. Opening an oven or grill can change the temperature by many degrees and greatly affect the cooking. Not all instant read thermometers are the same! Thermopens are the best! I would love to give this to my husband because he loves to grill!

  11. Deena Costley
    Deena Costley says:

    My husband is the grill monitor (notice i didn’t say ‘Master’?) at my house and he’s been known to toss a chicken breast off onto the patio and say ‘Ooops…I guess I’ll find something else to eat tonight’. Gotta watch him like a hawk :} I’m sure having the thermo pen would help turn him into that Grill Master that I (at least) dream of :}

  12. Teresita C Garrido
    Teresita C Garrido says:

    I grilled a Rib Eye, I like it Medium, but my husband like it Medium Well, I had no Thermometer, so the rib eye was rare. Since then I bought Thermo Pop, I wish to get ThermoPen, but way out of my budget. I hope to win, so please pick me.. Thank you

  13. LK CS
    LK CS says:

    I tend to have the opposite problem from most…I’m so worried about overcooking that I often undercook meat, which leads to either throwing it back on the grill or zapping it in the microwave…not exactly the best method for producing a delicious dinner! An instant-read thermometer would be a lifesaver…literally:)

  14. lyn
    lyn says:

    I was having a party with about 20 guests. I had the Weber coals glowing to perfection. I loaded the grill with marinated chicken thighs and breasts, closed the lid and let the grill do it’s thing. When they were beautifully charred on one side, I flipped them closed the lid and waited. Finally, I plated and served, raw chicken near the bone, oh my. 20 hungry people with no protein!

  15. Karen Condon
    Karen Condon says:

    Grill a turkey for Thanksgiving they said. It’s super easy they said. It’s so moist and tender they said. Not having a thermometer and the skill to complete the job led to our Thanksgiving being hosted by KFC that year.

  16. Amber McLeod
    Amber McLeod says:

    My husband is a firm believer in the finger poke test. Me….I’m a nurse and feel he should use a thermometer. I have seen WAY too many cases of patients coming into the hospital because of under cooked meat. Maybe a nice thermometer could convince him to stop playing Russian Roulette with our 5 year old son’s & my health?!

  17. Mindy McMullin
    Mindy McMullin says:

    Worst grilling experience was trying to cook fish and did not think I needed to use to cooking spray…we ended up going out for dinner.

  18. Catherine Moser Godfrey
    Catherine Moser Godfrey says:

    We had a cookout on Memorial Day. Several people came. My dad was cooking hamburgers they were so raw it was so gross. The outside was cooking prefect the inside was totally raw. If he would have had the Thermapen MK4 the burgers would have been prefect

  19. Claudia McMurray
    Claudia McMurray says:

    My son was smoking brisket for the entire bowling club for our annual party. The ThermaPen MK4 would have assured that it was not a minute overdone.

  20. Sharon Vicic
    Sharon Vicic says:

    We have experienced overdone steak (most every time we grill steak!), raw chicken, running out of gas and tough shrimp all as a result of our grilling efforts. August 24th we will be hosting our son’s rehearsal dinner (for about 50 people!) at our home where the grill and smoker will be bursting at the seams with cooking meat. The Thermapen MK4 would be a huge help in making everything cooked to perfection!

  21. Nancy Akerly
    Nancy Akerly says:

    My first ever grilling experience was a disaster- I served beautifully charred totally raw meat to my guests. I needed, obviously, a good thermometer.

  22. Lisa Gropp
    Lisa Gropp says:

    Too many times, I have served partially raw or dried out chicken breasts to my family. Having a Thermapen MK4 would be amazing!

  23. Vikki Kinsler
    Vikki Kinsler says:

    The first time I ever grilled was when I was 20 years old. My parents had gone on vacation, and I offered to watch my younger siblings (5 kids). I thought I’d make burgers on the grill. Little did I know how much they would shrink up and how hard they would get by cooking them too long. They were like miniature hockey pucks, and we couldn’t even come close to eating them. The Thermopen MK4 would have been ideal! Since then I’ve learned so much more about cooking and grilling (I’ve used many of your recipes), but using a Thermopen would help so much. Thanks!

  24. kcjmc
    kcjmc says:

    If I’d had the Thermapen MK4, I wouldn’t have ruined the expensive lamb I tried to grill for Christmas last year. 🙁 Yes, it was my worst grilling experience as lamb is expensive and hard to find in my area.

  25. sweetlee
    sweetlee says:

    I would like to have the Thermapen MK4 so I don’t have to keep cutting the center of the meat to check if it is done. All of the juices come out when it is cut with a knife, especially when it isn’t done. Then the meat gets dry inside as it finishes cooking.

  26. Dee Cooper
    Dee Cooper says:

    My in-laws are from Texas. They pride themselves on their BBQ mastery. I thought I could prepare bbq for them and serve it up to their standards. WRONG! The chicken was charred on the outside but still bloody on the inside. The steaks were like shoe leather, over done. EPIC FAIL. I was so embarrassed, we took them out to eat.

  27. Kim Pearson
    Kim Pearson says:

    Christmas dinner—-beef on the grill. Wow! Bummer!! So dry and over-cooked. Extremely disappointing. Had a meat thermometer, but clearly it was not effective!! Would love to try the Thermapen! We use our grill several times a week!!

  28. Cally
    Cally says:

    I love a good steak on the grill, but chicken is our go-to for grilling. However, my husband tends to overcook it to “be sure” we aren’t going to get food poisoning! what we get is chicken breast with the texture of sawdust, so dry you will need lots of liquid in order to swallow! yes, a good meat thermometer would save my throat. 🙂

  29. Gina H
    Gina H says:

    We had family over for a 4th of July BBQ, my husband was smoking ribs and pork butt, and the racks of ribs did not get done! Hard to feed a lot of people on a small pork butt! Yikes!

  30. Sally
    Sally says:

    Thought I bought a good cut of meat. I tenderized it and on low cooked for over 8 hours. A steak knife wouldn’t even cut it. Maybe I should have tried a chain saw!

  31. Michael Nims
    Michael Nims says:

    We grill rib eyes for fathers’ day,New Years Day and birthdays but of the 11 of us, we have very different tastes.
    Mostly, the steaks are too done for half of us and barely done enough for the other half!

  32. JimJen Gagne Bobolia
    JimJen Gagne Bobolia says:

    It would help avoid food poisoning by knowing when the chicken really is cooked through–and not just burned outside and raw inside!

  33. Lucy Anaya
    Lucy Anaya says:

    I would love to give my husband a ThermaPen for his birthday in August. He tries very hard to grill meat to perfection but rarely achieves this goal. The meat is either over or under cooked leaving him disappointed. We have cheap meat thermometers and he does use them but does not believe they are accurate (they probably aren’t). I think he would believe a ThermaPen and never be disappointed in the results of his grilled meats again!

  34. Lynn Bradley Clogston
    Lynn Bradley Clogston says:

    We gave up barbecuing years ago, and I’ve always disliked most barbecues because food is often burnt on the outside and cold or raw on the inside. This might change my mind!

  35. Karen Trowbridge
    Karen Trowbridge says:

    How many instant read thermometers have we had? Let me count the . . . Oh, nevermind. It is several. My husband had to learn that you can’t leave them in the meat & close the lid. Thankfully that has never affected the product coming out of the grill. Or there was the time (New Year’s Day gathering) that he brought the pork loin & bratwursts in and we proceeded to enjoy our feast only to look out halfway through the meal to see smoke billowing from the grill area. Turns out a piece of charcoal had jumped out and made a hole in our deck. That’s ok – I still let him grill. Bless his heart!

  36. Vickie Montgomery
    Vickie Montgomery says:

    We were having company over and my husband was BBQ’ing….all was going great until it was time to eat. The outside of the meat looked great, nicely charcoaled, and nice grill marks. But when we all began to cut the meat it was raw in the inside. Went back to the BBQ and realized no more propane (obviously for some time) just enough to make the outside look great. Living out of town, no time to go get more. So more drinks were poured and the frozen pizza went in the oven.

  37. Jackie Marcinko
    Jackie Marcinko says:

    My worst grilling fail happened one Memorial day weekend. I had lovingly grilled chicken for a house full of people. I moved it to the top rack and put the burgers on the grill. I closed the grill and then got distracted in the house. By the time I returned, the fat from the burgers had caused a huge flare up. The burgers were incinerated hockey pucks, and the chicken was beyond saving, too! Thank goodness I had another box of burgers and some hot dogs in the freezer or we would have been ordering pizza.

  38. Penny C
    Penny C says:

    Oh Mary, you have saved me in so many ways from cooking and cleaning to organizing my finances and my life for that matter. I do love cooking on the grill because I would rather spend time outside than inside. But one of the things that you have taught me that sticks most with me is being frugal and I honestly cannot fathom spending 100 bucks on a meat thermometer when I can just as easily cut my meat through the thickest part while grilling and check for doneness. Another thing this trick does is create smaller portioned cuts of meat (actually, normal size) to ensure that I don’t over-indulge in eating all the yummies that come off the grill. Thank you for all your wisdom that you share as it is truly appreciated.

  39. Pam Pittman
    Pam Pittman says:

    Ugh! We are terrible at grilled meats! I am really afraid to try and grill for guests because I usually over cook it. My husband isn’t any better at it so either we have people waiting around for it to get done only to find the meat tough and either raw or like shoe leather. That’s exactly what happened when our new neighbors came for dinner. Thankfully they are really neat people and we had a great laugh. Only now when they come they get casserole.

  40. Marie Lowery Finney
    Marie Lowery Finney says:

    We (aka-my husband) cooked brisket on the grill, for the first time at Thanksgiving. The wind was blowing some and although he is infamous for well-done everything, this day he kept checking the meat, which caused the grill to chng temp & eventually caused the flames to flare,meat to catch fire, flames to scorch the porch roof, overseeing men to spill their beer and my husband to fling the meat to the yard while dodging the flames. A Themapen definitely would have been a godsend that day. I’m surprised family members have not taken up a collection for one before now. Maybe that’s why we now have soup suppers. July is his birthday month-I’m betting he’d love one of these. I’d love one of them for him (wink wink).

  41. Debbie Gregory
    Debbie Gregory says:

    I thought I would grill one night for supper. It was years ago and I don’t even remember the meat that I had thrown on the grill. I went inside to finish up everything else. When I returned to the porch to turn the meat, the grill was too hot and had melted the siding on our house! My husband was not happy that he had to replace siding. So my quick, easy grilling for supper turned in to a weekend job of replacing siding on our house.

  42. Mary E. Pancake
    Mary E. Pancake says:

    My grilling experience is with steak that was so tough we couldn’t eat it and grilled hamburgers instead. Never made steak again on the grill.

  43. Barb Hart
    Barb Hart says:

    My worst grilling experience was making my variation of beer can chicken – but I use white wine and rosemary. The first time we made it we didn’t think about all that fat dripping down on the burners……………with no temperature gauge we left it on too long – then saw smoke billowing out from under the grill lid……….fat caused big flame up; burned the chicken beyond eating level………..a ThermoPop and some tin foil would prevent this in the future! Thanks for the opportunity to win this!!!!

  44. Mary McDade
    Mary McDade says:

    I love grilling and recently went back to a charcoal grill, disposing of my old gas grill by donating it to whoever wanted it (I live on a corner lot and put a sign that said “FREE” on it. It was gone within 1/2 hour!). Anyway, I have been grilling everything from burgers to sausage on my new charcoal grill. I grill several meals at one time to save on the cost of charcoal. Additionally, I waited for a sale and found one over Father’s Day for a smoker. I have used it once so far, smoking a pork butt. An instant-read thermometer would certainly help with my grilling and smoking duties. Happy grilling, everyone!

    • Joan Sanford McDonagh
      Joan Sanford McDonagh says:

      Joan McD
      I have been cooking my whole life and do use a meat thermometer. Of course it isn’t not the Thermapen Mk4. mine takes inserting the probe in and holding it for well over 30 seconds which doesn’t work on grill without being grilled yourself. Even in the oven it is uncomfortable. Bone in chicken and steaks are the hardest to get perfect. I hope I am chosen because we just moved from Colorado to South Carolina and want to grill more often. Love your emails.

  45. Mary Norton
    Mary Norton says:

    I won a new barbecue grill last fall and have not used it for fear of overcooking as the rest of my family does. We have an ongoing joke about burnt offerings. A thermometer would remove that fear so I could use my new grill and keep the heat outside.

  46. Karen Albanese
    Karen Albanese says:

    My worst barbecue experience has now become the family legend (aka joke). I had a full chicken on the grill. We were eagerly awaiting our tasty morsel. I did not have a thermometer and I forgot it because we were talking.

    Panic set in and I ran out to discover a totally blackened chicken (not from seasoning!) with smoke literally coming out his neck. We laughed ourselves silly and ordered pizza.

    The thermometer would have saved the chicken and me!!

    Karen A

  47. KATHY Slick
    KATHY Slick says:

    We just were given our neighbor’s old grill because our six grown children and their families are coming out next weekend for food and fireworks. We live in a very small house and have never had a grill until now. My husband cleaned it up and now we are ready to grill for the first time. We have trusted Mary for many years with her many recommendations and want to get this right. Would love to win this tool so we can show our kids another great item she recommended. They all love the Eufy vacuum we bought each of them for Christmas!

  48. Barb
    Barb says:

    Hands down, the first grill-out for the relatives at our new house, where the burgers turned out like hockey pucks…we had to dig old brats out of the freezer to save face.

  49. Laura Casselman
    Laura Casselman says:

    We cooked a nice cut of beef and when it was done, it sat on the grill for a short time. When we came back to it, flies had laid eggs and need I say more? It went in the garbage. Lesson learned: when it’s hot out, always pay attention to your meat on the grill.

  50. Cathy Carlstrom
    Cathy Carlstrom says:

    Ooooooo!! I would Love to win this great little tool – just as I’ve learned with sewing- the RIGHT TOOLS make all he difference. I would so love to become a grill master 🙂

  51. Sharon Miller
    Sharon Miller says:

    After days of prepping and brining a turkey, we put it on the grill…depending on the popup for doneness 🙁 The skin was blackened and the turkey was dry.

  52. Kathy Barr
    Kathy Barr says:

    One of the worst experiences was barbequeing a whole prime rib in the barrel. The primbe rib was hanging on hooks on rods across the top of the barrel, as we went out to check the temp we found the prime rib had dropped onto the coals. YIKES, it was Christmas Day! Tricky to get the beef off the coals, brought it in washed it down and put it back in the barrel more securely.

  53. Shannon Hart Riling
    Shannon Hart Riling says:

    My worst grilling experience was when I had my brother and first time pregnant sister-in-law over for dinner. I was making venison polish sausage on the grill but that made her stomach turn so I grilled chicken for her. Of course the sausage cooked faster than the chicken and when we all sat down to eat, she ate a few bites and realized it wasn’t done all the way. Needless to say, she did not finish her dinner and did not feel well the rest of the night. Had I had a thermometer, our cookout would have been a hit.

  54. Amy Garrett
    Amy Garrett says:

    Our grilling disaster came when we had company, of course. We decided to grill a duck for something different than chicken or burgers. Well, we got side tracked with the visit and forgot about how much fat ducks have. We didn’t think to put a drip pan under it. Needless to say, when we went to check on the duck it was one crispy critter. Nothing was salvageable. Thank goodness for a local seafood restaurant that had great take-out. A good thermometer would have alerted us to the duck being on the overdone side.

  55. T. Kick
    T. Kick says:

    I once attempted grilling what started out to be beautiful chicken/vegetable kabob’s………when done were more like hocky pucks!! No doubt a Thermapen MK4 would have saved the day!

  56. Lesa Scheppers Kelley
    Lesa Scheppers Kelley says:

    My family loves grilled chicken leg quarters, but I can’t seem to get them done correctly. They are either over done or pink at the bone. I would love to have this. Thanks, L

  57. Pam Ruprecht
    Pam Ruprecht says:

    We have a ThermaPen & swear by it! Now I’d love to help our great grilling son, new Dad to his #3 son, & pass one on to him! So please consider me for the give-away…I pass on many of your tips to our son, and this would an even better item to “pass on” to him. 🙂

  58. Bethany Johnson
    Bethany Johnson says:

    First, let me say that I don’t grill, but my husband does, and he’s AMAZING at it. However, that doesn’t mean that he has never had a grilling disaster; and of course, it happened when we had a guest. My husband was cooking marinated chicken breasts, hot dogs, and tilapia fillets. The chicken breasts came out perfect, as did the hot dogs. The fillets, however … let’s just say, my husband offered them up as “Blackened” fish … and they weren’t blackened by herbs.

  59. Jodie H.
    Jodie H. says:

    I would love to be considered for the Thermopen. We grill out often and it is very hard to determine what the internal temperature is. Thanks for the opportunity.

  60. Winona Cunningham
    Winona Cunningham says:

    Have not had a big disaster but often over grill steaks. Will definitely use the marinade the next time I am grilling. Would love to win the Thermapen to help me out;
    Winona C.

    DRISDY KEE says:

    We recently had an outdoor grilling day less than 3 weeks ago to celebrate Father’s day and my brother’s birthday. My bro-in-law threw the steak on the grill, and asked for our “orders”. We all said medium. They ended up being well-done, and no one wanted it. We ended up wasting a ton of steak.

  62. Lornar Couponer
    Lornar Couponer says:

    I was having company for dinner and had just purchased my very own BBQ. Chicken was on sale and with a great salad and grilled veggies dinner was easy or so I thought. Having never used a grill before I figured the higher the heat the better as thee is nothing worse than raw chicken for dinner. Little did I know we would be having a nice salad burnt veggies and charcoal style chicken. Dinner was a total disaster lucky the nearest chicken place delivered. A great time was had by all.

  63. Dawn
    Dawn says:

    We would love to grill chicken more often, but have a hard time telling when it’s cooked through. On occasion, it needs to go back on the grill to cook longer. A thermometer would be a tremendous help!

  64. Janine Woodward
    Janine Woodward says:

    My mother-in-law always asks me “Are you going to over cook that?”. Having a great meat thermometer would give me the confidence to say, “No m’am!” I once left the grill on over night because I forgot to turn it off. It was a new grill and now the paint is peeling on the inside. 🙁

  65. Terri Hamby
    Terri Hamby says:

    For my husband’s birthday, he asked that the family stay home and grill instead of going out to celebrate at a restaurant. We ended up going out to a restaurant anyway when the overcooked steaks turned out to be like shoe leather! Inedible steaks and the restaurant bill to boot was an expensive birthday dinner.

  66. Angie Wallace
    Angie Wallace says:

    We had our Sunday School class over recently for a cookout. We had a grill that ran out of gas. So we get my MOM’s and it runs out of gas. Needless to say, we were really flustered at this point. We borrow another one and are trying to cook the burgers quickly. I am very anal about cooking through and through. Had I had a Thermapen, I would have been sure that the meat was cooked well enough. I would also love one for inside cooking too! Thanks for the opportunity to win one.

  67. Denise Conway
    Denise Conway says:

    Having the whole family over for chicken on the grill and having to serve tough, dry pieces of chicken because it was overcooked. Needless to say, we only grill predictable things when we have family cookouts!

  68. Beth Dickson
    Beth Dickson says:

    I would love to win the thermometer. It might just save my marriage. It would help my husband to not make “hockey puck” hamburgers and “medium rare steaks” that are well done.

  69. Ruth
    Ruth says:

    A grilling thermometer would be great. It seems that whenever we are entertaining, that’s when I either serve raw steaks or shoe leather. It’s good to have a recommendation. Thank you.

  70. Renee Powers
    Renee Powers says:

    An accurate grilling thermometer would be very appreciated! My husband has suggested that I use a thermometer like the Thermapen MK4 to cook grass-fed beef since it becomes tough and dry if cooked too long.

  71. John Williamson
    John Williamson says:

    I have fond memories of my father’s outdoor barbecues, but I don’t remember any horror stories from those days , back in the pre-digital age. But I’ll still enter the contest.

  72. Sally Dennis Davison
    Sally Dennis Davison says:

    I bought a new grill a few years ago for my husband to use. He hates to grill. I really enjoy a good grilled steak or chicken but he’d rather I fry it or something. He never blew up the BBQ grill but I think he got discouraged by over or under cooking the meat every time. If we had a Thermapen MK4 I know we’d be grilling all the time. No more failures!

  73. Youknow
    Youknow says:

    I had just moved into my first home in MT. It was Christmas day and it had snowed about a foot of snow. My home had recently been newly built so it was the first time using my new stove. I know it’s not a grill, but its a similar situation. We were going to have prime rib which my parents graciously provided. It was also the first time we had made it so we were really excited that we were going to have a delicious dinner after a full day of loading, lifting, packing and unpacking. I put the roast in at 500 for an hour like the recipe called for. We decided that this would be a great time to go pick a load of boxes from my old apartment to bring to the new house. The apartment was only ten miles away and it surely wouldn’t take too long. We left the roast and ran to pick up more items. It took about 45 minutes for us to return. When we opened the door to my new house, smoke came billowing out. We all looked at each other in horror as I was expecting to see my kitchen on fire. LUCKILY, I ran to the stove, opened the oven door and was blown away by a cloud of smoke. My heart landed on the floor because I knew our dinner was ruined. However, when the smoke cleared, I saw the roast had run out of liquid and the outside of the roast was searing. It was exactly what it was supposed to be doing. I turned the oven down and continued to cook the roast for another two-three hours. I did not have a meat thermometer so I guessed when it was time to take the roast out. It turned out a little on the rare side, but we did get to have a nice dinner after all. My biggest lesson was to not leave the house while cooking something I have never cooked before and to have a meat thermometer on hand. I’ve been too scared to try cooking a nice roast again. Maybe someday I will. Thank you, I enjoy your messages of staying clear of debt! Louise

  74. Karlene Teske
    Karlene Teske says:

    I have the small Thermo Pop and Love it! I would love the Thermo Pen, as from spring to fall we grill nearly every day. We purchased a pellet grill this spring and have been cooking much slower at lower heat, so we need to be cautious of making sure we get up to the correct temperature for safety. Before Thermo Pop, we ate a lot of overcooked dry meat!

  75. Nicole
    Nicole says:

    worst experience was some chicken – I think I may have tried to BBQ from frozen. Needless to say – charred skin and raw at the bone was not a great dinner – eventually I cut it up and fried it. A good thermometer would be a blessing to say the least!

  76. Cindy Schmid
    Cindy Schmid says:

    The California family crew were in town and I bought the BEST STEAKS EVER to grill for them. Because I didn’t have a meat thermometer, my 30 year old nephew, who took classes at the California Culinary Academy told me I could use my cake tester instead. Stick it in the steak then touch the cake tester to the temp sensitive area above my upper lip. If it’s still cool, the meat is not done. So I tried that and yup, still cool; steaks not done. Drinking and conversation continued. “Oh shoot! I think the steaks are done!” Quickly used the cake tester, from the steak to the lip and YEOWWWW! Permanent reminder NOT to do that again! Steaks ruined and scar on lip. Thermapen please ;o)

  77. Sharon Mazurek
    Sharon Mazurek says:

    My boyfriend was cooking a brisket and when it was time to eat he opened the foil and found a totally burnt and inedible piece of meat.

  78. Bill Shirley
    Bill Shirley says:

    Our first visit to our newly wedded daughter went well until they got out the grill. My wife boasted about my prowess on the patio, so no one else could grill except moi.
    It had been awhile since I had used a charcoal grill (10+ years). While I was fighting flames and smoke, the rest of the family was intense in their conversation (which was steaming me) inside and failed to notice my waving arms.
    I was totally mashed down as we all tried to ignore the very burnt steaks.
    A Thermapen could have saved my tender ego.

  79. Deb R.
    Deb R. says:

    I made my whole family sick with chicken that wasn’t handled properly beforehand and then undercooked on the grill. That’s about 35 years ago and I still can’t eat grilled chicken.

  80. Parker's Mom
    Parker's Mom says:

    My husband I were pescatarians until 2 years ago. After the birth of our son, we decided it was much easier to buy something the whole family would eat and thought it best for our son’s health to benefit from a wider range of meats at the age of 2. If we had the Thermapen MK4, we would’ve done better on the barbequed chicken we had cooked recently on our charcoal weber grill. Our son was super hungry and we gave him the one piece that was cooked through and then tried to microwave the rest. What a waste! We ended up throwing the rest away since it didn’t taste good and nobody liked it! Not even my son!

  81. Brenda
    Brenda says:

    Thank you for this marinade recipe! My daughter and I were just discussing the high cost of steak for a recipe she wanted to try. I’ll share the marinade secret with her and use it myself as well! Thanks, Mary. Your hints and tips are always so helpful.

  82. Amber B
    Amber B says:

    I’ve not had a grilling disaster as I have yet to use our new grill! We are newbies at grilling, but want to give it a try. I’m sure that the Thermopen would prove a great asset in assisting us to NOT have a grilling mishap! Also, I have a cottage baking business where I often times need a thermometer. I understand that the Thermopen is the best and I would absolutely LOVE to win it!!!

  83. Christy Hooks-Guerrero
    Christy Hooks-Guerrero says:

    My husband and I were grilling steaks on our gas grill one evening.My sister was visiting and she prefers a well done steak. Well, the steak was on the grill for a long time and the outside was getting done and a little crispy. So I took it off the grill and served it to her. When she cut into it it was almost raw and she started to gag. Needless to say a meat thermometer would have been very helpful in that situation.

  84. Patti
    Patti says:

    Worst grill disaster happened when I was a kid. My dad cooked burgers on the grill one Saturday night, and my mom had sausages to cook for Sunday morning. Rather than heat up the kitchen, she asked him to toss them on the grill while we ate dinner. And everyone forgot all about them….until 3 days later, my fiance (now hubby) went out to light the grill and there were a bunch of little charcoal briquettes on the grill, and he couldn’t figure out why in the world my dad had put little pieces of charcoal on the grate of a gas grill…….

  85. Sherry Spoon
    Sherry Spoon says:

    It’s been YEARS since I’ve grilled any chicken. The reason is because when I did it wasn’t done. I love grilled chicken, but I don’t want to have to cook it more after removing it from the grill. Therefore, I need the Thermpen MK4.

  86. emarci
    emarci says:

    I bought some steak “fingers” on the recommendation of a customer behind me who told me that she grills them to well done. I got them well done all right. You could have made shoes out of them! Thanks for the chance to win. I love this site.

  87. Carol G
    Carol G says:

    Well I’m not sure if a Thermopen would have helped our worst grilling experience BUT I’d sure love to win one! We were cooking a turkey breast in a disposable roasting pan on a gas grill and for some reason my husband forgot to turn the temperature down. He got side tracked doing something else and before I knew it he was yelling “GET THE HOSE” because the grill was on fire. He shut off the gas, hit the grill with water and the whole bottom of the grill fell off! ARGH! I opened the grill and looked at the perfectly BLACK turkey breast thinking “there goes dinner!” My husband then asked “Do you think it’s cooked?” I said IT’S BLACKENED TO SMITHEREENS! He said “Well the little plastic thing isn’t popped up…in fact I don’t even see it any more.” Gee could it be because IT WAS INCINERATED????? Sigh. What did I have to lose? I peeled off all the burnt, blackened skin to find a somehow PERFECTLY cooked turkey breast. Man did we luck out or what? I don’t recommend this cooking method at all though…sheesh! 🙂

  88. Shirley Young
    Shirley Young says:

    While smoking a turkey for Thanksgiving the grill smoked heavily and would have burned if it had not been for my grandson. Six months later it happened again.

  89. SoVeryAmazed
    SoVeryAmazed says:

    I have gone through numerous food thermometers but I haven’t tried the ThermoPop or Pen. None of ones I’ve tried work after several uses. I’m back to the ‘touch test’ for doneness and would very much appreciate having a decent, good thermometer! Thanks for the offer!

  90. Lorie Walters
    Lorie Walters says:

    Cooking any kind of meat is a nightmare because I’m afraid I will undercook it and make us all sick. At least my husband knows I worship him because of all the over cooked “burnt offerings”. Thanks for the chance to win!

  91. Janet
    Janet says:

    I read most of the wonderful stories below. They all deserve a Thermapen MK4 in the color of their choice! I feel I should be chosen, though, b/c I am 77 years old, and so far, I am a total failure at grilling. I would love to have a few grilling successes before I leave the planet!! 🙂

  92. Bookworm
    Bookworm says:

    I don’t have a worst experience to tell about. I have such a fear of under cooked meat that I always overcook. My meats are dry most of the time. I’d love a ThermaPen!

  93. Kathy
    Kathy says:

    I would love to have one of these babies… (Thermapen MK4) to make sure with all the BBQ’s we do for friends and family that the meat is always cooked as requested. 🙂 Luckily only once did I totally BURN the meal… This may have helped. 😉

  94. Andee Aceves
    Andee Aceves says:

    My tragic grill experience could easily have been avoided if I’d had a Thermapen Mk4. My husband usually is the grill master at our home but he was away one spring day. I boldly announced to my young daughters that I would grill us a delicious meal and slapped some barbecue sauce on a rack of ribs. After grilling them for 10 minutes each side I served them and watched my children struggle to bite through them. Needless to say, dinner was a disaster and I’ve never recovered to try again. I need a Thermapen!

  95. annie56
    annie56 says:

    OMG! A couple of years ago I splurged on one of those expensive (although no where near your $159 porterhouse!) cuts of beef to cook on the grill for Father’s Day. Those rib eyes looked so darn good! Needless to say a thermometer would have helped prevent overcooking them. Hard lesson learned!

  96. Cindy Lafave
    Cindy Lafave says:

    I am so afraid to under cook pork. I grilled pork chops for Father’s Day for my dad, hubby, uncle and son in laws (all meat lovers) the pork chops were impossible to chew! :/ I could really use a Thermapen and a do-over! Thank you for the great marinade recipe. ~Cindy

  97. EddieJ
    EddieJ says:

    My worst didn’t involve a grill per se but sure would have turned out better with a meat thermometer. Last Thanksgiving I fried my first turkey. I’ve helped before but this was my first solo fry. The tag fell off of the packaged turkey at some point so I guessed it was about ten pounds and fried it accordingly. Not wanting to risk serving undercooked poultry, I gave it a few minutes extra (for a 10# bird). Turns out that it was maybe a 6 lb bird, It looked okay but it was “extra crispy”. My friends were all nice about it but when the complements are along the lines of “I can crunch right through the bones”, you know you over did it. It might be time for that thermometer.

  98. Francis
    Francis says:

    My husband has given up on ever grilling successfully, but “long ago” he grilled some chicken to a black crisp. While we were trying to figure what to do with it, his niece and family showed up. Her husband was not bothered by the over-burn and ate practically all of the chicken while everybody else ate sandwiches.

  99. Lori Skendrovich
    Lori Skendrovich says:

    I don’t have a disaster story but I do TRY and grill a lot. All my meat usually comes out under cooked and everyone is using the microwave to finish cooking whether its steak or burgers or chicken. If I had a ThermoPop in any color I’m sure I could finally get my grilling to perfection. My dad was the best griller and I hope one day to be just as good as him, just hasn’t happened yet. Thanks for the marinade recipe and all the great tips I get from reading your daily emails. I always look forward to them!!

  100. peacesun
    peacesun says:

    Well, there were 2 occasions. One was when camping, a Boy Scout troop dropped a box of wooden matches in their pot with noodles and couldn’t eat the sulphur spaghetti. We shared a bit of our meal with the troops. Another time, the steak fell between the grates and was so full of coals that we split up the other steaks to have a smaller not burnt meal.

  101. Chem Tutor
    Chem Tutor says:

    My husband always does the grilling, but he really needs the ThermoPop or ThermaPen for cooking. He never knows when the meat is “done” and it either comes out underdone or overdone. Even our two grown sons show him up and joke about it–help him out please!!! Thanks for all you do, as you helped us ditch all our debt!

  102. Greg
    Greg says:

    My worst grilling disaster was when company came over and we were going to have a pork roast on the spit. While cooking I turned my back for 5 minutes when someone said oh no.Had a grease fire and ruined the roast. I felt like the worst chief on the planet and still think about that day!

  103. melanie h
    melanie h says:

    I hosted my first BBQ recently and was so worried I’d serve under-cooked hamburgers that I ended up burning them! 🙁

  104. Heather Shover
    Heather Shover says:

    My husband like meat rare and I am more of a medium girl. With this thermometer both of us would get the meat done to our liking. Usually I get mine, but then again I am the one grilling 🙂

  105. Mitchell Crawford
    Mitchell Crawford says:

    My wife purchased a Weber smoker for me. Wonderful. But, unlike the Weber grills, they do not come with much of a guide. Essentially Weber tells you to experiment. Which means my wife and I have consumed some over cooked meat, and some under cooked me that needed to be microwaved prior to consumption. A Thermapen MK4 would have allowed me to take the meat out of the smoker at the right time, with great results.

  106. Lyn Turner
    Lyn Turner says:

    Oh, if only I knew then what I know now….thanks to Mary!! The wedding of my father-in-law to his new bride was to take place in the front yard, with the reception on the back patio. Decor and food by me. A beautiful, large pork loin was put on the grill just before the ceremony. After the “I do”s were done, of course, I was the crazed proverbial chicken sans head, so did not pay close enough attention to the pork. After what I thought was a long enough cooking time, I asked my husband to slice while I attended to details….Yep, nice and RAW!! I didn’t even see it until it had graced the buffet table for several minutes. Shoulda-woulda-if I coulda cooked by temp, not guesswork!

  107. Mary
    Mary says:

    My husband forgot all his cooking knowledge when he said “I do.” As the chief cook for the last 24 years of marriage, I’m trying to convince my husband he can help by grilling. A Thermapen MK4 would help us avoid overdone burgers and underdone chicken! Thanks!!

  108. Sue
    Sue says:

    we were not very happy when transporting a brand new grill from a sports camp( where it had been very well used ) back to our home and the ties that we thought had secured the grill broke away and dislodged the grill to the point of no return. End result…Had to buy a new grill

  109. carolwilliamscatto
    carolwilliamscatto says:

    The worst experience I had at a BBQ was when I was served raw chicken. The outside was nice and crispy but the inside was raw and not cooked at all. This thermometer definitely would have taken care of the problem.

  110. Barbra Mutchler
    Barbra Mutchler says:

    I would love to be chosen because I love to eat meat! I am also very health conscious and want to know my meat is safe to eat!

  111. Stefanie
    Stefanie says:

    I should be chosen because I love grilling burgers for my friends, but I never know when they are done. Weeks ago I made burgers and they turned out to be really rare when I served them and it was such a nightmare. These tools would help me be great at the grill and avoid rare burgers!

  112. Gladys Berkemeier
    Gladys Berkemeier says:

    We asked a friend how to cook salmon on the grill; it wasn’t a good idea – it ended up charred beyond belief! That Thermapen would come in handy! LOL

  113. Kenia P.
    Kenia P. says:

    I always have a hard time grilling chicken. It drives me nuts when I wait so long for the food to look done and bite it and see pink! This Thermapen will help me grill the chicken to perfeciton.

  114. Carolyn
    Carolyn says:

    Picture this-four generations sitting around the dinner table after waiting an hour for the chicken to cook on the grill. Third generation mama cuts into four year olds’ “grilled” chicken thigh and bright red blood spurts out. Two sisters on either side gag, four year old screams, daddy jumps up and grabs platter of chicken to put back on grill. 96 year old great-grandma asks what’s wrong and grandpa laughs at the whole ordeal saying “I told you it wasn’t done. Charred food doesn’t mean cooked!”. Our family desperately needs the Thermapen ML4!

  115. jen c
    jen c says:

    I am barbecue challenged!!! Never have I been able to product a great steak – even hamburgers are a challenge.
    Yes, I need help!! Thermopop!

  116. tiffanyblitz
    tiffanyblitz says:

    This would be terrific for our family! No “horror story,” but ever-so-many unappealing (under- or over-cooked) pieces of meat, we’ve basically given up grilling…

  117. Eileen Jones
    Eileen Jones says:

    Wow – this would be great. With this nifty device, I might not put my kids in the hospital for serving them under cooked chicken again!

  118. Marlo
    Marlo says:

    My worst experience happens every time we have our family over for dinner. It’s not what you think…..we all get along great! It’s that the preferences range from rare to well done with every possible option in between. Often, only one or two are totally satisfied with their meat….so this thermapen might be the perfect solution to our dilemma.

  119. lrp93
    lrp93 says:

    Tired of overcooking meat on the grill in an attempt to make sure it’s done. This would be a very helpful tool for that!

  120. Annette Lunn
    Annette Lunn says:

    I like my meat well done and my husband likes his medium rare – this would be perfect to let us both have perfect meat

  121. Nicolae Alstrand Holley
    Nicolae Alstrand Holley says:

    Wow! I’ve always wanted to grill, but I’ve been hesitant about cooking meat I couldn’t cut open and check. This would be perfect for me!

  122. Deborah Ford
    Deborah Ford says:

    I have been wanting a good meat thermometer. When you recently alerted us that the Thermo Pop was on sale, I was completely, flat broke. I couldn’t have come up with $1, let alone the $30 for two. I still need one, but I’m on a fixed income and have bills to pay. Thanks for your awesome column and advice. Also, I like your new format, where you have a link to your website page to read the rest of your article. Good thinking!

  123. Michael Engdahl
    Michael Engdahl says:

    I definitely need a meat thermometer! I never seem to get my meat cooked right.
    Just the other day I was grilling some tri-tip at my friends house and only one of the three pieces came out “good enough!” Needless to say, all the meat was eaten (including the burnt offering), but I hope someday to make a “perfect” steak.
    Thanks for the marinade recipe! We’ll definitely give it a try!

  124. d richardson
    d richardson says:

    My only nightmare is this: I love those huge grills you see at Lowe’s or Home Depot that look like a stove. But they are so expensive! After many years, my mom bought me the red globe-like grill around $40. She also included charcoal, matches and lighter fluid. That was ten years ago. I still haven’t grilled a thing.

  125. Shannon Robbins
    Shannon Robbins says:

    Worst experience . . . chicken. Burned on the outside . . . raw on the inside. I was uneasy about cooking it low and slow not knowing what the inside temp would be and failed . . . epic failure. Ended up running out for take out – expensive mistake.

  126. Cindy McCarty
    Cindy McCarty says:

    I never know when meat is fully cooked! Ugh. One time I thought the steaks I was cooking were done as the outside was charred a nice color. Shut the grill off and let the meat rest. When we cut into the steaks they were nearly raw! Start the grill again and tried cooking a little longer. By this time, the outside of the steaks were very dark and it was very dark outside. I tripped coming in the door and a steak went flying. The dogs had a nice treat! Needless to say, we split the remaining steak and my husband did not dare comment on it! lol

    SALLY CLARK says:

    I need that thermometer! Tired of chicken looking done, probed to correct temp and when I cut into it I still see blood.

  128. Angela White
    Angela White says:

    I am buying barbecue sauce out the WAZOO because my chicken comes out too dry! I’m so paranoid about undercooking chicken that I tend to grill it too long. My kids still eat it, but it’s more like having a little chicken with that barbecue sauce. I have had the ThermoPop on my wish list the past 2 Christmases, but my husband isn’t taking the hint. Thank you for all your advice. I pass it along literally to anyone and everyone, always giving you credit. It usually goes something like this: “My friend, Mary, recommends…” I end the conversation by telling how they can become your “friend” and get great tips and information on a plethora of topics.

  129. Marla
    Marla says:

    It seems I can never cook right on the grill. I try to go by the touch of the meat but it’s always a guessing game as to whether or not it’s going to be the medium rare that we like.

  130. Martha Hoover
    Martha Hoover says:

    Bad cooks need all the help they can get. That is why I ALWAYS use my recipes even though I have been cooking the same things for a very long time. Some of my sisters look at me when I cook and ask “Do you always use your recipes?” Two of them found out the hard way that I should always do that. I made them a chili recipe that I think is marvelous but I did not use the recipe (it was a simple 4 ingredient one and mistakenly thought I could pull if off) and put in too much cumin. It wasn’t too bad to me so I ended up eating the leftovers. They tried to be nice and eat it but sure did leave a lot for me to “enjoy” later.

  131. Mark Motyka
    Mark Motyka says:

    Deep frying a 20 pounder on Thanksgiving. Could not find my remote thermometer and did not have one to check the temp, so… I guessed by time and by size of the bird. Wrong guess. Spent the hour we were supposed to be feasting, microwaving half-cooked turkey. I guess I was the turkey. (Ask my wife)

  132. Debra Kaiser
    Debra Kaiser says:

    I put together a grill On. My. First. Mother’s. Day! 3 hours later we were done after a few choice words and hoping it wouldn’t blow up on us. It was not a day to relax and enjoy. 🙂

  133. Marion Guccione
    Marion Guccione says:

    Hilarious stories, but everyone should have a Thermopen, whether they win it or buy it! Best regards to you Mary.

  134. Lois Herman
    Lois Herman says:

    I just cannot seem to grill chicken. I either get burn them or they are not done well enough There is nothing worse than an under cooked piece of chicken. We love grilled chicken and I sure could use some help in getting it done so it is perfect. There have been times when even I would not eat it. Now that is bad!

  135. Brenda
    Brenda says:

    I would say im pretty good at the grill. My mom taught me how to marinade meats overnight and most of the time i do a good enough job. Now my toughest competition is bone in cut up chicken pieces on the grill. I dont know why but its either done and i char the skin or there have been times that a bit of pink has been found. Gross! I want fully cooked chicken with a tender juicy meat and if its not too much to ask crispy skin!

  136. Pam Buttz
    Pam Buttz says:

    For Thanksgiving my husband bought a 28 lb turkey!!! We cooked it for 9 hours because my old meat thermometer never registered “done”! Let me inform you now…it doesn’t take 9 hours to get a 28 lb turkey “done”! If I would have had a Thermapen maybe it would have been “done” a few hours sooner.

  137. Bjorn Olson
    Bjorn Olson says:

    I enjoy grilling, but I do NOT trust myself with the meat being done. I have had several ‘undercooked’ moments with chicken and burgers, which did not go over well. Now I am on the more cautious – “make sure it’s done” method and tend to OVERCOOK the meats. DRIED out meat. Not good! I would love a tool like this! Thanks for your great articles Mary!

  138. Sharon Bolderson
    Sharon Bolderson says:

    I would love a Thermapen MK4 because I do all of the everyday BBQing in between running back and forth to the kitchen to finish off stuff on the stove or get condiments out, etc. I like my steak well done and my husband and daughter like it medium and it’s hard to get everyone’s just the way they like it. Sometimes I get it right, but more often someone’s is too well done or not done enough and sometimes when I run back out to the BBQ there’s been a flame up and someone’s steak it getting BLACK! Grilling would sure be a lot easier with the Thermapen MK4 to tell me exactly when to take everyone’s steak off the BBQ. Thanks for the giveaway Mary. I love all your posts, you give a lot of precise information so there are not questions. Love your books too!

  139. Deb
    Deb says:

    Mine isn’t a disaster that happened, it is a disaster waiting to happen. I want to grill chicken, but am scared to death of serving raw chicken and have my husband bury it under a napkin like he did with his mom’s chicken. I would love to have a fast reliable meat thermometer.

  140. bonmarche
    bonmarche says:

    I agree with Janet, everyone deserves a Thermapen. Although I’m not as young as Janet, (72 here), I’d like to have a success or two before I hang up my spatula. I can relate to every grilling disaster imaginable. But Chicken seems to be the meat that usually gets away from me. I have the right grill marks and the outside looks great, then I cut it open and the middle is raw! I usually end up microwaving it so we can eat it. If I leave it on a few extra minutes, it isn’t red in the middle anymore, but it’s so dry you need a gallon of iced tea to get it down. Needless to say, I also need ones of these “newfangled” thermometers.

  141. KLB
    KLB says:

    My husband thinks he can tell when the meat is done just by looking at it…..we all would appreciate it if he had a ThermaPen!!

  142. Carissa Harvego
    Carissa Harvego says:

    My worst grilling experience was when I was grilling chicken breasts. The outside of the chicken ended up black and crusty, and the insides were dry and disgusting. A good thermometer would have saved that dinner for sure!

  143. antiemelinda
    antiemelinda says:

    I always guess when the meat is done when I’m grilling so this thermometer would be helpful to ensure that I grill my food to the proper temperature.

  144. Jessica Gipson
    Jessica Gipson says:

    I cannot cook chicken on the grill at a good temp. The outside will be crisp but the inside tough. The last grill chicken I made it went into the trash and I vowed never to try it again HOWEVER with this thermo pop/pen this will save me. Thank you for the opportunity.

  145. Tam
    Tam says:

    My children won’t come to a bbq at my house because they claim that I overcook the meat till it is inedible. I’veonly done that a couple of times! Guess a thermometer would really help!

  146. Sandra Foster
    Sandra Foster says:

    My husband thinks the way to discover if steak or hamburger us cooked enough is to cut it and look at it. That lets the juice run out and defeats letting the meat “rest.”

  147. Debbie B
    Debbie B says:

    My husband can not cook a good steak, they are always too well done which is great for him because that’s the way he likes his but I like mine a little more rare. This would be a great help for both of us!

  148. Alisia
    Alisia says:

    I do not own a good thermometer so this would be awesome! Especially around turkey cooking time. Thanks for the chance to win & for all the great advice. ( :

  149. Terri Knoble Lannan
    Terri Knoble Lannan says:

    Many years ago at a gathering at our house to celebrate my daughter’s baptism my husband very much under grilled some brats. I never heard of anyone getting sick but I think they were being nice by not telling us. Once we found out he recooked them…but it was still a horrible thing that could have been avoided with a good thermometer.

  150. barbara baird
    barbara baird says:

    My husband of nearly 49 years was our grillmaster for the 1st 47 years but he now has 4th stage renal cancer. The chemotherapy that he has been on for nearly 2 years now causes him great fatigue . Due to this, after all these years, I am now the family griller & not very good at it. I’m still learning how to know when the meat is done. That thermometer would be a big help for this new grill cook so that meat would be cooked thru but not dry & overdone. Whether I win it or not, I love your newsletters & often pass them on to friends.Thanks!

  151. Linda Waud
    Linda Waud says:

    Our meat thermometer died, leaving us with a couple of grilling disasters. Not sure what happened but the thing reads all over the place. Since my husband just retired, I’m seeing a lot of grilling ahead that won’t include nearly setting the garage on fire (last summer). This would be an amazing gift to celebrate our new future. Thanks for the marinade. Shopping for “cheap” meat today!

  152. Birgit Nicolaisen
    Birgit Nicolaisen says:

    My husband is our grill master. We joke that he puts my steak on 10 minutes before his. I like a well-done steak, no pink thank you very much. He marinates the meat in a teriyaki sauce with added garlic, then vacuum seals and freezes it. As the steak defrosts, the marinate soaks into the meat and makes it tender and delicious. I can’t eat steak out anymore, it’s just not the same.

    • Mary Hunt
      Mary Hunt says:

      There you go! And I’ll bet it doesn’t have to be of the $159-a-pound variety to be awesome. Great tip about vacuum sealing before freezing. My FoodsSaver gets a workout every day.


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