Wednesday, May 07, 2008


Product Review: Grill Charms

Grill Charms are stainless steel markers that you can press into meat that's sitting on your grill. The idea is "to distinguish spices and flavors, steak temperature, or avoid health or allergy issues." You press one of the charms into a burger or piece of chicken and know that it's different - special. But there are a few problems. One is that if because you need to put both sides of the meat (or vegetable - let me not dismiss the greener fare) onto the grill, you really cannot put the charm into place until after you've cooked one side. However, I find that something cooked rare medium will flip sooner than a well-done item. So you have to remember to put the charms in on that first flip, so that the side that's already done will have the charm, which you want face up.

Next, there are different collections. Depending on the collection you get, you might find it harder or easier to use. For example, in the charmed life collection, the charms bore marks of a crown, martini glass, dollar sign, clover, sail boat, and a palm tree on the beach. Pray tell, how do you remember which you assign to a given meaning? Checking the web site, the spiciness was a little clearer, with an X over a pepper for mild, a single pepper for regular, and multiple peppers for spicy. Clearest of all are those in the steak collection: R (rare), MR (medium-rare), M (medium), and so on. But what happens if I have a small party at which three people like medium-rare, two like rare, and one holds out for well? I don't get multiple doneness charms, so do I have to buy multiple sets at $19.95 for six or $4 for a single one? That seems like a lot of money for such a small piece of stainless.

I suspect the best thing is to divide the grill surface into a few sections. Put all the rare in one, all the spicy in a second, the salt-free in a third, and invest the money into some good beer to tide you through the chef experience.

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