How do you perform at the grill? And even if you do just fine with chicken and hamburgers, how well do you do with the greater challenge of? Spurred on by professor Gary Wood, five Rice University engineering students invented what they consider the perfect grilling thermometer, as reported by Rice University News & Media. And they might be right.
For their senior engineering project, the team, which named itself Five Guys and Ribeyes, was challenged by Wood to design a unique thermometer for grilling a thick rib-eye steak. It turns out he had been thinking about the idea for ten years but never acted on the thought. Maybe assigning this project was just a way to get a good steak.
The team members are David Cooper, Michael Fleming, Will Firth, Harry Sagel, and Rico Marquez.
Describing their solution to the challenge, Marquez said, “We are using a food-safe multi-material sheath primarily made of plastic, but with horizontally placed gold-plated copper casings every quarter inch. Inside each of these casings, we have placed a small thermistor to measure the temperature. The thermistors are wired to a printed circuit board and Arduino microcontroller, which displays the multiple temperatures on an LCD screen. When inserted into the meat, the array of sensors will provide a temperature profile throughout the depth of the steak. This will enable error-free grilling.”
There are no plans yet to take the grill thermometer forward to production and marketing. The team’s co-adviser Gene Frantz asked them to consider the costs of volume production and distribution as part of the project. Woods and Frantz both believe the device, which the team now calls “The Meatmaster,” could make it to market.
The Five Guys and Ribeye team would like to see The Meatmaster in production, too, but not yet. Remember — they’re engineers. On their website they list ten improvements they’d like to work on for future versions.