Originally Posted by Duggeh /img/forum/go_quote.gif Doesn't your oven have a temperature dial? Mine does. Really useful.
I imagine that was a comedic/whitty quip, Duggeh. I'm sure you know of the importance of a food thermometer.
As to the OP, I use an old-school food thermometer. I've never seen the need to buy something that is over ten times the price of something I already own. Law of diminishing returns, I guess. Good luck.
I have a Taylor Digital #9840 instant-read thermometer. Cook's Illustrated rates it as their "best buy" over quite a few others because it reads in 10 seconds like the Thermapen and is very cheap. They use a Thermapen in their kitchen, though. Many "instant" read thermometers take up to 30 seconds to actually stabilize, which is quite a pain in the ass when you're holding your hand over a hot grill.
I use an instant read thermometer all the time -- especially for checking the temperature of meat, because it's by far the most reliable method, and avoids the need to cut into the meat (which releases juices). I also use it for baking, for example when making cheesecake.