PBXeater wrote:...then there's the ones where you just point it at the meat?
If you're talking about the infrared thermometers, those are awesome for reading surface temps -- which has a lot of cool uses -- but obviously that isn't going to help you with internal temp.
+2 for the Thermapen. I finally got one last Christmas, and I flipping adore the thing. If I'm roasting something, I can pull it out, get pinpoint readings from four or five different spots and have it back in the over in under 15 seconds. And it's so quick and precise that one of the really cool (and sometimes quite useful) things you can do is insert it into a large piece of meat very slowly and watch the temperature change with each half centimeter. You do that in a few places and it's like getting a topographical temperature map of a roast. It's really cool.
That said, I've often wished that Thermapen also had some kind of a remote probe option like the second one azhotdish mentioned. If they sold one of those long wire probes that could plug into the base unit, that'd be amazing. And incidentally, if you're interested in an infrared thermometer, there's a Thermapen version that's a combo probe/infrared, though I think the probe might not be quite as sensitive/quick as the dedicated probe unit. I haven't looked at them in a while.