Published January 1, 2008. From Cook's Illustrated.
Relying on time estimates to tell when a roast is done is a recipe for disaster—here is the perfect weapon for perfectly cooked meat.
Repeatedly opening the oven door to monitor the internal temperature of a roast can throw cooking times off kilter. One solution? Meat-probe thermometers. These remote devices transmit temperature from a long probe left in the meat and attached to a thin cord that snakes out of the oven to a digital console. But don't throw out your instant-read thermometer just yet. We tested 11 models-several by the same manufacturers-and not one was flawless. The ones that accurately measured temperature sported function buttons that were too slow or too hard to figure out. Others that were user-friendly were also unreliable.
The best of the bunch was great when it worked but has probes that even its manufacturer admits are sometimes defective. Until a better meat probe comes on the market, we recommend this one with reservations. Check the probe's accuracy by boiling water and taking a reading before trying it with a roast. If the probe doesn't read very close to 212 degrees, ask for a replacement.