In meat/grill Thermometers
In meat or in grill thermometers add another level of convenience to your cooks, while providing real time data about the progress of your food.
Why do I need this?
While I will not go as far and say this item is a "must have" like an instant read thermometer, it certainly makes your life a lot easier. Most of the in meat thermometers allow you to monitor the internal temps of multiple pieces of meat as well as a meat temp in real time. This allows you to monitor your cook without constantly needing to open the lid of your grill, smoker, or oven to see how the meat is doing. Monitoring the grate temp also provides a safety net in case your fire becomes too hot or too cold, it can notify you, before your cook is ruined. These days most in meat thermometers allow you to access the device via WiFi or Bluetooth so you can monitor your cook from a phone or computer. On short cooks this is probably overkill, but on long, overnight cooks or in bad weather, it is nice to be able to check on things from the comfort of your bed or couch and not need to go outside frequently.
Which one do you recommend?
I have used a couple different in meat thermometers over the years, and Fireboard products have been my favorite so far. They have been reliable, the WiFi/Bluetooth interface is logical (a big problem I had with another product), and it allows you to set alarms to help monitor your cook and let you know when you are getting close to done. Given the recent addition of a fan feature, which basically enables you to control the temp of your smoker with the Fireboard, it has become even more useful. It also keeps data on all of your cooks so you have a record of exactly what you did that time you cooked "a perfect brisket."
I would also give a recommendation for the Meater Block. While I do not have any direct experience with this monitor I do know a couple people that use it and have been happy with it. It is unique in that each probe is self contained and thus does not require a bunch of wires running out of your smoker. It is a newer product, so longevity would be my biggest concern here, as all probes eventually need replacing and the Meater Block probes are going to be considerably more expensive to replace than standard probes.