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Need Thermometer Advice

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Post Sat Mar 27, 2004 10:33 pm
Zeke rare

Posts: 36
Location: Ashburn, VA
I'd like to hear people's tips about using a thermometer to measure temperatures of a grill or smoker. There's a good discussion going on in the "Hot Fire" topic, but I'd like some specific advice.

I own a Weber Platimum 22" charcoal grill, and a Brinkmann Offset Horizontal Barrel smoker.

I usually stick a regular meat thermometer through the vents of the weber, but I've read that there can be a 50 degree disparity between the temperature at the top and surface of the grill. In a video of Steven doing ribs, I saw that his weber has a thermometer sticking out by the lid's handle - I assume I'd have to drill a hole myself.

In the Brinkmann, there's a hole in the top of the smoker where I can drop a thermometer in. Again, this is at the top and far away from the firebox - so I can't be sure that it's giving me the right temperature.

What do people think of those electronic thermometers witha "wand" you can stick inside the grill?

I recently spoke to "Smokin' Jim" up in Gloucester, MA - he runs a roadside BBQ joint that is fantastic. We got to talking about temperatures, and his response was "I don't need no thermometer - I just KNOW when it's right". I'd like to get to that stage of bbq mastery, but in the meantime, I'd love to hear people's advice on figuring out how hot the firebox is.

"Life is a case of mind over matter. If you don't mind - it doesn't matter"

Post Sat Mar 27, 2004 10:57 pm
YardBurner BBQ Deputy
BBQ Deputy

Posts: 5469
Location: Damascus, Maryland
First off, if you've done cooking for a living you get to where you can tell by the look of feel of the ingredient, Much like how a well done steak is firmer to the touch. Most "Q" pros can tell by just touching the pit how hot it's running.

Second you don't want your probe anywhere near the fire box. You want it at the same level the food will be. The display on your home oven gives the air temp in side the box, not the element temp. So the temperature of the heat source is useless.

It is not a sacrilege to drill a hole in you kettle for the insertion of a pit style thermometer. Most have short probes and can take the heat with no problem. Just remember to position the hole in a place that will not ne over the coals when indirect cooking or smoking. Mine is in line with the handle just above the flange at the bottom of the lid with the top vent to the right (got it?)

When indirect cooking place the coal left and right and position the therm. centered toward you. When smoking I put all of the coals to the left ad larger drip pan to the right and the thermometer to the right.

Nothin' like practice!

Post Sat Mar 27, 2004 11:18 pm
YardBurner BBQ Deputy
BBQ Deputy

Posts: 5469
Location: Damascus, Maryland

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