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.