Newbie with a question regarding tel tru

Discussion in 'Roll Call' started by amatasjr, Nov 4, 2015.

  1. Hey everyone, I am 34 year old newbie. I've had a Bradley smoker for about four years and figured it was time to get into real wood smoking. After doing some research I recently purchased an Oklahoma Joe as a decent starter for the price. I've got all my mods ready, baffle, food grade high temp rtv, and high temp gaskets for the two lids. The question I do have is what size stem do I need to replace the stock thermometer with two tel tru's. I plan on just screwing them into the factory inserts. Also, if I do screw them in do I need the washer and nut kit they sell? Thanks in advance. Look forward to smoking soon
  2. bmaddox

    bmaddox Master of the Pit

    You want the stem long enough to get close to the middle of the smoker (where the food will be). You will need the nut kit as you don't want to thread it directly into the smoker wall (you could mess the dial up trying to turn it that hard). 

    If it were me, on that model I would cap the stock holes on the top of the lid and move them to a few inches over the grate to get a more accurate reading without having to have long stems.
  3. one eyed jack

    one eyed jack Master of the Pit

    Welcome to the site Amatasjr.  Congratulations on your new smoker.

    I have several smokers with pretty accurate built in thermometers,  that I rarely even glance at.

    I want a thermometer probe in my chow and so use dual probe thermometers with remote readers.  That way I can carry on projects a little distance from the smoker and don't even have to walk over there to check temps.
  4. joe black

    joe black Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    The therms in my smoker are just above the grates and I use 4" stems to get as far into the CC as I can. As for the nuts, I have threaded outlets in my smoker for the therms. If the therms get tight and are not straight, instead of forcing them, I put the nuts on the thread to act as a stopnut. The only other thing that I would say is to look at River Country therms. They are accurate, adjustable and much more economical than the TelTru.
  5. Welcome, Amatas! I am similar to One Eyed Jack. I don't even bother with the external thermos stuck into the cooking chamber. Most are not worth a crap from what I see of the factory supplied thermos, and you're just measuring in one spot. Also, if you got the probe long enough to be anywhere close to where it should be -- down near the cooking grate --- it will surely end up being in the way of where you want to place some of your meat. Personally, I would recommend your just leaving the factory thermo in place and forget about it.

    My solution? Get at least 2 of the little digital thermometers that go up to around 400 deg-F with the thermo probe at the end of around a 3ft cable. Then either stick the probes through a little block of hardwood with a hole drilled through it or stick the probes through small potatoes. Then place the probes down between the pieces of meat near the grate, say about one-third from the fire-box end and one-third from the "cold end" of the smoker. Route the cables out of the door and "TaDa", you've got all you need to know -- which is mainly your actual cooking temp.

    If you look at my avatar above you can see one of my probe placements, and here is a pic of the thermometers outside the smoker.

    Just be careful to not exceed the high temperature limit of the probes -- they will burn up in a hurry! Most are just a little thermistor inside the end of the probe, which is a temperature sensitive resistor-type material. I think the limit on my thermos is actually 392 deg-F. Tis best not to use them around a grill! LOL!

     Additionally, I don't use thermos in the meat itself when smoking -- not needed in my opinion. Except maybe for chicken, but that is a different story. I always can tell by the look and feel of the meat I am Q'ing to determine if it is ready. For example, when you can poke a pork butt with your fingers, and it jiggles like a big boobie, it's ready to take out of the smoker! Or if you don't like that method (I can't imagine why! LOL!), just take ahold of the "pulley bone" in the butt and try to twist/pull it. If it acts like you can just pull it out of the butt, it's ready! You're gonna get a butt up to at least 200 deg or a bit better over time to get all the collagen to break down and render most of the fat out so it will be "pulled pork".

    Chicken or turkey, I will typically use an instant reading thermo in the meat; however, I don't typically smoke fowl at less than 325deg. I am just leery of putting cold fowl, especially large ones, in a 250-275 deg smoker where it will take quite awhile to get the meat temp high enough to eliminate any danger of salmonella or other "bugs", especially with the way they clean chickens nowadays. I start out "hot" and then look at reducing the temp later on.

    I do typically use a thermo in the meat if I am roasting something like lean pork or beef at higher temps, most times on a grill, but could be in a smoker.

    With all the talk about things other than measuring your cooking temperature, I am sure I might have wasted some of your time with things you may already know, but it might help someone else get up the learning curve.

    Last edited: Nov 7, 2015

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