Temp Probe - How Far In?

Discussion in 'Meat Thermometers' started by tjohnson, Feb 1, 2010.

  1. tjohnson

    tjohnson Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator Insider OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Ok, this really sets me up for some "Wise Cracks", but how far does the temperature probe need to go in to the meat for an accurate reading?

    I just did another batch of snack sticks, and the probe inside my MES seemed to be picking up the temp of the smoker, rather than the temp inside the meat. MES Probe was 20 degrees highet than when I checked with a Taylor digital pocket thermometer i also have a Polder thermometer inside the meat and it too reads high.

    Is it because there is not much mass in the meat sticks?

    I have not smoked a roast yet to see if the same problem occurs in a larger mass of meat.


    Todd Johnson
  2. tn_bbq

    tn_bbq Smoking Fanatic

    Make sure you calibrate your thermometers (typically done in a pot of boiling water).

    Each thermometer is a little different, but most of the probe type require the first inch or so to be inserted into the meat. That means you'll get best results if you insert it a couple inches or so. For that reason, small pieces of meat can be tricky.

    Finally...there is no substitution for experience. You've simply got to get used to how your equipment functions.
  3. flash

    flash Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Well, thinner cuts are pretty easy.......half way. [​IMG]
  4. mballi3011

    mballi3011 Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    I always try to stick the probe as deep as I can. No pun intended. But even with with sausage I stick in long ways and get as much in as I can.
  5. meateater

    meateater Smoking Guru SMF Premier Member

    I try for the thickest part of the meat and aim for the middle without hitting bone. [​IMG]
  6. How do you check the temps on steaks or pork chops?  I cooked some chops last night, when i stuck the probe through the top about halfway through the inch plus thick cut the temp read around 140.  When I stuck it in through the side to about the middle of the chop the temp read 160.  What is the best way to check the temp?
  7. pineywoods

    pineywoods Smoking Guru Staff Member Administrator Group Lead SMF Premier Member

    On thin cuts I go from the side and try to get it to the center. On larger cuts I go from the top mid way and to about center
  8. shooterrick

    shooterrick Master of the Pit Group Lead OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Also you should be familiar with your thermo.  Some take the reading at the tip 1 inch or so only.  Others the whole thing almost is reading the temp.  The new Mav pen I jsut recieved today only reads the tip 1/2 inch.
    Last edited: Jun 16, 2010
  9. I am not sure how much of the probe mine reads it is a good cook dial temp that goes up to 220.  Does anyone know a store to buy a good digital temp probe?  I am looking for both a temp probe and one you leave in while you cook with a monitor.  I have looked at lowes, but was hoping to find other stores so I can compare.  Is buying one online the better route to go?
  10. dick foster

    dick foster Smoking Fanatic

    I only probe big hunks of meat like shoulders and briskets, I also probe whole poultry.

    To my way of thinking probing things like ribs, steaks and chops is a waste of time. For those kinds of cuts you go by time and poke it with your finger tip to judge degree of doneness by how much it gives just as you would if cooking on a stove top. Except for ribs where you can on time and sight alone.
  11. i just did test using boiling water. When I had the probe in the water about 3" the temp read 212.  When I had it in any shallower than that the temp dropped to 200 and lower.  It is a 6" probe.  So I need to get the middle of the probe to the middle of the meat for an accurate reading using that thermometer?  
  12. What are you looking for when you poke the meat with your fingers to know how done it is?  I have seen it done before on tv, but they never really explained it.
  13. ak1

    ak1 Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    It's the feel of the meat and how much resistance it gives.

    If you touch your pointer finger to your thumb then feel the web between your thumb and finger. That's rare.

    Thumb and index finger, medium rare

    Thumb and ring finger, medium

    Thumb and baby finger, well.

    Hope this helps.
  14. dick foster

    dick foster Smoking Fanatic

    Exactly. It's one of those things you learn by doing.

    Come to think of it, that's just like everything else.
    Last edited: Jun 17, 2010
  15. shooterrick

    shooterrick Master of the Pit Group Lead OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Well that sounds about right but keep in mind that a thin cut of meat is going to be a problem getting good reads.  3 inches of active reading probe sounds like alot.  At least now you know what you are dealing with and can adjust accordingly.

  16. nwdave

    nwdave Master of the Pit SMF Premier Member

    You may get lucky and find a suitable one or you can cut to the chase and go online and pick up a Maverick ET-73.  It's a remote reader plus two probes, one for the meat, one for the smoker temp.  Well worth the money and it's very trustworthy.  I don't even bother with the gauge on the front of the smoker.  It'll be wrong anyway, because the meat may not be at the same level as it's measuring.

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