Hey guys, just wanted to add a little info for the 'search bar' about the factory dome lid temp gauges on the new 18.5 WSM models.
The lead on my digital probe thermo crapped out on me a couple days before my new WSM arrived and being eager to fire the new girl up combined with laziness led me to not replacing it yet. I was only going to be doing ribs for the first couple smokes so I figured I'd search around about dome temps vs grate temps. Most of the results showed that ppl measured 235 top/ 225 bottom grate when lid gauge read approx 250*.
So.....I assumed I could adopt these same findings for a smoke or two until I replace the thermo... Right? Wrong! I wondered why my ribs looked so much darker than others!
There was one posted result in my previous searching that I should've payed more attention to. His results showed the opposite temp fluctuation. He said he never ran his temps past 200* on the dome lid gauge because it was registering 230 on top and 235-240 on the bottom. I dismissed this b/c it didnt jive with my thought of "it should hotter at the top".
So I get two grate thermos, place them in the middle of the racks, fire up the smoker, let it settle in at 200* on the lid gauge for a bit then took a peek at what my two grate gauges read. I was shocked to see 235* on the top and 240* on the bottom rack!!! (*** water pan was unfoiled and full***)
I didnt understand it but couldnt argue with it...I fired some spares on and 5 hrs later I ate the best ribs I've made in my short career.
So dont assume and get the proper equipment on you'll be smoking ribs @ 300* rather than the much lower recommended temp like I was doing!!
Hope this helps and Happy smoking!
Matt in Moose Jaw