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Installing a Thermometer on a Weber Kettle 22.5 OTG

post #1 of 7
Thread Starter 
This ain't about smoking, exactly; but I couldn't figure where else would be better to post it. I'm sure the mods will move it if'n it's in the wrong spot!

So, I told y'all about the 22 Weber OTG that I snagged some weeks back. Well, yesterday it got used by me for the first time. I roasted sweet corn and onion next to the coals then moved them to the cold side of the fire when I put them on the grill with the hamburgers. I also roasted some Roma tomatoes in a grill skillet and baked some taters in the microwave. It must have been good 'cause the wife ate it up before I got pics.

What I learned about using a Weber is that I need a thermometer to help me understand the level of heat I'm getting. I bought a <$10 thermometer (BBQ something in the name) and placed it in the top vent. Needless to say, every time I took the top off, the thermometer went flying. I only picked it up twice before learning that it's HOT! (I'm quick if you give me enough time!). Now, don't read this to believe that I was lifting the lid that often, but my fire was cooling and I had to add coals. Unlit didn't help much so I had to do a half chimney light and add that. Then there was the time I had to take the corn and onions off the coals and put them on the grill when I put the hamburgers on.

Anyway, I've decided that I want to install this thermometer in the lid of the OTG 22.5. I found out that my ET-73 and ET-901 are NOT supposed to be used at temps as high as the grill will produce. I'm thinking that I should position it across from the vent wheel about halfway down between the handle and the rim. It requires a 3/8" hole to be drilled.

What I'd like advice about is a) my choice for locating the thermometer, and b) how to get a 3/8" hole through the porcelain and steel without wrecking the finish. With all the welders and builders who have posted here, I'm sure to get the right advice.

Thank you for listenin'.

post #2 of 7

Hutch , mark youy hole with a nail set first , then start with a 1/4" bit and use a 'step' drill to open the hole, should do good , if you get Porciline chips , go to Lowe's and get Stove chip repair and stop rust.


As for placement on a Kettle , there should be some around soon...


Have fun and...

post #3 of 7

Rabbithutch, that's pretty much where I put my thermometer in my Weber OTG. I didn't have any problems drilling. Just take it slow & easy, and make sure you have a sharp bit. Like Oldschool said, a step bit couldn't hurt.

When cooking indirect (which is what I do most of the time), I position the therm over the indirect side of the grill. I think you get a better reading as to the actual inside temp, as opposed to directly over the coals.

Good luck!

post #4 of 7
Thread Starter 
Anyone hesitating to drill a hole in their kettle lid, stop!

It was easy as pie! I used a spring loaded punch to give me a starting point. The porcelain flake a little when I did and made me think I might have started a more serious problem, but the die was already cast. I then redid the belts on my cheapo benchtop drill press to get the lowest speed (~250 rpms), put a brand new 3/8" drill in the chuck, and slowly drilled the hole. I was careful not to put too much pressure on the bit, and I saw a bit of dust that appeared like smoke when the porcelain was cut. The new bit went through the lid without a problem. I used a pocket knife - yes I carry a knife - to clean up a couple of burrs then threaded the probe inside the lid and tightened the nut. The probe sits ~3" from the grill surface facing me, not the sky.

While I was already sweating in the shop, I spied a piece of expanded metal with 1/2" mesh. I marked an arc equal to the arc of the fire grate on an edge then moved at a 90* angle to the edge about 4 inches up and drew a line parallel to the edge. I then used the cooking grate to determine what arcs to draw on each side so that when bent at ~90* the EM would touch the sides of the grill below the cooking surface. I then moved up another 4-1/2" and drew another parallel line. Using a jig saw, I cut out my lines then clamped the EM between 2 scraps of wood using the middle line as reference. It was simple enough to fold the EM to about 80*. I then cut 4 straight lines from the coal grate arc up to the fold line. This allows me to slip the EM under the rods of the coals grate. I now have a DIY coals basket. I think I'll make another one for the opposite side but I have to get some more EM.


Edited by rabbithutch - 5/30/12 at 3:23pm
post #5 of 7

I am home visiting my parents for the holidays and on a whim got a used Weber on Craigslist.  I was coveting a new one with a thermometer but didn't want to drop that much cash on a new grill that I would only use when visiting.  So I purchased a Weber thermometer from Amazon.  It was for the Q model and when I got it it had a little flange on the back that fits into the Q lid to keep it from rotating.  I carefully pried this off with some pliers and was good to go.  I ordered this particular thermometer because it was 1/2 as much as the other Weber replacement that sells on Amazon.


I looked online at the pictures of new Webers to see where they placed the thermometer.  It was on top of the lid where the lid flattens out.


I then took a deck screw and hammer and lightly tapped out an indention so my bit would not dance on me, the screw actually punched through a little bit.  The only portion of the porcelain that chipped was where I made the hole.  The chip was smaller than the hole I was going to make so no worries there.


I started with a small bit and then went to a larger bit. No problems.  Install was quick and easy.

post #6 of 7

I need this so bad.  Did you put a special thermometer, stainless steel, etc in?  What is the length of it and I like the type you have, what brand is it?  Any help with this would be greatly appreciated.

Thank you in advance

post #7 of 7

I just completed this today on my Kettle.  I bought a Thermometer from a local BBQ supply house, it required a 1/2" hole.  I started with a 5/16" bit and worked my way up to a 15/32" (for a snug fit).  When drilling I used some cutting oil, but any type of oil should work.  I took it slow with gentle pressure and let the bit do the work.

I could not see any chipping of the ceramic.  


Happy smokin!  

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