At What Level Should Thermometer be Inside Smoker?

Discussion in 'Propane Smokers' started by smokinpirate, Jun 11, 2010.

  1. After my first smoke and the meat towards the top of the smoker not cooking within the safe zone (40-140), I am curious as to at what level (grate level) should i have the ET-73 probe mounted?   This is a masterbuilt gasser unit

    For the smoke next week, I plan on having a butt on the bottom grate, just above the water pan, on the grate above that I plan to have a fattie and then on the two racks above that, BB ribs.  What grate should i clip the thermo probe to?  It appears, and makes sense to me, that the temps are higher towards the water tray and lower towards the top of the smoker, is this correct?

    Any suggestions are appreciated!

  2. At the same level as the meat you are cooking. Most people get a scrap piece of wood around 2" size and drill a hole big enough for the probe to go through loosely and set in the middle length ways on the cooking grate. I hope this helps!! 
  3. rbranstner

    rbranstner Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    I normally put my probe on the level I am cooking meat on but in your case you are using all the racks. In the case of your next smoke I would clip it to the bottom  rack where your butt is or put it in the middle rack. I would be most concerned with knowing the temps on your butt. The best option would be to pick up some oven thermometers and put on on each rack until you learn the temps of your smoker. The only bad thing is you have to open the door to see the oven thermometers. Or what I would really suggest after seeing you have a ET-73 is putting the clip probe on the bottom rack and take the meat probe and put it through a piece of wood or a potato and put that on the top rack and then you can see the difference between the top and bottom. Once you learn the smoker you won't have to worry much.
    Last edited: Jun 11, 2010
  4. mballi3011

    mballi3011 Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member


    Now I have many different thermo probe units and I like to keep mine on the shelf with the meat. Now if Ihave a full smoker I will keep one on the top and one on the bottom shelves.
  5. sqwib

    sqwib Smoking Guru OTBS Member

  6. Thanks for all of the responses.  I guess what I'll do is put one on the bottom rack with the butt and one on the highest rack with meat.  In addition to the ET-73, I've got a few LEM digital probes I can use.  So if I have the Butt on the bottom, what temps should I shoot for down there, 240ish?  THus the racks above them I'm guessing will be around 210 and up, hopefully!
  7. rbranstner

    rbranstner Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    I like cooking in the 225-265 range as long as I am in that I don't sweat it heck I will even let it get a little higher or lower and not get too worried. If you stay in that range you will be fine. This will be a good test for you at least you will be able to see how much different in temp your top rack is from your bottom rack. In my experience my smokers have not been that much different.
  8. richoso1

    richoso1 Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    As suggested, I would highly recommend testing temps at all rack/grate levels, and use a full pane of water. You can push the meat therm through a chunk of potato leaving about 1/2 in. exposed.This will give you future reference when smoking different cuts/types of meat. One test and you should know your heat levels. Good luck my Friend.
  9. Did a short test this past weekend prior to putting the meat on.  The bottom rack, which is just above the water pan, was about 30 degrees cooler than the rack just above it, does that make sense?   I even let it burn for about an hour, thinking the water was having an affect, and it didnt change.  I opted to not use the bottom rack as I would have had the top rack way too hot if I brought the bottom up to 225 to 250.  The top three racks were within about 10 degrees of each other until I put meat on and it seemed to go all out of wack.  I guess I'll have to run another test next time.  I need one more thermometer and i'll have enough to test each rack.  The smoke this weekend came out alright, the ribs were at the top and ended up a bit dry.  The butt, which I got on late and ended at 17.5 hrs and 5am, was excellent!   We'll get it figured out, but I'm enjoying it as I learn!  Thanks everyone for the help.

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