Adding a dome thermometer to a Traeger

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Original poster
Jun 5, 2023
First post,,, sorry for the ramble.

So I recently bought my first pellet cooker from a coworker,,, a Traeger Tailgater. I'm certainly not new to smoking meat. In fact, I compete a few times a year and you could hardly throw a rock in my yard and not hit a cooker of some sort. But,,, this is my first pellet cooker. I had long been curious, and wanted to have one for our travel trailer, but until this one I had never found a good used one at a price I wanted to pay.

Upon getting the cooker home a few weeks ago I turned it on and was greeted with the auger giving a grunting sound and not turning. It was pretty obvious that the pellets had gotten moist and had the auger seized. It finally made it to the top of the project list and I took it apart and cleaned out the jam. Next I fired it up for a dry run. I learned quite quickly that the drip pan cannot be all the way to the right, because it creates a big gap just under the temp probe and it shuts off on high temp. After shutting it off for a bit and closing up the gap under the probe, it of course fired right back up. It seemed okay with 30 to 40 degree temp swings. Okay,,,, I can work with this I thought.

Fast forward to this past weekend and I am cooking on it for the first time,,, a packer brisket. For a few hours it did okay, but it had temp swings like my ex had mood swings,,,, VIOLENT!!!! At times it would swing up and down 115 degrees in a matter of 5 seconds. And once it quit burning all together and over filled the fire pot. I got that all straightened out and soldiered on with the cook. Waaaaay too long later it dawned on me that my brisket was taking to long to cook because possibly the digital temp probe is not accurate,,, and it could indeed have been cooking at a much much lower temp than I wanted to. I already have a new temp probe and will install it before cooking again.

Which brings my to my question. I'm gonna add a dome thermometer to track what is "actually" going on at meat level. Because of its small size, I'm not real sure where I wanna put it. Impulse says put it where Trager is stamped on the lid. What about the top right corner of the dome? Far enough away from meat and fire pot to get a reliable reading? Has anyone here done this before? Any suggestions on locations, what worked and what didn't.

All that said,,, the brisket turned out fine. Will be cooking another one soon.



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Reactions: 02ebz06
Welcome and that's a fine looking brisket!

I don't put any stock in my lid thermometer and prefer to use a remote thermo mounted at grate level for better accuracy. Most also have a 'low " setting which can be a lifesaver on long or overnight cooks.

Oh and stop over by ROLL CALL and introduce yourself!

As the others said, dome thermometer is not near the meat and most aren't very accurate.
Get a remote thermometer, Thermoworks Smoke is a good one.
With it you can put an ambient probe at the grate (has a clip to hold it) and put the meat probe in the meat.
Alerting you to temp dropping too much (out of pellets) or going too high (fire) is a good thing.

Also, you may want to replace the controller with after market one.
Savanna Stoker, Smoke Daddy, and Auber come to mind.
I put the Savanna Stoker on my Traeger.
It definitely helped with swings and has other functions the original doesn't have.
I use the fan only mode when cold smoking cheese.
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Reactions: GA1dad
Hmmm,,, sometimes it takes a brick upside the head to wake the brain up.

As soon as I started reading the replies, I remembered I had bought this unused IGrill2 for five bucks at a flea market back in the winter. For reference of how long it's been sitting around on somebody's shelf,,, those original batteries say they expire in 2021. It came with 2 meat probes but I'm pretty sure I have a couple of ambient probes around here.

Thanks all

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Reactions: 912smoker
Now that was a deal and just what you need ! And it's easy to overlook the obvious sometimes for me too🤣

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