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Problem with Temps on Traeger

Daba's BBQ

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For my last two cooks, I've been monitoring the temps of my Traeger with the ThermoPro IT48. I am having a major issue with temp numbers on the Traeger. I set the rig for 225. For the last 90 minutes, the ThermaPro reading says 176, well below the reading on the Traeger itself.

On July 4, I was cooking a brisket. I set it to 225, it never reached 225 until I cranked up the rig to 250. The ThremaPro read the numbers correctly.

What the hell is going on? It is 88 degrees here in NY, so outside temp is def not a factor. If anything, it should increase the temp. It really is pissing me off and I'm questioning my decision to buy a Traeger.

Any insight, advice, etc. is appreciated.
 

SmokinEdge

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This is just the way it is, and why I encourage all starting out to invest in a multi port thermometer to keep track of actual grate temps. You will have to adjust the pit control temp to match what temp you want on the grill grate. For instance, you may have to set the control at 285* to obtain 230* on grill grate. This is normal, and depending on the machine you have, can level out on a long cook, or not. My Yoder Ys-640 will run 30* low until we get hours into the cook, then it starts to tighten up, but that is a much thicker steel than a Treager.

Do this test:
Fire the grill set to 250* with a probe laying on the grate.
In 30 min write down the control temp reading in one column and the grate temp in another column.
Take these notes every 10 minutes for a total of 120min.

Then increase the control temp to 300* and continue taking notes every 10 minutes.
This will give you a chart of what to expect as to set temp and actual temp over time. This is learning your pit, and this will make you a better meat baker.
 

Daba's BBQ

Smoke Blower
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Joined Jun 24, 2021
This is just the way it is, and why I encourage all starting out to invest in a multi port thermometer to keep track of actual grate temps. You will have to adjust the pit control temp to match what temp you want on the grill grate. For instance, you may have to set the control at 285* to obtain 230* on grill grate. This is normal, and depending on the machine you have, can level out on a long cook, or not. My Yoder Ys-640 will run 30* low until we get hours into the cook, then it starts to tighten up, but that is a much thicker steel than a Treager.

Do this test:
Fire the grill set to 250* with a probe laying on the grate.
In 30 min write down the control temp reading in one column and the grate temp in another column.
Take these notes every 10 minutes for a total of 120min.

Then increase the control temp to 300* and continue taking notes every 10 minutes.
This will give you a chart of what to expect as to set temp and actual temp over time. This is learning your pit, and this will make you a better meat baker.
Excellent advice. Thank you so much. I'll do this tomorro1. But don't you think for the money that we pay for these things at the very least, the temps should be accurate? Is this endemic to Traeger or do all smokers do this?
 

SmokinEdge

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Excellent advice. Thank you so much. I'll do this tomorro1. But don't you think for the money that we pay for these things at the very least, the temps should be accurate? Is this endemic to Traeger or do all smokers do this?
Most all are this way. Folks buy these things thinking they like a pellet powered oven in the kitchen. This is just not so. These are outdoor in different climates and take time to settle in. The probe for the controller is usually bolted to the inside wall. That can never tell you grate temp where the meat is. Also, the grate will change temp from left to right and middle position. Every cooker will have hot and cold spots. You have to find those and make note of them so you know when and where to rotate your meat.

Yoder entered the pellet grill game, which was big because they are a very reputable bbq smoker manufacturer on the competitive circuit. Their controller was supposed to be “smart” in that it could learn your cooking habits and make adjustments for you automatically. This worked just ok, now they have introduced what is called a “fire board” that has modern AI (artificial intelligence) in it to track monitor and make necessary changes. The technology is evolving, but I prefer to master my pits. That’s why they are known as pit masters, they know their pits. Some folks just want to buy technology that will make them a pit master. That’s never going to happen, but sells a lot of grills and fancy controllers. Just learn your pit, and realize you may have to run 300* on control to be 275* on the meat. It’s not difficult, but will change with the seasons summer to winter.
 

bregent

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Which model? Does it have a newer PID, or is it the simple timer based controller?
 

civilsmoker

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As bregent bregent is leaning toward, pellet smokers that have a PID controller are much more consistent at holding temp. The good ones monitor the inside temp and outside temp then adjust the fan and pellet rate. The non-PID ones can/will vary +/- 25 degrees and a good number of pellets don’t have a PID. My Memphis Pellet will stay +/- 12 is degree from outside temp of 105 deg to -26 degree, but it is a very good PID with double wall CC. Oh and the PID allows me to calibrate the temp so it’s been adjusted to read about what the grate level is and not on the back wall in the heat column.

oh and now that you know it runs low just set it bit hotter and don’t even have a second thought that it is up or down......the temp swing is NOTHING to worry about.

I will also say most pellets have a sweet spot that is closer to 250 to 275.....at these temps the swing should tighten up....
 

Daba's BBQ

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Joined Jun 24, 2021
As bregent bregent is leaning toward, pellet smokers that have a PID controller are much more consistent at holding temp. The good ones monitor the inside temp and outside temp then adjust the fan and pellet rate. The non-PID ones can/will vary +/- 25 degrees and a good number of pellets don’t have a PID. My Memphis Pellet will stay +/- 12 is degree from outside temp of 105 deg to -26 degree, but it is a very good PID with double wall CC. Oh and the PID allows me to calibrate the temp so it’s been adjusted to read about what the grate level is and not on the back wall in the heat column.

oh and now that you know it runs low just set it bit hotter and don’t even have a second thought that it is up or down......the temp swing is NOTHING to worry about.

I will also say most pellets have a sweet spot that is closer to 250 to 275.....at these temps the swing should tighten up....
BTW - I own a Traeger Pro Series 34

I checked the probe several times prior to my first use i.e. boiling water, ice water, etc. The numbers were spot on. I then cooked some steak and used my Thermapen and checked it versus the probe - the numbers matched perfectly.

For the cook, both the brisket and chicken breasts cooks, I placed the probe about 8" from the left side of the smoker, about midway from the front. During the brisket cook, the probe was approximately 4"-5" away from the meat. For the chicken, it was in the same position, but about 1"-2" from the meat.

During the brisket cook, the reading never went above 210 until I cranked up the smoker up to 250. Then it went to 237. For the chicken, it never got about 175.
 

Daba's BBQ

Smoke Blower
96
61
Joined Jun 24, 2021
As bregent bregent is leaning toward, pellet smokers that have a PID controller are much more consistent at holding temp. The good ones monitor the inside temp and outside temp then adjust the fan and pellet rate. The non-PID ones can/will vary +/- 25 degrees and a good number of pellets don’t have a PID. My Memphis Pellet will stay +/- 12 is degree from outside temp of 105 deg to -26 degree, but it is a very good PID with double wall CC. Oh and the PID allows me to calibrate the temp so it’s been adjusted to read about what the grate level is and not on the back wall in the heat column.

oh and now that you know it runs low just set it bit hotter and don’t even have a second thought that it is up or down......the temp swing is NOTHING to worry about.

I will also say most pellets have a sweet spot that is closer to 250 to 275.....at these temps the swing should tighten up....
Ok, stupid question - what is PID?
 

civilsmoker

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Thank you.
yup like I noted above the good ones monitor both outside temp and the grill temp then the fan and pellet rate are varied to match the computed heat need. A regular temp controller runs on a set rate for a given set temp. Ie they don’t consider outside temp. A little bit of wind or change in outside temp can have a big impact on a temp controller
 

civilsmoker

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Oh ps..... your cars Cruze control is a type of PID control......ie it deals with the same type of variables...... going up and down a hill or with wind and not over shooting or under shooting a speed......ships use them for auto steerage as well. They are a very common process controller. But they are not all equal in quality of control......
 

civilsmoker

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Just FYI the Gen 2 traeger D2 controller is a PID and variable speed fan. It is used on their Ironwood and timberline and more recently on the larger pros. I’m not 100% sure but I don’t believe the 34 has the D2.

As a further FYI traeger was/is last to add PID control....green mt, Rec Tec Memphis, and a few others have been using them for some time. Ie I’ve had my Memphis more than 10 years and my green mt 6 years....
 

civilsmoker

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BTW - I own a Traeger Pro Series 34

I checked the probe several times prior to my first use i.e. boiling water, ice water, etc. The numbers were spot on. I then cooked some steak and used my Thermapen and checked it versus the probe - the numbers matched perfectly.

For the cook, both the brisket and chicken breasts cooks, I placed the probe about 8" from the left side of the smoker, about midway from the front. During the brisket cook, the probe was approximately 4"-5" away from the meat. For the chicken, it was in the same position, but about 1"-2" from the meat.

During the brisket cook, the reading never went above 210 until I cranked up the smoker up to 250. Then it went to 237. For the chicken, it never got about 175.
I will also add that if the probe is too close to the protein ie in the steam envelope it will read lower.....175 sounds like evaporation steam envelope and similar to brisket you are in the transitional zone from a cool mass to hot air......try moving your probe a to the side of the smoker vs in front. The front is in the convection zone.
 

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