Reading Smoker Temperature - What's best?

Discussion in 'Charcoal Smokers' started by jbraas, Jun 22, 2008.

  1. jbraas

    jbraas Fire Starter

    Ok, I may be search function challanged, as I know I have seen things here about this, but I searched and now can't find it. Being a new cheap smoker owner (the Home Depot Vertical Brinkmann with the two doors on the front) I am still working through some things. I have seen that the temp gauges on the doors are not that great. What is the best way (or options of better ways) to get a more "true" reading?

    Thanks. I have a chicken on as I type and my try my hand at Q-View later.....
  2. I would go to wal-mart etc and buy a themonter with a meat probe that shows temp in digital degrees which will show temp of meat and I use oven thempnter for temp of smoker. My gauge is off 25 degrees so i know when I want 250 degrees I run it up to 300 degrees but use oven themonter to check every now and than while I cook
  3. ron50

    ron50 Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Purchase a replacement thermometer that fits. Make sure you calibrate it by testing it in boling water. Should be very close to 212 degrees.

    You could also purchase a digital thermometer which has a probe. Test it as above and then stick it through a potato or a block of wood and keep it at grate level. You can get these in dual versions; 1 probe to monitor the smoker temp, the other probe monitors the temp of the meat.

    Maverick makes one that's popular and works well as well as Taylor and several other brands.
  4. richtee

    richtee Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    In addition to Ron's will want one for internal meat temps...since that's pretty much how smoking is done... with a few exceptions <ribs>.
  5. geek with fire

    geek with fire Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    I've been slowly compiling a personal dissertation on cooking temperatures, probes, and measuring gnat farts.....but I won't bore you with the full details of that (yet). I agree with the posts above about the cheap wired oven probes; they work well. However, as you are trying to maintain temperature, keep 2 things in mind:
    1.) Those probes are designed for penetration, and the physics of measuring air is different. But, when you want general measurements, they are close enough.
    2.) The probes used in these thermo’s respond to temperature spike faster than temperature drop. You can test this by plopping a probe in boiling water. It will shoot up to 212 pretty quick. Pull it out and you will find that it will take much longer to return to room temperature. When you are measuring meat, this isn't an issue, because the temperature (hopefully) never goes down. Just be aware of this as you fight the intake damper to maintain temperature.

    Oh, and to answer your original question, I've found that wire type exposed conductor Thermocouple wire is the most accurate way to measure cooking temp. They respond quickly and don't have a shield that conducts heat, affecting the reading. The problem is, the conductors don't hold up well to spritzing, and the thermos are expensive.

    Hope this helps,
  6. jbraas

    jbraas Fire Starter

    thanks for the thoughts. i did get a thermometer for measureing the internal temp of whts cooking (one of the wired kind). I wasn't sure about that whole potato thing or best ways to get the smoker temp.

    Thanks for the input.

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