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Temp accuracy, expectation vs reality, RT-700

Discussion in 'Pellet Smokers' started by Leggy, Oct 3, 2019.

  1. Leggy

    Leggy Newbie


    New member here and glad to joining this great forum and looking forward to learn as much as I can.
    I currently use 6 burners gas grill and pellet tube smoker and we like the smoke flavor better than wood chips so I guess pellet smoker is the right choice for us.
    I am pretty much set on ordering Rec Tec RT-700 but wanted to make sure that the reality of this smoker or any other advanced pellet smoker in general meet my expectation or what I have heard reading forums and reviews in terms of temp control and maintenance.

    A lot of RT-700 owners praise how accurate their set temp to the actual, my question would be, are they referring to the actual temp that measured by the built-in thermometer or by external digital thermometer set at grate level?
    Also, what is the accepted temp gap between the built in thermometer and grate level thermometer? What solutions are there if such gap needs to be reduced?

    Using my gas grill for indirect cooking, the grate level is at least 50 degree lower than the warmer grate level and since RT-700's built-in thermometer is all the way up I was wondering how the temp will be different from the grate level and how to reduce the gap if any.

    Thank you for reading and helping
  2. jlud

    jlud Smoke Blower

    For reference my Yoder 640 is the pre WiFi model, so I use Fireboard with an ambient probe. That probe is placed right by the meat, and is not the same as the included, attached thermocouple. I see a difference of 10-20 degrees depending on where at.

    Assuming the red Tec has one thermocouple, some places in the grill will match, some won’t....so if you are going by just the readout it may not be accurate. It wouldn’t hurt to check various spots in the grill.

    I am guessing that most people that praise the grill don’t ever check the actual temps inside....they just look at the set point vs actual temp and think all is well if they are close.
  3. kstone113

    kstone113 Fire Starter

    Hello - I've had the RT-7000 Bull since April. The temps are very very accurate. I've tested it myself because sometimes it just seems too good to be true. I've seen numerous people on Rec Tec fb pages do the same. Now the temperature gauge is on the far left and temps will fluctuate across the whole grill but for the most part, they are spot on. And the controller truly keeps temps within a couple degrees even is bad weather conditions or cold weather. You just will use more pellets.

    It is pretty amazing coming from a Weber gas genesis.

    One note on you saying your gas grill temp is good amount lower the higher you go, while this is the case on all grills, not as much on pellet grills because it is all indirect and without the smoke, is more like a convection oven.

    Since April, I've cooked on my weber twice. I used to cook on it 3 to 4 times a week. You will love the Bull. I also suggest join the fb groups(if you have facebook) for tons of info and tips.

    Good luck!
    sandyut likes this.
  4. SlowmotionQue

    SlowmotionQue Smoking Fanatic

    Agree with all of the above.

    Mine is not a RT700 Bull, but the RT590 Stampede. I have checked the temp in 4 different places at once on it using the grill's internal temperature reading, a probe from my Thermaworks Smoke and two probes from my Weber Igrill.

    The final three aftermarket probes were placed at the center left, center, and center right areas of the cooking grates to obtain readings.

    The 3 aftermarket probes were left in place atop wood chunks of approximately equal thickness with the edges of the probes sticking over so as to not allow heat transfer from the metal grate onto the probe itself. Thus the probes were about an inch above the actual surface of the grates, and close to in line with one another and an equal distance apart from one another.

    The Thermoworks probe is at the left center.

    The "Probe 1" of the Igrill at the dead center.

    The "Probe 3" of the Igrill at the center right of the cooking area.

    Each probe separated by an equal space.

    The grill is set at 250° and is reading 250°. I chose 250° because I usually smoke around this temp if not 225°.

    Three out of the 4 readings matched one another, or came close to it, with the hottest being closest to the grease port, or the center right.

    Of the 3 aftermarket temperature readings at the same point in time:

    The Thermoworks Smoke probe at center left, is 1.4° off from the grill's thermometer. 251.4° vs the grill's reported 250°. The grill's thermometer of course being several inches to the left of it and in line with it.

    The dead center Igrill Probe 1 is reading 3° off in the pic, but it fluctuated between 2° and 3° difference during the time period of the test. So 247°-248°.

    The center right, or Igrill Probe 3 is reading 19° difference in the pic, but tended to stay around 16°-19°.

    Thus the hottest spot on my grill is to the right and I am aware of this during my cooks.

    It's worth mentioning that the Rec Tec controller allows one to calibrate the grill's reading with that of an aftermarket temperature probe.

    The instructions for doing so however involve taking the temp using the aftermarket temp probe at the center of the cooking area and setting the grill at 250° if I recall correctly.

    From there adjustments can be made in the setup menu to allow the grill's reading to match or come close to that of the aftermarket temp probe.

    I made no further adjustments with mine after getting it this close. The three aftermarket readings average out to 255° vs the 250° that my grill's readout states.

    I didn't figure that I could get it closer than that.

    Last edited: Oct 4, 2019
    sandyut likes this.
  5. SlowmotionQue

    SlowmotionQue Smoking Fanatic

    Here is how you set your thermometer, or "adjust your offset" on your Rec Tec if you should need to.

    I was basically following this, but I was using 3 probes instead of one.

    sandyut likes this.
  6. mike243

    mike243 Master of the Pit SMF Premier Member

    I wood bet most of the pellet grills/smokers are as close as our ovens in our homes. I don't worry swings in mine as that's how my controller runs and no adverse affects other than I eat too much lol. good choice on a smoker imo
    Little-m likes this.
  7. mike guy

    mike guy Newbie

    It's very accurate by my tests. When I first got the grill, right away I thought smoking in direct sun was going to be a problem. That black door and stainless metal being heated by a 100 austin texas summer day. Even before firing up the smoker the internal temp can be 110-120. I noticed that when the smoker was in the full sun, the fan would cycle on and off a lot and surely the temp would swing.

    So I threw my themoworks Q in there with two probes at different spots in the grill and it's very solid. The PID and app tell little "averaging" lies to always report around your set temp. But we're nit picking here. My observed temp swings were well within 3 degrees so I'm not going to call that a bad idea. I would do the same thing if I was devoloping the software, I don't want to confuse the user with inconsequential temperature movements, when the average temp over a rolling minute period is correct. PIDs are accurate, but they can't deal with every little environment variable, sun, wind etc.

    TLDR: The temps are rock solid. And any minor variance is several orders of magnitude what you would see on a wood fired smoker. Smoking in the direct sun does cause some slight problems, that no one should care about, nothing that is a deal breaker. If you are worried, increase the thermal mass of your smoker by adding fire bricks.
  8. Leggy

    Leggy Newbie

    Thank you everyone for the feedback, much appreciated.
    It's good to know what RT-700 is capable of and what expectation I should have. In my opinion, even a gap of up to 10 degree shouldn't be an issue.
    I have a canopy that the smoker will be sitting under along with the gas grill and will be stationary most of the time so no comp cart or leg upgrade is needed at the moment. I will sear on my gas grill so grill grates isn't needed.

    I will be going with the bronze package. Is Rec Tec's pellet that comes with the package of a good quality or I better stick with Lumber Jack or Cookinpellet?

    By the way, does it make a difference if I order online or by the phone in term of getting additional perks?
  9. Leggy

    Leggy Newbie

    Thank you for the video, will watch it tonight. I downloaded the manual and will be going through it.
  10. jlud

    jlud Smoke Blower

    I dont think they do any perks at all via on phone or email from my experience.
  11. kstone113

    kstone113 Fire Starter

    Hey man, I think it depends on where you live. If you can get lumberjack for 50 cents a lb or less by you, I've been very happy with them. I did a lot of research on pellets and seems like most should be paying around 50 cents a lb....not $1 a lb. I went for ala carte b/c I didn't want any pellets from them even though I heard great things about cooking pellets, just not worth it in my opinion. To me, must haves are front folding self, sear grates(not maybe a must if you have a gas grill however you can use on your gas grill - they are nice!), non-stick mats(they are nice!) and a cover. I did buy a couple racks for inside the grill that are stainless and will fit in a dishwasher. I went with that over the rec Tec rack.

    Doesn't make a difference via phone or online but I went with phone because I ordered together with my dad.
  12. Leggy

    Leggy Newbie

    I live in SoCal LA area so not sure who has LJ for $0.50/lb.
    I currently use Cookinpellet perfect mix in the tube and I like it a lot. Does the one from Rec Tec has a lot of dust in it?
    I will place the order online if no extra placing it over the phone
  13. Leggy

    Leggy Newbie

    Thanks for the video SlowmotionQue, just saw it and curry is a great feature to have and one I was looking for to have.

    Before I pull the trigger, is there anything I need to be aware or you guys wanna share?
  14. Seems like many people responding have a very different experience than I have had. I have had the Bull since July and the temperatures aren't even close. I set it to 235 and a probe at meat level indicates about 215 for the first 3-4 hours and eventually stabilizes over 8 hours or so to about 225. At 250 and 275, the margin is very similar to 235.

    I called Rec Tec due to people saying how good their customer service is. I informed them of this and indicated that even with their built in calibration, I couldn't get near matching the set point to the actual since you can only adjust plus/minus 10 degrees. They promptly informed me that "you just gotta learn your grill - no grill will match the set point exactly." He went on to explain there is nothing wrong with it and nothing I can do.

    Though that is clearly annoying, he did bring up one good point - the Bull is insanely consistent. So if I set it for 235 and the probe says 215, that 215 is rock solid. There is no swings at all in the temperature. And when you think about it, consistency is way more important than accuracy when it comes to smoking.

    So now I just set it to 250 if I want to cook at 235 and 265 if I'm looking for 250 degrees and it works out just fine. It will lock in at those temps and stick to them like glue.

    Either way, I HIGHLY recommend you figure out what temps your smoker is ACTUALLY putting out and adjust like I did. Otherwise you will be wasting meat.
  15. Well...shows what I know. I watched that video posted above and it turns out the offset is percentage points....so I can actually adjust it.

    So.....disregard my comment. I'm going to fire it up right now and get it locked in!

  16. Leggy

    Leggy Newbie

    Thank you the feedback and update. Please keep us updated how you end up with the adjustment.
  17. SlowmotionQue

    SlowmotionQue Smoking Fanatic

    You’re welcome.

    Adjust according to the percentage discrepancy that you’re witnessing between your grill’s reported temperature and your aftermarket thermometer’s reported temperature.

    And do understand that it will never be exactly in line with your aftermarket thermometer at every point in time.
  18. Leggy

    Leggy Newbie

    So what's the verdict?
  19. No verdict yet. I did the 1 hour timer at 250 and it was off by 3%, but then I realized I should probably wait and profile it in a couple days. Dropped to freezing here overnight and I installed the blanket. I figured that might impact things some so I will check it again after my brisket is done cooking :-)
  20. sandyut

    sandyut Smoking Fanatic SMF Premier Member

    hmm 3%. I haven't tested mine. all cook times are on track with expectations.

    The bigger question - do want to feed the OCD and chase it down the rabbit hole of doom, or just enjoy.... for now, I will have a cold beer, enjoy the good cooks and pass. if something seems wrong, then might be time to check it.