Temperature Probing

  • Some of the links on this forum allow SMF, at no cost to you, to earn a small commission when you click through and make a purchase. Let me know if you have any questions about this.
SMF is reader-supported. When you buy through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission.


Original poster
Jun 12, 2023
Hi all. Smoking babyback ribs this morning. Maybe someone could help/explain this to me.

I have Thermopro dual probe (one on grate, one in ribs). I also have an instant read probe. All 3 probes were checked in boiling water, and within 3 degrees of accuracy.

The problem is (same problem I had with pork butt), I can never seem to get consistent or accurate temps. For instance, after 1 hour at 275 degrees, the rack with the thermopro probe was reading 175. I checked the other rack (that was closer to the firebox) with the instant, and it was saying 200. Is that even possible? I try temping in the center, between the bones, etc. I switched the location of the racks, and 45 minutes later they're reading 180. Should they be wrapped after only an hour?

Obviously, this is driving me crazy, as it does every time. What are some tips, tricks, etc to actually get accurate temps??
  • Like
Reactions: Redicans
You are probing ribs which don’t have a lot of meat two begin with as far as thickness to insert the probe into, so you might be poking right through where the sensor actually is…. The metal temp probes have a tiny wire that slide in them maybe yours slid alittle higher that the tip of the probes and is causing inaccuracies ……also you need to provide more details as to your setup with pictures for us to Figure out what’s going on
I never probe ribs for temp, not much there to check anyway and you don't want to touch a bone. When they start to pull back from the tips, they're usually done, maybe about 3 hours at 225℉ -250℉ cook temp or so for baby backs. If you want fall of the bone ribs, then wrap in foil after 3 hours with some butter, honey, your favorite BBQ sauce, etc., for another 1-2 hours...
I have a high end Thermapen. I use it on ribs mainly to check tenderness, but will probe in several spots to get a consensus on the temp. I think Al uses a good probe and has a go to method for consistent perfect ribs to his liking.

The real test for me it so use glove liners (cotton gloves) with rubber/latex gloves over them. Terrific for handling hot (not 400* hot) food and maintaining a textile feel. I literally pick up the rack and, well........feel em up. I like my ribs not quite at the fall off the bone stage, but when I lift and, er...feel em, I like to see a SLIGHT separation from the bone.

Also, I find temp relative for ribs, depending on the kind, brand and quality.
  • Like
Reactions: Redicans
I am by no means a master of ribs. I have made some pretty damn good racks though and that is opinions from friends.

I have never temped ribs. I look for a great color and how easy my temp probe pushes through different areas. My ribs usually finish between 5-6.5 hours depending on how meaty they are. I am always shooting for 225-250 but I get some swings outside of that and don't worry to much about it as long as my smoke is burning clean. I also look for a good bend when I pick them up from one side with tongs. I look for a bit of splitting of the bark.

Also I am smoking on a offset now so depending on what you are cooking on things could be different. I have made some tasty racks on my propane weber with a pellet tube and the little smoker box in it. Also on my Akorn. Also I don't wrap my ribs. Only did that once and I over cooked them a bit. To fall off the bone for my liking. I like a nice clean pull from the bone but also a bit of bite and chew to them.

Try a few more cooks and try not to sweat the temps to much.

SmokingMeatForums.com is reader supported and as an Amazon Associate, we may earn commissions from qualifying purchases.