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Smoker temperature and thermometer question.

RexLanRexLan Posts: 868 Officer
I did a couple of Butts and some chickens yesterday and felt that they cooked MUCH to fast. Still good, but not up to speed IMO, and the butts were at 210 in 6 hours!.

Today I set the smoker up with a water pan as usual and put two known good thermometers inside the smoker about center height. One in the front left of the rack and one on the back left of the rack. I left it run for an hour to stabilize then checked my temps ... holly chit batman, not even close to what the thermometer on the front of the unit indicates. The front (normal on in the face of the door) was perfect at 225 degrees. The back one on the rack was a whopping 310 degrees and the front one on the rack was ~ 275 degrees.

So ... where do you guys check you heat in your units? It looks to me like the one in the door is almost worthless.

I didn't have any product in the smoker (or smoke) but I did have the water bath to help regulate it. I repeated the test with different temperatures and found similar errors.

Next I took the door thermometer out and calibrated it against the units I used inside and a digital unit (It was off about 25 degrees). It was 80 degrees today in the garage and all were now indicating the same thing, right at 80 degrees. I reinstalled the door thermometer and repeated the above test and got almost an identical result!

The only conclusion I can make is that the thermometer sticking through the door is not reliable .... what's you take on it?

I use a smoky mountain vertical propane unit.
Port Charlotte, Florida

Replies

  • FlashFlash Posts: 11,211 AG
    RexLan wrote: »
    I did a couple of Butts and some chickens yesterday and felt that they cooked MUCH to fast. Still good, but not up to speed IMO, and the butts were at 210 in 6 hours!.

    Today I set the smoker up with a water pan as usual and put two known good thermometers inside the smoker about center height. One in the front left of the rack and one on the back left of the rack. I left it run for an hour to stabilize then checked my temps ... holly chit batman, not even close to what the thermometer on the front of the unit indicates. The front (normal on in the face of the door) was perfect at 225 degrees. The back one on the rack was a whopping 310 degrees and the front one on the rack was ~ 275 degrees.

    So ... where do you guys check you heat in your units? It looks to me like the one in the door is almost worthless.

    I didn't have any product in the smoker (or smoke) but I did have the water bath to help regulate it. I repeated the test with different temperatures and found similar errors.

    Next I took the door thermometer out and calibrated it against the units I used inside and a digital unit (It was off about 25 degrees). It was 80 degrees today in the garage and all were now indicating the same thing, right at 80 degrees. I reinstalled the door thermometer and repeated the above test and got almost an identical result!

    The only conclusion I can make is that the thermometer sticking through the door is not reliable .... what's you take on it?

    I use a smoky mountain vertical propane unit.

    My old R2D2 built in thermo was a real hoot. Before I knew not to trust them much, I couldn't figure why my best smokes were done at 180º. Of course that was until I found out that the gauge was off by -65º.....that added up to 245º which is a pretty good smoking temp. Most of my readings come from Oven thermo's I get at Wal-mart. I hook one to each rack.
    Most smokers will have same variables in temps for each rack, front to back or top to bottom. Mainly due to air flow and the door not totally sealed. My center rack is usually -25º over my top rack. So I have a tendency to swap racks at sometime thru out the smoke. Get a good idea what your smoker's cooking temp is, then the fine tuning is the digital thermo in the meat itself, that is the final true telling factor.
    [SIGPIC][/SIGPIC]

    Never seem more learned than the people you are with. Wear your learning like a pocket watch and keep it hidden. Do not pull it out to count the hours, but give the time when you are asked. --- Lord Chesterfield
  • yak_angleryak_angler Posts: 2,585 Captain
    Built-in thermos are notoriously unreliable. I picked up a maverick wireless thermo with a dual probe that allows me to check temp at grate and food temp simultaneously that I've been real happy with.
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  • RexLanRexLan Posts: 868 Officer
    I used to use the oven thermometer but it got so fouled with the smoke it is no longer readable.

    I ordered this yesterday and that should do it I think. I also found this site for a simple modification to extend the range.
    http://www.instructables.com/id/Increasing-the-Range-of-a-Wireless-BBQ-Thermometer/

    Thanks for the tips.

    $31 / free shipping at Amazon
    Maverick Industries ET-73 Maverick RediChek Remote Wireless Smoker Thermometer
    Port Charlotte, Florida
  • FlashFlash Posts: 11,211 AG
    RexLan wrote: »
    I used to use the oven thermometer but it got so fouled with the smoke it is no longer readable.

    Smoke will do that. Give them a spray with this stuff, let it set a bit. Cleans them right up.

    roundup_0000000000002281_image_01.jpg
    [SIGPIC][/SIGPIC]

    Never seem more learned than the people you are with. Wear your learning like a pocket watch and keep it hidden. Do not pull it out to count the hours, but give the time when you are asked. --- Lord Chesterfield
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