Digital Thermometers Necessary?

Discussion in 'Meat Thermometers' started by onoku, Mar 5, 2011.

  1. onoku

    onoku Smoke Blower

    The majority of posts I see dealing with thermometers are digital this, remote that. What about a good old fashioned analog thermometer? I am a bit of a cheapo (I can't help it, I'm young and married), and I would rather not spend 50 bucks on a thermometer at the moment. Do constant updates on meat temperature really matter? Or when I think I am done, can I just stick an analog in it to make sure?
  2. les3176

    les3176 Master of the Pit

    You can use the cheap oven thremos too some of us just like to have the ability to have constant readings at our sides with out having to opening the smoker thus loseing heat. As long as the thremo that you use is accurate just use what ever you want.
  3. tyotrain

    tyotrain Master of the Pit

    Temperature control is the most important aspect of successful smoking. By using one thermometer to keep track of the smoker temperature and another thermometer to check the food temperature, this is the most important  thing when it comes to BBQ[​IMG]
  4. beer-b-q

    beer-b-q Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Any good Accurate Meat Thermometer will work, some of us just like all the newest toys, and digital works for us and doesn't interrupt our watching ball games and taste testing the malt products advertised on those games as much by not having to run and check the temps... [​IMG]
  5. bamaboy

    bamaboy Meat Mopper SMF Premier Member

    [​IMG]I did it for years without a remote thermometer until I joined this glorious web there is no way I would try smoking with out therms are not the best but they are accurate and make life so much can buy one at wally world for 16 dollars that works well,              what ever you decide to go with,be sure to check it with boiling water...
    Last edited: Mar 6, 2011
  6. rbranstner

    rbranstner Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    My thoughts exactly. As long as you know for sure you are at a certain temp then it doesn't matter what kind of thermometer you use. Also just as important is knowing the internal temp of the meat so you know when it is done and that is was safely cooked. A digital thermometer is much easier for monitoring internal temps of meat because you don't have to open the smoker all the time to get a reading on the meat. Do you have to use one? No. Is it easier? In my opinion. Heck yea! What ever way you go is fine as long as your thermometers are accurate. As was mentioned above you can usually get a good digital thermometer at you local stores for under $20. It may not be wireless but hey that's just an added luxury.
  7. smokinal

    smokinal Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator OTBS Member ★ Lifetime Premier ★

    What Ross said. X2
  8. onoku

    onoku Smoke Blower

    Once again, it seems I've forgotten my pledge to stop buying cheap junk and to start buying quality stuff that will last. I should probably just pay a few more bucks and get a digital thermo... my inner cheapskate often takes over.
  9. dnovotny

    dnovotny Smoke Blower

    again you can get something nice at a cheap price if you know where to look

    go to amazon ,ebay,  sears, target website and sometime you can get

    a good deal.. i use a remote one just because i can go in the house

    and have it with  me at all times...just a thought
  10. the dude abides

    the dude abides Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    You can use any thermometer you want. A couple of things for you to consider though...

    You must make sure that whatever you use is calibrated to make sure you're getting an accurate reading. Because of the cost, digital is usually more accurate. But not always true. The other consideration when using an analog for internal meat temps is those take a while to register. So you're going to either going to have the lid lifted for an extended period and you'll be taking it in and out all the time. So this isn't a great method for keeping chamber temps up.

    It'll work. Just know that there are easier and more effective methods.
  11. smokingeagle

    smokingeagle Smoke Blower

    I have two mavrick et-73 used them today for first time in my uds and love them.
  12. realtorterry

    realtorterry Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Exactly what eagle said. Those mavericks are cheap 30-35 & will last you awhile. I'm pretty cheap to ( don't tell the wife ) but these are just little comforts that are just worth it. Also IF you go past a good moist internal temp you could make something that would have been soooo juicy & tender, dry & tuff!
  13. onoku

    onoku Smoke Blower

    Well it seems you all have convinced me, so now I am looking up thermometers. I've seen a lot of people recommending the Mav e-73s, but what about these two?


    CDN Proaccurate

    They both have pretty good reviews and are at least $10 cheaper. What do you think?
  14. venture

    venture Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    I would recommend spending a couple more bucks and getting the new ET 732.  Range is greater and the reviews are much better.  I love mine which I bought from Scott at Amazen.  If you want to go cheaper, there are $15 probe models from Wallyworld or almost any place else, but they are not a true remote. Also, you will want more than one, and then your price is up there. The cheaper probe models served me well until the 732 replaced the questionable ET 73, when I took the plunge.

    Good luck and good smoking!
  15. Onoku,

    I use one Maverick ET-73, the nice thing about it is it has two probes that measure different things and is also a remote so you will not be tied down to the smoker every minute during a smoke.  One probe you hang inside your cooking chamber to monitor the cooking chamber temperature which is very important.  The other probe is used after you get your meat through the safe meat zone which is from 40 degrees to 140 degrees in 4 hours or less ( you will want to read more about this in the food safety section of this site).  You can insert this probe into your meat to monitor the temperature once it has been smoking for a while and then leave it in place to let you know what the internal temperature of your meat is thus knowing when it is done.  It is much more important to cook your meat by temperature instead of time when cooking low and slow.  The ET-73 is also a remote thermometer so you can hook your remote on your belt and go into your house and do other things within 100 feet of your Smoker, (give or take a few feet and depending on what kind of house you live in).  This type of thermometer will run you between $30 and $35 dollars and if you take care of it, it will last a long time.  I find that for my use this little jewel does the trick and I have not had any problems with the one I have now or the one I wore out (not completely it's 3 or 4 years old, but I need to get new probes and wires) on my smoker at my lake house.  The reason I like this one, it's reasonable priced, it does what I need it to do, it does not tie me up to the smoker and it works well.  I like it and it did not break the bank!

    Another thing that was mentioned in all of the above post was that you need to make sure what ever you use is calibrated but it seems no one told you how to tell if your thermometer was right or wrong.  It is easy, water boils at 212 degrees.  So put a pot of water on the stove, bring it to a boil and insert your thermometer, it should read somewhere close to 212 degrees give or take a bit for minerals in the water, hardness of the water, suspended solids, city or well water etc.  If it is reading correctly it will be somewhere around 212 degrees.

    Now, you have a lot of information, check out some more information here and check the sites that sell different styles and types of thermometers look at what each one does and remember you need to know, one way or the other, what the cooking chamber temperature is and what the internal temperature of your meat is, with that in mind study, look, read and decide what will work for you. Onoku, we are so glad to have you with us here at SMF and we want to be of help but in doing so we do not wish to confuse you. Don't weigh what I say above what others say, find out for yourself and use us as information in making your decision.

    If no one has mentioned it to you yet, please consider the FREE 5 DAY E-COURSE that is offered here on Smoking Meat.  I had been smoking meat for about 6 years when I got it and I really learned so much from it, a lot of things that I had never even though about.  All you have to do is sign up for it and it will be sent to you every day for 5 days, if it misses a day contact Jeff and he will see you get what you need.  Another thing Onoku, the only dumb question that you can ask the one you do not ask.  Let us know what you decide.

    Your SMF Friend,

    Barry  [​IMG]
  16. sqwib

    sqwib Smoking Guru OTBS Member

  17. chefrob

    chefrob Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    i guess i will be the one to go against the gain here..................

    without knowing yer smoker, food knowledge, common sence.....etc, what ever happened to good old fashion BBQ skills. do you really need to know that yer smoke chamber is at 240 and not 260? do we not know how to manage a fire to get the desired temps. how did our elders ever pass this skilled tradition on to us with out 2 or sometimes 3 digital AND wireless probes sticking out of our smokers that look like a set up from kennedy space center ready for a launch! i cook for a living and and all i have is a regular dial thermo that i calabrate once a week and i only use on large pieces of meat. Onoku, use what works for you best and know yer equipment and methods..........and Sqwib posted a great deal!
  18. smokinal

    smokinal Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator OTBS Member ★ Lifetime Premier ★

    I think what you say is spot on for someone with your experience, but for a beginning BBQ'er the more help he has regulating the pit temp, & knowing when food is done, by knowing the exact internal meat temp the better his BBQ will be. Yes the longer he uses his smoker the more insight he will acquire and he may not have to rely on the gadgets , that most of us use to make BBQ'ing a little easier. Plus dang Rob we like our toys!  [​IMG]
    Last edited: Mar 7, 2011
  19. onoku

    onoku Smoke Blower

    Well maybe I'll try and convince my wife to let me get an et-73... I should be able to get away with it since it is for cooking and she is still in a bit of shock at my sudden interest in cooking.
  20. bearcarver

    bearcarver Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    People that don't use the available therms amaze me.

    They are either 10 times better at this stuff than I am, or they could be taking unnecessary chances.

    I couldn't live without the modern conveniences of remote therms, because I got enough other things to worry about other than what temp the smoker & the meat is at given times.

    Remotes give you the benefit of knowing the temps without opening the door, which is a real good thing when smoking.

    My two Piasters,


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