Help with thermometers

Discussion in 'Meat Thermometers' started by kurd2408, Aug 27, 2014.

  1. Hello all,

    I'm brand new to the forum (will be sure to fill out roll call) and also brand new to smoking. I've been learning all kinds of things from this forum before I bought my smoker and since. Only got one smoke under my belt and that was burgers for lunch today. They turned out awesome couldn't be happier with them. I have a question about my some thermometer problems. I have an Oklahoma Joe's Highland with some mods done. Gasket on doors, sealant joing fire box, raised charcoal grate, lowed smoke stack, and cheap cookie sheet baffle. When doing my burgers today I was getting many different temps. I was using lump charcoal with apple wood and shooting for 225. My master forge digital was in the middle in a potato with plenty of the tip sticking out. I had dial oven therms on the left and right plus the one in the lid. Now I know the lid one is cheap and doesn't give temp at meat level but here is my problem. The digital at grate level was reading 270, the oven one on the left would read 225 and the one on the right 230. My baffle and water pan seam to work well. but I can't figure out why the large difference between the digital and two seperate oven thermometers. Plus while the lid one shouldn't be trusted I do know it should read the highest since heat rises but it was reading 250. The worst thing is after reading this I know it sounds like everything is working but the digital but, I both ice water tested,about 6 degrees high, and boil tested, right on the money, the digital so I have no idea. I can't test the oven ones cause they can't be submerged. Is it really possible that all 3 of the other therms are off? 

    Thanks for your help. Will add additional info if needed. 
  2. grillmonkey

    grillmonkey Smoking Fanatic

    Digital technology is such these days that I'm sure if you boil tested it to be accurate, it was accurate throughout its range. So, the conclusion would be that the dial therms were inaccurate and couple that with temp variations in the cook chamber and you get widely varying readings. I would say place your two oven therms adjacent to your digital with your smoker at the average temp that you plan to smoke at. If there is any variation, record it and reposition the oven therms to each side and allowing for the inaccuracy, you will have a fair idea of how evenly your heat is being distributed. 

    Is there a better, more accurate way? Yes. But working with what you have, the heat distribution can be determined closely enough that you can get your smoker tuned properly.
  3. Great. I did a couple beer can chickens saturday and took your advice to trust the digital. Glad I did. Kept it 300 degrees and above, by the digital, the whole time and they were done with crispy skin in 2hrs. the whole time the oven dials said about 250 and the lid said 275 but from what I've read they would not have been done that fast if those were right. Thanks for the help monkey.
  4. wade

    wade Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Glad they worked out Kurd.

    Beer can chickens are quite forgiving though where temperature is concerned. You probably need to continue taking Grillmonkey's advice over the next few cooks just to make sure you are comfortable which of your thermometers is accurate and that your smoker is tuned.

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