IDEAL to Farenheit Conversion

Discussion in 'Messages for All Guests and Members' started by ddave, Mar 15, 2009.

  1. ddave

    ddave Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    I've been meaning to do this for awhile and since I had a little time, I figured I'd give it a go.

    Many of the smokers sold come with a thermo that is notoriously inaccurate. At least one company, Brinkmann, sells smokers with a dial thermo that doesn't even have numbers, just the words, WARM, IDEAL, and HOT.

    When I first got my smoker, thanks to advice from many of the folks here, I purchased a couple of digitals and mounted some dial thermos at grate level. I don't even pay attention to the stock thermo. It just covers the hole that they cut into a perfectly good lid.

    But I have often wondered . . . what would it take to get it to read IDEAL. Well, today I had a little time, so I set out to find out.

    The Setup

    For this test, I used my Brinkmann Smoke N Pit.

    This smoker has been slightly modified with a baffle, tuning plates, a sand pan on the stack end, chimney extension to grate level and two dial thermos at grate level.

    For heat, I will be using a propane Afterburner because it's easier to take the temp up and down and responds faster than charcoal.

    I will be measuring temps at the grate level with two Taylor 1470 Digital Thermometers.

    The Test

    All righty, then. The first thing I did is lit the Afterburner and let the smoker come up and stabilize to a reasonably common smoking temp. Here it is sitting at 243° firebox end and 232° stack end.

    Not too uncommon to be running the smoker in this range, depending on what your cooking. It's pretty close to the middle of the 225° to 250° range that we talk about. A lttle low for some things maybe but for purposes of demonstration, a good starting point.

    Let's see what the dial says.

    Hmm. Toward the upper end of WARM, but not in the IDEAL range yet.

    Let's see what the temps are as we move up the dial thermo scale. Here it is a little higher.

    As you can see, we're getting into the IDEAL range . . . according to the POS dial. What grate temp does that correlate to.

    YIKES!! That's a little warm for pork or beef, but we are getting into the chicken range.

    Let's go a bit higher . . .

    Getting closer to the middle and what temp is that?

    Whoa, we're good for chicken if you like crispy skin, but way too hot for most smoking.

    By now, I am having to crank up the Afterburner and it sounds like a blast furnace. I am starting to wonder if I am getting close to burning the paint off of my firebox lid. But I am curious what the temp is in the middle of the IDEAL range, so I crank it up a bit more and wait.

    Finally, the POS dial gets to the middle of the IDEAL range . . .

    And the grate temp is . . . .

    So there you have it . . . IDEAL on a Smoke N Pit thermo is around 365°. The Taylors only go to 400° and the way the Afterburner was rumbling I was afraid to try to get it to the high IDEAL range.

    All the more reason to buy some good digitals or at least a better dial for your smoker.

    Now I know why I had such a hard time seasoning it according to the manufacturer's instructions . . . and why the fire grate warped from the heat of the charcoal I was using.

    garyhibbert likes this.
  2. vtanker

    vtanker Meat Mopper

    Great info. Thank you. Question though. were did you get the burner that's welded to the expanded metal? do you have a mods thread?
  3. meowey

    meowey Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Great step by step info!!!! Just shows that we all need to check our temps with a digital!

    Take care, have fun, and do good!


  4. carpetride

    carpetride Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    I guess HOT would be for those using lighter fluid!
  5. mossymo

    mossymo Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    This thread is a perfect example of threads that should be made a STICKY. This thread proves to anyone new to smoking that just purchased a new smoker not to trust OEM thermometers that come with the smoker.

    Great experiment DDave (Points to you) !!!
  6. bbq engineer

    bbq engineer Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Great experiment DDave. Can you imagine how many meals have been ruined by those POS thermos? It has to be a staggering number.

    BBQ Eng.
  7. venture

    venture Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Nicely done and good info!

    I have found on MY CGSP and with MY mods, the stock thermo will read about 165 to 175 when I am actually in an ideal smoking range as measured with two digitals.

    I am not convinced that 5 of those cheapo stock thermos would agree even if they were placed in the same position on the same unit.

    Points to you for the informative post.
  8. ddave

    ddave Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Thanks for all the nice comments, folks.

    The burner is an Afterburner H from It comes with the regulator hose and drops right in the firebox. They make them for all kinds of smokers.

    I don't have a single mods thread because I did them all over a period of time with some trial and error along the way [​IMG] but I would be happy to answer any specific questions you may have.

    I'd have to agree with you there. You can buy a replacement WARM/IDEAL/HOT thermo from Brinkmann for $2.95. [​IMG] I guess they are not very proud of them either. They do put some better thermos on the higher end units, but you can get a good thermo for $30. Not a real good place for the manufacturer to cut costs in my opinion. Kind of puts their customer at a disadvantage right out the gate.

  9. bwsmith_2000

    bwsmith_2000 Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Good job! I love your post. Points to you.
  10. Outstanding!!!
  11. tasunkawitko

    tasunkawitko Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    dave -

    i tried this last summer with the POS indicator on my SnP. my readings had a temperature of 245 (on the grate) when the needle was pointed at the dot right between the french and english IDEAL, which is just about where i like to smoke, but of course toward the L of the french IDEAL it got much too warm.

    if you look on the back of the POS gauge, you'll notice a little adjusting nut. i i arranged mine so that it was at 260 on the L of the french IDEAL. i figured that way, if it ever got above the word IDEAL, i'd know that i am smoking hotter than i want to. from there, i observed what the temps were at different letters in both the english and french IDEAL. throughout the summer, the readings wre fairly consistent, so it was pretty reliable and i was able to make adjsutments accordingly.

    i assume that all of the POS indicators have this adjusting nut. with a pair of pliers you can turn that POS into something that is still a POS, but it will at least give a person an INDICATION of what's going on.
  12. ddave

    ddave Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    I did not realize that. That's not a bad idea.

  13. tasunkawitko

    tasunkawitko Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    well, by that logic, what does your OP in this topic get you, other than confirming what we all already know about the IDEAL indicator?
  14. ddave

    ddave Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    You now know it and I now know it because we tested it. But the guy with the brand new smoker may not know it. Those are the people I was trying to help out.

  15. Thank you for this! I think you answered my question as to why my first 2 attempts were a bust on my new charbroil horizontal off set smoker.
  16. garyhibbert

    garyhibbert Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Hey Dave, GREAT post.  It will give a lot of new smokers a fighting chance and explain to a lot of others why they're having so much trouble with their smokes.



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