Temp measuring question

Discussion in 'Meat Thermometers' started by iharris278, Jan 4, 2010.

  1. I was wondering where you measure the temp?
    next to, under, on top? Each spot is different, so whats the place to use?
  2. rickw

    rickw Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    If you mean the temp of the smoker it should be measured at grate level.
  3. ciolli

    ciolli Meat Mopper

    Grate level as previously mentioned. You do not want to put it on the grate though. A lot of folks around here use a piece of wood or other object to stick the probe through so it is not touching the grate, but at grate level. Hope that helps.
  4. Thanks. Will try that next smoke.
  5. hoser

    hoser Smoking Fanatic SMF Premier Member

    Yep...set it up something like this
  6. bbqhead

    bbqhead Smoking Fanatic

    something you can do is make a map of your cooker temps. do like they said in above answers but move probe around to see your hot spots and cool spots,left to right,front to back. then each shelf, the best thing to know is your temps in all spaces inside.
  7. mballi3011

    mballi3011 Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    In the beginning of a smoke I will have one unit down low and then the other unit up high and see whats the differance if and how much that is in my Smoke Vault 24". Then I move them both to the shelfs that the meat is on and if I'm using more than one shelf I will get it on the lower of the two.
  8. Can I ask why the probe can't rest on the shelf?
    I have noticed most of you use a wood block and have often wondered why.

    Typically, I hang mine free (wrap cord once around dowel to keep it from droping), but I am using using dowels to hang sausage.
  9. smokin' dick

    smokin' dick Smoking Fanatic

    The temp of the grate will be much higher than the surrounding air, so if the probe is touching metal the thermometer will be reading really high temps. You will compensate by lowering the fire, resulting in a too cool cooker and a cook time measured in years. To dramatize this heat your smoker to 225*. Now open the cooker and wave a bare hand it around in there. Probably feels warm. Now take that same hand and grab a grate. Dang hot, isn't it!
  10. I have heard this before, but I don't buy it.
    The metal can not get hotter then the surrounding air temp.

    What it can do is conduct heat quicker as well as have thermal mass. But it doesn't get hotter than the surrounding air.

    Your analogy works only because the heat from the grill conducts quickly to your fingers. Also, you are cooling the air imediately when you open the cooker.
  11. Also,
    I have used several Oven Therms (they are encased in metal and resting on the metal rack) and compared to my digitals and do not see a difference.

    That being said, the free hanging digital cools pretty quick when you open the smoker due to cool air. But the grate temp should still be close to the average temp due to the theramal mass.

    My guess is that people use the wood block so they get quicker measurements when they make tweaks to their smoker. This will give you a more current air temp rather than a slower moving grate temp due to the grate's thermal mass.
  12. One last thought.
    I suppose because a metal grate conducts heat extremely well, if you want to meause the temp at a location, you want the probe off the grill.
    Otherwise you will be getting heat conduction from all around the grill and not be acurately measuing the hot/cold spots.
  13. gnubee

    gnubee Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    I stick a probe into the thickest part of the meat and then I stick a couple of regular oven thermometers in the rack right beside the meat. I have six of them so I can have 2 per rack when I am using all 3 racks in my smoker. At $5.00 each its pretty cheap insurance that the temps are correct. There is a definite hot spot in My MES so I avoid putting anything there if I can. If I need all that space I rotate the meats once during the smoke.

    You're right about the metal not being hotter than the oven temp. That's not the reason for isolating the probe tip though.
    By having the probe stuck through a piece of wood or a potato so the actual sensor tip is touching just air not metal you can see a sharp drop or increase in temperature as it occurs. With the tip touching metal the sensor will not change temps any where nearly as fast so you can be getting a false reading of the oven temp for quite a while while the metal slowly cools or heats up.
  14. Yep,
    I had the same thought.
    You get quicker evaluations of temp changes in the air. Also, I thought you will get better meaurements of hot spots since the grate will tend to equilize across its surface due to its high conductivity.
  15. The reason I originally asked this is when I smoked a brisket I moved the thermometer several times. left side furthest from heat right on grill was 312 deg. Under meat was about 150 deg. Above meat was about 170deg. After I wrapped in foil, I balanced the thermometer on the right side nearest the heat and it was 220. This was just above the grill, but not touching the grill.

    Next time i'll setup thermometers on wood on either side. See what the difference in temp is side to side.

    BTW the grill thermometer was just below 200. Outside temp was about 20 deg.
  16. gene111

    gene111 Smoking Fanatic

    At times i have uses a ball of reynolds wrap & poked the probe through it so tip is not touching anything & laid it on the grate seems to work ok. i've checked it with the outside gauges & they stay within a few degrees of each other.
  17. twanger1994

    twanger1994 Fire Starter

    Have you ever sat on a metal slide in the summer... or that same slide in the winter... I bet the metal is not the same temp. as the air's ambient temp.
  18. Solar effect.

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