Who else only uses a pit thermometer?

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by danbury, Jul 26, 2014.

  1. danbury

    danbury Smoking Fanatic

    Just curious as to how many of you who have cooked so much meat on your pits over the years and know your pits so well that you only use a pit thermometer and only take the temp. of the meat when you know it's almost done if at all?

    The only time I use a meat thermometer of any kind any more is when I do whole pork butts for pulled pork and then I only use it when I'm pretty sure the meat is close to being done.  I guess after so many hundreds of lbs. of bbq over the years it becomes second nature.
  2. dirtsailor2003

    dirtsailor2003 Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    I always use a pit therm to monitor the chamber temp.

    For large cuts like roasts, butts, whole chickens, turkeys I use a therm. For smaller things like steaks, chops, burgers, chicken parts etc I go by feel and sight.
  3. daveomak

    daveomak Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    After a few hundred smokes.... you can tell how done the meat is by looking at it or by a finger poke to test the "resistance" of the meat... or the infamous "toothpick" test....
    demosthenes9 likes this.
  4. damon555

    damon555 Smoking Fanatic

    Knowing how much my pit thermometer is off and using a BBQ guru controller I never actually put a therm in the pit any more...Granted the Guru is keeping track but it doesn't have a digital display......but I know it's right on so I let it ride. I'm not as seasoned as many of the guys here but having done dozens of smokes I don't bother keeping tabs on the meat throughout the smoke. After some experience I've learned when to start checking the final product.
  5. noboundaries

    noboundaries Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    I could absolutely smoke by using just the lid thermo on my WSM. Once you've smoked a few of everything, you can do it by feel alone with just a lid or pit therm and a toothpick.   

    I do love the convenience of wireless though even though I use a Guru nowadays.  I can look at the receiver and know exactly what is going on with the meat. 
  6. fatty patty

    fatty patty Fire Starter

    My grate thermometer is often times 50 degrees cooler than wsm lid therm which I don't trust at all. Love my digital therm and receiver but wouldn't buy a maverick due to poor quality of probes .
  7. dirtsailor2003

    dirtsailor2003 Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    I've had my 732 Mav for over 5 years and have never had a problem with the probes. Until I purchased my IGrill a few years ago it was my go to therm. Still use it when I need more probes and they still work great. That said they have been 2-3 degrees off from the start which is acceptable. The iGrill probes were spot in when tested.
  8. hdflame

    hdflame Meat Mopper

    I've been wanting to get something like the GURU for mine but have been thinking about getting the Maverick ET-733 Long Range Digital Wireless Meat Thermometer because of it's long range and wireless feature.  I've been using one of the Maverick...I think ET73.  It's about 3 years old and the wireless unit doesn't pick up very far now.  I'm hoping the longer range and higher temp probe of the 733 will be better.

    I think even if I get the GURU the convenience of the wireless would be nice.  I also use the Thermopen and love it.
  9. noboundaries

    noboundaries Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    The wireless features of the Mavs are great. If I was choosing between on or the other, buy the Maverick.

    Don't buy the Guru for its food temp features.  Buy it as a chamber temp controller because that's where it really shines.  Since you have a Thermopen you might run into the same issues I've had with my Maverick vs Guru.  After dozens upon dozens of Maverick smokes I know exactly what is going on with the meat by the Mav food probe.  The algorithm is different for the Guru though and it's food temp readout doesn't match the Maverick when both are stuck in the same piece of meat.  The Guru reads lower than the Mav. 

    Since I've started using the Guru I've noticed something interesting about the lid therm readings compared to the grate readings.  In the past, my lid therm read 20-30 degrees hotter than the grate temps.  Now the lid therm will vary from 0F difference from the grates up to 40 degrees cooler, and often on the same smoke!   

    The Mav and Guru grate temps match exactly 95% of the time or are within just a few degrees of each other.  The Mav has a more responsive algorithm whereas the Guru has more of an averaging algorithm.   I haven't quite figured out what is going on with the lid therm but I have to believe it has to do with air mixing from the Guru and the chimney effect of forced air.       

    Thermometers, guaranteed to drive you insane if you let them. 
  10. hickorybutt

    hickorybutt Smoking Fanatic

    My maverick started giving me trouble last month, and I have since done my last two smokes with just the lid thermometer and did just fine.  Granted the lid therm. I have is "after market" and is a tel-tru, so it isn't cheap.  But I think I'll just stick with this moving forward instead of relying solely on a digital.  I'd rather be confident in my lid therm. than have my digital die on me during a smoke and be up a creek.

    As for not using a meat thermometer, I'm not quite there yet...  I think I could do a pork shoulder without a meat therm using the shoulder bone test, but a brisket is a different story.
    Last edited: Jul 29, 2014
  11. danbury

    danbury Smoking Fanatic

    For cooking pork butts over night I use my wireless Mav. but only the pit temp and put the receiver by my bed.  For everything else that takes a few hours I just use one of those long probed turkey frying thermometers and stick it down to 1/2" below grate level through the exhaust on my dome lid on my UDS.  Works for me.  Would really like to get one of those Gurus someday.
  12. venture

    venture Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    I know so much about how far my smoker pit stock therm is off that I can mentally adjust.  But I still use a pit them.

    Justin Wilson said he was a safety engineer.  He always wore a belt AND suspenders.  [​IMG]

    For the meat, sometimes I use no therm.  Sometimes I use a remote (easy cause my remote therm has a pit probe and a meat probe).  If using a meat probe, when done, I always double check in a couple of places with an instant read therm if it is a piece of meat I think needs it.

    On the grill?  I can't remember the last time I used a therm?

    Good luck and good smoking.
    Last edited: Jul 29, 2014

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