Thermometers & Temperature Probes:
Stem Thermometer (1/8" Non Thread):
This is the thermometer for the drilled hole in the dome. To reduce the chance of sticking food on high grid cooks, see if you can move the thermometer’s stem bracket to the outside of the cooker. This shortens the thermometer inside the cooker. Just make sure the thermometer is far enough in the cooker to read accurately. A couple inches is plenty.
If the grid sits several inches below the thermometer, chances are the actual grid temperature will be less than the stem thermometer reading. Exactly how much less is difficult to say, there are just to many variables to consider.
Position (spin) the dome thermometer so your desired pit temperature is at the top of the dial (12 o'clock). Then it's a quick glance to confirm temperature as the need should point straight up. If it points left, temp to low. If it point right, temp to high.
Remote Sensing with Pit Probes:
Pit probes measure the cooker’s temperature and are the preferred sensing method with our pieces. Simply, they offer the greatest flexibility on probe location. Here is a quick list of the more popular brands.
- The most popular brand that only monitors pit and meat temperature is the Maverick ET series - ET73, ET732 or ET733.
- The most popular brands that monitor and control pit temperature and also monitor meat temperature(s) are: Flame Boss and Pit Master IQ.
The two most generally accepted rules for probe location are: (1) position the probe over the indirect piece and; (2) keep the probe out of direct flames. After these two, opinions on probe location are plentiful. The only advice we can offer is – using the same pit probe location for all cooks is not practical. It’s best to develop specific techniques for the various cooks: direct, indirect, single grid and multiple grids.
If you want to drive yourself crazy, use multiple pit probes. One pit probe is plenty. Just trust us on this! We recommend leaving the stem thermometer in the drilled hole. You’ll find yourself using it for quick checks and such. Plus, you will not lose it.
Here are a couple other thoughts on pit probes. Do not let the probe touch the food, it will give you false readings. We recommend at least a couple inches between probe and meat.
If you can, while the dome is open, take a quick look to see how the lump is burning. Then if required, you can re-position the set-up, food or probe. Generally, the back of the cooker will run slightly hotter than the front of the cooker, but hot spots can develop anywhere. It’s dependent on how the lump burns and where the indirect pieces are positioned.
If you want to stick each hunk of meat with a probe, feel free, but it’s really not necessary. If you only have one meat probe, we recommend using it on the smallest piece first and when it’s done, move the probe to the next smallest piece. Meat probes should not hit bone. It will give you false readings. Remember to keep the probe clean. A dirty meat probe is one of the quickest ways to get bacteria and such into the meat.
Instant Read Thermometers:
They are considered by many as a required accessory for grilling cooks. Great for steak, chicken or confirming a meat probe reading. We recommend spending the extra couple bucks for a quick sensing model. ThermoWorks’ Thermapen has a faithful following. We like the CDN Thermocouple probe TCT572. It's fast and cheaper than Thermoworks' Thermapen.
Remember to keep probes clean to avoid bacterial contamination. Last thing you want to do is get a family member or friend sick. Just as a safety precaution, we set the meat probe in the hot cooker for a minute or so to let the high heat hit the probe before sticking the meat.