On the dial thermo with the 12 inch stem, I think the best placement is to have the pointed tip about an inch below the cooking grate. That way you are measuring the air temp that is going to hit the meat. I know that the dial thermo in the center of my domed lid that reads temps above the meat is usually about 40-50F cooler than the long stem under the grate. Actually together, they give a pretty good idea of what's going on in the drum. Just my .02.