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Unread 09-13-2012, 04:56 PM   #10044
Knows what a fatty is.
Join Date: 08-24-12
Location: Boston, MA
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Hello all, I have a couple of questions for you drum vets about temperatures inside a drum smoker.

I have a home-made drum smoker (you can see here) made from a 30-gallon drum. I've experimented with putting thermometers in different locations inside the drum. Two are on the side just above the grills, one is just under the lid, and another on the top grill using a clip (therm and clip from


I've noticed that the differences between each of the thermometers can swing wildly during the course of a 10-hour cook. For example, the two side therms will be 15-20 degrees apart for an hour and then slowly creep together until they're only a few degrees apart. The side therm just above the rack can be 25 degrees less than the therm on the grill, just a few inches away. I've done enough cooks to verify that this happens to some degree every time but there seems to be no pattern. For example, the side therms will be close for an hour and then go in different directions.

I've verified as well as I can that the therms are not touching the food nor are they wet from sauce/etc. The therm attached to the grill perhaps can't be trusted because it's touching metal (through the thin aluminum clip) but I would have thought after a few hours that the inside temps would have settled down.

My guess at what's going on is just pockets of (relatively) hot and cold air created by the convection of the air inside the drum. My questions are:

1) Is this a good guess?
2) Is this a problem? Do most drum smokers exhibit this behavior?
3) If it's a problem, how can I minimize it? Perhaps by rearranging the food on the racks in a different way?

I've thought that maybe insulating the drum with a blanket or cover would help but nobody else seems to be doing that so I doubt it would help.

Thanks for any help!
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