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Q-talk *ON TOPIC ONLY* QUALITY ON TOPIC discussion of Backyard BBQ, grilling, Equipment and just outdoor cookin' in general, hints, tips, tricks & techniques, success, failures... but stay on topic. And watch for that hijacking.


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Unread 05-04-2010, 10:30 AM   #1
Dylan's Dad
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I just finished up my UDS enough to do a seasoning run and see how she does last night.

I used a 12" stick thermometer as well as both probes on my new Redi-Check Smoker. I placed both the food and the smoker probe at the same level and area on the grate in the center about an inch above the stick thermometer. They were both pierced thru a potato with no part of the probes contacting any metal.

Temps were all over the place at the beginning with the food probe running 25 deg higher than the pit probe. After about 9 hours they caught up to being within 15 deg of each other but still were running 20 deg cooler than my stick thermometer no more than 1 inch below. I also had a 16" pizza stone acting as a baffle so it's not like they were directly over the coals below.

My first thought was that the probes on the remote were no good, but today I ran all three thru the boiling water test and they were all within 2 deg of each other. I am more concerned with the two remote probes being so off during the cook when they were both in the exact same spot. Any ideas??

Does the pit probe measure heat the entire length of the probe or just the tip like the meat probe? I just can't find or understand the reason the two would be so off from one another.
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Unread 05-04-2010, 11:21 AM   #2
Smoke & Beers
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I've found that my UDS temps can vary 25 to 30° from spot to spot in my drums and they are more erratic in the first hour or so...but 9 hours (edit...if you didn't have any meat in the drum, this might be part of the issue...the meat absorbs the heat and helps stabilize the temps throughout the drum)
I think the drum works more like a convection oven too...I've had temps reading higher on my top rack than on my lower rack (7" lower) at times...but not always.
Main thing to do is get some cooks under your belt and basically figure out your drum, how it reacts to how much air your letting in on the inlets, what the weather is like outside (cold, windy) and how often you are peeking inside... and remember, your temps will drop once you put meat in it and I've found they usually settle down then and become more constant.
Take notes on all of this until you are really comfortable with it... I hardly ever use probes anymore unless competing or really overloading my drum.
Good Luck...and remember that this is the fun part of it
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Unread 05-04-2010, 11:34 AM   #3
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You will drive yourself to an early grave if keep playing with multiple thermometers in a cooker. There are just too many variables impacting heat and airflow to achieve constant temperatures across a grid.

Stem thermomters read temp at one location along the stem. Depending on the type, design and manufacturer dictates where the actual sensing location is positioned. I just go by the general rule the sensing is done within 1/2" from the point.

You would think two probes directly next to each other would read same temps, but I can only get that to happen with thermocouples on my datalogger.... mix matched probes almost always give me mix matched results, even when clipped to each other. Go figure........... t
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Unread 05-04-2010, 11:45 AM   #4
Dylan's Dad
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Thanks for the insight. I'll throw a butt on it Thursday, trust the probes, and see what happens.
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Unread 05-04-2010, 12:53 PM   #5
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I've had my redi-chek be way off in the meat. I only use it now going down the stack to get an idea of the temps inside without opening.

The Red Thermapen is all I use for meat temps now. I is very accurate.
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Unread 05-04-2010, 02:26 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dylan's Dad View Post
Thanks for the insight. I'll throw a butt on it Thursday, trust the probes, and see what happens.
If you were really interested, you could do the bisquit test and see exactly where the hot spots were.
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Unread 05-04-2010, 08:33 PM   #7
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Dude, this is drum cooking. Don't over-think it. Just use it and see how things work. Pick a spot near the cooking level for drum temps and just go with it. Do a bisquit test. You'll likely see that they all look about the same.

I useed to try to figure out which temp to go by. Then I realized, the Q I'm making is really REALLY good. I ended up enjoying it more by not worrying so much about things and just going by "feel". I still look at the thermometer on my drum, but I'm never surprised by what it says. You'll get the "feel" of your drum by using it. Just find a spot for your thermometer. If it seem that you wanna cook at higher heat, you have a thermometer as a reference point. Doesn't really matter if each square inch of what you are cooking is seeing the same temp.

Good luck!
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Unread 05-04-2010, 09:03 PM   #8
Bbq Bubba
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If turkey thermo reads 250, your cooking at 250. Don't overthink it.
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