Saturday, March 31, 2012

Barbecue Secret Number 4 - Know The Temperature at the Grate

Thermometer Probe at Grate Level
Do know what the temperature is inside your grill or smoker where your meat is cooking? If you are not using an accurate thermometer mounted about 1 inch above or below (preferably above) the cooking grate in your cooker, you probably don't. A lot of grills and smokers you buy nowadays usually have a thermometer mounted in the lid. There are usually two big problems with that situation. The first problem is, in many instances, the thermometer that comes as an accessory that's mounted in the cooker's lid is usually inaccurate. I have seen those stock thermometers be inaccurate by as much as 75 degrees F. The second big problem is, the stock thermometers are usually in the wrong place to be of much good. Why do you care what the temperature is near the top of the lid? Are you cooking anything up there? Also, heat rises. So, even if the thermometer is accurate it will probably read anywhere from 25 to 50 degrees F higher than the temperature is down at the grate level where the food is actually cooking.

Barbecue Secret Number 4 - Make sure you know exactly what the temperature is in your cooker where the food is sitting.

To be able to measure the temperature in your cooker at the grate level where the food is located, you will need an accurate thermometer that you can mount about 1 inch above the grate. An accurate oven thermometer that sits on the grate can work if you are on a budget. Otherwise, I'd recommend that you pick up a digital thermometer that has a probe specially made for measuring temperature inside a barbecue cooker. There are several good brands and models available. One that I often use is the Maverick ET-732. It has a probe for the cooker and another probe for the meat. And, it comes with a wireless remote receiver that lets you monitor temperatures while inside your home.

Maverick ET-732 Wireless Remote Thermometer
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