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Dome temp vs grill temp ??

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This is not really specific to KamadoJoe but since I own the BJ this is where I'll post it. I'm new to kamado style cooking but am having great success to date. Probably around 40+ cooks so I'm getting a pretty good feel for the unit and how it performs. which brings me to my question. If you have a temperature stabilized grill, and a calibrated dome thermometer to what advantage is another number?? I see a lot of reference to grill temps and the need for it but it should be all about a point of reference. I know if my grill dome is stabilized at 270 for 15 min then I'm good to go for a butt. The same for 375 and for 600 deg depending on what's cooking. My point of reference is the dome, and as long as I'm consistent in how I use it then I should get consistent results. Adding another variable to the mix seems of no value at all. 

 

Comments??

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I 100% agree with you! There are times that I'll place a grate thermometer in during a cook...but the only time I do that is when I am using probes to monitor internal temp(s) of meat. At that point I already have the thermometer out...might as well attach the grate probe ;-)

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You're entirely correct. All the measurement shows is that there is a difference between dome and grill temperature. In other words, the closer you place your hand to the fire, the hotter it'll be. Result consistency is what matters.

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OttawaP, 

 

Yes I think your correct and I depend on my dome thermometer for most cooks. However, it only works when you are standing in front of it. I generally use my remote 732 just to keep an eye on my grill when I am not standing in front of it. I set it on the coffee table while I watch football on a Saturday or Sunday cook, or carry it in my shirt pocket when I am moving around the house, at the cutting board,  or working in the garage. I find it extremely useful and set it up anytime my cook is going to go for over an hour or several hours. 

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I had posted in another area about my lasagna flop.  I went by time and several have explained the error of my ways - that It is much more important to monitor the cook and the internal temp than to say I cooked for an hour.  Some also spoke about the 375 temp I was hitting was a bit high and some indicated that the temp at grill level is different than at dome level.

 

I ended up with a POV that Ottawa points out very well in the original post.  I decided that at least for a while, I will use the ET-85 probe as a comparison to the dome thermometer so that I get a reference point.  At least until I get more experience with the grill.  Experience should allow me to set the temp at 375 or 350 or whatever on lasagna and know that I can walk away for around a half hour or 15 minutes before I check back.  Won't make the same mistake again.....

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It's not worth beating yourself up over dome vs. grate temps. As the cook stabilizes they will eventually mirror each other. As long as your dome thermometer is accurate you are good to go. I have 5 KJ dome thermometers and all five read 210*F when I place them in boiling H₂O. As long as I can trust them, I don't worry about the temperature at the grate level. After a cook stabilizes my dome thermometers and ET-732 probes at grate level will be within 2 > 3*F of each other, and sometimes both will read exact. Everytime you open the dome though, that is all out the window until the pit temp stabilizes again. 

 

.....worry more about the IT of the food, then the grate vs. dome temp!

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OttawaP - you state that you have a calibrated dome thermometer.  How do you know that this thermometer is accurate across a wide range of temps?  I bet you calibrated your thermo against water's boiling point, right?  Ok, great!  But most cheap bimetallic thermos shipped with kamados from the factory are notorious for their inaccuracies, especially as you move from your calibration point.  

 

Q: have you calibrated your dome thermo against a high quality electronic thermo across all temps you'll be cooking at?  Have you see how the dome thermo differs from an electronic that is MUCH more accurate?

 

One of the very first things I did when I recently got a new kamado was to calibrate my dome thermometer against the thermometer I use while cooking.  This was a very good bimetallic thermometer.  The great the temperature deviation from water's boiling point the great the difference between the electronic and the bimetallic.

 

Andy, I'm going to have to disagree with you.  Even tho a broken clock is right twice a day, I'll take something that works the way it should.  Given the price of meat these days ....

 

You've got the experience with your thermos.  Most newbies don't have that ...

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What type of thermometer is the Redi Chek ET-85 probe?  I am not sure what Bi- metallic means other than it is representative of the Dome Thermometers.

 

Andy,

           Believe me, I heard you on not getting hung up on Time or Grill Temp.  If I could be cooking everyday, I would not just to eat grilled food, but to gain experience.  I would cook lasagna tomorrow if I could get the family to eat it again so soon - just to try the changes I intend to make the next time.....Rob

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I like the remote Therms just because I don't miss the football games. After you cook for many years you won't need a therm you just poke it with you finger.

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OttawaP - you state that you have a calibrated dome thermometer.  How do you know that this thermometer is accurate across a wide range of temps?  I bet you calibrated your thermo against water's boiling point, right?  Ok, great!  But most cheap bimetallic thermos shipped with kamados from the factory are notorious for their inaccuracies, especially as you move from your calibration point.  

 

Q: have you calibrated your dome thermo against a high quality electronic thermo across all temps you'll be cooking at?  Have you see how the dome thermo differs from an electronic that is MUCH more accurate?

 

One of the very first things I did when I recently got a new kamado was to calibrate my dome thermometer against the thermometer I use while cooking.  This was a very good bimetallic thermometer.  The great the temperature deviation from water's boiling point the great the difference between the electronic and the bimetallic.

 

Andy, I'm going to have to disagree with you.  Even tho a broken clock is right twice a day, I'll take something that works the way it should.  Given the price of meat these days ....

 

You've got the experience with your thermos.  Most newbies don't have that ...

 

Two points CC.

 

(1)  Once my pit settles, my dome  and grate probes read with each other all through the cook.  When I use a controller that always reads along with the other two also. I don't understand how you can say bimettalics are innacurate. That is just plain wrong. Tel-Tru's guarantee their accuracy to ±1*F accuracy. Maybe you are using crap low-end bi-metals, but my KJ and Tel-Tru's read on the nads. 

(2)  Even if a dome thermometer was off 50*F....So what? With the exception of brisket, most foods will give you the same results cooked over any given 100*F range or even more. It's the IT that really matters agt the end of the cook. I have cooked pork butts and ribs at 300 > 350*F that turned out fine. 

 

Use GOOD dome thermometers, periodically test and trust them, and you will cook just fine by them. 

 

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Andy, the operative word in your previous post is GOOD.  Most dome thermometers shipped with kamados are pure crap and the poor unsuspecting public doesn't know it!  

 

The reason I say most bimetallics are inaccurate is because they are!  I've been there, don't that, and anyone who tells you the cheap bimetallics shipped from the factory are accurate is either ignorant of the facts of bimetallics, lying, or both!

 

You know it, I know it, and everyone else should know it.

 

Andy, you forget most people don't have the experience you and I have.  You periodically test your thermometers. Why?  How many people do you think even know how calibrate much less check their thermometers on a periodic basis and why you need to do that?

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OttawaP - you state that you have a calibrated dome thermometer.  How do you know that this thermometer is accurate across a wide range of temps?  I bet you calibrated your thermo against water's boiling point, right?  Ok, great!  But most cheap bimetallic thermos shipped with kamados from the factory are notorious for their inaccuracies, especially as you move from your calibration point.  

 

Q: have you calibrated your dome thermo against a high quality electronic thermo across all temps you'll be cooking at?  Have you see how the dome thermo differs from an electronic that is MUCH more accurate?

 

One of the very first things I did when I recently got a new kamado was to calibrate my dome thermometer against the thermometer I use while cooking.  This was a very good bimetallic thermometer.  The great the temperature deviation from water's boiling point the great the difference between the electronic and the bimetallic.

 

Andy, I'm going to have to disagree with you.  Even tho a broken clock is right twice a day, I'll take something that works the way it should.  Given the price of meat these days ....

 

You've got the experience with your thermos.  Most newbies don't have that ...

 

Two points CC.

 

(1)  Once my pit settles, my dome  and grate probes read with each other all through the cook.  When I use a controller that always reads along with the other two also. I don't understand how you can say bimettalics are innacurate. That is just plain wrong. Tel-Tru's guarantee their accuracy to ±1*F accuracy. Maybe you are using crap low-end bi-metals, but my KJ and Tel-Tru's read on the nads. 

(2)  Even if a dome thermometer was off 50*F....So what? With the exception of brisket, most foods will give you the same results cooked over any given 100*F range or even more. It's the IT that really matters agt the end of the cook. I have cooked pork butts and ribs at 300 > 350*F that turned out fine. 

 

Use GOOD dome thermometers, periodically test and trust them, and you will cook just fine by them. 

 

 

Exactly what you are saying has been my experience as well.  In fact, one of most popular new comers to the market is the Pit Barrel Cooker (www.pitbarrelcooker.com).  They don't even come with a thermometer.  They are marketed as one of the easiest to use "cookers" on the market, and after having owned one for almost 2 years, I couldn't agree more.  Simply hang your food inside, periodically monitor IT of meat, and pull when done... perfect results every time.

 

Like many, I used to get sooooo hung up over pit/grate temp.  That was until I learned about the importance of IT, and how little a 225 vs 275 or 375 vs 450 degree pit temp mattered.  As long as I pull the meat at the proper IT, it always come out good.

 

But at the same time, some of today's cheap therms are so far off that they can cause a cook to go south.  You expect a roast to take 2 hours, only to find out it was done at the 45 minute mark. 

 

You do have to know what you are doing ;-)

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