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Dome thermometer off by 30-40F


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I tested mine against my ThermaQ and the grate temp was 60 degrees higher than the dome temp throughout a 12 hour low and slow cook. It sounds like Kamado Joe is slacking in the quality of their thermometers. I haven’t contacted them about it yet but I intend to. 

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Andy on your 12 hour smoke the grate temp was heated by the deflector plate and will be hotter due to be in the line of fire(no pun intended)from the charcoal. This radiates heat into the dome air and along with the heat that rises around the deflector plate combine to make the dome temp which is controlled some what by the top vent. This heated air heats the dome ceramics. This is what the kamado thermometer reads, and will usually be different than grate temp. 

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This is a pretty interesting thread. I just got into Kamado cooking this past spring, so I’m still learning. I haven’t tested my Smoke thermometer at the dome, so I don’t know how close it would be to the KJ dome thermometer. I’ll do that once I get a clip to hold it there. However, I had read/seen that grate temp is often lower than dome temp, which is the nature of Kamado cookers because of how well they retain heat, but that’s not what I’m seeing in this thread. On the few occasions that I’ve used a grate temp in my Kamado, my grate temp has shown to be lower than my dome temp, which synchs with what I’ve read. For example, when I cooked beef ribs recently, the grate temp was 225° while dome temp registered 240°. It’s not enough of a variance to worry about, but a variance nonetheless. If it was due to the meat affecting the grate temp measurement, it held that way for nearly 10 hours. When I raised the temp towards the end of the cook, both dome and grate were within 3° of each other in the 250° range, which I thought was odd.

 

I’m trying to wean myself off of the grate temp measurement, since that’s the advice of most experienced Kamado cooks. :-)

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4 hours ago, len440 said:

Andy on your 12 hour smoke the grate temp was heated by the deflector plate and will be hotter due to be in the line of fire(no pun intended)from the charcoal. This radiates heat into the dome air and along with the heat that rises around the deflector plate combine to make the dome temp which is controlled some what by the top vent. This heated air heats the dome ceramics. This is what the kamado thermometer reads, and will usually be different than grate temp. 

I fully understand the grate temp is going to be higher but 60 degrees difference is not right. Maybe if I had the deflector in and running at 400+ degrees I would expect a fairly large variation but at 225 and having 12 hours to even out something is wrong. I actually contacted Kamado Joe customer service yesterday and got an automated email response saying they were sending me a new thermometer. The fact that they have an automated response to this claim in place indicates this is a common problem with these. I am considering buying a teltru to compare it against. 

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I think you can adjust the thermometer to real 212 in boiling water. Interesting thought about the deflector temp, I may have to check it when I do ribs or a butt again. But don't forget after 12 hrs. and the dome reads 225 the charcoal will be hotter than 250, and the deflector is closer to it. Glad your getting a new thermometer from KJ , Keep us posted on how the calibration is. 

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On 8/7/2021 at 7:03 AM, jark87 said:

This is a pretty interesting thread. I just got into Kamado cooking this past spring, so I’m still learning. I haven’t tested my Smoke thermometer at the dome, so I don’t know how close it would be to the KJ dome thermometer. I’ll do that once I get a clip to hold it there. However, I had read/seen that grate temp is often lower than dome temp, which is the nature of Kamado cookers because of how well they retain heat, but that’s not what I’m seeing in this thread. On the few occasions that I’ve used a grate temp in my Kamado, my grate temp has shown to be lower than my dome temp, which synchs with what I’ve read. For example, when I cooked beef ribs recently, the grate temp was 225° while dome temp registered 240°. It’s not enough of a variance to worry about, but a variance nonetheless. If it was due to the meat affecting the grate temp measurement, it held that way for nearly 10 hours. When I raised the temp towards the end of the cook, both dome and grate were within 3° of each other in the 250° range, which I thought was odd.

 

My experience has been that the grate temp is lower than the dome temp. It will always be different, but as long as they are in the same zone, I think I am fine. I need a consistency when I read the dome temp, I should be able to trust that the food is in the same zone. Does not have to be exact.

 

To avoid confusion, I suggest to do a dry run, try to hit and maintain a temperature without any food inside. You can have some ideas on how your kamado behaves.  

 

After replacing the KJ thermometer with Tel-Tru, it shows the predictable behavior, the dome temp is higher than grate, and they are consistent when I clipped the Maverick probe to the dome probe. 

 

I emailed KJ support with pictures on how I clip the thermometer, the diff between Maverick and KJ. They said it is not normal. They are sending me a replacement.

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