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WSM Different Temps Across Grilling Surface

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  • hamiljockey
    Club Member
    • Jul 2016
    • 2
    • Reston, VA

    WSM Different Temps Across Grilling Surface

    I have a weber smokey mountain and have been noticing varying temperatures depending on where I place my probe. Right now, I have 5 probes on the top grate. 2 from a Maverick ET-733, two from the Ivation version of the Maverick, and one from the Auber temperature controller. I calibrated 4 probes in ice water and boiling water and all of them gave identical readings. I normally use the clip that attaches to the grill grate and place it about two inches from the edge of the smoker. Right now, I am seeing the following temps:
    180 (close to ribs but not touching) -
    210
    221
    208
    224

    I expected the probe near the ribs to be cooler than the others, but I didn't expect a 16 degree difference between probes. The 208 and 224 are equally distant from both the meat and the edge of the grate.

    How do you decide where to put the probe, or which reading I should use? It would be cool to have a meathead article about the science of where exactly to place probes.

    Thanks,
    Brendan
  • DWCowles
    Founding Member
    • Jul 2014
    • 9706
    • Smiths Grove, Ky
    • Hi, my name is Darrell. I'm an OTR truck driver for over 25 years. During my off time I love doing backyard cooks. I have a 48" Lang Deluxe smoker, Rec-Tec pellet smoker,1 Weber Genesis 330, 1 Weber Performer (blue), 2 Weber kettles (1 black and 1 Copper), 1 26" Weber kettle, a WSM, 8 Maverick Redi Chek thermometers, a PartyQ, 2 SnS, Grill Grates, Cast Iron grates, 1 ThermoPop (orange) and 2 ThermoPens (pink and orange) and planning on adding more cooking accessories. Now I have an Anova sous vide, the Dragon blower and 2 Chef alarms from Thermoworks.

    #2
    Welcome hamiljockey I placed the probe about 2" from the meat

    Comment

    • MBMorgan
      Club Member
      • Sep 2015
      • 6252
      • Colorado
      • > Weber Genesis EP-330
        > Grilla Grills Original Grilla (OG) pellet smoker
        > Pit Barrel Cooker (gone to a new home)
        > WeberQ 2000 (on "loan" to a relative)
        > Old Smokey Electric (for chickens mostly - when it's too nasty out
        to fiddle with a more capable cooker)
        > Luhr Jensen Little Chief Electric - Top Loader circa 1990 (smoked fish & jerky)
        > Thermoworks Smoke
        > 3 Thermoworks Chef Alarms
        > Thermoworks Thermapen
        > Thermoworks IR-GUN-S
        > Anova sous vide circulator
        > Searzall torch
        > BBQ Guru Rib Ring

      #3
      Greetings, Brendan ... and welcome to the Pit!

      Comment

      • richinlbrg
        Founding Member
        • Jul 2014
        • 1873
        • Leesburg, VA. (Northern, VA)
        • We have two weber kettle grills (one LARGE and one small/average), the SnS and the Weber Smokey Mountain 18" smoker. We use both natural lump charcoal and KNB for smoking and measure our temps with a Maverick 733, thermopen and MK4. Favorite beer depends on what is cooking (alt answer is yes).

        #4
        WOW, hamiljockey ! I am really surprised. The meat and the two closest probes are all over the waterpan? I could see these differences if one of them was outside the water pan, but.......

        Comment

        • CeramicChef
          Former Member
          • Jul 2014
          • 1184
          • OKC, OK

          #5
          Heat transfer within a chamber is a very complicated physical phenomena, especially when you have an open system like your WSM. I'm not surprised that you can have a 16F differential across a grate; that's really nothing, only about 7%. I wouldn't worry about it one bit. There is a lot of turbulent flow in your cooker that affects how temp is distributed. Every cooker has hot spots and cold spots. I'd be much more concerned if temperature was homogeneous. That would be most unusual.

          Comment

          • hamiljockey
            Club Member
            • Jul 2016
            • 2
            • Reston, VA

            #6
            Wow! I can't believe all the responses to my first post. Thank you everyone.

            I moved the probes to make sure they were all over the water bowl...the water bowl on a WSM 18.5 is considerably smaller than the 18.5 inches. Still seeing different temps.

            So what I am hearing is, it's optimal to have the temp guage over the water bowl and that different readings within a reasonable amount is normal.

            I have seen this to a lesser degree with my meat...what do you do when one end of your brisket is 203 and the other end is let's say 195?

            Comment

            • DWCowles
              Founding Member
              • Jul 2014
              • 9706
              • Smiths Grove, Ky
              • Hi, my name is Darrell. I'm an OTR truck driver for over 25 years. During my off time I love doing backyard cooks. I have a 48" Lang Deluxe smoker, Rec-Tec pellet smoker,1 Weber Genesis 330, 1 Weber Performer (blue), 2 Weber kettles (1 black and 1 Copper), 1 26" Weber kettle, a WSM, 8 Maverick Redi Chek thermometers, a PartyQ, 2 SnS, Grill Grates, Cast Iron grates, 1 ThermoPop (orange) and 2 ThermoPens (pink and orange) and planning on adding more cooking accessories. Now I have an Anova sous vide, the Dragon blower and 2 Chef alarms from Thermoworks.

              #7
              If the brisket is probe tender all over then I will wrap it in foil and a towel and place it in the cooler for a couple of hours

              Comment

              • ecowper
                Founding Member
                • Jul 2014
                • 3360
                • Maple Valley, WA
                • Grill = Hasty-Bake Gourmet Dual Finish
                  Smoke = Weber Smokey Mountain 22.5"

                  Thermometer = FireBoard FBX11 with 2 ambient and 6 meat probes
                  Thermometer = Maverick ET732
                  Thermometer = ThermoWorks Chef Alarm
                  Thermapen Mk IV = Light blue
                  Thermapen Classic = Grey
                  PID Controller = Fireboard Drive + Auber 20 CFM Fan

                  Favorite cook = Tri-Tip for the grill, whole packer brisket for the smoker
                  Favorite wine = a good Bordeaux with steak, a good Syrah with pork, or a nice bottle of Champagne or California sparkling wine
                  Favorite beer = Sam Adams Boston Lager or Shiner Bock
                  Favorite whisky = Lagavulin 16 year old single malt

                  Best Cookbooks - Meathead's "The Science of Great Barbecue and Grilling", Chris Lilly's "Big Bob Gibson's BBQ Book", Aaron Franklin's "Franklin BBQ"


                  Eric Cowperthwaite aka ecowper

                #8
                hamiljockey ... remember that the WSM has multiple air vents on the bottom, one on the top. Depending on how your vents are open, how you built your charcoal pile, etc that will influence how the air moves within the cooking chamber. As CeramicChef said, there's a lot of flow going on in there. You're actually seeing some convection happening, as well. Remember, your WSM is a chimney. Bear that in mind as you open and close vents. I usually only use the front vents on the bottom and the top vent. I keep the back vent closed because I want to create air flow within the cooking chamber, rather than just having my hot air move directly from the back vent to the top vent.

                There's some really good posts under the Kamado sub-forum on how to build charcoal piles, hot spots, air flow and such. While the WSM is not a Kamado, they have strong similarities.

                Comment

                • fuzzydaddy
                  Charter Member
                  • Nov 2014
                  • 4963
                  • Winchester TN
                  • Hardware
                    Blackstone 36” Griddle
                    Slow 'N Sear Deluxe Kamado.
                    Slow 'N Sear Kettle Grill.
                    Slow 'N Sear (1.0, Deluxe, 2.0), DnG Pans/Racks, Easy Spin Grates, Elevated Cooking Grates.
                    Weber Chimney starters (regular and half).
                    Joule.
                    GrillGrates.
                    Maverick XR-50 [my favorite].
                    ThermoWorks Smoke & Gateway, Thermapen, Thermapop, ChefAlarms, DOT, probes

                    Consumables / Favorites
                    KBB (short cooks), Weber (long cooks)
                    Ribs (beef & pork), Pork Butts, Chuck Roasts, Pork Tenderloins.
                    SnS Grills salt free rubs: Not Just for Beef & Rocky’s Rub.
                    MeatChurch Holy Cow. MMD, BBBR, S&G, Herbs de Provence, SPG.

                  #9
                  Welcome to The Pit hamiljockey! We'd love to get an intro from you over in the Introduce Yourself channel when you get a minute.

                  Comment


                  • ecowper
                    ecowper commented
                    Editing a comment
                    +1

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