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Thinking about drilling a probe port

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    Thinking about drilling a probe port

    You'd think I wouldn't hesitate to drill a hole in my kettle when you consider I already drilled six holes to attach my Unknown BBQ lid hinge. Yet hesitant I am.

    I'm not handy enough to do anything fancy. I'd just take the same B&D plug-in drill with a 1/4" bit and drill through, then use my Dremel to grind down the burrs. I'm not going to buy black paint just for this job, but a little Froglube paste should help with rust (or any color paint I have lying around, or silicone or . . . there are options). That's it. Just a quarter-inch hole is all I can reliably manage. I hesitate over heat loss, damaging my grill, or regretting the placement later on.

    Talk me out of it (or into it).

    I used a method similar to this

    without any significant issues. I have no problems with temperature control or probe placement. There are several useful links in the thread with good pictures and step-by-step instructions.

    Good luck!
    Last edited by tdimond; March 11, 2021, 08:25 PM.


      Do it. Do you have a grommet?


      • Terp Tom
        Terp Tom commented
        Editing a comment
        I have no grommet. I don't have a 1 1/4" drill bit for that WSM grommet either.

      • Attjack
        Attjack commented
        Editing a comment
        I would recommend buying a step drill bit and WSM grommet. They're nice. But otherwise, I would buy a smaller grommet and drill the hole based on the size of that grommet.

      I have been here. I am not handy at all....I can barely replace light bulbs.....and I came so close to doing this, but the fears of making things worse overtook me. My expensive solution was to buy a Pit Barrel Cooker.


        This and the requisite drill bit will make a world of difference. I too hesitated for a while, actually sold my kettle, acquired a new one, did this and the fan port right away. Couldnt be happier.



          Go to your hardware store and buy a step drill bit. You can also get them on Amazon for about $10. You start by drilling a small pilot hole, switch to the step bit and it plows through the thin metal quickly. If you are using the Weber type silicon grommets like the ones mentioned above, do not exceed the required 1-1/4" hole size, get it as exact as possible. Use the old adage, measure twice, cut once. It's easy to do, I love having the ease of pulling in numerous probe wires while having a stationary port for my thermo probe.


          • Attjack
            Attjack commented
            Editing a comment
            I really think it's worth it. You can get 2 WSM grommets for about $10. So you could do 2 grills. If you only have 1 grill, find a friend and you can share the cost of the step bit and grommet. This thread reminds me that I have another WSM grommet in my garage that I should install on my performer.

          • Troutman
            Troutman commented
            Editing a comment
            Actually having a spare grommet isn't a bad thing. They do eventually go bad on you with a lot of use. I've had them fail on several occasions. Just pop a new one in. Best to heat them up in hot water to make them pliable and add some Vaseline to the groove.

          Just drill to the size your probe fits through. Sure clean up any burrs but that's it. I drilled the hole just above the cooking grate. The soot from cooking will protect the bare metal. I don't see any need for a grommet. These thing leak enough already that these holes (I put two) don't make that big a difference. Show us when you get done.


            Originally posted by HawkerXP View Post
            These thing leak enough already that these holes (I put two) don't make that big a difference.
            Does this hold true even when I use binder clips to clamp the lid shut while smoking?


            • HawkerXP
              HawkerXP commented
              Editing a comment
              I use clips for low n slow also. But I can still control temps using the vents. I didn't see any difference with the drilled holes or not.
              Last edited by HawkerXP; March 12, 2021, 12:45 PM.

            • Attjack
              Attjack commented
              Editing a comment
              Nope. On my 26 I installed a gasket. That's why the WSM grommet is nice. It doesn't leak.

            Here's my thread on drilling out my 26.



              I used a 3/8th normal bit on the first two kettles I had, no issues with heat loss, temp control or rusting.

              When I saw Attjacks thread I decided I was gonna go that route with my 26". Haven't drilled it yet, waiting for Weber to send me a (second) replacement bowl that is Glen Blue and not had the paint scraped off the leg holes 😒
              Last edited by Loren; March 13, 2021, 11:27 AM. Reason: Typo


                You don't have to drill a hole, you can just cut a notch in the lip. Just another option.

                Cutting A Probe Thermometer Slot - The Virtual Weber Bullet
                Attached Files
                Last edited by TripleB; March 13, 2021, 12:34 PM.


                • Red Man
                  Red Man commented
                  Editing a comment
                  That’s a pretty good idea.

                I used a high temp hole grommet and high temp plugs to seal it up while cooking. Got both off of Ebay. Click image for larger version  Name:	Weber probe hole.png Views:	0 Size:	256.0 KB ID:	1047952Click image for larger version  Name:	IMG_2543.JPG Views:	0 Size:	3.57 MB ID:	1047953
                Last edited by ken g; June 20, 2021, 07:37 AM.



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