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New Member - Thermopen MK4 vs Thermopen IR

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  • Ryan D
    Club Member
    • May 2020
    • 14
    • Nashville TN

    New Member - Thermopen MK4 vs Thermopen IR

    I am happy to join the pit from Nashville. I have been cooking my way through Meathead's book over the last couple of years which has really elevated my cooking. I started smoking on the cheap with my Pit Barrel (which I love), but I am looking to start upgrading my cooker repertoire in the future.

    Question for the group - Thermoworks has a sitewide sale going on right now for 20% off one item. I have been using a thermopop, but i am ready to take a step up. I mostly grill and smoke on the pit barrel but have been experimenting more with cast iron cooking both at home and for camping. Would a combo thermometer like the thermapen IR be helpful, or would it be better to go with the MK4 and add a dedicated infrared thermometer later.

    Thanks in advance
  • Huskee
    Administrator
    • May 2014
    • 15303
    • central MI, USA
    • Follow me on Instagram, huskeesbarbecue

      Want a free bottle of whiskey? Check out my link to Flaviar.com, you join with it, we both get a $50 bottle free.

      Smokers / Grills
      • Yoder loaded Wichita offset smoker
      • PBC
      • Grilla Silverbac pellet grill
      • Slow 'N Sear Deluxe Kamado (SnSK)
      • Dyna-Glo XL Premium dual chamber charcoal grill
      • Weber 22" Original Kettle Premium (copper)
      • Weber 26" Original Kettle Premium (black)
      • Weber Jumbo Joe Gold (18.5")
      • Weber Smokey Joe Silver (14.5")
      • Brinkmann cabinet charcoal smoker (repurposed)

      Thermometers
      • (3) Maverick XR-50: 4-probe Wireless Thermometers
      • (7) Maverick ET-732s
      • (1) Maverick ET-735 Bluetooth (in box)
      • (1) Smoke by ThermoWorks
      • (1) Signals by ThermoWorks
      • Thermapen MkII, orange
      • ThermoPop, yellow
      • ThermoWorks ChefAlarm
      • Morpilot 6-probe wireless
      • ThermoWorks Infrared IRK2
      • ThermoWorks fridge & freezer therms as well

      Accessories
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      • Weber grill topper
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    #2
    Welcome to the Pitmaster Club! Happy to have you here, thank you for your support. Boy, that's a tough call. I have a separate IR and absolutely love it, but that was before they came out w/ the T-pen IR combo unit. Hard to say what I would have done in your shoes. Keep in mind, the Thermapen IR combo only comes in white and is not waterproof or backlit, if those matter to you.

    Since you’re new here, please check out our homework assignment post for new members, it contains a few how-tos and please-dos. This will help you learn your way around so you can get the best experience from our forum.

    Also, it's very important that you:
    1. Give us an email address you actually use. You can check the email we have on file for you by clicking your username in the top-right, then My Settings, then the Account tab. You currently cannot change your email on file with us yourself since it’s tied to your Pitmaster Club account as well as our payment processor if you’re a paying member. Don’t worry though, we’d be happy to change it for you, just click here to fill out an email change request.
    2. Add the domain AmazingRibs.com to your email safe list. We NEVER spam! This is important so you can receive special deals we occasionally work out for our members, receive notices about your account, such as if you’re up for renewal or are ever drawn as one of our three monthly “Great Giveaway” Monthly Sweepstakes winners, which is open to all USA members. (Paid members get automatic monthly entry, whereas Free Trial members or general public must enter manually.) We’d hate to have to pick another person because you don’t answer us!
    Hope to hear & see more from you!

    Comment

    • RonB
      Club Member
      • Apr 2016
      • 13103
      • Near Richmond VA
      • Weber Performer Deluxe
        SNS
        Pizza insert
        Rotisserie
        Smokenator 1000
        Cookshack Smokette Elite
        2 Thermapens
        Chefalarm
        Dot
        lots of probes.
        CyberQ

      #3
      Welcome to The Pit Ryan. The combo tool will save some $$, but by buying the separate tools, you will have two tools.

      Comment

      • Polarbear777
        Club Member
        • Sep 2016
        • 1784

        #4
        I use an IR gun and a thermapen constantly. Combining them would be nice but what holds me back is that the combo one is not water resistant like the thermapen. Don’t know if I’d end up killing it.

        Also the mk4 uses alkaline standard batteries instead of button lithiums.
        Last edited by Polarbear777; May 16, 2020, 09:02 PM.

        Comment

        • lonnie mac
          Club Member
          • Jul 2016
          • 1350
          • Bacliff, TX
          • Motovlogging for the freedom of old Hippies...

            https://www.youtube.com/c/LonnieMac

            Home of Brutus Ten!

            http://www.alenuts.com/Alenuts/Alenuts.html

            Pits:

            Weber Performer Deluxe W/ SNS, Craycort CI grates

            WSCGC (Weber Summit Charcoal Grill Center W/ SNS Plus, DNG

            Texas Original Pits Offset Smoker

            RecTec 590

            WSM 18" W/ Upside-down door mod

            Camp Chief Flattop, The big one...

            Weber Genesis II S-335

            Texas Fire Pit

            Thermos:

            Maveric's Most all of em...
            FireBoard W/ Fan Control, GURU Fan
            ThermoWorks, most all of em...
            Meater

          #5
          I'm not the one to really ask, but I would say a dedicated infrared, and the MK4 as a stand alone thermo. I have them all. Probably one of the very first to have the Thermopen IR when it came out. But alas, mine to this day is broken. Ha, this reminds me to call Thermoworks and see if they will warranty something this old! Funny, the IR portion of my IR works flawlessly. The temp probe is dead and has been since I opened it. My fault for not sending it back. Just lazy. But it don't have the reach of your more dedicated IR thermos like a Fluke (best), or others. The little IR works great for temping a hot plate or something you can hold it directly over, but reaching deep into a pizza oven is not its forte.

          I agree with RonB. Two tools.

          Some is good. More is better.

          Comment


          • Polarbear777
            Polarbear777 commented
            Editing a comment
            I didn’t know the range was limited. That’s a big deal.

          • lonnie mac
            lonnie mac commented
            Editing a comment
            Ah, I probably said that wrong. I don't "know" if it's as good as a more pro IR like a Fluke or others. Part of the problem is that it has no laser tracker. So you never really know what the heck you are really pointing it at, such as at a steak comp, and your are trying to not only read the temp of your Grill Grates, but the temp at the very tippy top of your Grill Grate rail. My Fluke can do that.The Thermo IR is more point and shoot. But a dang useful tool to play with.

          • Ryan D
            Ryan D commented
            Editing a comment
            Thanks lonnie! this was the insight i was looking for. You should call thermoworks. The first thermopop they sent me never turned on. 1 call and i had a new one in a few days. Their customer service was really good.
        • MBMorgan
          Club Member
          • Sep 2015
          • 6358
          • 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

          #6
          Welcome from Colorado. Personally, I’d keep the two separate. You’ll use the Thermapen 98% of the time and the IR for things like griddle temps and to see if you can find the cat in total darkness.

          Comment

          • mountainsmoker
            Banned Former Member
            • Jun 2019
            • 1849
            • Bryson City, NC

            #7
            They had to make compromises when they made the Thermopen/IR I would forgo it and get one of each.

            Comment

            • holehogg
              Club Member
              • Nov 2017
              • 2477
              • Port Elizabeth, South Africa

              #8
              Greetings from South Africa

              Comment

              • DavidNorcross
                Club Member
                • Nov 2017
                • 1815
                • Virginia
                • SNS Kamado
                  Weber Summit S-670
                  Camp Chef FTG 600
                  Camp Chef Escape

                  Old Hickory Knives
                  More Cast Iron than I care to admit

                #9
                Welcome from Virginia!

                Comment

                • PuraLeña
                  Club Member
                  • Jul 2017
                  • 117
                  • Madrid, Spain

                  #10
                  This question got my curiosity. I have a thermal gun. But I really never used it on my cooks. Ijust don't see the added value of them. I never fry in oil. And on a hot plate it is easy to see the oil heating up as it starts to crawl and move. And just a drop of water or a little onion chip will boil instantly. SO for me I really want to hear where people use their IR meters. And maybe get some usage of my meter.

                  Comment


                  • surfdog
                    surfdog commented
                    Editing a comment
                    I use mine for griddle & pizza stone temps. The latter being the most significant use.

                    If I just need the griddle “hot,” I don’t worry about and do like you do. OTOH, I don’t want it TOO hot if doing something like pancakes though.

                  • klflowers
                    klflowers commented
                    Editing a comment
                    On the griddle.

                  • SmokeyGator
                    SmokeyGator commented
                    Editing a comment
                    On the griddle, when cooking with cast iron, getting a rough idea how hot my gas grill is, checking the temperature of pizza stones, and so on.

                    Also to check the temperature of the AC outflow to make sure the “delta t” is good (should be 30 degree drop more or less, but not colder than 45 or so). Not sure how that works out in Celsius. Also they are good for checking to see oh warm or cold air leaks out of your windows, requiring caulking.
                • Donw
                  Club Member
                  • Jul 2017
                  • 3293

                  #11
                  Welcome from Maryland

                  Comment

                  • fzxdoc
                    Founding Member
                    • Jul 2014
                    • 5246
                    • My toys:
                      Weber Summit Charcoal Grilling Center (WSCGC) aka Mr. Fancypants
                      Pit Barrel Cooker (which rocks)
                      Weber Summit S650 Gas Grill
                      Weber Kettle Premium 22"
                      Weber Jumbo Joe Premium 22" (a weird little 22" kettle mutant on 22"-long legs) (donated to local battered women's shelter.)
                      Camp Chef Somerset IV 4-burner outdoor gas range


                      Adrenaline BBQ Company's SnS, DnG and Large Charcoal Basket for WSCGC
                      Adrenaline BBQ Company's Elevated SS Rack for WSCGC
                      Adrenaline BBQ Company's SS Rack for DnG
                      Grill Grate for SnS
                      Grill Grates: five 17.375 sections (retired to storage)
                      Grill Grates: six 19.25 panels for exact fit for Summit S650 gasser
                      2 Grill Grate Griddles
                      Steelmade Griddle for Summit gas grill

                      Fireboard Extreme BBQ Thermometer Package
                      Fireboard control unit in addition to that in the Extreme BBQ Package
                      Additional Fireboard probes: Competition Probes 1" (3) and 4" (1), 3 additional Ambient Probes. 1 additional Food Probe
                      2 Fireboard Driver Cables
                      Pit Viper Fan (to pair with Fireboard Fan Driver Cable)
                      Pit Viper Fan new design (to pair with Fireboard Fan Driver Cable)
                      Thermoworks Thermapen MK5 (pink)
                      Thermoworks Thermapen MK4 (pink too)
                      Thermoworks Temp Test 2 Smart Thermometer
                      Thermoworks Extra Big and Loud Timer
                      Thermoworks Timestick Trio
                      Maverick ET 73 a little workhorse with limited range
                      Maverick ET 733
                      Maverick (Ivation) ET 732

                      Grill Pinz
                      Vortex (two of them)

                      Two Joule Sous Vide devices
                      VacMaster Pro 350 Vacuum Sealer
                      Instant Pot 6 Quart Electric Pressure Cooker
                      Instant Pot 10 Quart Electric Pressure Cooker
                      Charcoal Companion TurboQue
                      A-Maze-N tube 12 inch tube smoker accessory for use with pellets

                      BBQ Dragon and Dragon Chimney

                      Shun Classic 8" Chef's Knife
                      Shun Classic 6" Chef's Knife
                      Shun Classic Gokujo Boning and Fillet Knife
                      Shun Classic 3 1/2 inch Paring Knife

                    #12
                    When looking for an IR gun, be sure to get one whose range exceeds 700-800°F, common searing temps. The ThermoWorks one exceeds 1000°F in range. The first IR Gun I bought (from Lowe's) did not go over 500° as I recall. I gave it away.

                    The MK4 is worth the investment. Backlit display is more useful than you would think, as is the motion-sensing on/off, and the auto rotating display. But for me, the waterproof feature alone makes it worth the extra bucks over the Classic Thermapen.

                    Kathryn

                    Comment

                    • Skip
                      Founding Member
                      • Jul 2014
                      • 3518
                      • Blue Earth, Minnesota
                      • MAK Pellet Grill, Large BGE, Weber Kettle with SnS, Weber Gasser, Pit Barrel Cooker, Cast Iron Pans & Griddle, Grill Grates, Mostly Thermoworks Thermometers

                      #13
                      Welcome from Minnesota, IMO buy both as already stated by other Pit Members.

                      Comment

                      • Texas Larry
                        Club Member
                        • May 2017
                        • 1598
                        • Wilson County, TX
                        • Kamado Joe Big Joe 2
                          Weber 22” Premium/SNS
                          Weber Jumbo Joe/SNS
                          JoeTisserie
                          Thermoworks Smoke
                          Thermoworks 2K Thermocouple
                          Thermapen
                          Thermapop
                          Thermoworks Dash
                          Too many gadgets, accessories, and tools
                          Favorite beer: Alaskan Amber

                        #14
                        Welcome from south Texas! Looks like you have a consensus here already.

                        Comment

                        • LA Pork Butt
                          Charter Member
                          • Dec 2014
                          • 5517
                          • Grew up in New Orleans, lived in Texas for 20 years, lived in Mandeville, LA for 22 years. I now liv

                          #15
                          Welcome to the Pit from Dallas! I have an infrared thermometer and find it helpful whenever cooking in a pan indoor or outdoors or when using grillgrates. I use a thermopop and sometimes wish it was faster.
                          Last edited by LA Pork Butt; May 17, 2020, 11:26 AM.

                          Comment

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                          Meat-Up in Memphis 2021

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