Where to place smoker temperature probe

Started by gerryf, April 10, 2011, 07:54:10 AM

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I bought a 4 shelf Bradley Digital Smoker and we've used it twice. After the first use I quickly ordered a digital remote thermometer that shows you the smoker temp and meat temp (whatever brand was recommended in the forums).

On our 2nd use, we were doing a couple trays of ribs and one tray of chicken wings. I decided to use the very top shelf for the wings (which were added 3 hours after the ribs were started). The second and third shelves down were used for the ribs, and the bottom shelf wasn't used, but I had figured I would move the wings down to the bottom during the last hour.

I clipped the smoker temp probe onto the bottom of the 2nd shelf down from the top, right in the middle, figuring this would give me an average temperature reading of the smoker where the meat is.

Outside we had ambient temperatures ranging from 17-20C with very light wind.

To get up to 225F smoker temperature, I had to set the oven temp to 320 and it took a couple of hours to finally reach 226 oven temp.

Once I reached my goal of 225 oven temp I had to continually adjust the oven temp anywhere from 300 to 280 and in some cases even open the door for five seconds to lower the temp.

From what I've read today, 25 degrees up or down is considered normal?

In the meantime the oven temp reading on the smoke generator was was considerably higher than the internal probe.

I went with the digital probe temp reading over the bradley smoker temp for this cookout.

If you're only using one or two shelves which should you use of the four?

And which shelve is best to clip on the temp probe, and where on the shelf?


bears fan

I like using the middle two shelves if I am only using two.  I rarely use the bottom shelf because it tends to get much hotter in the back by the element and will burn the food.  I also would make sure you put the wings on the lower shelf next time and the ribs above them because you dont want the chicken to drip on your ribs for food safety reasons.


bears fan types pretty fast, considering how cold it must still be up there. Anyway...

Gerryf - Welcome to the forum. First off, I assume you have a Maverick or something like that. If Uncle Sam sees fit to send you some scratch back, you might want to consider an Auber PID. That will help you keep the temps in check. Rule of thumb around here is to place the probe just below the lowest rack of food, near the front. The Bradley tends to be hotter in the back, where the element is and also down low. This is why on long smokes, most will rotate the racks top to bottom, and front to back.

Also, when doing mixed loads, most will tell you to keep chicken on the bottom, so that it doesn't drip on the meats below....

Keep it up and smoke up that interior...too shiny ;D


Quote from: gerryf on April 10, 2011, 07:54:10 AMAnd which shelve is best to clip on the temp probe, and where on the shelf?

I try to never put mine higher than the lowest rack of meat so that the cooler meat won't give a false chamber temp reading.  Also, I clip my probe upside-down which creates sort of a drip loop.  Less chance of grease running down the wire and into the sensor.


Another thing about the chicken placement...

Aside from the fact that you never want chicken juice dripping on your ribs, there is an added benefit of placing the chicken below ribs (or any kind of pork) --- The pork fat dripping on the chicken actually makes the chicken taste better!  Anyway, regardless of what else you may be cooking, the chicken always goes on bottom.
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Thanks for the replies!

I never thought of having the chicken drip onto the meat below. That is an important tip to which I'll adhere to from now on.

So if you put the smoker oven temp probe on the lowest rack that has meat, then seeing 225F there is ok, even for the meat on the upper racks?

I did swap the rib shelves around, and even the chicken went from the top to the very bottom.

Handy information, many thanks again.

I'll look up that PID thang. It's too bad the "digital" unit didn't come with that already based on its price.