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I used to buy my friends who were getting into grilling and BBQ the Maverick because I got one as a gift and it is the dog's balls for low and slow cooking. Then I got a Thermapen, and now THAT's my go-to gift for cooks and grillers. I've probably bought a half-dozen of them.
if you do any smoking on the grill I have something like this. [link] I can't imagine smoking w/o it. But I also use a weber kettle so it's a little tougher to keep a constant temp.
You really shouldn't use time as a guide. I have had similar sized pork shoulders that have had over a 3 hour variance in time it took to get to temp. Get yourself a good thermometer and let that guide your smokes. This is the thermometer I use and would reccomend Maverick
No, those are not grill thermometers at all. Those are surface thermometers. You'll know absolutely nothing about the internal temperature of either the grill air or the meat with those.
You want something like this [link] That's basically the standard for dual grill thermometers, but there are cheaper ones similar to it. One sits just above the grates (some people use a potato or onion to elevate it) and one gets probed right into the center of the meat.
I would highly recommend this wireless thermometer if you find yourself with an extra 60 bucks.
I didn't think it was required, but now that I use it, I can't imagine going without. A lot of the inherent guesswork is removed, and it has made a huge difference for me.
You'll go between people loving them to hating them but my Maverick 733 has netted me great results on briskets and pork butts etc for over a year now.
Nice cause you can watch your temps from the couch.
You may just want to look at the Maverick ET733. I've heard some complain it's harder to use than the 732, but I find it pretty simple. The advantage to it is you have 2 hybrid probes, so you can use both for meat, or 1 for meat and 1 for smoker etc. and it's only $10 more.
I smoke at 225-250F. The internal temperature of the pork will rise and then plateau near 160F while it sheds moisture and converts collaten to gelatin. Then the temperature will rise again. For pork, beef, lamb, etc., barbecue is done when the meat internal temp hits 203F. But you want to start checking for doneness around 195F. Then the meat needs to rest insulated for about an hour before serving, so you can wrap it in foil or paper, then in a towel, then let it rest in a Coleman cooler or something.
The best way to monitor the temps is to use a dual probe thermometer, one probe in the meat and one just laid on the rack to monitor the smoke chamber temp. The Maverick has a wireless remote, so you can clip it on your shirt. It will alert you when the meat is close to being done, or if either of the temps varies outside the ranges you set.
Get the best of both worlds. It says it is for a smoker, but I've used mine in the oven many times. I do have an older version though but I can't imagine they changed to much with the new one.
I honestly never trust the thermometers on the smokers themselves. I use this wireless thermometer One probe in the meat and one probe attached to the smoker. I also test it every spring to make sure it's accurate.
Judging from some of your responses I think you need to regulate the temeratures a bit better, both the cooking environment and the meat temp.
Try out THIS unit or something similar. You can set one probe to monitor the temperature inside your smoker and the other to monitor the internal meat temperature. You will get much better results knowing these two bits of information.
Maverick ET-733 Long Range Wireless Dual Probe BBQ Smoker Meat Thermometer Set
You made a great choice on base equipment; the best part about the Weber master touch: it can do both grilling and BBQ. For grilling, I like to use lump charcoal lit in a chimney starter using wax starter cubes. Gets nice and hot for searing steaks, burgers, etc.
Since you posted in r/BBQ, my assumption is that you are looking beyond basic r/grilling. Check out the snake method using kingsford briquettes. It's how a lot of people started doing BBQ. I have a couple of different smokers and I still go back to this method for certain cooks. Keep your top vents open and adjust the temp by opening/closing the bottom vents. The analog thermometer is not the best on the weber, but it will do for now. Eventually you will want to get one of these dual probe thermocouples. There are all sorts of resources in the internets, but amazing ribs is a perfect place to start. He busts a bunch of the myths and wives tales of shit you don't need to waste your time doing (soaking wood, spraying with apple cider, etc) and will put you on the right track. Lots of good recipes and techniques that will get you started.
Welcome to the hobby, and post here and r/grilling with specific questions you might have!
A dual probe wireless thermometer. Maverick is a trusted brand that a lot of pros swear by: e.g. [link] . Works in the house better than the Bluetooth ones.
Electric charcoal starter or MAPP torch. Combined with the replacement grate below to get charcoal started quicker.... if your inpatient like me.
Bear paws for pulled pork. These work awesomely.
beer can chicken
Welding gloves for picking up hot grate, plate setter, charcoal, etc.
However my favorite BGE accessories are:
Replacement charcoal grate, which doesn't clog and allows egg to get up to temp quicker by allowing improved airflow- can get up to 500 degrees in 10 mins with the aid of a hairdryer. Temp control is much more consistent during longer cooks.
Auber temp controller. It is basically set and forget solution for smoking. Even has AI that learns the characteristics of your grill in order to keep temps stable. Keeps my temp within 1 degree for over 24 hours on my large BGE. There are other temp controllers out there, but I found this one to be most affordable. You don't need wifi to monitor the temp with this because it's that consistent and reliable. I only use my maverick to monitor meat temp now.
+1 on the ET-733 - I've owned a bunch of remote probe thermometers, and this one has the best accuracy and wireless range I've seen yet.
Did you ever decide on a smoker? My holy grail is a pit by Klose or Yoder. People on reddit tend to be very Mr. Miyagi when it comes to things they consider themselves good to expert in and not give straight answers until you prove themselves to them. Its like being at the gym when people have to "give you some pointers," you know... to "make sure you're safe." Want to learn how to autocross? /r/cars will tell you to get a miata held together with duct tape until you "learn the basics." Want to learn how to shoot? /r/guns will suggest you buy a BB gun to learn the "basics."
Rant aside, the Weber Kettle really is the best dollar-for-dollar for a small family. Pair it with a Slow N Sear and a Maverick E-733 and you're set (just need some Kingsford blue and some wood chunks of your choice).
Want bigger? Get a Weber Smokey Mountain with some upgrades from Cajun Bandid. Want a great all-in-one? I like the Big Green Egg (or any tandoori-style ceramic grill). Want best you can get? Probably a Klose or Yoder.
What people mean when they say "when the meat is done" is simply the unmeasurable signs (ie. how the rib rack bends, how loose the brisket feels when you pick it up). It's difficult to describe in words, but having graduated from the CIA, you'll figure it out.
Ah you're here :D! You can smoke on any of the Weber kettles mate, from the £60 18" compact kettle all the way up to the top of the range £500 Performer model. The only difference is in the bells and whistles like an ash catcher and auto gas-fired charcoal lighting etc. Here's how you smoke with a weber kettle. if you want really long low temp cooks you can use the snake method. All of the kettles will do this just fine regardless of price, literally the only difference is cooking area and convenience of cleanup. But they are all basically the same design fundamentally.
The bottom line is that if you want to only do quick and easy high direct heat grilling, buy a gas grill. If you want to do a bit of everything from grilling to hot smoking (for ribs etc) to cold smoking (fish and cheese etc) then go with a kettle. If price is a concern, I'd suggest buying either the £90 compact kettle or the £150 original kettle. They have the same cooking area as the more expensive ones but fewer fancy accessories which you really don't strictly need to put out great BBQ. I only got the master touch because of the interchangeable cooking grates but to be honest I never used it and would have been just as happy with an original kettle or one touch premium. Be sure to pick up a charcoal chimney, they're a revolution and take all the stress out of getting the coals going.
Once you've fed a joint of beef to the folks that you smoke a bit on the kettle, you'll be able to justify whatever you spent. Though for joint of meat and low temp cook a wireless BBQ thermometer is pretty much essential, done-ness is super important when you're doing large hunks of meat.
Hope that helps :).
a maverick dual probe wireless thermometer is a slam dunk.
Or an instant read thermo ...shit that's actually a really good deal, i'm ordering a few to give as gifts myself.
My mother sent me a pack of these grilling sheets, they're high temp nonstick sheets you just lay right on the grates...absolutely fantastic for cooking fish or other stuff that sticks.
There's some great suggestions here. Here's my absolute must-haves:
Enjoy the side benefit of the tastiest cooking method available!
Get a remote thermometer such as the Maverick ET-733 Long Range Wireless Dual Probe BBQ Smoker Meat Thermometer Set [link]
One of these in a gas grill can make some pretty impressive BBQ.
You will also need a good digital thermometer, don't trust the thermometer that comes with the grill, those things are way off.
This one is tried and true and a favorite amongst many.
It won't be the best, but it can be extremely good.
It works best with a rig that has at least 3 burners.
Turn one burner up pretty high and leave the other 2 off.
Put your digital probe on the other side of the grill, away from the heat. This is where you will be putting your meat.
You can adjust the temperature by raising or lowering the burner that you turned on earlier.
When you hit your desired temp (225-240 is acceptable for most things) and it has been stable for at least 15 minutes, toss your meat on. Toss the smoker tube onto the direct heat at this time as well.
I suggest starting out with a port shoulder (pork butt). It is very forgiving and is a nice cheap piece of meat to test out your grill with
Hi, I went through the same thing. I also ended up buying the 22. I dont regret it. Although I will be honest, I kept my old reliable Montgomery Ward grill for small smokes. Mostly when I do something fore myself. I did buy these mods. I like the lid hinge and the gasket im sure doesn't hurt. Also that front cover lid mod in the link above looks pretty neat. One thing I do recommend is a good thermometer. I ended up with the Maverick ET-733. This is the site I use for tips. I dont know if the mods are necessary but I am fairly new to smoking and thought they would help a new smoker.
What kind of thermometer did you buy?
The only dial thermometer that is somewhat accurate is a tel-tru.
Other than that, you really dont want to waste your money or time with any of the hood mounted thermometers.
I would take it back and get yourself a good digital thermometer. I use a Maverick ET-733, but they make less expensive ones.
The good thing about them is, you can monitor the temperature of your pit, as well as, monitor the temperature of the meat that you are cooking.
A good thermometer is probably the best investment you can make if you are serious about BBQ.
Check here for some ideas:
What I find helpful on overnight cooks is a remote thermometer.
I use the Maverick ET-733
It has two probes, so you can watch the food and grate temp, and alarms that go off if you get above or below your target temp. Plus, it's wireless and lets you park it next to your bed, rather than having to walk outside every hour to check.
But, if you are starting your cook tonight, you may not be able to get one in time.
So, your biggest concern should probably be fire. Fire needs two things: fuel and air. It's usually not practical to remove burning fuel, so your temperature-management options are limited to:
Of course, as your fuel burns up, that will lower the temp too.
Wood is not a great choice for a first-time, long cook. So it's either charcoal - either briquettes or lump. Briquettes produce a lot more ash than lump, so there is more risk of smothering the fire. But, they burn more consistently then lump. If you use briquettes, you really need to think about ash management.
Take a look at the video on the weber smokey mountain page:
Start at 3:15 to see how they manage the charcoal. There's a charcoal grate on the bottom - it holds the charcoal up off the ground and gets air under it. Then there's a charcoal ring that hold the charcoal together, and has a bunch of holes in it to allow air in from the sides.
Then, there are multiple vents on the body which let air from the outside into the chamber.
Basically, everything is designed to control and manage airflow around the fire, and to let ash fall away from the fire and not smother it.
I have a Big Green Egg, and it has a similar setup - plate with holes under the charcoal to allow air, ring with air holes around, and a vent on the outside to control incoming air.
Your COS is likely to be leaky as all heck, which will make fire management tricky.
Look for ways to seal up air cracks. Also, looking at your baffle - it looks like it goes all the way down to bottom. Is there room for hot air to flow into the cooking chamber? From the pics, it looks like hot air from the firebox can only come up the side of your baffle.
You might need to remove the middle water pan, and prop the baffle up off the bottom with bricks or something so that air can flow under the baffle and into the cooking chamber.
I own and use the Maverick ET-733 ([link]).
The initial learning curve is a bit steep, but it's outstanding at its job monitoring my meat/ambient Temps. Furthermore, should you ever want or need replacement probes, they're sold us separately on Amazon and are inexpensive.
Just read the manual (twice) before use.