We are reader-supported. When you buy through links on our site, we may earn a commission. Learn more about our review process here.
In a world dominated by the instant gratification of takeout and lackluster frozen foods, there’s something so primitive and beautiful about dedicating a whole day to smoking a cut of meat.
Adding a smoker to your arsenal of meat-preparation appliances is sure to elevate your cooking game, and earn you some high marks among your neighbors when barbecue season rolls around.
Why should I buy a smoker thermometer?
Did you know that your smoker is only as good as the thermometer reading its temperature? Nothing’s worse than a faulty smoker thermometer reading 200° Fahrenheit when it’s actually 450° Fahrenheit. Instead of going outside to a succulent roast, you find a charred and unsalvageable mess. Your dinner is ruined and now you have to order pizza (or make it yourself).
Like the temperature readings on a conventional oven, smoker thermometers attached to the unit are likely to display temperatures that differ from the actual temperature. I’d recommend you don’t go by just the thermometer reading on your smoker—chances are it’s at least a few degrees off, which could be the difference between delicious and destroyed when it comes to smoking meat.
In order to keep a watchful eye on your prized meat, it’s important to invest in a thermometer that is both reliable and durable. You’re going to need a thermometer that will stand the test of time, while still delivering impressively fast and accurate results.
What should I be looking for in a smoker thermometer?
Since we’re modern human beings, I definitely recommend you spring for a digital thermometer. Digital thermometers are highly accurate and usually render a reading within seconds.
Any BBQ enthusiast will tell you that smoking meat at home can be a messy process. A waterproof and splash-proof thermometer is a must—you never know when a big hunk of meat might splatter you with grease as you’re checking its internal temperature.
If you have a waterproof and splash-proof thermometer, you’re guaranteeing a decently long lifespan. Not only will the thermometer be able to withstand the liquid assault from the meat itself, it’ll also be able to repel the water from a passing rainstorm if you happen to leave the thermometer outside.
Since you’re now a barbecue fanatic, consider investing in an instant-read thermometer for your smoker and the smoked meats inside. Do you know the difference between a succulent medium-rare and a medium-well done piece of meat? The answer is: not as much time as you would think.
What makes a really good smoker thermometer?
If you’re considering taking your meat-smoking skills to the next level, you’re going to need some top-notch equipment to bring you from zero to meat hero. A smoker thermometer worthy of your time will be digital, have dual probes (one for the internal temperature of the meat and one for the temperature inside the smoker), and will have remote capabilities so you can smoke a hefty rack of ribs while you’re watching the game.
A high-tech smoker thermometer might also have the capability to set an alarm if the temperature falls between certain thresholds. This feature could come in handy if your smoker’s wood chips run out of burning power and begin to fizzle out. It could also save you from any variables that might make the smoker get too hot.
If you’re planning on smoking a cut that needs to be cooked low and slow overnight, you might consider a thermostat controller thermometer for your smoker. A thermostat controller works by having all but one of the smoker’s air intakes closed. A fan is hooked up to the probe of the thermometer and can regulate the temperature inside your smoker by adding oxygen to fuel the fire.
Do I have to be home while my meat smokes?
In the days of yore, smoking a cut would have meant being tied to the task for a whole day, if not overnight. Smoking meant clearing your calendar for the day and watching the meat as often as you would a newborn. Well, nobody said smoking was going to be easy!
Thankfully, equipping yourself with the latest and greatest smoker thermometers means that you can still enjoy the day while you’re smoking. Although smoking channels a more classic style of cooking, you can still benefit from the perks of modernity by investing in a smoker thermometer with wireless capabilities. If a smoker thermometer that uses radio frequencies to give you a wireless reading is too old school, there are models that are Bluetooth enabled and can be controlled with an app on your mobile phone.
Once you decide to take the plunge and invest in a high-quality smoker, it’s essential that you equip it with a thermometer equally as awesome as the smoker itself. As you slice into your first perfectly smoked turkey or a juicy prime rib, you’ll be glad you did.
Don’t ruin your concrete deck with grease. Pick up one of these grill mats and protect your patio.
When it comes time to cut those ribs, make sure you’ve got the best knife for the job. Read this post on the best knife for cutting ribs.
You might also want to consider picking up an infrared thermometer for grilling. Make sure your meats are always cooked to safe temperatures.
Or, you might prefer a dual probe wireless grill thermometer. Here are a bunch of the best options.