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So what's the point of the dome thermometer?

ClarkWGriswoldClarkWGriswold Posts: 4
edited August 2012 in EggHead Forum
Fired up my new XL for the first time last night - my first brisket is coming real close to being done, and it looks fantastic.

But I've noticed that the dome thermometer is, well, useless.  I also have a CyberQ Wifi.  It's been holding the grill temp at 230 for the last 15 hours or so.  The dome thermometer?  Has shown temperatures between 260 and 300 degrees.  It's not even close.  I made a point to calibrate it before first use (because the "special" people who assembled my egg originally calibrated it to 0 degrees) on both the high end and the low end.  I can only conclude that the temperature at the top of the dome is significantly different than the temperature at the grid level.

So what's the use for it if you can't use it to benchmark temperatures at grid level?

Comments

  • Mighty_QuinnMighty_Quinn Posts: 1,878
    It's a good benchmark for fire size...Pretty useful for direct grilling/searing etc...
  • travisstricktravisstrick Posts: 4,552
    My dome thermo works perfectly. It has a consistent temp relitave to the grid temp on my maverick. It works so well and I have used it so long prior to getting a maverick, I usually prefer using it as my primary thermo.
    Be careful, man! I've got a beverage here.
  • lousubcaplousubcap Posts: 5,352
    edited August 2012
    Since the dome thermo is the one thermo that comes with all BGE's most people reference it (unless otherwise specified) in cooking recipes.  Now "what good is it"?  It's a reference (as long as it's calibrated) and given you cook to final temperature it lets you know the range you are cooking in and thus an approximation of time for the cook. It is key for those who choose not to invest in a controller.  However, if you build the same size and responsive fire every time you could accomplish the same with vent settings (a reference).  Is it the cooking grid temp-no but it doesn't need to be.  Just an opinion and we all know what those are worth-enjoy the journey!
    Louisville
  • stikestike Posts: 15,597
    most recommended temps are dome temps.  when someone says "i do my ribs at 250", that's 250 dome.

    that doesn't mean that if you use the grate temp, then 250 is the temp you shoulduse at the grate.  it means whatever the temp at the grate is when the dome says 250, that's the grate temp you want to use.

    nothing more than a point of reference.

    your electric oven temp is the same thing.  different temp in there depending on where you measure it.  but for general purposes (which is 99.9% of them) a recipe calling for 300 is close enough.


    ed egli avea del cul fatto trombetta -Dante
  • twlangantwlangan Posts: 285
    The dome thermometer is there for everyone, whether you use it or not. We share recipes and gives us something to aim for. Not all of us can afford or even want a CyberQ or any of its cousins. Mother Nature works great to create draft without the use of fans.
  • I have not been at this very long but have found the dome thermometer to be a great help. Like Stike says.. a point of reference. Part of the fun for me has been learning to control the temps myself. I like the low tech part of it all. I have no desire to get an electric starter and may even go matches over lighter... Fire, Food and your drink of choice is a great way to relax
  • mcmacmcmac Posts: 481
    I have not been at this very long but have found the dome thermometer to be a great help. Like Stike says.. a point of reference. Part of the fun for me has been learning to control the temps myself. I like the low tech part of it all. I have no desire to get an electric starter and may even go matches over lighter... Fire, Food and your drink of choice is a great way to relax
    Yes it is...  :D
    XL BGE -  Med BGE - Mini BGE - Traeger Pellet Grills

     Hillsboro OR
  • I think I'd understand the point of reference thing a bit more if the dome was at least consistent in its readings.  For example, about 10 pm last night, the temperature at the grate was 230.  The dome thermo read about 260.  This morning, the temperature at the grate was...230.  The dome thermo read over 300.

    The temperature hadn't changed one lick, at least not where it counted, but there was a 50 point swing in the dome.  That's a huge amount.  Had I not had some sort of probe down at the grate, I'd have woke up this morning and assumed that I had trashed my brisket.

    Incidentally, turned out pretty good.  Bit dry, but I didn't crutch it when I usually do and I had left it in the fridge all rubbed up longer than usual (had a 2 day delay due to fire safety concerns).  Smoke ring was also less than I was expecting.  Gonna blame the wood on that one, get some higher quality stuff, toss a couple of briquettes in with the lump, and arrange my wood chunks more carefully next time.
  • nolaeggheadnolaegghead Posts: 11,713
    There are eddies and currents that, if you can imagine, make certain areas hot and others not, at at the grate, and in other places.  If you're using a stoker system, try putting shielding between the probe and the food... put it in a place that represents the heat your food is getting. The dome temp is kinda an effluent temperature.  If you set your damper and daisy wheel at a certain position, you're introducing a non-feedack system that's less dependent on ambient temp and heat load from what's on the grill, compared to the stoker systems, which use probe temp as feedback to control the combustion rate.   But temp isn't so important as taking the food off when it's cooked, and not before or after.   So don't burn stuff and use dome or grate temp, time, food type, end temp to estimate and plan around   Use a good food probe to measure the internal temp to fine tune your cooking.  Pull it off when done is the goal.  If you're low and slow, and don't open the lid constantly, and your probes/thermometers are calibrated, they'll eventually get close to one another.
    ______________________________________________
    This is my signature line just so you're not confused.
    Large and Medium BGE, two turntables and a microphone, my friend.
    New Orleans, LA - we know how to eat 

  • stikestike Posts: 15,597
    Your electric range isnt consistent either


    ed egli avea del cul fatto trombetta -Dante
  • tazcrashtazcrash Posts: 1,837
    stike said:

    Your electric range isnt consistent either


    No, but funny how we don't think of that as bad when it glows-it stops-it glows.......
    But see a 10 degree swing in the egg and panic ensues.
    :)
    Bx - > NJ ->TX!!! 
    All to get cheaper brisket! 
  • stikestike Posts: 15,597
    bingo.

    don't be distracted by what you think is important.  determine what is important.
    ed egli avea del cul fatto trombetta -Dante
  • GreenhawKGreenhawK Posts: 398
    I have never had the issue with my dome thermometer and my grid thermometer being very different from each other.  They are usually spot on with each other.  I am on my second dome thermometer, and I have recently gone from a Maverick type thermometer to a Stoker.  With these combinations it has always been consistent.  

    The only thing that I can think of is if you keep your daisy wheel open to far letting the heat escape out of the top, or if you open up and look to often.  On a low and slow where I am confident in what I am cooking, I don't open the lid until I am looking for the meat to be done.
    Large BGE

    Decatur, AL
  • bbqlearnerbbqlearner Posts: 659

    I would agree with other posts about the dome temp as a point of reference.

    During the course of one cook, I've noticed that my dome temp sometimes are spot on with my grate probe but other times, it's significantly off like what OP pointed out. However, it's never really bothered me.

    Houston, TX - Buddy LBGE, Don SBGE, Tiny Mini & Shiny Momma Pitts n Spitts

  • xraypat23xraypat23 Posts: 421
    when i do long low  and slow overnights, usually it reads high, and my ique says im spot on, than by morning my domes equalized to my grid and usually spot on to what my ique is set at. The domes fairly accurate, but ive had a pizza stone at the level of the thermo, with a calibrated oven thermometer sitting in the middle of the stone and ive seen as much as a 100 degree difference.
  • nolaeggheadnolaegghead Posts: 11,713
    If you're comparing dome to grate temp and using the plate setter, it matters where you position the grate probe.  If it isn't in the shadow of the plate setter or whatever you're using to shield the direct heat, you'll get radiant heat from the burning coals and it'll read hotter than the shaded area of the grate. 

    If you your egg is in equilibrium and, the indirect portion of the grate will be close to the dome temp, especially if the grate is at or above he lid height.  Here's a pic where I was smoking pastrami at 200 (just trying to get as much smoke into it as possible).

    The DigiQ is in the background.  They're very close.




    image
    egg_temp.jpg
    800 x 480 - 249K
    ______________________________________________
    This is my signature line just so you're not confused.
    Large and Medium BGE, two turntables and a microphone, my friend.
    New Orleans, LA - we know how to eat 

  • SkiddymarkerSkiddymarker Posts: 6,013

    The only thing that I can think of is if you keep your daisy wheel open to far letting the heat escape out of the top, or if you open up and look to often.  On a low and slow where I am confident in what I am cooking, I don't open the lid until I am looking for the meat to be done.
    I agree with Greenhawk, I have found that my Maverick reads about 20F less than dome on my medium egg during the first hour or two. Once the daisy and lower vent are almost closed and the temp super stabilized, the difference is more like 10F or less, which I think is to be expected. It also depends on how close the Maverick grid probe is to the food and how big, cool  the food is.    
    Delta B.C. - Vee-Gan: old Indian word for poor hunter. 
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