There’s nothing better than the taste of pork butt, brisket, or a whole chicken which has been smoked low and slow. However, to get excellent results, you need to have an accurate thermometer as the temperature in the smoking chamber needs to be between 225F and 250F. The built-in thermometers in smokers can often be inaccurate, even as much as by 100F, so what you need is a thermometer with probes. In this article, we are going to take a look at the Thermoworks Smoke Thermometer. It is both reliable and easy to use.

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The thermometer comes with a transmitter and a receiver. The transmitter is placed by the smoker and the receiver can be taken with you up to a distance of 300 feet. You will be able to sit and relax with a drink and chat with your friends without having to worry about your food or stand by the smoker for hours on end. What is good is that you can buy extra receivers. Smoking is a long process, and somebody might need to take a nap while waiting for the food to be cooked. If other people have receivers, this problem is solved. No, this thermometer isn’t connected to your cell phone as some are, but does this matter when you have a receiver? It’s equally as good and can be a bonus if you are smoking out of cell phone range.

The transmitter comes with two probes. One is used to measure the air temperature and the other, the internal temperature of the meat. We have already said that the temperature inside the smoker should be between 225F and 250F. The temperature inside most meats when they have finished smoking should be around 145F, and 165F inside poultry. However, if you want an extra tender barbecue, you can wait until the internal temperature measures around 180F. The probe temperature range is -58F – 572F so you could also use it on your grill, as well as in your smoker.

As well as the transmitter, receiver, and probes you get a grate clip for the transmitter so that you can attach it to the smoker. Sometimes, however, it can overheat so it is probably better to put the transmitter on the table. It has a flip-out stand so can be placed upright on the side table. There is also a lanyard for the receiver if you want to hang it around your neck. You will then be able to keep an eye on the temperature without moving from your chair and from wherever you are. However, if you are outside, you might as well not bother with the receiver as that will save on battery power. 

The air probe is slim and goes into the grate clip. The meat probe is right-angled and is long at 6 inches. They are accurate to plus or minus 1.8F for temperatures up to 248F so they are perfect for smoking. The accuracy is not quite as good at higher temperatures, but you don’t have to worry about this if you are using your thermometer for smoking.

The probes are durable as they have silicone encased wrapping which is braided with stainless steel. Small headphone-like jacks connect them to the transmitter. Kinking is prevented by springs at both ends of the cables. Despite their durability, they are not made to be put on direct heat, like directly above the flames of a gas grill or right above the coals. They also shouldn’t be yanked, have the grill lid placed on them, or be put in water.

The best way to put the cables of the probes into the grill or smoker is to drill a small hole into the side. Then just run the cables and probes through it. Your cooking experience won’t be compromised by a small hole, but if you are worried, buy some silicone grommets to fill the hole up with.

There is a volume control for the alarms, and you can switch off one or both alarms if you wish.

Both the transmitter and the receiver already have batteries inside them so that is one thing you don’t have to worry about when you get your thermometer. You get two AA batteries for each unit and when they are running low, the transmitter displays that they are getting low. Battery life is approximately 1,800 hours.

If communication between the transmitter and the receiver stops or a probe fails, the receiver will show an error message and an alarm will go off.

You get an operating manual with the package which is handy, and a meat doneness chart which goes into detail about what internal temperature each type of meat should be.


 

Pros
  • It’s not difficult to set up the thermometer.
  • You don’t need to use your cell phone.
  • You can buy extra receivers
  • Although it comes with both an air probe and a meat probe, you don’t have to use both unlike with some units.
  • It is durable. It has a strong metal casing to protect the weak points of the thermometer.
  • The transmitter and receiver are larger than others in the same market, but they are also more solid than those sold by competitors.
Cons
  • It’s not advisable to use it in the rain as it can become damaged and show inaccurate temperature readings.
  • It doesn’t have a timer unlike many of its competitors.
  • It is expensive compared to other smoker thermometers out there, but it is a thermometer used by professionals as well.
 

Thermoworks Smoke Thermometer – Buyers Guide

How Does the Thermometer Work?

The thermometer uses radio frequency to connect the transmitter to the receiver. It’s so easy to connect them to each other. All you do is switch them on and they’re ready to go. They will stay connected for the whole time your food is smoking.

Once you have the two connected, it’s time to set the temperature. It is simple as there are up and down buttons. You can set low and high temperatures, for example, the low could be 200F and the high 250F. Both the transmitter and the receiver will beep if the temperature goes above or below these limits, allowing you to sort out the problem. You can even keep an eye on what the minimum and maximum temperatures the air inside the chamber reaches. You can’t keep staring at the screen, but it’s good to know every now and then what the temperature range has been. If it’s been too high or too low, you will need to check up on it. Sometimes there can be flare-ups and this is when you need to check on the temperatures.

Both the transmitter and the receiver have LCD screens, so they are extremely easy to read. They beat others in the market for clarity. If you do have trouble reading the screens in the dark, there is a button to press and the screens will light up for 20 seconds. 

The features are all simple and easy to use and there are no unnecessary features that you probably won’t use. All you need to know is what the temperature is in both the chamber and in the meat and to set the high and low temperatures. Anything else would be superfluous. 

How to Operate the Thermometer Step by Step

  1. The first thing to do when you get the thermometer is to remove the screen protectors and then pull the tags off the battery protectors. Once you’ve done this, the transmitter and receiver will turn on automatically.
  2. Attach the probes to the transmitter and the temperatures will come on automatically. The air probe needs to be threaded into the chamber and attached to the grid clip. The LCD screen is split in two on both the transmitter and receiver, one for giving the air temperature and the other, the meat temperature. 
  3. The next step is to set the low and high temperatures for the air probe and the done temperature for the meat. Make a final check that the temperatures are displaying properly.
  4. Leave the transmitter next to the grill or you can attach it with the magnet it comes with. Sometimes, however, the smoker gets too hot for the magnet to work. As well as beeping if the temperature goes too low or too high, the receiver vibrates, so you can’t miss it.

The Smoke Gateway

There will be some of you out there who want to connect your transmitter to your cell phone, and this is where Thermoworks come up trumps. They have come up with a product called the Gateway which you can buy separately and connect to your transmitter. It connects to your Wi-Fi and allows your transmitter to send all the temperatures to your cell phone. It is about the same size as the receiver so won’t take up much space. Wi-Fi is more reliable than Bluetooth but is only okay if you’re within Wi-Fi range. This shouldn’t, however, be a problem if you’re at home.

The Competition

There are other comparable thermometers in the market, and we’ll take a look at the Maverick ET – 733. 

The Maverick comes with two identical probes and two clips. It is possible to measure the heat in two pieces of meat, or the air temperature in two different smokers. However, the chances you are going to do this are slim. You would be more likely to want to measure the air temperature and the meat temperature and this is where the Smoke comes into its own. Still, the Maverick is flexible.

The Maverick has preset temperatures for different meats like pork, beef, lamb, turkey, and chicken, while the Smoke expects you to select the temperature yourself. We believe that this is better as different cuts from one animal may need a different internal temperature. Just choosing the type of meat can lead to inaccurate temperatures.

One advantage of the Maverick is that you can program it from both the transmitter and the receiver, while with the Smoke, you can only program it from the transmitter. On the other hand, you can attach more than one receiver to the Smoke.

The Smoke has longer, more durable, and more accurate probes than the Maverick. Also, the Smoke is so much easier to set up than the Maverick. Just take the Smoke out of the box, switch it on, and you’re ready to go.

The Chef Alarm was popular before the Smoke was developed. However, it only has one probe unlike the Smoke which has two, so you have to choose whether to measure the air temperature or the meat temperature. Of course, you could rely on the built-in thermometer for the air temperature and put the probe into the meat. However, as we have said, built-in thermometers aren’t always accurate. 

Another disadvantage of the Chef Alarm is that it doesn’t come with a receiver, so you have to check the temperature at the smoker. No more relaxing indoors while the food smokes.

However, the Chef Alarm does come with a timer that the Smoke doesn’t have.

Finally, we will compare the Smoke to the Weber iGrill 2 thermometer. The transmitter on the iGrill 2 connects to your cell phone via Bluetooth, while the Smoke has a receiver. However, if you buy the Smoke Gateway, you can connect the transmitter to your cell phone via your Wi-Fi. Wi-Fi has a bigger range than Bluetooth and it is also more reliable.

In addition, the probes on the Smoke are better than the ones on the iGrill 2. They are more accurate and will last longer.

Final Thoughts

We hope that you have found this article about the Thermoworks Smoke Thermometer interesting and informative. It is worth paying the extra as it has 2 accurate probes, a receiver with a range of 300 feet, and the capability of attaching more receivers. In addition, if you want to attach the transmitter to your cell phone, you can purchase the Smoke Gateway which connects to your Wi-Fi.