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Top Five Meat Thermometers for Smoking and Grilling

Finding the best meat thermometer can be a chore! There are many great ones on the market today. A meat thermometer will measure meat doneness, showing on the thermometer the different levels that the meat has been cooked (rare, medium, well done). The USDA recommends using a meat thermometer to ensure that the meat is fully cooked. Simply looking at the meat, checking the color of the juices, or feeling the meat will not ensure that the meat has reached a safe internal temperature. Think of this if you are still not convinced…1 out of 4 every hamburger cooked does not have the correct internal temperature, even though the center of the burger is brown!

In this article, you will learn how to find the best thermometer for smoking meat. Also included are the top five meat thermometers from smoking that follow the criteria that are listed below.

Factors to Consider When Purchasing a Best Meat Thermometer

When purchasing a meat thermometer for smoking, there are many factors that should be taken into consideration.

  • Accuracy: It is important to be accurate in temperatures when cooking various meats.  You should always invest in a thermometer that stands behind its accuracy.
  • Ease of use: Look for a meat thermometer that is easy to use.  Many wind up frustrated when they can not figure out how to use a high tech one,  or all the buttons scare them.  Always invest in a meat thermometer that you will be able to operate with ease.  The buttons should be clearly labeled, and they should be large and easy enough to press.
  • Speed: It is wise to look for a thermometer that can give a fast readout.  Chances are, a few seconds here and there will not cause food to dry out or become overcooked, but everyone appreciates a thermometer that will save them time.   A fast thermometer will also ensure that you do not have to have the oven, BBQ or smoker door open for too long before the thermometer calculates the reading.
  • Automatic Shut Off: Having a meat thermometer with an automatic shut off is listed as a top priority to many.  Many smoker pros will say it is best to walk straight passed the analog thermometers and get one that has the automatic shut off feature.  This is key to saving the battery life of the thermometer.  Over time, it can save money as you will not have to purchase as many batteries.
  • A Backlit Screen: A backlit screen is nice to have when doing night cooking or when the area is dimly lit.
  • Durable probes: The probes on the end of a meat thermometer should be able to withstand temperatures that are very high.  If the thermometer is left in the food that is being cooked, the cables should be very tough, so they do not melt when exposed to the grill or oven grates.  Splash resistant cables that can withstand water exposure are an excellent idea to look into as well!
  • A large temperature span: A meat thermometer that has a large temperature span will be more practical than one that has a short temperature span.  Look for a thermometer that is capable of withstanding 500 degrees or more.  There are even some that will measure the temperatures below the freezing point.

The Top Five Meat Thermometers

The following are on the list for the best wireless meat thermometer for smoking and grilling.  Each thermometer has its pros and cons and has been researched well to make this list.

Maverick ET-733 Long Range Wireless Dual Probe Meat Smoker

What we like:

  • Monitors temperatures up to 300 feet away
  • Larger backlit screen than other meat thermometers
  • Select between Celsius and Fahrenheit
  • Can monitor two foods at once
  • 15 preset temperatures (9 for beef, chicken, veal, lamb, pork, and turkey and 6 for game meats like deer, duck, moose, elk, and rabbit)

What we did not like:

  • Battery compartment requires a screwdriver to open
  • Hard to get a quick read on thinner meats, such as ribs
Save Up To $17.98 Maverick ET-733 Long Range Wireless Dual Probe BBQ Smoker Meat Thermometer Set

This meat smoker thermometer comes in 3 different colors- red, black, and silver. It has a large backlit screen that shows more information than other screens. It comes with 2 Hybrid probes and has 15 preset temperatures. It will monitor the temperature of your meats from up to 300 feet away. The LCD beeps and flashes when the temperature goes above what your meat is programmed for. The probes are 3 feet long and are rated for 716 degrees F and is operated on 4 AAA batteries that are included. This would come in handy when my family cooks when we are camping. We often have two or more meats or dishes going on the smoker or grill. As it can monitor two different foods at once, it would eliminate a lot of guesswork on if meat was done or not.

ThermoPro TP-08 Wireless Remote Dual Probe Thermometer

What we like:

  • Large temperature range for smoking meats
  • Comes with a 1-year warranty
  • Hassle-free set up (transmitter and receiver are pre-synchronized at the factory)
  • Accurate temperature readings
  • Lightweight device that fits nicely in a pocket

What we did not like:

  • Could be a bit simpler to program/run

This makes the list of the best wireless meat thermometer for smoking as it has a very large temperature range from 32 degrees F to 572 degrees F.  The timer has to count up and count down ability. The thermometer features an alarm that goes off with the receiver flashing when the temperature goes above the programmed temperature.  The probe measures 6.5 inches and is made from stainless steel food grade material.  There is also a 3-inch oven and BBQ probe.  Both probes precisely calculate the temperatures quickly.

ThermoPro TP20 Wireless Meat Thermometer with Dual Probe

What we like:

  • Features a one-year warranty
  • Has a splash-proof receiver?
  • Transmitter has a wire to hook it to the door or use as a stand
  • Countdown and count up timer with two-time duration options (99min 59sec, 99hr 59min)
  • Reputation for being one of the best brands
  • Recommended by America’s Test Kitchen
  • Cables are wrapped in stainless steel to protect from the heat

What we did not like:

  • Temperatures did not seem consistent/working correctly
  • Probes popped out with slight movement

This meat thermometer makes the top five cut as it monitors food from up to 300 feet away. There are no tedious setups with this digital thermometer. It features a large LCD screen that shows both food and oven temperatures. It comes preset with 9 types of meat temperatures and their various doneness levels that are recommended by the USDA. Should you not like these temperatures, you can reset them. This digital meat thermometer is one that I would appreciate as I have to have meat that is well done, regardless of what the temperature reads. The probe wires on this model are rated for 716 degrees F. It features a meat button( ground beef, ground poultry, veal, beef, chicken, pork, lamb, fish, and poultry) as well as a taste button (rare, medium rare, medium, medium well, and well done).

ThermoPro TP11 Wireless Meat Thermometer

What we like:

  • Very versatile (can be used for gas grills, ovens, fryers, smokers, and more)
  • Comes with lifetime sensor probe warranty
  • Monitors food from up to 300 feet away
  • Automatic receiver shuts off after half an hour  if no signal is received from the transmitter
  • Automatic transmitter shuts off if temperature is below for 122 degrees f for 120 minutes

What we did not  like:

  • Has been known to report inaccurate temperatures
  • Thermometer gets stuck once it gets so high
  • Buttons were hard to figure out

This meat thermometer is one of the best digital meat thermometer for smoking for the price. It can be purchased with a single probe, or for a small amount more, you can purchase a double probe unit. This thermometer features a smart design with a 6.5 inch food grade stainless steel probe and a 3 inch oven/BBQ probe with STEP-DOWN tip design. This allows cooking to be quicker and more precise. The receiver will beep and flash when the temperature arrives at the desired degree. It takes 4 AAA batteries, which are included with the purchase. It can cook at a wide range of temperatures, from 32 degrees F to 572 degrees F, with an accurate reading of ± 1.8 degrees F. This thermometer is great for using on your turkey fryer, gas grill, oven, smoker, candy making, beer brewing, and so much more! I appreciate the fact that the LCD backlit screen shows 3 different colors in reaction to how far along the meat you are cooking is compared to your set temperatures (blue>green>red).

Maverick ET-732 Redi-Chek BBQ Meat Thermometer

What we like:

  • Has a LCD screen that has a backlight for night time use
  • Shows an internal temperature of up to 572 degrees F
  • Is the perfect wireless thermometer for smokers
  • Has many preset temperatures for meats
  • Takes very accurate readings

What we did not like:

  • Some had trouble operating this thermometer at first

This dual monitoring system allows you to perfectly cook while being away from the smoker or grill up to 300 feet. It features built-in sensors that alert you when the temperature of your grill or smoker is going above or below the desired temperature. Once the meat has reached the correct temperature, the receiver will alarm you to let you know.

Why Meat Thermometers Are Essential

Meat thermometers are essential for any BBQ novice or master.  Even top chefs will tell you it is imperative to use a meat thermometer.  The following are reasons as to why you should never skip over this important cooking utensil when smoking or grilling.

  • Allows the BBQ master to create a juicier, moister meat. Using a meat thermometer will ensure that no meat is overcooked.  Overcooking meats often dry them out, leaving them tough and leathery.
  • Ensures that the food is cooked properly. If you use a meat thermometer, there is no guesswork on if a piece of meat is done.  If you have ever cut into a chicken breast that looked done on the outside but was still raw on the inside, you know that it can make your stomach churn.  It is not safe to eat certain meats raw.  Even if you throw the piece of chicken back onto the grill or in the oven, you still have contaminated your entire plate, fork, and knife with the raw chicken.  If you have any other foods on your plate, the juices could mix with them.  If this happens it is best to just dump the entire plate so one does not risk salmonella poisoning or other food-borne illnesses.

Types of Meat Thermometers

There are a few types of meat thermometers on the market.  Some of the old school method of thermometers, which is perfectly acceptable, as these are a low tech option for those that are not tech savvy.  Each one has its own pros and cons, but each type can effectively measure internal temperatures.

These include:

Wireless Digital Meat Thermometer: A wireless digital meat thermometer is often considered the best kind of thermometer one can purchase. Using this type of thermometer will give you a real-time temperature. This kind of thermometer also allows you to slow cook a dish, monitoring it constantly without disrupting the food. Features on this type of thermometer are constantly changing, but some of the best features currently available include having an alarm that states when the meat you are cooking is done. A wireless digital meat thermometer can be used by any griller, whether they are new to the method of cooking or a pro. The wireless feature will monitor the internal temperature of your meats during the smoking and grilling process.
Save Up To $20.00 BBQ Meat Thermometer, Bluetooth Remote Cooking Thermometer, Digital Oven Thermometer with 6 Probe Port for Smoker Grilling (Carrying Case Included)

A Leave In Digital Meat Thermometer: Leave in digital meat thermometers have a fast response when the probe is stuck into meats. This is perfect for grilling and smoking as this limits the amount of time that the lid needs to be opened to check the temperature of the meat. This will mean less heat is escaping, which will ensure that the cooking environment is more stable.

 


 Analog Meat Thermometer: An analog meat thermometer is oven safe and can be left in a meat while cooking. This is typically the type of meat thermometer that your grandmother used to cook her big Sunday roast with. The great thing about analog meat thermometers is that they are very easy to clean up. They are also very easy to find at many cooking stores. One of the biggest cons of this type of thermometer is that they are often not as precise as one expects a thermometer to be. They also lack a fast response time. They are much slower at building up a temperature than a digital thermometer.

Tips For Using Meat Thermometers

Once you purchase a meat thermometer for a smoker, you will want to care for it so it lasts for several years. When washing the thermometer, you will never want to submerge the probe.  You can wipe down the probe with a damp cloth if needed.  You may also desire to use an antibacterial wipe to clean them.  Submerging the probe in water will cause the meat thermometer to stop working.  After the thermometer has been cleaned, it is best to store without twisting the wires.

It is also imperative that you stay within the temperature rating when smoking.  The best meat probe thermometers for smoking will not have a problem as long as cooking is done at slow and low temperatures.

When using a meat thermometer, it is wise to always check the thickest part of the meat.  Never check by any bones, gristle, or fat as this can give an inaccurate reading. The thermometer should also never touch the side of the pan, as this could also give an inaccurate reading.

You can check how accurate a thermometer is by a simple test.  Place the thermometer in a large glass that contains 50%  crushed ice and 50% water.  Leave the thermometer set for 10 minutes, then check the reading.  It should read 32 degrees F.  The thermometer can read plus or minus 2 degrees to be considered accurate.

Conclusion

Many different meat thermometers for smoking were considered that did not meet the criteria of this page.  These top five meat thermometers were the best for quality, price,  value, and brand.  Picking a meat thermometer may seem like a hard chore but once you have the criteria in place, you can pick one and be on your way to smoking your favorite meat.

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