Thermometers are one of the most important parts of your smokehouse. The process of both smoking and cooking greatly depends on them. There is no way to determine the temperature inside the chamber simply by looking at the smoke, touching the drum, or inserting your hand into the smoker, no matter how experienced you are. It can be compared to forcing a blind man to shoot a free throw. When using a thermometer for the first time, most experienced individuals say they don’t understand how they have been working so long without one. Well, one explanation is that for a long time they were not easily available in countries outside of the USA that were damaged by war. It turns out that these very countries are the ones with the longest tradition in smoking. Today, there is no excuse for not having one. The thermometer with the longest stem, 12” (30 cm), works best. When mounted on top of a smoker, it will read the temperature of the area where the meats are. It doesn’t have to be permanently mounted. As long as there is a suitable hole, it can be inserted to determine meat temperatures, and can be removed when the smoking is finished.
Another thermometer is needed to read the temperature inside the meat while cooking. When the meats are smoked, they have the proper flavor and color, but they are still raw and need to be cooked inside a smoker or poached in water. In both cases a thermometer is needed to indicate when the meat has reached a safe internal temperature. This thermometer has a long temperature resistant cable. On one end there is a probe that we insert into the cooked product and on the other we have the dial indicator, or electronic display that is kept outside.
It is advisable to have a thermometer with a built-in sound alarm that would warn us when we have reached a pre-set temperature.