A grill thermometer should cost no more than $10. (Anne Cusack / Los Angeles…)
Whether you're a bona fide pit master or just a weekend warrior, there's nothing more important than maintaining the proper heat in the grill. Cook too hot, and you'll turn those baby back ribs into jerky on the bone. Cook too low, and, well, you may be smoking hours longer than you intended. A simple grill thermometer makes easy work of regulating the heat of the smoker, barbecue or grill.
A grill thermometer looks like a common instant-read thermometer, except it has a really big dial for easy reading with a short, thick stem.
While many grills and smokers come with thermometers installed in the lid, many do not (like my trusty Weber shown in the picture above). Over time, and with heavy use, even installed thermometers can become dirty and hard to read, or break from excessive use or heat.
Replacement thermometers are easy to find, available at most hardware stores and barbecue-supply stores, as well as online. If your grill lacks a thermometer hole, simply drill one into the lid (most thermometer stems are around 1/4-inch thick), and attach the new thermometer (or prop it in a smoke vent, as I did above). Magnetic thermometers are also available if you're hesitant about drilling holes in your beloved barbecue.
Grill thermometers range in price depending on style and make, but a basic one (like the one shown above), should set you back no more than $10.
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