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Where To Put Temp Probe In Smoker (Solved)

Where To Put Temp Probe In Smoker (Solved)

Smokin’ some ribs or a brisket? Sounds delicious! But guess what? The smoker’s built-in thermometer might not be the most reliable.  

That’s where a separate smoker thermometer probe comes to the rescue.  

Only problem is, where do you stick that thing for the best reading?

Don’t worry – in this post, I’ll show you the perfect spot for your probe, so your next cookout is a guaranteed success!

Where To Put Temp Probe In Smoker

You should place your temp probe in the thickest part of the muscle, where the slowest cooking happens. This ensures the most accurate reading of your food’s internal temperature.

Avoid bones, fat, and gristle as they can throw off the temperature.

In most cases, you don’t need to insert the temperature probe all the way through, just until the tip reaches the center of the meat.

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For whole poultry, target the deepest part of the thigh, and for roasts, aim for the center of the thickest muscle.

Fish is a bit different; you need to insert the probe diagonally just behind the thickest section.

Special Situations: Using Dual Probe

Using a dual probe system can really step up your smoking. It helps you keep an eye on both the meat’s inside temp and the smoker’s overall temp at the same time.

This is super important for keeping things cooking evenly and making sure your meat comes out just right.

Where To Stick The Meat Probe

Stick the meat probe where it counts for each type of meat. You want it right in the thickest part of the meat so you get an accurate read on the temp inside.

For brisket, that’s the thickest part of the cut, and for whole poultry, it’s the thickest part of the breast.


Getting it right matters because the temp in the middle of the meat decides if it’s cooked and safe to eat.

Where To Put The Other Probe

The ambient probe, on the other hand, should be placed a few inches above the grate, ensuring it is not too close to the meat or the smoker’s walls.

Also Read: Pit boss smoker not heating up

You want it away from the meat and the walls of the smoker to get a true reading of what’s going on inside. If it’s too close to the meat or walls, you might get weird readings because of the heat bouncing around.

Ideally, put it right in the middle to know what the overall temp is like.

Keeping Both Readings In Check

Keeping an eye on both the meat and smoker temp helps keep everything cooking evenly.

If the smoker temp drops, you might need to tweak things to keep it on track. 

If it shoots up, you can dial it back to avoid overcooking.

This back-and-forth, made easier with two probes, means your meat turns out just right every time.

Common Mistakes When Putting Temp Probes

To get the best results from your smoker, watch out for these slip-ups that can mess with your temps and cooking:

Avoid The Bones

One big no-no is letting the probe touch bone.

Bones conduct heat differently than meat, often leading to false readings that suggest the meat is done when it isn’t.

 Always make sure the probe is placed in the flesh of the meat, away from any bones.

Get The Depth Right

Another common mistake is not placing the probe at the correct depth.

If the probe is too shallow, it might measure the temperature of the meat’s surface, which can be significantly cooler than the center.

Or if it’s placed too deep, it might give a reading that’s too high, especially if it gets close to the smoker’s heat source.

The probe should be in the center of the thickest part of the meat for the most accurate measurement.

Don’t Touch The Grates

Make sure the probe doesn’t touch the smoker grates. If it does, it’ll pick up the higher temp of the metal, tricking you into thinking the meat’s cooking faster than it really is.

Tips For Placing The Probe

Consistency is key in smoking, and a few tricks can help you nail it every time.

Also Read: Can you use pellets in an electric smoker

Check Your Probe Regularly

Keep your temp probe calibrated so it’s accurate.

Over time, it can drift from the right temp, giving you wrong readings.

Most good probes come with instructions for calibrating, so check them now and then, especially before long smoking sessions.

Use A Holder Or Clip

Using a holder or clip for your probe keeps it steady during cooking, so it doesn’t move around and mess with the readings.


 A steady probe means you’re always measuring the same spot in the meat, which leads to more reliable results.

They’re especially handy for keeping the probe off the grates or from slipping out of the meat.

Watch The Temps

Keep an eye on both meat and smoker temps while you’re smoking.

This lets you tweak things as needed to keep everything cooking evenly and hitting the right doneness without any surprises.


Do You Leave Traeger Meat Probe In While Cooking?

Yes, it’s safe to leave your Traeger meat probe in while cooking. Traeger grills are designed for the probe to stay in the meat throughout the smoking process and it’s built to withstand the smoker’s heat.

Where To Put Ambient Probe?

For the most accurate reading, place the ambient probe at grate level, around 1-2 inches above your cooking food.It should be centered and unobstructed in the smoker’s chamber, away from walls and heat sources.

Some smokers have designated ports, but if not, carefully route the cable through a small lid gap, ensuring it doesn’t touch hot surfaces.

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