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There is no perfect temperature for cooking. That leaves us with one option; to keep adjusting heat to a suitable temperature. However, you also have to get expert knowledge of reading temperatures before you can begin to adjust.
Mainly, there are two variations of temperatures, grill temperature vs dome temperature. Mostly, grills will come with a thermometer installed at the dome. Also, you may decide to install an external thermometer, usually at the grill.
The accuracy of any of these thermometers depends on the type of food you are cooking. However, the variations also affect how well you may cook some foods. Therefore, there is a need to ensure you have the correct measurements by using the best thermometer.
Grill Temperature vs. Dome Temperature
As you expect, there will be a difference between the temperatures measured at the dome and grill. However, it is advisable to measure grill temperature. That is because it is the actual temperature at which your food is cooking.
But what is this difference between dome and grill temperatures? There are differences between temperatures at the dome and grill. These temperature differences are noticeable even when cooking food. However, both get considered to be accurate because they get measured differently.
The difference between dome and grill temperature usually arises because of the dome thermometer location. The thermometer is usually located 1 to 2 inches on top of the dome. Therefore, the heat has to move up 1 to 2 inches before it gets measured.
It creates the variation observed between dome and grill temperature. Remember, there is usually a 50°F difference between the two temperatures. The dome temperature is cooler because the thermometer ends up measuring air space temperature.
It is not right to use a dome thermometer for cooking. Remember, the recipe temperature is the actual temperature your food should cook with. The dome thermometer will give either lower or higher readings making it unsuitable for determining the correct temperature.
On the other hand, measuring the temperature at the grill will give you the actual temperature readings. Therefore, we recommend that you use the grill temperature. You can use an external thermometer to read the temperature next to the food.
Factors that Influence Dome Thermometer Reading Accuracy
As mentioned earlier, there are differences between grill plate temperature vs. dome temperature. Dome temperature is usually lower and can get considered as less accurate than grill temperature. Here are some factors that may affect dome thermometer reading temperatures.
- The distance from the actual heat – The dome thermometer usually gets located about 1 or 2 inches above the grill. That means it measures the temperature from the grill but still measures air space temperature causing the difference.
- How long the dome remains closed – You are likely to get accurate temperature readings if you leave your dome closed for long. However, opening the dome frequently lets off the heat, and hence the thermometer cannot give the actual readings.
- Using a deflector plate or pan – If you are using such cooking equipment, there will be heat above the sides. That will increase the heat going up towards the thermometer. Therefore, there will be higher temperature readings.
Dome temperatures can get affected by any of these factors. That gives you a false sense of accuracy if you depend on a dome thermometer to cook. We recommend the use of a ThermoPro Meat Thermometer for better efficiency.
How to Check Grill Temperature with a Digital Thermometer
Cooking without a thermometer is like driving in the dark without headlights. You are bound to make grievous mistakes that may make the food unsuitable for eating. However, even if you have a thermometer, it is essential to learn how to use it.
Digital thermometers help to measure temperatures to avoid over-cooking or under-cooking. With the right kind of grill thermometer, you can avoid cooking accidents. A digital thermometer is the best choice for checking the heat levels on your grill.
Here are steps to accurately checking grill temperature with a digital thermometer;
- You should insert the thermometer to the thickest part of the meat. Ensure the thermometer needle reaches the middle and does not go beyond there. The reason to place it at the thickest part is to avoid bones, which may affect the readings.
- Allow it at least 30 seconds before taking the initial temperature reading. This time is sufficient for the thermometer reading to stop going up and settle on specific readings.
- Compare the thermometer reading to the recommended temperatures. Remember, different foods require a different level of heat to get cooked. Ensure the temperature reading on the thermometer does not put the food at risk of under or overcooking.
- Also, you can repeat the same process on different parts of the meat. Remember, you should always measure the temperature on the thickest part of the meat. Compare subsequent readings with the initial one and to the recommended temperatures.
Note: Sometimes, it is essential to remove bigger meat roasts from the grill before the temperatures reach the recommended levels. Even after removing thick meat from the grill, the internal temperatures keep going up. That means, it will continue cooking internally, especially if you cover it with a foil.
Additional Knowledge: Difference between Dome vs. Grate temperatures
As mentioned earlier, do not trust that dome temperature. The difference between dome and grate temperatures is a clear sign that dome temperatures are not as accurate as you think. Therefore, there is a need to find the right grilling temperature for better accuracy.
Also, sometimes dome temperatures seem to be accurate when you are not using a deflector. Heat deflectors often increase temperature readings. That makes grill vs. dome temperature direct difference. Therefore, you should sometimes avoid using heat deflectors.
If you are looking to cook slowly at low temperatures, you must follow grate temperatures. Meat may be cooking at higher temperatures than what the dome thermometer displays. As a result, you may end up with scorched meat at the exterior, which is also under-cooked internally.
Grate temperatures also make it easier to determine the amount of time it will take to cook food. Most recipes come indicated with grate temperatures. Therefore, using dome temperatures for cooking can affect the desired results. Use a grill dome thermometer to find the best cooking temperature.
Cooking at the right temperature is a difficult task, especially for beginners. Luckily, some thermometers can help you determine the proper temperatures. However, the thermometers vary, and getting the most accurate cooking temperatures depends on the type of thermometer you use.
We recommend the use of grill thermometers when cooking meat. They have higher accuracy levels compared to dome thermometers that measure lower temperatures. Therefore, you should get a ThermoPro Meat Thermometer to determine the best temperatures for cooking.