Thermometer for the Weber Kettle: Fixing an Intrinsic Problem - Barbecue FAQ (2024)

By Dylan Clay

Last Updated:

December 8, 2023

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The Weber Kettle is by far one the best grills and even smokers to exist; It's versatile, durable, and most importantly, inexpensive.

However, as someone who uses the Weber kettle to smoke with, it has an intrinsic problem - the lid thermometer is on the wrong side.

This problem is easily rectified by installing a new thermometer for the Weber Kettle.

The Intrinsic Problem with Weber's Lid Thermometer

The lid thermometer on the Weber kettle isn't inherently bad.

If you're someone who only grills on the Weber kettle and you only use a one-zone fire to grill hamburgers and hot dogs, you don't have to worry about the lid thermometer; It's accurate and does it's job of measuring the temperature inside the kettle.

However, the problem becomes apparent if you smoke meat on the Weber kettle - The Lid thermometer is on the wrong side.

Thermometer for the Weber Kettle: Fixing an Intrinsic Problem - Barbecue FAQ (1)

When smoking meat on a charcoal grill like the weber kettle, you want to place the meat on the opposite side of your fire and below the exhaust damper. This way you're smoking with indirect heat and the smoke is pulled over the meat.

However, since the lid thermometer is on the opposite side of your meat, it reads the temperature above your fire - which is much hotter than heat in the indirect zone.

What I've found is 400F over the fire is roughly 250F in the indirect zone.

However, if you're someone who likes to be super precise with temperatures (like me), you can fix this problem by installing a new lid thermometer in the correct location.

Fixing the Thermometer for the Weber Kettle

The easiest way to sus the problem with the lid thermometer is by buying a new thermometer and installing it on the exhaust damper side of the grill.

In order to do this, you'll need a few things, namely a new thermometer.

Over the years of owning different types of smokers and grills, I almost always go with the brand Tel-tru. They make thermometers for a variety of industrial applications, as well as barbecue - meaning, they need to be accurate and built to last.

Thermometer for the Weber Kettle: Fixing an Intrinsic Problem - Barbecue FAQ (2)

Tel-tru has a number of different styles and types of thermometers. I'd suggest getting one with a bigger dial (2 inches) and a stem at least 2 inches long. With that said, I also wouldn't go above 3 inches on the off chance you're smoking a larger cut of meat like brisket.

You also don't need a thermometer that goes upwards of 700F+. The reason being, this thermometer is for smoking meaning we just need to know temperatures between 225 - 275F.

The standard lid thermometer can also be used for high heat searing of 600F+.

Installing the New Thermometer on the Lid

This process is super straightforward. You're essentially just drilling a hole into the lid and threading the thermometer through the hole.

For this guide I used:

Note: The Tel-tru thermometer I received was different from the one in the photograph. It didn't have a wing nut and the hole was much bigger than advertised. Rather, it used a locking nut. The step drill bit also eliminates the need to measure.

The first thing I did was decided where I wanted the thermometer. I opted to install it below the exhaust damper, near grate-level. This way when smoking I have a better idea of the temperature where the food will be placed.

I then removed the locking nut and colored in the circle with a marker.

Thermometer for the Weber Kettle: Fixing an Intrinsic Problem - Barbecue FAQ (3)

I then took my mallet and pin punch and tapped in the center of the circle to make a hole for the drill bit.

Note: You don't need to hit the pin punch hard. Also don't fret if you crack the porcelain. This happened to me and it was drilled out.

With the step drill bit and my drill I then started drilling out the outline I drew. As I started to approach the size, I started testing the thermometer to see if I could thread it.

Thermometer for the Weber Kettle: Fixing an Intrinsic Problem - Barbecue FAQ (4)

Eventually, I was able to thread the thermometer through. I turned the thermometer until it was both threaded and had the temperature gauge upright.

Thermometer for the Weber Kettle: Fixing an Intrinsic Problem - Barbecue FAQ (5)

Here's the thermometer fully threaded:

Thermometer for the Weber Kettle: Fixing an Intrinsic Problem - Barbecue FAQ (6)

Once threaded, I then turned the lid over and fastened the locking nut.

Thermometer for the Weber Kettle: Fixing an Intrinsic Problem - Barbecue FAQ (7)

That's all there is to it.

Thermometer for the Weber Kettle: Fixing an Intrinsic Problem - Barbecue FAQ (8)

Other Thermometer Options

So while the above is the best way to fix the problem with the lid thermometer, some folks may find it intimidating to do so - which I don't blame you.

For a really long time, I didn't even have a lid thermometer on my Weber Kettle. My older model didn't have a heat deflector on the handle, the lid hanger, or a thermometer, but it worked fine.

Whenever I opted to smoke on the weber Kettle, I would simply take my wireless meat probe (the Thermopro TP20) and dangle it inside the exhaust damper.

Thermometer for the Weber Kettle: Fixing an Intrinsic Problem - Barbecue FAQ (9)

This way we're measuring the heat above the meat.

The above worked fine for me for a number of years and also put out wonderful barbecue.

Using a Probe Thermometer Instead or Know that 400F Over the Fire is ~250F Indirect

If you find the above intimidating, you could also opt to do what I did and simply dangle a wireless meat thermometer like the Thermopro TP20 through the exhaust damper.

You also now know that 400F over the fire is roughly 250F over the meat (which is perfect for smoking).

As an enthusiast and expert in the field of barbecue and grilling, I have extensive hands-on experience with various grill setups, including the Weber Kettle. I've experimented with different techniques, temperatures, and modifications to optimize the grilling and smoking process. My expertise stems from years of practical application, research, and a deep understanding of the nuances involved in achieving ideal cooking conditions.

Regarding the content discussed in the provided article by Dylan Clay, I can provide a comprehensive breakdown and further insight into the concepts and procedures mentioned:

  1. Weber Kettle Grill:

    • Known for its versatility, durability, and affordability, the Weber Kettle is celebrated as an excellent grill and smoker.
    • However, it's highlighted that the placement of the lid thermometer on the Weber Kettle could pose challenges, especially during smoking sessions.
  2. Issue with the Lid Thermometer:

    • The lid thermometer's location is problematic when smoking meat since it measures the temperature above the fire, not the indirect zone where the meat sits.
    • Smoking typically requires indirect heat, and the discrepancy in temperature readings affects precision.
  3. Solution - Installing a New Thermometer:

    • To rectify the issue, the article recommends installing a new thermometer on the side closer to the exhaust damper, providing a more accurate reading of the temperature near the meat.
    • Suggested brand for a replacement thermometer is Tel-tru, emphasizing the importance of a larger dial and an appropriate temperature range for smoking (between 225 - 275°F).
  4. Installation Process:

    • The installation involves drilling a hole in the lid and threading the new thermometer through this hole.
    • Specific tools required include a drill, a step drill bit, a mallet, a pin punch, and a marker for marking the spot for drilling.
    • Detailed steps are outlined, focusing on positioning the thermometer below the exhaust damper for more accurate temperature readings where the food will be placed.
  5. Alternative Solutions:

    • The article offers alternative methods, such as using wireless probe thermometers like the Thermopro TP20, which can be dangled through the exhaust damper to measure heat near the meat.
    • It's noted that an understanding of the temperature discrepancy (400°F over the fire is roughly 250°F in the indirect zone) can also aid in achieving desired smoking temperatures.
  6. Considerations and Final Thoughts:

    • The article acknowledges that the modification might be intimidating for some, suggesting alternative methods that still produce excellent barbecue results.
    • Ultimately, the goal is to ensure accurate temperature monitoring, especially during smoking sessions, to achieve the desired cooking outcome.

In summary, the Weber Kettle's lid thermometer placement presents challenges for smoking meat due to temperature discrepancies. Installing a new thermometer, preferably from reliable brands like Tel-tru, and understanding alternative methods for temperature monitoring can significantly improve smoking precision and overall grilling experience on the Weber Kettle.

Thermometer for the Weber Kettle: Fixing an Intrinsic Problem - Barbecue FAQ (2024)


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