If your outdoor cooker already has a grill thermometer, great! If not, it's a simple matter to install one. Ideally, the thermometer will be mounted so the probe is at the same level as the cooking food.
The temperature inside a smoker or grill us usually higher near the top. A thermometer mounted there will give a false impression of the temperature.
For the most accurate temperature measurement, mount the thermometer on the side, just a few inches above the grate, at the same level as the food.
Grill Thermometer Mounting Instructions
Mounting a smoker thermometer on your smoker takes only three easy steps.
Mounting requires drilling a 3/8 inch hole. This one looks like a good quality thermometer, but for my money, (and yours), you'd be better off going to a large home supply retail store and checking the grill section. You should be able to find one there for a very reasonable price.
That's all there is to it. You can now use your new thermometer to control the temperature of your smoker next time you cook some perfect pork ribs or a beautiful beef brisket!
If you feel that the temperature being displayed on your grill thermometer isn't accurately representing the true grill or smoker temperature, you might be able to calibrate it. Simply remove the thermometer from your cooker, and holding it with pliers, submerge the stem into boiling water.
The thermometer needle should be positioned very close to the 212˚F position on the dial. If not, the stem can be be rotated slightly to line it up to the true reading. On some thermometers the stem is fixed in place, but others can be rotated.
Grip the dial section in one hand, and gently but securely grasp the stem with your pliers. Apply a bit of force to rotate the stem in the desired direction. Re-test in boiling water until your calibration attempts line the needle up in the correct position.
If you want consistently great barbecued and smoked food, a grill thermometer is a must. Keep that fire burning low and slow and you'll end up with great food every time!