Dome Temp vs Grate Temp(Explained)

dome temperature vs grate temperature

Planning to grill some meat for a family lunch? We understand the pressure of not wanting to screw up while on the job, which is why we are here to help you! The temperature you grill your meat at is crucial as it determines how well it cooks.

There are generally two types of temperatures you can measure: Dome and Grate. Grills and smokers could come with either type. So, which one is better?

Regardless of whether you’re a seasoned grilled or a beginner,, you must be wondering which one you should choose. Not to worry, we are here to help you with it!

Continue reading the article to understand the differences between dome thermometers and grate thermometers. Before we dive right in, let’s see what exactly these temperatures are. 

What is dome temperature? 

Dome temperature is measured by the heat from the upper portion or “dome” of grills and smokers. When the thermometer is in the dome, it is at a safe distance from the cooking grate. It is important to remember that the temperature of the dome can be different from the cooking grate.

What is a grate temperature ? 

Grate temperature is measured from the grill, where the cooking takes place.  So, it is pretty much the closest you can get to the temperature your food is cooking at. This provides a more accurate reading as it shows the temperature from where the food is. 

Dome Temp vs Grate Temp

The main difference between dome temp vs grate temp is that the dome temp is measured from the upper portion or dome of the grill and the grate temp is measured from the grill where the cooking happens. Dome temp and grate temp are both accurate because they’re measured differently. But grate temp being closest to the food, represents the cooking temperature more. 

The fundamental difference between these temperatures comes from the location of the two.  Dome temp is measured from about an inch or two from dome top. So, the heat is measured after moving up 1 or 2 inches.

Dome temp and grate temp generally have a difference of about 50 degrees F. Evidently, dome temperature shows a lower reading than the grate. This temperature shows a cooler reading because it ends up measuring the temperature of the air space due to its distance from the grate. 

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Dome temp shouldn’t be your first choice when you’re cooking on your grill. Generally, recipes show the exact temperature of what food should be when it is being cooked. Dome temperatures tend to show a reading that is either higher or lower than the actual one. Therefore, cooking with the dome temperature can be kind of a hassle while smoking some meat. 

Factors That Affect The Dome Temperature Reading

Dome temperatures are generally lower than grate temperatures. Being away from the actual grill, it could show less accurate temperatures. Here are some reasons that could affect the readings of dome temperatures:

  • Distance: A dome thermometer is usually an inch or two over the grill. So, while it still measured the heat from the grill, there is a considerable difference due to the air space. 
  • Deflector pan: Sometimes, deflector plates or pans are used too. This runs a risk of dome temperatures having higher readings than the actual.
  • Time the dome stays closed: The longer the dome stays closed, the better the chances of you getting a better reading are. Opening the dome sometimes lets out some heat, affecting the reading of the dome temperatures further. 
  • Air currents: Air  currents can cause a significant change in the temperature when measured from the dome. There could be a temperature difference of up to 50 degrees.

Now, about the grate temp. Temperatures on the grill show the accurate or closest to accurate readings of how hot your food is.

Measuring the heat directly from the grill will help you follow recipes better, ultimately resulting in a better end result. It is easier to correlate the temperatures with the direction in the recipe. 

The best meats are cooked low and slow. For this, grate temp is the way to go. If you choose to work with dome temp, chances are you’ll end up with a reading that’s birthed than the correct one.

This will result in your meat being overdone on the outside and relatively raw on the inside. Another plus of using grate temp helps you understand how much longer your food will require to cook. 

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If you still wish to use the dome temp, here’s a way you can get a more accurate reading: avoid using a deflector pan.

Deflector plates or pans sometimes increase the heat around the thermometer, resulting in a higher reading.

So, try to reduce using heat deflectors for a reading that’s closer to the actual temperature. 

Conclusion

Cooking at the right temperature is key to getting most dishes right. By measuring the accurate readings, you will minimize the risk of having your food either overcooked or underdone. If you are a beginner to smoking, it is essential to know the difference between dome temp and grate temp, and also how much the two vary by. 

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How accurate either of these temperatures are also based on the kind of food you’re cooking. It tells you how when some of your dishes cook. So, it is crucial to know the difference between the two to make sure you have the right readings. This is going to majorly influence the way your meat is going to turn out. 

We hope this article helped you understand the importance of knowing how each temperature reads and how it can affect your cooking. Happy Grilling! 

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