How Do You Calibrate A Grill’s Built-in Thermometer?

If you’ve ever wondered how to ensure that your grill’s built-in thermometer is providing accurate readings, you’ve come to the right place. Calibrating a grill’s thermometer is an essential task that every grill enthusiast should know how to do. In this article, we will walk you through the step-by-step process of calibrating your grill’s built-in thermometer to ensure that your meats are cooked to perfection every time. Don’t let inaccurate temperature readings ruin your grilling experience, read on to learn how to calibrate your grill’s thermometer like a pro.


In order to ensure that you’re grilling your food to perfection every time, it’s important to calibrate your grill’s built-in thermometer. This simple process will not only give you accurate temperature readings, but it will also improve your cooking results and ensure safety while grilling.

1. Why Calibrate a Grill’s Built-in Thermometer?

1.1 Ensuring Accurate Temperature Readings

One of the main reasons to calibrate your grill’s thermometer is to ensure accurate temperature readings. Over time, these thermometers can become inaccurate due to various factors such as exposure to extreme temperatures, wear and tear, or even mishandling. By calibrating your grill’s thermometer, you can be confident that the temperature readings you’re getting are accurate, allowing you to cook your food to the desired level of doneness.

1.2 Improving Cooking Results

Calibrating your grill’s built-in thermometer can significantly improve your cooking results. If the thermometer is not properly calibrated, you may find that your food is either undercooked or overcooked. By accurately gauging the temperature of your grill, you can ensure that your food is cooked perfectly, resulting in delicious and evenly cooked dishes.

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1.3 Safety Concerns

Safety is always a top priority when it comes to grilling. If your grill’s built-in thermometer is not calibrated correctly, it can lead to foodborne illnesses. Undercooking meat and poultry can leave harmful bacteria, such as salmonella or E. coli, alive and thriving on your food. By calibrating your grill’s thermometer, you can minimize the risk of foodborne illnesses and ensure the safety of everyone enjoying your grilled creations.

2. Tools and Materials Needed

Before you begin calibrating your grill’s built-in thermometer, you’ll need a few tools and materials. Here’s what you’ll need:

2.1 Grill Thermometer Calibration Kit

A grill thermometer calibration kit is an essential tool to have when calibrating your grill’s built-in thermometer. It typically includes a calibration screw, along with detailed instructions on how to properly calibrate your thermometer. These kits are widely available at most hardware or grilling supply stores, and they are relatively inexpensive.

2.2 Oven Thermometer

In addition to the calibration kit, you’ll also need an oven thermometer. This will serve as a point of reference to check the accuracy of your grill’s built-in thermometer. An oven thermometer can easily be found at kitchen supply stores or online.

2.3 Adjustable Wrench

Lastly, you’ll need an adjustable wrench. This tool will be used to adjust the calibration screw on your grill’s built-in thermometer during the calibration process. Make sure to have the right size wrench that fits the screw on your particular grill.

3. Preparing for Calibration

Before you can begin calibrating your grill’s built-in thermometer, there are a few steps you should take to ensure a smooth and accurate calibration process.

3.1 Cleaning the Grill

First and foremost, it’s important to clean your grill thoroughly before calibrating the thermometer. Any built-up residue or debris can interfere with the accuracy of the readings. Use a grill brush to scrub the grates and surfaces, and make sure to remove any excess grease or food particles. A clean grill ensures accurate temperature readings.

3.2 Identifying the Thermometer Screw

Next, you’ll need to locate the thermometer screw on your grill. This screw is typically found on the backside of the thermometer dial or on the housing of the thermometer. Use your adjustable wrench to loosen the screw slightly, as this will allow you to make the necessary adjustments during the calibration process.

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4. Conducting the Calibration Process

Now that you’re prepared, it’s time to get started with the calibration process. There are two main steps involved: the boiling water test and the ice water test.

4.1 Step 1: Boiling Water Test

Fill a pot with water and bring it to a rolling boil. Once the water is boiling, carefully place your oven thermometer into the water, making sure it is fully submerged. Allow the thermometer to sit in the boiling water for a few minutes to stabilize.

Next, take a note of the temperature reading on the oven thermometer. This will serve as your reference point for calibration.

4.2 Step 2: Ice Water Test

After completing the boiling water test, you’ll need to conduct the ice water test. Fill a glass with ice cubes and then add cold water, stirring until the water is icy cold. Immerse the oven thermometer into the ice water, ensuring it is fully submerged.

Again, take note of the temperature reading on the oven thermometer. It should read close to 32 degrees Fahrenheit (0 degrees Celsius) since ice water maintains a consistent temperature at freezing point.

5. Adjusting the Thermometer

Now that you have the temperature readings from the boiling water and ice water tests, it’s time to make any necessary adjustments to your grill’s built-in thermometer.

5.1 Option 1: Using the Calibration Kit

If you have a grill thermometer calibration kit, refer to the instructions provided for adjusting the thermometer. Typically, this involves using the calibration screw to either tighten or loosen the dial, aligning it with the accurate temperature readings obtained from the boiling water and ice water tests. Follow the instructions carefully to ensure precise adjustments.

5.2 Option 2: Manual Adjustments

If you don’t have a calibration kit, you can still manually adjust your grill’s built-in thermometer. Using your adjustable wrench, gently loosen or tighten the thermometer screw. Gradually make small adjustments until the dial aligns with the accurate temperature readings obtained from the boiling water and ice water tests.

6. Testing the Accuracy

After adjusting your grill’s built-in thermometer, it’s important to test its accuracy to ensure that it’s reading temperatures correctly.

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6.1 Checking at Various Temperatures

To test the accuracy, heat your grill to various temperatures, such as 250 degrees Fahrenheit, 350 degrees Fahrenheit, and 450 degrees Fahrenheit. Let the grill reach each temperature and then check the reading on the built-in thermometer. Compare it to the temperature readings on your oven thermometer. The readings should match closely, or at least be within a few degrees of each other.

6.2 Comparing with an Independent Thermometer

In addition to checking the temperatures at various settings on your grill, it’s also a good idea to compare the readings with an independent thermometer. This can be a handheld or digital meat thermometer. Insert the independent thermometer into the food being cooked, and compare its reading with the built-in thermometer. Again, the readings should be similar or within a few degrees of each other.

7. Maintaining Accuracy

Once you’ve successfully calibrated your grill’s built-in thermometer, it’s important to take steps to maintain its accuracy over time.

7.1 Regular Cleaning and Care

Regularly cleaning your grill and its thermometer is crucial for accurate readings. Remove any debris, grease, or burnt food particles from the thermometer between uses. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for cleaning and care to ensure longevity and accuracy.

7.2 Periodic Recalibration

Even with proper maintenance, it’s recommended to periodically recalibrate your grill’s built-in thermometer. Over time, environmental factors and regular use can affect its accuracy. Set a reminder to recalibrate the thermometer every few months or at the beginning of each grilling season.

8. Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

8.1 Can all grill thermometers be calibrated?

While not all grill thermometers can be calibrated, most built-in thermometers can be adjusted to some extent. However, it’s best to check the manufacturer’s instructions or contact customer support to determine if your particular grill’s thermometer is adjustable.

8.2 How often should a grill thermometer be calibrated?

It’s recommended to calibrate your grill’s thermometer every few months or at the beginning of each grilling season. This will help ensure accurate temperature readings and safe grilling.

8.3 Are grill thermometer calibration kits expensive?

Grill thermometer calibration kits are generally affordable and readily available. The cost will vary depending on the brand and the specific kit, but they are typically a worthwhile investment for achieving accurate cooking temperatures and enhancing your grilling experience.

9. Conclusion

Calibrating your grill’s built-in thermometer is a simple yet essential step for achieving accurate temperature readings, improving your cooking results, and ensuring the safety of your grilled dishes. By following the steps outlined in this article and using the necessary tools and materials, you’ll be able to calibrate your grill’s thermometer with ease. Remember to maintain the accuracy of your thermometer through regular cleaning and periodic recalibration. With a properly calibrated thermometer, you’ll have the confidence to cook delicious and perfectly grilled meals every time. Happy grilling!