Thermoworks Smoke X Review: This Dual-Probe Thermometer Is the Secret to the Juiciest Meat

Updated: Sep. 14, 2023

After dozens of uses, it's safe to say our prep kitchen manager has made up her mind about the Thermoworks Smoke X. Discover why she depends on it for all her smoking, grilling and roasting needs.

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Thermoworks Smoke XTMB STUDIO

I’m now the designated griller and smoker on the Taste of Home Test Kitchen team, but I only first tried my hand at the latter cooking method a few years back. For my initial go, not yet willing to invest in a full-blown smoker, I figured out how to smoke meat on a grill. The charcoal grill I used had no bells or whistles (i.e., no internal thermometer, no side table, no segmented racks), so I was in for a challenge.

Maintaining a consistent pit temperature is vital for successful smoking, and the only reason I was able to eventually excel at the cooking method with my jury-rigged grill-turned-smoker was because of the Thermoworks Smoke X Dual-Probe Meat Thermometer. The smart Thermoworks product gauges the internal temperature of my cooking vessel (e.g., smoker, grill or oven) and the internal temperature of the meat—simultaneously.

I’ve since upgraded to cooking on a smoker with a built-in thermometer at Taste of Home headquarters (looking at you, Traeger), but I still rely on my trusty thermometer when I smoke on my Kettle grill and roast poultry at home. So, whether you’re a novice or a meat master, there’s reason to add the Thermoworks Smoke X to your repertoire.

What is the Thermoworks Smoke X?

The Thermoworks Smoke X is a thermometer that comes with two commercial-grade, high-temperature probes, each of which serves a different purpose.

The shorter, fatter probe fits into a clip that attaches to the grate or rack of your smoker, grill or oven. It measures the internal temperature of the appliance. This is essential if your appliance doesn’t have a built-in thermometer. But even if it does, you can count on boosted accuracy from the Thermoworks Smoke X.

The second probe is longer and thinner and is inserted into the center of your meat. There is the option to buy a two-channel or four-channel model. The latter comes with multiple of these longer, thinner probes. This is ideal when you’re cooking more than one type of meat at once or looking to gauge the internal temperatures of both the dark and light meat on a single piece of poultry.

When you close the lid or door of your appliance, the wires from the probes thread out the side or the bottom. These wires connect to a base unit that has a magnetic backing and plastic kickstand for placement on any desired surface. Lastly, the receiver is a portable piece that communicates with the base unit and reflects the same readings, but from afar. Talk about a great grilling gift!

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Thermoworks Smoke X Features

Thermoworks Smoke XTMB Studio

The Thermoworks Smoke X is smart as can be, with a slew of cool features, so I consider it just as much an essential for holiday cooking as it is an essential for summer grilling.

The probes arrive pre-synced to the base unit, so there’s no need to calibrate before use. The base unit runs on AA batteries and is connected to an RF receiver, so it’s not Wi-Fi- or Bluetooth-based. Rather, the signals are transmitted by radio frequency and travel up to 6,500 feet. So, even if you’re cooking in an area without Wi-Fi or solid service, this unit will still perform, unlike other smart appliances that rely on phone apps, Bluetooth, etc.

There are control buttons on the front and back of the base unit. You can toy around with the volume of the alarm, alarm settings for both the meat and pit, temperature, screen light, Celsius and Fahrenheit settings. The probes and base unit communicate, as do the base unit and the receiver. The receiver, which comes with a lanyard so you can wear it while performing other tasks, shows the same readings as those on the base unit and updates in real-time.

How We Tested It

Let’s rewind to the first time I used this product. (I’ve used it more than 30 times since and continue to use the same steps!)

First, I read the directions for about 10 minutes, though I could’ve figured out how to use the thermometer without them because it’s that intuitive. I soaked my smoking wood for 30 minutes while I added my dry rub to the meat. After positioning and lighting my coals, I set up the thermometer by inputting “low” and “high” temperatures for the meat and the pit. An alarm sounds when any of these temperatures are met.

The pit temperature is especially important to me because I live in Wisconsin and smoke all year—yes, even when it’s nearly 0 degrees. On these days, the pit temperature can quickly become too low, and the low-temperature alarm will alert me to that. Conversely, I can’t have the temperature getting too high because a low-and-slow cook is what I’m after. High heat makes tough meat, so the high-temperature alarm sounds when things get too hot.

Probing the Pork

When my starter coals glowed red and were covered with ash, I added my smoking wood and then clipped the pit thermometer to the grate. I then placed a pork shoulder in the center of the grate. From there, I inserted the meat probe into the center of the pork shoulder. Mine was boneless, but if I were cooking a bone-in pork shoulder, I’d have been sure to insert the probe about an inch from the bone.

Once the meat “stalled” (i.e., stopped increasing in temperature) around 180 degrees, I wrapped it in a double layer of foil, reinserted the probe and returned everything to the smoker for the back half of the cook. I always use heatproof gloves for this portion because the cables get hot. I then waited for the shoulder to reach an internal temperature of 205 degrees. The alarm let me know when I reached that temperature, which I’d preset.

Now that it was up to temperature, I removed the meat probe and brought the pork shoulder inside. I waited until the pit was cool to remove the clip and probe. For good measure, I used my Thermapen to take another reading of the center of the meat. Out of habit, I still do this and—wouldn’t you know it!—the temperature is always the same as what my meat probe read.

Thermoworks Smoke XTMB Studio

Pros

  • Professional-grade probes
  • Water-resistant and weatherproof
  • Accurate to boot
  • Various color options
  • Impressive range—I can walk my dog and watch the receiver at the same time!
  • Thin meat probe, ideal for hearty and delicate meats alike
  • All-metal parts so there’s no melting

Cons

  • On the pricey side
  • Uncoated wires that get hot and require gloves when handling

FAQ

How accurate is Thermoworks Smoke?

I (and many reviewers on the Thermoworks website) find the Thermoworks Smoke X to be extremely accurate. I cross-check the pit temperature with the Thermoworks Smoke X, an oven thermometer and my Thermapen, and they always closely align.

What is the temperature range of Thermoworks Smoke?

The probes of the Thermoworks Smoke X can register temperatures from -58 degrees to 572 degrees. The cables can withstand temperatures up to 700 degrees.

What Other Reviewers Had to Say

Our Test Kitchen has sworn by Thermworks products for some time now (see our review of the Thermapen too), but we’re not the only ones.

Nancy S. loves the simplicity of the product. Sometimes, less really is more. “This is, as are most Thermoworks products, rock-solid, reliable and something everyone who likes to barbecue should own,” she says. “There is no app and no finicky Wi-Fi or Bluetooth connection to worry about. What you get is a simple-to-set, easy-to-use gadget.”

Avid outdoor cook Frank H. has noticed an improvement in flavor, even, when using this meat thermometer. “I’m smoking or grilling at least four to five days a week,” he says. “I’ve used lower-quality units thinking I was cooking to temp, but after using this unit, I’ve quickly realized I was not. This unit, coupled with fantastic probes, has delivered extremely accurate temps that have changed the taste of my food.”

Similarly, Clarence G. has tried multiple meat thermometers, none of which hold a flame to the Thermoworks Smoke X. “Simply outstanding and reliable,” he says. “I wasted money on four other brands purchased over the years; I wish I had bought this in the beginning!”

Product Comparison

As the reviewers from the last section attested, the Thermoworks Smoke X outranks its competitors in various categories. It has an impressive range of 1-1/4 miles (that can even penetrate walls), as compared to other thermometers’ ranges of only a few hundred feet. Moreover, it bypasses the struggles that can come with Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connectivity by relying on radio frequency instead.

The four-channel model, especially, stands out for its multi-functionality and efficiency. Plus, the probes are made entirely of metal, so they don’t run the risk of melting like those with plastic tips. Additionally, I appreciate the thinness of the meat probes as compared to others on the market. I don’t want gaping holes in the center of delicate meats such as chicken thighs or salmon after taking their temperatures.

Lastly and plainly put, the Thermoworks Smoke X was built for this. I’ve gone through several basic oven thermometers when smoking because, after just a short while, the face of the tool gets so coated in smoke and splattered meat juices that it’s illegible. The Thermoworks Smoke X is a heavy-duty meat thermometer designed specially for this demanding, niche duty. It’ll always do the job better than an instant-read or oven thermometer.

Final Verdict

I’ve cooked with the Thermoworks Smoke X dozens of times—something I wouldn’t have done if it didn’t have my total stamp of approval. The pros so outweigh the cons, and I’d recommend this to anyone who’s passionate about prepping meats, whether in the oven or smoker or on the grill. The accuracy of the sturdy metal probes is second to none, and its reliable range makes it the most convenient sidekick to have when cooking up a feast. Just remember to use gloves when messing with the cables and probes!

Where to Buy the Thermoworks Smoke X

Thermoworks Smoke Xvia merchant

The two- and four-channel Thermoworks Smoke X thermometers are available on the Thermoworks website for $169 and $199, respectively. We promise the various probes, eye-catching colors, multi-functional base unit and receiver aren’t just smoke and mirrors; they’re Smoke X! And they’re totally worth the splurge.

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