Using both upper and lower grate?



New member
I have never used both grates and I'm doing an overnight smoke of 2 pork butts friday. Is it usually hotter and should I be putting my air probe on the lower level? Any tips you all have for using both grates? If they fit on the top I'll just do that but I want to be prepared.

Chris Allingham

Staff member
Two butts should fit on the top grate. When using both grates, don't worry too much about the temp differential. I've studied it for over 20+ years and it's a very dynamic environment, sometimes the top grate can be hotter, sometimes the bottom grate. Just temp at one location--at the lid or at the top grate--and monitor internal meat temp of each butt, removing as each piece reaches your target internal temp. If the top butt finishes first, you can remove it and move the bottom butt to the top grate for convenience.

Timothy F. Lewis

TVWBB 1-Star Olympian
I have put two on the top on my 18 primarily because I lazy and would rather not clean 2 grates. On a 14 maybe you would. Can’t say, only have the 18.
Thanks Chris for posting that clearer explanation of the thermal dynamics involved.

Mike Shook

I always try to load the smoker with butts, so upper and lower are almost always in use. Just as any two butts will possibly be ready at different times from the top grate, they can also be ready at different times on two different grates -- because of the nature and density and marbling of the butts more than the proximity to the heat (assuming you are using a water pan.)

That is a long way of saying check your temps on both butts as they approach being done, regardless of which racks you are using.