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Found 5 results

  1. Hi All I've been researching controllers for months to fit to my Big Joe. I want a wifi unit which limits me to Cyber Q, Rocks Stoker II or Flame Boss 200. In pulling the research together I think the best combo is the Flame Boss 200 with a BBQ Guru Pit Viper 10cfm fan. The Flame Boss in the forum unequivocally gets the thumbs up in terms of set up on Wifi (vs Stoker and Cyber Q) and variable speed fan but I'm worried about the 6cfm fan. I've tried a unit with a 6cfm fan and it struggled to get the Big Joe up to temp and certainly won't go too far over 275f. I therefore want to combine the Flame Boss 200 with the 10cfm Pit Viper fan. I've been told by one retailer of both brands that they combine well with the Pit Viper fan operating as a variable fan using the extra CFM but was wondering if anyone has any actual experience or views ? Thanks in advance.
  2. Country style ribs are quickly becoming a favorite cut of mine. Some were "real" country style ribs cut from the loin and others were cut from the butt. Rubbed with a little Oakridge Dominator rub a few hours before smoking. Here they are getting ready to go on @ 250. And here is the new toy: Have to say I am impressed and I like the new design. Very easy to adjust the temp. If you guys want to see anything specific let me know and I will post some pics. Have only used it once and so far so good. I started off the cook @ 250 but then decided to go to my usually 275. I let them smoke for about 75 minutes @ 275, IT was about 145 at that point. I then placed them in a pan with a mixture of 2 cups apple juice and 1 cup BBQ sauce. Covered the pan with foil and let them go until they reached desired tenderness. Took about 90 minutes in the pan. Removed from pan and glazed with BBQ sauce for about 15 minutes. I found this method on YouTube and modified it to my liking. The results were great. Big, juicy, meaty, tender ribs.
  3. Greetings Gurus... These questions come up very frequently around here so I decided to make a sticky post on it with a LOT of my own opinion injected for good measure Instant Read Thermometers Every grillmaster should own at least one instant read thermometer. There is NO better way to know when a piece of meat is properly cooked than by checking the temperature. Looks and feel are good measures but neither of those will always work perfectly. A thermometer will tell you accurately what the internal temperature of your meat is at any given time. People ask frequently what they should buy when it comes to instant read thermometers. I'm going to show you three options along with thoughts and explanations. The Thermapen http://www.thermoworks.com $96.00 (unless you catch a sale or buy a refurb) The Thermapen by Thermoworks is sort of an industry standard for barbecue and grilling. It's the go-to thermometer for a large number of professional cooks in all types of kitchens and cooking environments. It's durable, splash resistant and FAST. These thermometers give you accurate readings in 3 seconds (advertised speed.) I have one of these and have no complaints about it other than the price tag. It's simply EXPENSIVE. The LCD is easy enough to read in the daylight but not as easy at night. Thermoworks makes a back-lit LCD version of this thermometer that sells for $112.00 for those who might be interested. I'm not quite sure how this device earned its place in the world of cooking, but it definitely has done well. People love them and when you ask what to buy, this product is sure to come up as a preferred choice. If your Thermapen, for some reason, gets out of calibration, you have to send it in for repair. The Maverick PT-100 http://www.maverickhousewares.com $99.00 MSRP (can be bought on Amazon for $49/$69 depending on the day... $53.55 today) The Maverick PT-100, which I also have, is as good as the Thermapen in terms of speed and accuracy. I have tested the two side by side and the differences I measured were negligible. I LOVE the back-lit LCD display on the PT-100. It's easy to read in any conditions. The PT-100 is physically a little larger than the Thermapen but it's also durable and splash resistant. Since I own both the Thermapen and the PT-100, I use the PT-100 because I like the LCD display better. I have never had any problems or failures with the PT-100 or the Thermapen. Both work exceptionally well. The bonus of the lower price on the PT-100 is very attractive. The PT-100 also can not be user-calibrated if it ever gets out of adjustment. Thermoworks Super-Fast Pocket Thermometer (RT301WA) http://www.thermoworks.com $19.00 (Normally $29.00) The Thermoworks Super-Fast Pocket Thermometer is yet another thermometer I have in my inventory. This thermometer is fully capable of satisfying the needs of any barbecue and grilling readings you may ever want to take. It's also CHEAP compared to the others. It's advertised speed is 5-6 second readings but my experience says that 8 seconds is pretty accurate. It's also water resistant like the others but maybe not as durable. The LCD display is a lot smaller which makes it a little more difficult to read. This one DOES have the ability to adjust the calibration if needed. If saving 4 to 5 seconds when taking a temperature reading is going to make or break your cook, go with one of the previously mentioned models. If you have a few seconds to spare, this is a great tool to have in your box! These three thermometers are definitely not your ONLY options, but they are three excellent choices to consider. CDN offers up a lot of inexpensive thermometers that work very well also. Here's a link to have a look at those... http://www.cdnw.com/products/new/retail CeramicGrillStore.com carries quite a few of the CDN products if you are interested in purchasing those... Continuous Temperature Monitoring Most of us enjoy having a thermometer that can monitor the internal temperature of the meat while it's cooking for roasting and low-and-slow BBQ cooks. Let's take a look at some of those... Maverick ET-732 Wireless BBQ Thermometer Set http://www.maverickhousewares.com $69.00 MSRP - Can be had from $45-$55 on Amazon at any given time... Like the Thermapen, the Maverick ET-732 is a definite favorite among barbecue cooks. Everyone loves the wireless remote so you can monitor your grill AND food temperatures while away from the grill. The ET-732 has a base unit that connects two probe wires. One for your internal meat temperature and another for the grill temperature. I have one of these as well. For the most part, this unit works pretty well. I have had to replace both probe wires on this unit due to failure. These probes are very sensitive to moisture. Everyone doesn't experience that problem though. The only consistent problem I have with this unit is when I'm cooking a chicken or turkey at temperatures in the 350-400 degree range. After a bit of time, this thermometer will give you a false reading and you won't realize it. When the grill is running at that temperature, I believe the thermometer probe absorbs that heat and it radiates down the probe into the meat, giving a false high temperature. You will think your meat is done before it's actually done. I have duplicated this problem on several cooks with two different sets of probe wires. Foiling the probe MAY help eliminate this issue. I have had NO problems with temperature accuracy for low-and-slow BBQ cooking, which is mostly what people seem to use this device for. As for the wireless functionality, the results will vary from home to home. When I'm using this to monitor my temps remotely, I'm typically placing the remote receiver on my computer desk, which is just about 30 feet away from my grill. The wireless connectivity is spotty, even with fresh batteries. The signal is having to pass through two walls. Other than that, this unit works pretty well when I use it. Maverick Dual Sensor Oven & Roasting Thermometer (ET-85) http://www.maverickhousewares.com $34.99 MSRP - Can be had for $20-$25 on Amazon... Since I'm not particularly interested in remote monitoring of my temperatures (which will be discussed momentarily) this is my GO-TO monitoring thermometer for cooking meat. I love its simplicity. It will monitor the internal temperature of the meat and the grill temp at the same time with the single dual sensor probe. I actually have two of these and have used them extensively with no probe failures. It's accurate and dependable. It's also a good bit less expensive than the ET-732. There are lots of other options on the market for monitoring your food internal temperature while you are cooking. These two work well and I have a lot of experience with both of them. Temperature Control Systems As I mentioned earlier, I have lost interest in being able to remotely monitor the temperature inside my grills. I know how my grills behave and what to expect from them. After the grills have settled in at my desired temperature, they typically stay that way without the need for any additional adjustments. This, in my opinion, makes remote monitoring a useless tool for me. If I want to be sure my grill stays at a specific temperature for a long period of time without having to come in and out making vent adjustments all day (or all night) I will use a dedicated temperature control system to perform that task. The BBQ Guru Party Q http://www.thebbqguru.com $129.00 + Adapter Cost ($10 to $25 depending on your Grill) The Party Q works very well for me on my kamado grills. This device is simple and straight to the point. It monitors and controls the temperature in my grill without any need for intervention during the cook as long as the fuel supply (charcoal) is adequate. What I love about this particular unit is that it's battery operated with four AA batteries. There is no need for a power cord to be run to the grill to use this device. The user interface is very intuitive and you can also calibrate the thermometer as needed with a few simple pushes of the button on the controller. This device attaches to air intake vent with the help of the proper adapter plate. The 6.5 cfm fan on the unit provides the proper amount of air for your fire to set and keep it at whatever temperature you like. This device truly makes your grill a set-and-forget cooker. The BBQ Guru DigiQ II DX http://www.thebbqguru.com $185.00 + Fan ($57.00 or $72.00) + Adapter for your grill ($10-$25) Total Cost: $252.00 to $282.00 The BBQ Guru DigiQ II DX is a step up in the world from the Party Q. This model works the same way the Party Q does by providing air from a fan to keep you grill at a steady temperature. The DigiQ II DX monitors the temperature inside your grill AND the internal temperature of the meat you are cooking. The DigiQ is also powered with an AC adapter rather than batteries, so you need a power source and probably an extension cord to use this unit on your grill. The DigiQ also has an interesting feature that you can use if you are cooking a big piece of meat that will ramp the grill temperature down as the meat approaches your chosen level of internal temperature. This can be handy to keep you from over cooking something if you are going to be away from your grill for an extended period of time. These two models cover the basics of automatic temperature control. There are other options on the market, including the IQ110 and IQ120 from http://www.pitmasteriq.com that work pretty well also. The IQ models are a little less expensive but I'm not a big fan of their 'bulk' when compared to the BBQ Guru products. You can also step into the world of remotely controlled automatic temp control systems if you want to fork out the bucks to do it. If you want to monitor and control your grill from a smart phone or a computer, those options are also available at a premium. In Conclusion What do you NEED? In my opinion, a serious BBQ cook needs an instant read thermometer, a way to monitor the internal temperature of meat that is being roasted or smoked, and potentially an automatic temperature control system if you intend to leave your grill unattended for a long time. There is no substitute for having an instant read thermometer. This is a MUST if you want to produce consistent results from cook to cook. In reality, that is ALL you need. Experience will teach you how long to cook a particular cut of meat and even how to tell when it is ready WITHOUT a thermometer. Since we are all creatures of luxury, the other items on the list are simply nice to have. Personally, I would skip the wireless thermometer. I know that idea is going to stir up a lot of crap but I truly believe it's not necessary. I do believe it's important to have a temp probe to monitor your meat on longer cooks. This tool will allow you to keep the grill lid closed instead of having to open it periodically to check your temp. Keeping the lid closed is important to help maintain the proper temperature inside the grill. Monitoring the meat temp allows you to avoid this problem. If you need or want to be away from your grill for an extended period of time, you can't go wrong with one of the automatic temperature control systems (This is also why I think the wireless thermometer is not a must-have). They will keep your grill at the proper temperature without you having to think about it. This will turn your grill into a set-and-forget smoker or roasting oven. This tool is super handy for managing LONG cooks that run for more than three hours. The temp control system will allow you to run your grill at 225 degrees (or any other temperature) overnight so you can sleep during the cook and not have to worry about what's going on inside your grill. The final thing you NEED is PATIENCE If you don't have time to tend your grill, plan your cook for a day when you do have time. *** EXTRAS *** Video Review of the Thermoworks "ThermoPop" http://www.thermoworks.com List Price: $29.00 5 to 6 second temperature readings I haven't tried this unit yet but I might pick one up just to see how well it works.
  4. Just wanted to give my take on the PartyQ bbq temperature controller: it's poor quality, don't buy one. Here's what led me to this conclusion: I ordered one last February and the PartyQ was dead on arrival. They sent me a free replacement, but stuck me with the customs fee! So I refused to accept it. After some painstaking email correspondence they eventually agreed to send me out another that was marked as warranty/repair (ie: what they should have done). The new unit had a poor probe connection and was unusable. To repair it, I had to spend $30 to ship it to them. More emails asking if they got it, when are they going to repair it, etc. The PartyQ exhibits odd behavior when the batteries are low -- this wouldn't be so bad if the low battery indicator actually worked. This problem cannot be repaired as it is native to all PartyQ's. For Canadians there is the extra hassle of shipping across the border (this company seemingly has no standard process for international shipments and you will get charged extra for their mistakes). Regarding the low-battery behavior: when the battery is low, the PartyQ incorrectly reports that your pit temperature is a-ok and that the fan is still stoking the fire (long after it runs out of juice to power the fan). The Party Q is a great way to ruin a meal if you're not double-checking your bbq with another device. The PartyQ does have a low-battery indicator, but it fails to work 100% of the time. Even when the indicator does turn on, its a tiny LCD triangle icon that you can only see if you are right next to the unit. Of course, an obvious solution is to get out your screwdriver and load fresh batteries before every use. My point however, is that just because there's easy work-around (if not inconvenient and inefficient), it's no excuse for the poor quality programming and workmanship of the PartyQ. In summary, every time I use this thing it's a hassle, whether its worrying about the probe connection, or false-readings, or the fan not working. For $130 (not including tax/shipping/repair) the point of the PartyQ is to simplify things and it has utterly failed at this. Here's an email to back my claims about the low-battery issue:
  5. I decided that I would cook some ribs yesterday on my chargriller akorn and use my new digiQ DX2 to control temperatures. After starting my fire with a volcano configuration of frontier lump charcoal and applewood chunks using a cotton ball soaked in 99% isopropyl alcohol, I installed the Viper fan into the chargriller adapter assembly and fired the digiQ up. I have read other forum posters reviews of both barbecue guru and other temperature control products and some have had a hard time when they start the controller when they start their fire because the fan tends to run continually and bring the fire up too quickly. We all know that the akorn is notoriously efficient and some people have had problems with it overshooting their target temperatures significantly. I was ready for that contingency because I had my grand Café stainless steel smoker on standby sitting at 250°. I had my top vent opened as indicated in the picture, as I don't have numbers on my top vent . The digiQ was running continuously pumping air into my akorn at a furious pace and the temperature was rising rapidly. Within 10 minutes my akorn's temperature was reading 168° and I opened the lid and put on my two racks of ribs on the grill grate. I was using the smoking stone with the Weber grate on top of it and a drip pan on top of that. I had set the controller for a pit temperature of 249°. The digiQ, being a smart guy, realized that I had opened my lid to insert my meat and the fan stopped blowing and didn't come on for another 15 to 20 seconds after I had closed the lid. I was impressed, But I was still waiting for that big overshooting temperature that I thought would happen. The fan ran continuously until the temperature got to 225°. Then it started running for three seconds and turning off for two but the temperature, it seemed to me was still rising very quickly. When the akorn reached 240°, and by the way this was only about a half an hour after I lit the grill, the fan stopped and would only come on every 20 seconds for a little puff. At that very moment I would've put money on the pit overshooting my target temperature significantly. Another five minutes passed and I was at my set temperature of 249°. I was watching the beautiful bright red display like Bill Murray watched that golf ball at the end of Caddyshack waiting for it to rise and continue to rise well past my setpoint. 10 minutes, 20 minutes, 30 minutes, one hour, the thing did not move 1°. At three hours, I lifted the lid for no more than 10 seconds just to take a peek and the ribs looked phenomenal and smelled even better. When I closed the lid, the temperature dropped about 40° but recovered within two minutes or three minutes back up to my 249° and did not rise or fall at all until I pulled the ribs and foiled them at the four hour and 30 minute mark. Conclusion: the digiQ DX2 is an amazing product that performed even better than I thought it would. I thought there would be some fluctuations but that it would keep my akorn in a temperature range of say 20°. This thing did not vary 1° and for that I'm absolutely giddy. If you're willing to part with $2-$300 depending on the accessories you get with it, I would definitely recommend this product!! By the way, I will post pictures and descriptions of my cook in the cooking with fire section later! Cheers to great food, Frank
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