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Clinton

Thermometer v Temperature controller

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Hi,  I've had a kamado joe big joe for about 4 weeks and I'm thinking of buying an electronic grill thermometer with meat is probe as well.  The Smoke by thermoworks looks good.  

 

I was wondering whether it's worth getting something with a fan controller as well.  

 

Any thoughts on whether the extra $ is worthwhile.  If so, any recommendations?

 

Many thanks. 

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That's a question that you'll get many different answers for.  When it comes down to it, it will truly depend on what you want/desire out of the grill.  The smoke appears to be a fine product from what I've read on here and would get one if all I wanted was to monitor pit temp and food temps.  I started with a Auber Instruments controller on my Akorn and now use it on my Primo Jr. My son and I built a HeaterMeter that has WiFi capabilities because at the time there were limited choices in that arena.  At this point in time I'd opt for the new Auber Instruments wi-fi controller, the SMOBOT or the Flameboss 300.  The SMOBOT has no fan by the way but uses the top vent to control/regulate the heat.  I like the wi-fi options and the piece of mind that it gives me to go about my chores or sleep without having to worry about the cooker.  

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Personally, I don't use any add-on controllers or even remote thermometers. I like things

simple but that's just me. Here are a few thoughts though...

 

For starters, the Kamado is about as close to a "Set It & Forget It" cooker that you can get
without being hooked up to some external utility - electricity, gas, etc. As an example
I've had my K5 hold 225 degrees F for 27 hours on a charcoal basket full of blue bag Kingsford.
I only had to make two or three minor tweaks to the vents during that time. My K9
Kamado will hold 325 to 350 for hours while I cook a 23# turkey followed by a pan of veggies
and then some rolls. Kamados hold temperature very well over a long period of time
without needing much, if any adjustment of the vents.

 

Another factor is that most foods cooked on a Kamado can be done over a fairly wide
temperature range. For example, butts can be done anywhere between 225 and 325
or so degrees F with no problem. The same for briskets, ribs, and a lot of other foods.
The point is that if your temperature varies a bit over the entire cook, it really won't
make much difference in the final product.

 

I also use the dome thermometer rather than any external monitor of grate temps.
This has proven to be a good, reliable method for me over the years of keeping track
of my cooking temperature. Note - Just make sure that the thermometer in the dome
is accurate. If I were to get a remote temperature monitor, the Smoke would be my

first choice as I have had good luck with several of Thermoworks products. Many

other folks use a grate temp monitor with excellent results. My advice is to pick one

method - dome temp or external grate temp and stick with its use for consistency.

 

All that being said, a lot of BBQ enthusiasts use and swear by add-on controllers. There are
the fun and cool factors of seeing real time data on your smart phone. If you like to see what

is going on at all times with your cook and also have "Nth Degree" control, then go for it.
You would also have a history of a cook that you could save for future reference.

 

The bottom line is that a Kamado owner needs to know his cooker and its quirks or personality

to be able get the best results from it whichever method you use. As for a decision on which way to go,

it's your hobby, passion and your check book.  Just my thoughts.

 

BTW, Welcome to the forum and whatever your decision is, I'm sure you will enjoy using your Kamado

and the food cooked on it. Cooking on it can become addictive. LOL!

 

 

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34 minutes ago, K_sqrd said:

Personally, I don't use any add-on controllers or even remote thermometers. I like things

simple but that's just me. Here are a few thoughts though...

 

That's where I am also. Cooking w/o the accessories helped me uncover and correct any number of bad practices related to the kamado and cooking w/ lump. 

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Thanks guys.  Very useful advice.  I think I might go with something like the fire board so I can add fan control later if I want to.  Part of the fun will be learning how to control the temp!  

 

And yes it's addictive!  Cooked both days in every weekend so far. No disasters yet but ribs always seem to be a bit over.

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I have a friend on this site, don't know if he's seen your post, but he has both the Smoke & and an ATC.  He does overnight cooks every month or so and really likes both accessories.  Personally I like having my Thermapen and use it all the time.  Yesterday I did turkey breast and used my Maverick 732 for the first time maybe this year.

Great advice from K.

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