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Jkomodo

Kamado temp controller or a switch to pellet smoker?

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Struggling with this one... I love using my Kamado for low & slow cooks however with two young kids I struggle to find the time.  I’m trying to determine the best approach for a “set it & forget it” option. I am looking to either purchase a temp controller such as an iKamand that I will have to figure out how to rig to my old school Kamado Co. or just bite the bullet and purchase a pellet smoker.  The way I see it, one of these controller’s is going to run me $250. Maybe I’m better off dropping another few hundred and getting a pellet set up considering the application will be primarily for low & slow smoking.   Any suggestions on the preferred option?  If you’re leaning towards the pellet smoker option, any recommendations?  My top 3 based solely on internet research is Rec Tec, Traeger and Grilla.  Thanks for your feedback! -J

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I can not highly enough recommend that you check out a Heatermeter.  I would love to say that many on this site use them but I will just say a few as it seems other controllers are mentioned more for various reasons. Presumably you already have a Kamado. If there is any feature that another controller or pellet smoker can offer you: high temp, low temp, ramp up, ramp down, hold temp, wifi or non wifi control, remote monitoring, full time graphing, damper control as well as fan ease of use please mention it because I'm confident that the Heatermeter can do all. I've never owned or used a pellet grill and I can appreciate the ease of use factor but I feel that the Heatermeter can match pellet grills feature for feature and outperform them for higher heat tasks when paired with a kamado.

 

That's my 2 cents.You of course can do your own research. If I can assist, please kindly let me know.

 

Happy cooking

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It all basically comes down to what you want in the end.  I have a heatrmeter I use on my Primo Jr., a Smobot i use on my Primo XL and used a Auber Instruments that i used on my Akorn when I had it.  They all worked well and did a fine job, main reason for stepping away from the AI was that I wanted Wi-Fi which it doesn't offer.  I like my Heatermeater and had no issues with it accept for operator issues.  We switched internet companies and I've had connection problems since.  Liked the idea of natural air flow that Smobot offered, it uses no fan and varies the chimney vent to maintain temperatures.  But with all that said i do see your point about outlay of cash for a controller you are partway there towards the purchase price of a pellet gril.  If it were me I'd probably be looking really hard at a new pellet grill myself.  I have never used one but like all the brands you are considering, but also would add Green Mountain Grills to your list.

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I have a PittBoss24 with a PartyQ blower along with a TipTopTemp controller AND I have a CampChef 24 pellet cooker.

The pellet burner is indeed set and forget but the Kamado delivers better smoke flavor.

With the two controllers I added, the Kamado is also set and forget.

 

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Great advice here folks! Thanks for chiming in.  After doing some research on the HeaterMeter I’m looking at anywhere between $200-$250 on the device parts all-in and another $10K on a computer engineering degree. Lol This is not meant to be an insult but I have a hard time spending that much on a device I’ll have to put together.  That said, the finished product looks very impressive and kudos to you, T-Yelta for constructing one.  Drunken meatfist, you’ve already scored points in my book for your name lol.  The PartyQ recommendation is a good one.  I’m curious why the need for thermoworks smoke? Just to have a probe in the meat as well as the smoker?  The PartyQ will adjust the airflow based on smoker temp so there’s a probe within the smoker correct?  I have restored Kamado Company smoker that leverages a drawer style air intake on the bottom of the unit.  Trying to envision how I could go about jimmy rigging the temp controller hose/fan.  Again, great feedback everyone.  Much appreciated!

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Yes the PartyQ will have a probe clip attached to the grate. I use the Smoke because it will monitor the meat as well as the temp at the grate. For an overnight cook I can set alarms on the Smoke for grate and/or meat temps. Then I will have the wireless receiver next to my bed so if something goes wrong it will ring and wake me up. That's only happened twice. Once it was extremely cold outside and the motor on the PartyQ froze. I hit it with a hair dryer for a minute and solved that problem. The other time the batteries in the PartyQ died. This is the main drawback to the PartyQ. It runs off AA batteries and it can go through them fairly quickly depending on how much the fan is having to run. There is another controller that is in the same price range called the IQ110 and it plugs into the wall. 

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2 hours ago, Jkomodo said:

Great advice here folks! Thanks for chiming in.  After doing some research on the HeaterMeter I’m looking at anywhere between $200-$250 on the device parts all-in and another $10K on a computer engineering degree. Lol This is not meant to be an insult but I have a hard time spending that much on a device I’ll have to put together.  That said, the finished product looks very impressive and kudos to you, T-Yelta for constructing one.  Drunken meatfist, you’ve already scored points in my book for your name lol.  The PartyQ recommendation is a good one.  I’m curious why the need for thermoworks smoke? Just to have a probe in the meat as well as the smoker?  The PartyQ will adjust the airflow based on smoker temp so there’s a probe within the smoker correct?  I have restored Kamado Company smoker that leverages a drawer style air intake on the bottom of the unit.  Trying to envision how I could go about jimmy rigging the temp controller hose/fan.  Again, great feedback everyone.  Much appreciated!

 

Thanks for the reply and I didn't take it as an insult :-D and I would like to have one of those $10K engineering degrees as well lol. Putting a Heatermeter together is not for everyone. Fortunately, you can buy the whole thing already assembled from many sources. Buying one assembled and complete would run you not terribly much more than the iKamand you mentioned and I would think also less than a pellet grill in the price range you mentioned.

 

New toys are nice and a pellet grill would be a nice new toy indeed. Have you cooked on one yet?

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Have you had food cooked on a pellet pooper?   I have a Green Mountain pellet and it's definitely not a heavy smoker and that's what some find appealing.   Some desire heavier smoke than the poopers can deliver.   Find a friend and take him a chicken to smoke for you before you jump in the pond.   JMHO

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1 minute ago, Pigfqr said:

Is the ball valve adapter the automatic damper?

No I'm pretty sure that the ball valve adapter they are talking about is for use on UDS (Ugly drum smoker) as that is what most of them use for intakes.  

 

Both my dampers on my Heatermeater use a servo to control the damper on the fan.  Can't recall the first one I was using but now use one called a Micro damper.

 

Lots of information here about Heatermeaters

 

https://tvwbb.com/forumdisplay.php?85-HeaterMeter-DIY-BBQ-Controller

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