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GOLD MEDAL SPOTLIGHT

These are not ads. These are products we love and highly recommend. Click here to read more about our medals and what they mean.


Surely you know somebody who loves outdoor cooking who deserves a gift for the holidays, birthday, anniversary, or just for being wonderful. There he is, right in the mirror! Here are our selections of best ideas, all Pitmaster Award winners or Gold Medalist, listed by price.

Click here to see our list of Gold Medal Gifts


G&F Suede Welder's Gloves

Heat Resistant Gloves With Extra Long Sleeves Hold The Hot Stuff

If you're using oven mitts at the grill, it's time to trade up. Say hello to these suede welder's gloves. They're heat resistant enough to handle hot grill grates, and flexible enough to handle tongs. The extra long sleeves even let you reach deep into the firebox to move hot logs without getting burned. Our Fave.

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GrillGrates Take Gas Grills To The Infrared Zone

grill grates

GrillGrates(TM) amplify heat, prevent flareups, make flipping foods easier, keep small foods from committing suicide, kill hotspots, are easier to clean, flip over to make a fine griddle, and can be easily removed and moved from one grill to another. You can even throw wood chips, pellets, or sawdust between the rails and deliver a quick burst of smoke to whatever is above. Every gas grill needs them.

Click here for more about what makes these grates so special


kareubequ bbq smoker

Our Favorite Backyard Smoker

The amazing Karubecue is the most innovative smoker in the world. The quality of meat from this machine is astonishing. At its crux is a patented firebox that burns logs above the cooking chamber and sucks heat and extremely clean blue smoke into the thermostat controlled oven. It is our favorite smoker, period.

Click here for our review of this superb smoker


Pit Barrel Cooker Smoker

The Pit Barrel Cooker May Be Too Easy

The PBC has a rabid cult following for good reason. It is absolutely positively without a doubt the best bargain on a smoker in the world. Period. This baby will cook circles around the cheap offset sideways barrel smokers in the hardware stores because temperature control is so much easier. Best of all, it is only 9 delivered to your door!

Click here to read our detailed review and the raves from people who own them


PK 360 grill

Is This Superb Charcoal Grill A Kamado Killer?

The PK-360, with 360 square inches of cooking space, this rust free, cast aluminum charcoal grill is durable and easy to use. Four-way venting means it's easy to set up for two zone cooking with more control than single vent Kamado grills. It is much easier to set up for 2-zone cooking than any round kamado. Beautifully designed and completely portable. Meathead says it is his preferrred grill.

Click here to read our detailed review of the PK 360

Click here to order it direct from PK and get a special deal for AmazingRibs.com readers only


The Good-One Is A Superb Grill And A Superb Smoker All In One

the good one grill

The Good-One Open Range is a charcoal grill with an offset smoke chamber attached. It is dramatically different from a traditional offset smoker. The grill sits low in front and doubles as a firebox for the smoke chamber which is spliced on above and behind so it can work like a horizontal offset smoker only better. By placing the heat source behind and under the smokebox instead of off to the side, Open Range produces even temperature from left to right, something almost impossible to achieve with a standard barrel shaped offset.

Click here to read our complete review


Masterbuilt MPS 340/G ThermoTemp XL Propane Smoker

masterbuilt gas smoker

The First Propane Smoker With A Thermostat Makes This Baby Foolproof

Set ThermoTemp's dial from 175° to 350°F and the thermostat inside will adjust the burner just like an indoor kitchen oven. All you need to do is add wood to the tray above the burner to start smokin'.

Click here to read our detailed review


If you have a Weber Kettle, you need the Slow 'N' Sear

slow n sear

The Slow 'N' Sear turns your grill into a first class smoker and also creates an extremely hot sear zone you can use to create steakhouse steaks.

Click here for our article on this breakthrough tool


The Ultimate Top Of The Line BBQ Thermometer

fireboard bbq thermometer

With the ability to monitor up to six temperatures simultaneously with either Bluetooth or Wifi on your mobile phone, tablet, or computer, this is the best digital thermometer we’ve tested.

Click here to read our detailed review


The Swiss Army Knife Of Thermometers

The smart folks at ThermoWorks have finally done it: The Swiss Army Knife of thermometers, two in one. Start with the industry standard food thermometer, the Thermapen MK4, our Pitmaster Award truly instant (2 to 3 seconds) precise (+ or – 0.7°F). Then they built in an infrared thermometer ideal for measuring the temps of pizza stones, griddles, and frying pans (also great for finding leaks around doors and windows in your house).

Click here to read our test results and comprehensive review and why it won our Gold Medal.


Digital Thermometers Are Your Most Valuable Tool And Here's A Great Buy!

maverick PT55 thermometer

A good digital thermometer keeps you from serving dry overcooked food or dangerously undercooked food. They are much faster and much more accurate than dial thermometers. YOU NEED ONE!

Click here for more info on the Maverick PT-55 Waterproof Instant-Read Thermometer Review shown above. It may be the best value in a thermometer out there

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Smobot, first run

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  • Top | #1

    Smobot, first run

    Fellow Pit Members,

    I've done my first dry run with the smobot, which I purchased the other day. I have a BGE (medium), and the Smobot works with most kamados.

    I decided to do a dry run, i.e. no food. It always helps, and takes the pressure off if anything starts acting up. Overall it is smooth sailing, using the Smobot. I plugged it in, and placed the top vent (with the smobot) on the lid when the fire had warmed up my BGE to 80° C (176° F). I had the bottom vent almost 1/2 inch open. I know the user guide says to set it to 50% open, but that is waaay to much for my grill, so my experience trumped the user guide ;-)

    Either way, it started adjusting, and I had the target temp set to 120° C (250° F). I just let it run, and do its thing. It tuned my BGE to 120 shortly thereafter, and more or less flatlined for 2 hours. Great to see!!

    Lookin' good!

    Click image for larger version  Name:	Screenshot1.jpg Views:	1 Size:	240.1 KB ID:	563677

    I then opened the lid at 13:00 hours, just for fun, and closed it within 20-25 seconds. I wanted to see how the Smobot's lid detector works. The temp went up directly after (due to air rushing in), and the vent shut immediately. It stayed shut, but never managed to get the temp down. See chart below.

    Click image for larger version  Name:	Screenshot2.jpg Views:	1 Size:	244.6 KB ID:	563676

    2.5 hours later, at 15:30, the temp dropped down below target temp. For those 2.5 hours the top vent was completely shut (not much air exchange in there). After 15:30 the vent started opening again, but never managed to revive the fire. That was most likely due to me not using a full load of charcoal (since I was doing a dry run). If I had loaded it up I'm sure it would have gone back to target temp.

    So, the verdict?
    I really love using the Smobot (yes, after just one run). It really does it's job, as expected. And I absolutely love the fact that they use a web interface for monitoring it, which means I can check it on all devices/computers. And being able to adjust target temp remotely is nothing short of brilliant.

    I was a bit concerned that it couldn't recover from me opening the lid, but in all honesty, if I did the same and was running manually, I wouldn't be able to recover it either. If a kamado gets away from you (temp wise), it's very hard to fix. Lesson learned: if I must open the lid, be quick. Very quick.

    As for battery life: I was using a power bank that holds 15 000 mAh, which should suffice for even long cooks. It's great to be able to run it without a power cord. But I haven't tested letting it run overnight, so I don't know exactly how long that battery will last.

    Weather proof? I assume the servo can take some rain, but the controller most likely needs to stay dry. I will place it in a plastic bag or some kind of weather cover to make sure it doesn't get wet. Also, it will be interesting to see how it performs in the winter.

    Overall I think it's supercool, because once I turn it on, it really takes away all the stress of worrying about temps, it adjusts it better than I could do manually. I can't wait till I do the next pork butt or brisket cook, it's gonna be a smooth ride!












  • Top | #2
    After writing the initial post, I came up with two things that are annoying:

    1. The yellow plug (at the end of the grill probe) that fits into the main controller is labelled with a + and -, but it is very hard to read. I'm gonna have to get a permanent marker or something so I don't have to figure out which one is plus and minus.
    2. The clip at the other end of the grill probe doesn't stay when I try to clip it to the original BGE grates. I wonder if it can be replaced with a bigger one?

    Comment


    • EdF
      EdF commented
      Editing a comment
      Your "more fuel" idea is probably right. I did one cook where we were switching a lot of stuff in and out, and the temp bounced around a lot, but it always recovered.

      I think I had the same issue with the yellow plug, but I think it only goes in one way because the prongs are asymmetrical?

      I don't have the standard grates, and there's no problem with the one I use. I'd just drop them a note.

    • Henrik
      Henrik commented
      Editing a comment
      As far as I can see the prongs are symmetrical, which I think is a bad choice. Either way, I’ll drop them a note wrt to the clip.

  • Top | #3
    Super Cool write up, review, an tutorial, Hank!

    I jus LOVE learnin new things!!!!

    Comment


    • Top | #4
      Cool post. Looks like it does its job. What I'd like to know is your honest thoughts if it's a case of it's there and you have it, so it's useful, or is it no more useful than setting your vents and simply leaving them alone once dialed in? In other words, does it save you 5 or 6 vent adjustments early on in the cook, or is it worth its salt?

      Comment


      • EdF
        EdF commented
        Editing a comment
        My opinion is it's worth its salt.

    • Top | #5
      Good write up.

      Comment


      • Top | #6
        Huskee, good point. For me it’s not so much the 5-6 vent adjustments when getting started. For me it’s getting the small adjustments 2-3 hours in. You know, when the temp changes due to charcoal moving/collapsing for example.

        Sure, I’ve cooked plenty on my kamado for the last six years without one, but for me the ‘win’ really is that I felt I could relax once the cook had gone past one hour.

        Typically I feel I have to stay at home because I know from experience my egg tends to rise 10 or so degrees 2 hours in. Now I can just chill and know the smobot will do it for me.

        Wether it is worth it or not is up to each and everyone. So far I think it’s a really cool product amd I look forward to using it again.

        Comment


        • Top | #7
          I didn’t know about smobot when I got my cubercue. Actually I wasn’t really aware of fireboard either, but whatever.

          I like that there is no fan, and therefore the power requirement is very low. It’s easy to battery power the thing to insulate you from unexpected power outages. Simple is usually the best, and it doesn’t get any simpler than a computer controlled top vent.

          What I don’t like is the lack of food probes. Win my cubercue I can use one pit plus three food probes on one screen. Simplifies the process.

          But why didn’t the smobot sense a drop in temperature with the lid open? It should have opened the top vent. After closing it should have adjusted the vent to keep the set temp. So wide open then closing down as the target temp was reached?

          Comment


          • SmokeyGator
            SmokeyGator commented
            Editing a comment
            With the lid open, cold air hits the pit probe. Lowering temperature.

          • EdF
            EdF commented
            Editing a comment
            I might be confused. But I think there are two food probes.

          • Henrik
            Henrik commented
            Editing a comment
            EdF is right, there are two food probes. SmokeyGator, I agree with you that cold air hits the probe, and temp drops. But that shouldn't, and can't be compensated for. The trick is to compensate for the following increase in temp when closing the lid again. That is what smobot does. Again, correctly.

        • Top | #8
          Henrik , just curious if any subsequent cooks have changed your mind on the smobot? Do you feel it's still a solid purchase and adding to one's BBQ arsenal?

          Note: their website said they will be adding support to Weber summit charcoal, WSM and kettle soon.

          Comment


          • Top | #9
            Good write up! With my thermostatic controller (Auber), cooking is stress free! And I love that fact when I’m busy during the day (or sleeping at night)!

            Comment


            • Top | #10
              I'm not a kamado guy but that is a great write up on a really cool product Henrik.

              Comment


              • Top | #11
                My only concern with these is cooking in cold weather. But I suppose if the grill is running at temps it should stay pretty warm. Thanks for the great write up! Henrik

                Comment


                • Top | #12
                  To answer y'alls questions: yes, I'm still hooked on this product. Dang, I love it! It really has made grilling/smoking on my Big Green Egg a lot easier. Just the fact that I can let it handle the "warmup" phase for me is a tremendous win. As in: I light the charcoal, wait for 10-15 minutes, then close the lid and set the target temp on my Smobot. Then just wait. It does all the fine tuning, and I don't have to baby sit it during startup. Glorious!

                  As for cold weather: I've run it plenty during our cold winter here in Sweden, and it runs like a clock. I just bring it in when I'm not cooking (lid + controller), and all is good.

                  I recently downloaded and tried their app too, and it is actually just a little better/easier than the website. Only thing missing (my one gripe) is that I cannot (as far as I've gathered) turn it from manual to automatic with the app. I have to push the physical button on the device for this.

                  Comment


                  • Top | #13
                    You are giving me MCS temptation!

                    Comment


                    • Top | #14
                      Even on a Medium BGE you should leave the bottom vent at least 50% open. The Smobot has a routine that when it is trying to get the temp down it won't stay fully closed for a long period of time as that would increase the likelihood of snuffing out the fire. It will occasionally reopen the damper to keep the fire alive. Since the Smobot does not use a fan to force air thru the cooker it is relying solely on the natural draft. You want the damper open enough so that the natural draft can breathe more easily.

                      The prongs of Type K probes are different sizes so they will only insert one way. That can be as annoying as most USB cables but I have a couple thermos that use Type K probes so I'm use to just looking at the probe prongs to orient them correctly.

                      Comment


                      • Henrik
                        Henrik commented
                        Editing a comment
                        Actually, I disagree on the bottom vent position. I close mine to 25%, otherwise it runs away on me. I start out with 50%, but then close it further as soon as it hits target temp. And I have the medium. From what I gather from other Smobot users they too think the instructions are too 'liberal'.
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