On Sunday, Dec. 30, my wife and I went to the BGE dealer "just to look". I've been an avid griller/smoker for years. It started with my father who actually had a piece of 5' concrete conduit cemented vertically in the back yard covered with the dome lid of an old Weber grill as a homemade smoker. I've spent more money on grills and smokers over the years than I care to admit, but; could never achieve the results I wanted.
Then my daughter bought her boyfriend a Medium BGE for Christmas and I was hooked. I told my wife that would be my next grill and she just kind of smiled and said okay. So, I was kind of surprised when she went with me "just to look". When we got to the dealer they had a Medium and an XL. As I stood and looked at the grills she looked at me and simply said, "go ahead and buy the thing". I explained that they didn't have a large (which is what I had my heart set on) and that the Medium might be too small for a family of 5. She said "no, I didn't mean buy a medium or large. I mean buy the XL. You won't be happy with anything else and we'll just be back here in a few months to get another."
So, I am now the proud owner of an XL-BGE. Since Sunday I have done 3 Boston Butts (wish I had read more about stall before I tried that one) that turned on fairly well (would have been excellent had I pushed through the stall and made it to 190+). I have done baked beans and even baked biscuits. All in the snow and wind of South Western PA. Even with the stall on the BGE the results were better than before on my gas smoker. Always finished in the oven. I'm hooked on the BGE!!
Since chicagomike asked so many good questions, the forum has already answered many of my other questions (thanks chicagomike and forum). So, it was the stall at 170 that leads me to my question. I realize that dad never dealt with a stall since he pre-cooked his butts by boiling before smoking (as good as dad's were it is not a technique I care to embrace). After reading many posts on this forum it is my understanding that time is the only thing that will break through a stall. If I have loaded and fired the BGE properly with quality lump charcoal I should not have to worry about running out of fuel. All I need is time, patience, and good temperature control followed by a proper FTC at the end. I'm a bit of a "purist" and HATE finishing in the oven (even though I understand that there a lot of great cooks who do).
All leads me to the conclusion that since low and slow (and patient) is likely to be a large part of my future BGE cooking, I need to place a temperature controller on my wish list. That way I can cook overnight or start in the early morning and cook all day without much worry or fuss. The question is, which controller?
Of course BGE has their own controller, but; I notice a lot of forum contributors use other brands. There are CyberQ and Nano-Q and PartyQ just to name a few! All of which forum contributors have referenced positively. So, I'm sure that there isn't a "wrong" purchase. They all work as advertised.
However, following my wife's lead in the original purchase, when I buy I don't want to turn around and need to buy again in a few months due to the fact that I didn't do enough homework or ask enough questions. I would rather wait, save, and buy a more expensive one than to buy and replace a less expensive one.
So, any suggestions for this new BGE newbie?