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Any suggestions on selecting a pit controller?

I am considering getting a pit controller but I get bogged down with some of the options, andcan's, and cants of the features.

Does any one have suggestions on buying one based on your own personal experiences?

Proud resident of Missoula, MT

Check out my book on Kamado cooking called Exclusively Kamado:


  • GriffinGriffin Posts: 7,616
    It really comes down to how much do you want it to do. Do you want to have internet access and be able to control it remotely? Or do you just want to plug it in and forget about it until its done? Price matters, too. You can spend just over a $100 or way, way more. For me, just plugging it in and letting it do its own thing was enough. Check out The Naked Whiz site for reviews and comparisons.

    Rowlett, Texas

    Griffin's Grub or you can find me on Facebook

    The Supreme Potentate, Sovereign Commander and Sultan of Wings


  • MickeyMickey Posts: 18,593
    edited December 2013
    IMO don't. Sold my Digi Q and gave away my PartyQ . I just don't see any need.
    Salado TX Egg Family: 2 Large and a very well used Mini, added a Mini Max (I'm good for now). 

  • I use an Auber PID and it works great.
  • GriffinGriffin Posts: 7,616

    As @Mickey said, they are really needed. I always recommend learning how to control your fire and be able to confidently do overnighters manually before getting one. What are you going to do if the power runs out.

    I have an Auber that I have used for years. No bells an whistles, but works great. Does everything I need it to. Recently got a Flame Boss. Seems to work pretty good and has more options like a probe for meat temp that the Auber didn't as well as an open lid detect and a ramp down function. Have only been able to use it twice. Once on a really low smoke for sausage and once on a brisket. Been too busy too test it out more.

    Rowlett, Texas

    Griffin's Grub or you can find me on Facebook

    The Supreme Potentate, Sovereign Commander and Sultan of Wings


  • allsidallsid Posts: 492
    I agree with you @griffin and @mickey.  One of the best features of the egg is its consitency holding at specific temperatures. I guess I am interested in maybe bringing to a specific temp for roasting and not having to fuss en route to temperature stabilization. 
    Proud resident of Missoula, MT

    Check out my book on Kamado cooking called Exclusively Kamado:

  • I have a DigiQ DX2 that I love I would highly recommend it to anybody it is very user friendly ,as far as the power running out I have a car jump starter that I can power up the DigiQ with a car cigarette lighter power cord I took my DigiQ to Eggtoberfest2013 and that was my power for and it worked just fine  
    2 Large Eggs and a Mini 2 Pit Bulls and a Pork shoulder or butt nearby and 100% SICILIAN
    Long Island N.Y.
  • yogi84yogi84 Posts: 185
    Build one....
    edited December 2013
    I also agree to learn to use the Egg manually first.  That being said we do depend on the "Stoker" as our Power Draft System of choice.



    from SANTA CLARA, CA

  • +1 on build one. 

    Built a Heatermeter. It's awesome. 

    Madison, CT
    LBGE June 2013. 

  • To go along with Charlesmaneri, I also highly recommend the DigiQ DX2. It's not required as the egg is relatively easy to control, but the precision and convenience it offers sure is nice.
  • stlcharcoalstlcharcoal Posts: 2,629
    I like my Pitmaster IQ110......might upgrade to the IQ120 since it has a special program for the Rebel Smoker.
  • Mickey said:
    IMO don't. Sold my Digi Q and gave away my PartyQ . I just don't see any need.
    I have to agree with Mickey.  Don't use one and never had one.  Almost everything can be done in a fast mode and the really long cooks are almost gone.  I'd rather buy meat with money.  
    Dan, Columbia,Mo.
  • I decided on the party Q. I already have a maverick so don't need a food probe. Don't need wifi so I don't really see the need to spend double or triple the money
  • allsidallsid Posts: 492
    +1 on build one. 

    Built a Heatermeter. It's awesome. 

    A what? never heard of it-  PS: where you from in CT?
    Proud resident of Missoula, MT

    Check out my book on Kamado cooking called Exclusively Kamado:

  • I'm in Madison. 

    yogi pointed out the link. He built the same thing. It's a fun project if you like that sort of thing. I think in the end it might have saved me $200 compared to a stoker or CyberQ. If you Google heatermeter or look at the top of yogi's link you'll find all the info you need. 
    Madison, CT
    LBGE June 2013. 

  • In fact I'm smoking some bacon now. you can check it out.

    Madison, CT
    LBGE June 2013. 

  • I have the auber and have been very pleased. Use for overnight butts and was nice last week to use with turkey and not have to check temp while I was busy preparing other food.
  • DigiQ. For holding temps for long periods between 225-350 it works great. I just did a turbo pork butt for 6.5 hrs at 350 and it was locked on temp the entire time. Regular pork butts at 235 for 17 hrs are locked down also. I just go to bed and check on the egg in the morning.
  • I will chime in with my 2 cents..

    I can usually stabilize my cooks for about 3 - 4 hours or so without the need for a temp controller.  Beyond that, I enjoy having a controller on it, for peice of mind.  I did a pulled pork cook overnight a few months back without one and I could not get the thing to stabilize at all.  This doesn't mean that it's going up or down 100 degrees in 15 minutes, but over an hour it would drift 10 degrees, and during the middle of the night, I just don't want to deal with it.  

    I highly recommend a controller.

    Things to remember, you need a sturdy controller.  Even if you aren't rough with it, it will go through wear and tear, that's just the nature of the thing.

    I got the Auber first.  I am going to recommend against the Auber.  I got it, and a few months months in the power wouldn't stay on.  It would just randomly go out.  I would unplug it, and plug it back in, and it would come back on.  I wrote Auber, and they said it was out of warranty (after a few months) but if I would send it back, they would work on it for a fee.  I treated the thing well, it just didn't seem to be put together well.  It eventually got temperature gauges messed up, and the temperature it reported was way different than what the egg report.  I got really frustrated with it.

    I then saw the HeaterMeter, and built one.  The first thing I'm going to say is that the HeaterMeter is NOT cheap.  You will probably spend $200+ bucks on building it.  You have to buy the parts, and then thermometers, and then figure out a fan solution.  It was really fun building it, soldering it together, and loading the software.  I even paid someone to 3D print the case for it (it all adds up in cost).  It works.  But in the end, the HeaterMeter feels a science project that isn't real durable. It was a fun project, but I can't highly recommend it.

    I then got a Stoker for my birthday back in Sept.  So far I am really happy with this unit.  I've only used it 3 times, but it's been solid.  And it feels well built too.  I am not totally happy with the Android apps for it, and the web interface is kinda ugly (but there is a web interface!)  But that thing has been solid for a few cooks and given me perfect results.  It was expensive, but I've been happy with it.

  • robnybbqrobnybbq Posts: 1,907
    I want a controller to be able to sleep through the night for an overnight cook.  I can get the Egg to stabilize at 300 and above.  Anything below 300 its a crap shoot on how long it will hold.  Meaning 3:00 AM after passing out at 1:00 AM I have to get up and adjust the Egg resulting in getting up every 2 hours.  Some times it will hold at 260 some nights at 290 or not all all.  It can be good for 3-4 hours then drop out.

    I originally wanted the Cyber-Q Wifi but now considering the Digi-Q instead.  Do I really need the WIFI?  Once the controller is set that should be it.  I can use the maverick (If it works right) to monitor the meat for and alarm to tell me the food is almost done.  I just dont know.

    How to you run the probe wires on an Egg with NO gasket?  I tried running them through the base/lid but creates a large gap.  I have been running them through the top now.

    LBGE, Adjustable Rig, Spider, High-Que grate, maverick ET-732, Thermapen,

    Garnerville, NY
  • Solson005Solson005 Posts: 1,911
    I have a DigiQ Dx2 and love it. I use it more for the temperature probe than anything, but I love the piece of mind that the fire will stay lit especially when doing a long cook on my small egg. Do you need it, no but it is a nice tool to have. The only reason I would like to have the CyberQ would be to check the meat temp when I'm out on the boat at the lake, but I usually just come off the water a little early to cook watch the egg work  :-$

    Large & Small BGE, CGW Two-Tier Swing Rack for BOTH EGGS, Spider for the Wok, eggCARTen & and Cedar Pergola my Eggs call home in Edmond, OK. 
  • DigiQ Dx2 for the simple minded like me. CyberQ for the tech lover. I got mine on Father's Day and love it for low and slow cooks. I use mine for overnight cooks, so not much use for the CyberQ while sleeping. 
  • I went low tech with the Auber, about $150 bucks.  Have been very pleased, very precise.  No problems with setting temps, the alarm setting does make me review the instructions each time if I am setting a different alarm  (ie had upper alarm set for butts at like 260 as I cook them at about 225, so at Thanksgiving it was going off since I was doing smoked turkey at 325--had to pull instructions off internet to figure out alarm programming).  I actually just need to program for no alarm, the thing is very precise at holding temps.  It does not have open dome feature, so you do have to unplug it when opening dome--but then you just shut, wait a couple minutes for probe to heat up, and plug back in--it keeps prior temp settings through all the unplugging and plugging, and I hardly open dome anyway--a little moreso on turkey than butts.
  • mokadirmokadir Posts: 115
    Depends on what you want it for and your budget.  I'm not loaded, but often don't mind paying more for the right tool.  I decided I would like one to get me through the night, or to give me comfort to go away for a few hours during a rib cook.   I looked at all the units for quite some time and eventually decided to get the Pitmaster.  Although some of the other units had some cool features, they were ones that I don't think I would really ever use or need. One of the cheaper models, it works great for what I need it for, and it works as advertised.  Set it and forget it.  It maintains the temp that you want, no more, no less.
    Delaware Valley, PA Large BGE, CGS adjustable rig, iQue110, High-Que grate
  • I agree with Smitty, learn to control without a controller but if you feel a controller would be of help for you, my recommendation would be the Stoker.....I have no experience with any controller other than the Stoker but for me, the Stoker is the perfect match for the Egg....I do many long slow cooks useing a lot of chips and chunks of wood, along with the Mesquite charcoal, and without a controller, this would not be possible
  • danv23danv23 Posts: 744
    I did it opposite of most of the opinions here.  I got sick to death of waking up and checking the fire which did go out.  Then I got sick of waking up when the Maverick went off.  I couldn't control my LGE for the life of me, was about to give up, then I learned about the BBQ Guru.  Cooked butts for 36 hours.  Now, 36 hours is a bit much, I agree, but if you want to and feel like it, you can.  Anyway, after using the Guru I understood how to work the egg without it.  However, I ALWAYS use the Guru for overnight and long cooks.  Anything less than 4 hours I do without and go manual.  I have the LGE and the XLGE.  Each owns its own Guru, which makes them, and most importantly me, HAPPY!!!


    The Dude: This is a very complicated case, Maude. You know, a lotta ins, lotta outs, lotta what-have-you's. And, uh, lotta strands to keep in my head, man. Lotta strands in old Duder's head. Luckily I'm adhering to a pretty strict, uh, drug regimen to keep my mind, you know, limber.

    Walter Sobchak: Nihilists! *uck me. I mean, say what you want about the tenets of National Socialism, Dude, at least it's an ethos. 

    Cumming, GA

    Eggs - XL, L, Small

    Gasser - Weber Summit 6 Burner

  • grege345grege345 Posts: 3,515
    Party q. Use it on overnights. Nice piece of mind. You could use in combination with maverick. It's very handy.
    LBGE& SBGE———————————————•———————– Pennsylvania / poconos

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