BBQ Guru UltraQ Thermostatic Controller Review

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BBQ Guru UltraQ Thermostatic Controller Review
The BBQ Guru UltraQ is a four-channel, Bluetooth and Wi-Fi connected wireless remote food thermometer and thermostatic controller that runs on a supplied AC power supply or an optional 12VDC battery. It comes with an articulated mounting stand that can be attached to a surface with either its own magnet or included screws. There are several adapters available to mate the fan module to a variety of cookers.
 
Setting up the unit is easy using the free Apple or Android app. Connection is first made via Bluetooth, then the Wi-Fi connection is configured. You can also operate the unit with a button-pressing sequence on the control itself, but you lose access to a number of features in the app. If only a Bluetooth connection is established, control range is limited by Bluetooth. If the unit is configured to work via Wi-Fi (2.4GHz only), then the cook can be monitored from anywhere an internet connection is available.
 
The display unit is shaped like the letter Q and indicates the temperature status of the displayed probe. If the temperature is below the setting, the color displays blue. If the cooker is within the user-selectable temperature band, it's red. If the temp gets too high, it flashes red. The tail of the Q changes color to indicate which probe's temp data is being displayed. The desired probe can be selected or the unit can cycle through the four probes, displaying each temperature in sequence. There is also a Bluetooth/Wi-Fi connection status LED in the lower right corner of the display.
 
The app allows you to set up your cooking temperature and control a number of features incorporated into the product. You can turn the light show on or off, set target temperatures, enable open-lid detection, control temperature ramping (from the cooking temperature to a keep-warm temperature), and modify the behavior of the temperature controller. You can also view temperature vs. time graphs for each probe. The control alerts you to food doneness and cooker temperatures with audible and visible alarms, or you can have it send you a text message or e-mail. This text/e-mail feature requires a Wi-Fi connection. Amazon Alexa is also supported.
 
The fan module attaches to the cooker adapter and has an integral damper to allow you to restrict airflow. This is helpful for controlling temperature fluctuations due to thermal airflow. The damper can be closed when the cook is done to extinguish and save the remaining fuel.
 
The probes are advertised as being dishwasher-safe, a rare feature. Most probes are susceptible to damage from submersion, and care must be taken while cleaning the probes. I'm glad to see that this should not be a concern with BBQ Guru's probes.
 
I tested the behavior of the thermostatic controller using a small clamshell cooker to prepare a batch of baby back ribs. As you can see from the graph, the UltraQ held the temperature quite steady. I may have slightly over-fired the cooker, and this resulted in some temperature overshoot at the beginning. Temps stayed within acceptable boundaries until the fuel was exhausted. I had the open-lid detector enabled and ramping disabled. Click on the image below to see an enlarged version.
 
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A well-written 25 page user's manual is downloadable from the company's website. It covers all facets of operation, and should make the learning curve short and easy, even for a beginner. Contact info, including a snail-mail address, e-mail address, website and telephone number, is included in the manual should the user encounter any problems. The control and the fan are warrantied for two years and the probes are covered for 90 days.
 
This is a well-made, full-featured thermostatic controller that performs well and is adaptable to a wide variety of cookers. Info on the adapter kits is available on the BBQ Guru website. I didn't find anything to dislike, so I'm awarding it a Gold Medal.
Thermometer Function: 
Leave in Food
Leave in Cooker
Wireless Remote
Thermostats/Temperature Controllers
Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price: 
$395.00
Included: 
Control unit, stand, power supply, probes, fan, quick-start guide
Probes: 
Food (3): diameter: 0.125" (3.2mm), length: 4" (100mm), cable: 6' (1.8m); cooker (1): alligator clip on 6' (1.8M) cable.
Accessories: 
External battery
Battery type: 
None
Battery life: 
n/a
Min / Max: 
32 to 475°F (0 to 246°C)
Ambient operating temperatures: 
41 to 104°F (5 to 40°C)
Display precision: 
At 32ºF it actually reads: 
37
At 130°F it actually reads: 
131
At 225°F it actually reads: 
227
At 325°F it actually reads: 
328
Speed from 32°F to 212°F: 
n/a
Speed from 212°F to 32°F: 
n/a
Size of numbers in display: 
0.8" (20mm)
Water resistance rating: 
Not waterproof but water resistant
Alarms: 
Audible/Visible/Text/E-mail
Weight: 
20 oz. (567g) control + fan
C/F Switch: 
Yes
Backlight: 
No
Adjustable: 
No
Auto shutoff: 
No
App: 
Apple and Android
Colors: 
Multi-colored light ring, black housing
Sensor: 
Thermocouple
Other features: 
Open lid detect, adaptive algorithm
Wireless: 
Bluetooth
Wifi

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Bill McGrath

Bill McGrath is AmazingRibs.com's Thermometer Maven. He has sophisticated equipment, an electrical engineering degree from Cornell University, and an MBA (almost) from UC Berkeley. Despite being mostly retired, he is still the person responsible for developing and updating all of ExxonMobil's electricians' training modules.

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