The Good-One Is A Superb Grill And A Superb Smoker All In One
The Good-One Open Range is dramatically different from a traditional offset smoker. 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.
The flat top does the burgers and the fryer does the fries. Use the griddle for bacon, eggs, and home fries. Or pancakes, fajitas, grilled cheese, you name it. Why stink up the house deep frying and spatter all over? Do your fried chicken and calamari outside. Blackstone's Rangetop Combo With Deep Fryer does it all!
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 because temperature control is so much easier.
GrillGrates(TM) amplify heat, prevent flareups, make flipping foods easier, kill hotspots, flip over to make a fine griddle, and can be easily rmoved from one grill to another. You can even throw wood chips, pellets, or sawdust between the rails and deliver a quick burst of smoke.
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 beautifully designed, completely portable, and much easier to set up for 2-zone cooking than any round kamado.
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.
This is the first propane smoker with a thermostat, making 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'.
The Cool Kettle With The Hinged Hood We Always Wanted
Napoleon's NK22CK-C Charcoal Kettle Grill puts a few spins on the familiar kettle design. In fact, the hinged lid with a handle on the front, spins in a rotary motion 180 degrees. It's hard to beat a Weber kettle, but Napoleon holds its own and adds some unique features to make the NK22CK-C a viable alternative.
Green Mountain's portable Davy Crockett Pellet Smoker is one mean tailgating and picnic machine. But it's also gaining popularity with people who want to add a small, set it and forget it pellet smoker to their backyard arsenal. And with their WiFi capabilities you can control and monitor Davy Crocket from your smart phone or laptop.
The LavaLock® ATC-1 is an easy to use thermostatic temperature controller designed for use with a wood- or charcoal-burning grill or smoker. It features a control box that accepts four included temperature probes and connects to a power supply and a fan. There is no wireless connectivity for this unit.
The control box is nicely made of anodized extruded aluminum. The large lit display shows the current temperature of each food probe as well as its individual alarm temperature. The pit temp shows the target temperature as well as the current temperature. There is a small thermometer icon next to each probe's readout that flashes when that particular probe has reached its setting or the pit temperature is out of range. This range is plus or minus 20% of the pit target temperature. If any food temperature exceeds its target, a green light will shine and an audible alarm will sound, and the sound is mutable. The four probes, the power supply, and the fan all plug into jacks on the side of the controller.
The fan is a 34 cfm (cubic feet per minute) unit, the largest I've seen on controllers designed for cookers like the Big Green Egg (BGE) or the Weber Smokey Mountain (WSM). It is designed to be compatible with a number of different smokers in this size class using adapter plates that are included. The fan also has a gate valve that allows you to throttle the fan output or close it off completely at the end of the cook.
LavaLock® makes a number of products aimed at the barbecue market, including seals and heat deflectors. I installed a set of seals on the top surface of the cylindrical section of my WSM as well as on the door. I removed the water pan and inserted a FireDial heat deflector in its place. The seals worked as advertised. I had no way to make any objective evaluation of the FireDial. I did notice that the four hour test seemed to use less fuel than I would normally expect, a possible result of using these two products.
The test was conducted over a four hour period using an 18.5" WSM fueled with Kingsford charcoal briquettes. Weather was fair with temps in the mid-70s. The target temperature was initially set at 225°F. The large fan brought the temp up to this value quickly. After one hour, I upped the setting to 250° for another hour, then dropped it back to 225°, then finally set it to 180°. Each change was made manually in order to test the transient response of the controller. What we're looking for here are smooth transitions without temperature overshoot. The controller passed all tests. The graph below shows the temperature vs. time plot. Click on the graph to see a larger version.
The unit comes with four probes: one pit probe with a mounting clip and three food probes. Each has a generous 80" (2m) cable covered with a plastic sheath rated to 356°F. This temperature rating is more than adequate for use in a smoker, but I'd be leery of using it near direct heat. Temperature accuracy was acceptable.
The feature set of this product is basic but will probably meet the needs of most cooks. It cannot be programmed to change the temperature profile automatically, nor does it have any timer functionality. It lacks the ability to be monitored and controlled remotely using a smart device app, but that won't stand in the way of conducting a long cooking session while maintaining accurate temperature control. What it lacks in bells and whistles it makes up in simplicity of operation, and all the essential features are there.
The controller is covered by a one year limited warranty. The fan and power supply are covered for six months, and the probes for three months. There is no contact info nor an address in the user's pamphlet, but their website is easily found via Google.
Overall, this is a nicely-made, functional temperature controller that will meet the needs of many users at a reasonable price.
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.