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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.
The Thermoworks Thermapen MK4 is considered by the pros, and our team, to be the single best instant read thermometer. The MK4 includes features that are common on high-end instruments: automatic backlight and rotating display. Don't accept cheap substitutes.
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.
This is a review of the new probes for use with the previously reviewed Tappecue Touch. For info on the main unit, see the review here. Older versions of the Touch will work with the new probes after a user-applied firmware update is performed.
Two new probes have been introduced: a familiar wired probe with two sensors to read both the food temperature and the cooker temperature, and a wireless probe called the "AirProbe" that communicates via Bluetooth with the main unit and also measures the food and cooker temperatures.
When either of these two-sensor probes is in use (via cable or Bluetooth), the display shows two temperatures per probe. With two AirProbes and two dual probes, you could take eight independent temperature readings simultaneously.
The wired dual probe works in the usual way. The AirProbe comes with a charger that is powered by a single AAA battery. When not in use, the probe is inserted into its charger so it will be ready for the next cooking session. The AirProbe will run for about four hours on a single charge, according to the manufacturer. (I ran one for nine hours without recharging.) Because it connects via Bluetooth, it has range limitations: the probe should be within 10 meters of the base unit. However, with the main unit near the cooker anyway, this should not be a problem. The free smart phone app allows you to monitor all probes, and there is also an app for your computer to save and plot your temperature profiles, as well as a web portal where you can monitor the status of your cooking session in real time.
The following table shows the accuracy of both probe types. For this test, I used a conventional wired thermometer of known accuracy. I monitored the cooker temperatures displayed by the reference unit and the two Tappecue probes. To simulate food, I used a rolled up cotton sock that had been soaked in water. The food probes were inserted into the sock and wrapped tightly together. The sock was then placed in a Breville electric oven and I allowed the temperature to stabilize at 225°F (107°C) and took readings. I repeated the test at 325°F (163°C). As you can see, the new probes accurately measured the test temperatures of the oven and displayed good consistency with the "food" temperatures. As with all probes, the user must be careful not to exceed the temperature limitations of the hardware. Read the directions carefully or you might damage your thermometer. (Click on chart to see a larger view.)
Whether it's four or nine hours, the AirProbe's charge life might be an issue in certain cooking circumstances, like doing a brisket or a pork butt, which can each take upward of 12 hours in the smoker. You could always use a wired probe in this case, and save the wireless probes for shorter cooking sessions. The manufacturer states that the probes will recharge in five minutes, but it's not clear if this is a full charge or a stopgap measure. The charger does not indicate the state of charge of the probe, unfortunately, so there is no way to know whether the probe is fully charged or nearly depleted.
We liked the previously-tested Tappecue Touch, and these two new probes add functionality to a nice product. I found the phone app and the web portal to be somewhat difficult to use, and I couldn't figure out how to delete old hardware and session data. The manufacturer could do a better job of documenting the software product, IMO. However, most will find their way around without too much difficulty.
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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