CyberQ: a wireless meat-probe and BBQ thermostat


53 Responses to “CyberQ: a wireless meat-probe and BBQ thermostat”

  1. Fang Xianfu says:

    This has to be one of the most ridiculous, over-the-top, over-engineered, all-round coolest things that I’ve ever seen. I’ve just picked up BBQ smoking as a hobby and this sounds fantastic!

    • Baron Matthews says:

      Meathead really liked the previous iteration, if this one lives up to the same standards, it will be nice. I could have used it while cooking yesterday since I was at work. It would have been easier than calling my wife every hour to check things. If you haven’t yet, check out Meathead’s site. The layout is annoying, but I’ve now made my best Boston butt and burgers after spending some time here:

    • Not at all over-engineered;  I often do 20+ hour pork butt cooks and, with my Stoker (which has been out for years and now has a Wifi version), I can do so without worry *and* I can monitor the pit temperature from work.   Only had a temp crash once because I was using crap quality Whole Foods hardwood lump.   The Stoker (or this device) saved me from throwing out 35 lbs of pork (and a mad scramble to find a replacement protein).

  2. For a wireless device, there sure are a lot of wires in that pic.

    • … but no network cable running to your BBQ.   In my case, that network cable also involved drilling a hole through a wall to get the other end near a router.

      If you have a wireless solution for controlling a fan and taking temperatures, I’m sure The Guru folk would love to see it.

  3. himynameischuck says:

    I’ve been using one of the older iterations of this for about five years now. It’s definitely not over-engineered or over the top. If you use anything along the lines of a Big Green Egg to smoke meats, it’s fantastic. Get the fire started, set the pit temp and the meat temp, and forget about it. It definitely beats checking your smoker every few hours. Pork shoulder smoked for 24 hours? No problem.

  4. Tribune says:

    So the device – probe plus other stuff is wireless not the probe itself? i.e. you don’t put the probe inside an oven and it communicates wirelessly with the outside; you put the probe inside the wires run to the display/plastic bit outside the oven or bbq?

    While useful it is not what I thought it would be.

    • DisqThis says:

      I would love to see a standalone wifi probe as well.  But it t will probably be a tad more expensive if you want a wifi device that can survive 200+ F for 10+ hours at a time.

      • Exactly.   And a good sized flare-up will destroy the probe.   The reality with *any* meat temperature sensor is that a flare-up will destroy it and flare-ups do happen.   You can expect to have to occasionally replace the probe.  Much happier replacing a $10 wired basic probe than a $150 wifi enabled probe.

        (Not too mention that powering a probe in a 475ºF probe at the probe itself is an unsolved problem.)

  5. Jake0748 says:

    I sell propane and propane accessories, I tell you whut…

  6. noggin says:

    Been contemplating building one from an Arduino.  Was going to check the price on this one but Chrome advises that the link goes to a website containing content from another website (blahblah… that distributes malware.  So not gonna go there.  Anyone catch a price for it?  A similar device is over $300 on Amazon.

    • Greg Miller says:

       $295. Definitely cost-effective to build from Arduino. I’ve been thinking about doing something similar and replacing the temperature controller on my sous vide setup with an Arduino, and get some web-displayed PID action going.

      • Chris Duggan says:

         You guys should check out the heatermeter.  Arduino based, but you can stick it in any openwrt suported router and have web-based display and control.

    • Ted Brzinski says:

      My friends and I have been hacking together smokers for the past couple of summers, and one of my co-BBQers just put together a 3-probe temperature monitor (pit, 2 x meat) with an Arduino.  It took him about a month of fiddling in his spare time, and he’s spent about a third of what units like this usually run (once you count probes, etc).  He’d never even soldered before this past year, and is still mildly intimidated by the electronics, but handling the arduino was painless, as he’s a programmer by trade, so if you start out with half the prerequisite skillset, the internet, and the will, it’s a fun, and not overwhelming DIY project. I think our next steps are going to be adding temperature control and bluetooth/wifi monitoring to our current smoker.

    • bbqbob11 says:

      This malware issue has been fixed. We took care of it right away.

  7. Lobster says:

    Hee hee.  Meat-probe.

  8. Teller says:

    Us Neanderthals still use charcoal and a knife to check progress.

    • mccrum says:

      I just poke it these days and do it by touch, what’s the knife for?

    • bbqbob11 says:

      These controls are for charcoal smokers and grills

      • Teller says:

        Deeper reading reveals you are quite right. Best for low-temp charcoal bbq-ing and wood smokers; useless for grilling hot and fast. The fan keeps the charcoal temp mostly constant. Got it. Its featured remote access, however, eliminates the finest perk of grilling or bbq-ing – avoiding the in-laws and listening to the ball game.

  9. DreadJester says:

    Yeah, uhh, so will it add some more wood or charcoal when needed??  Close or open the air vent to raise or lower the temp in the grill??  Those of us who want real flavor in our meat still use non-propane and non-propane accessories.  lol   I know, now all you propane folks will be all, “oh but you can get just as good of flavor from propane if………”  No, no you can’t.  Just trust me on that one. 

    Howver, I do have something very similar to this product…….  It’s called a son and he will go check the temp, meat, air vents, and add wood and charcoal when needed.  Heck, I don’t even need to burn electricity to run him.  Just give him some food off the grill when it’s done.  Although, he was a little more expensive to buy and he does require some rather complicated upkeep.

    • gadgetphile says:

      Not shown are the wires to run the fan which is used to stoke the fire and vary the temperature.

      • Exactly;  with my BGE + Stoker, I can achieve a stable temperature of +- 1ºF and it will be maintained for 24 hours, easily, as the fuel — hardwood lump — burns.

        That is more stable than my kitchen oven!

        As well, maintaining a low and slow fire for 24 hours with precision manually is a gigantic pain in the ass.   It does not involve sleeping.

        • DreadJester says:

          Well if it’s got a fan then call me impressed!  And if it keeps the temp like you say it does Bill then it’s probably worth every penny.  Have to remember this when the warrantee runs out on my son.  He only came with an 18 year /5,000 lecture warrantee and it’s about to run out in 2 years.

  10. Ian Wood says:

    That’s what she–eh, never mind. It’s too hot today.

  11. Cowicide says:

    This is why I like baking instead…

     1) Start heating oven to 420 degrees (for my altitude)
     2) Put wild frozen salmon in tinfoil, season, close tinfoil and stick in oven (no reason to defrost it first, just stick it in there!).
     3) Set time to about 25-30 min (for my altitude and depending on size of salmon)
     4) Eat salmon, ball up tinfoil (no dishes to clean).

    Delicious, healthy and zero computers needed.  And, I spent about 3 minutes total of my time for it.

    DISCLAIMER:  I’m not a foodie.  I’d rather do about a million other fun things than sit and prepare food.  Although, I don’t mind chopping veggies with good company on occasion.

    • mccrum says:

       Well, by that reasoning, I could claim that’s why I like restaurants even more.  But I’m sure there’s something you do enjoy that others might find tedious.

      Grilling in general does not require this stuff.  However, this is specialized gear for specific cooking purposes like a 24 hour pulled pork.

      If you really wanted to celebrate a lack of work on your part, you’d get into sous vide and fill a cooler with boiling water, stick your fish in a ziplock and call it a day without heating up your kitchen.

      • Cowicide says:

        I’m sure there’s something you do enjoy that others might find tedious.

        Yes, apparently cooking salmon in an oven instead of boiling it in a plastic bag.

        Well, by that reasoning, I could claim that’s why I like restaurants even more.

        Not really, it takes much longer to do that, it’s far more expensive and god only knows how clean anything is or if the salmon is truly wild or replaced with a farm-raised switcheroo.

        If you really wanted to celebrate a lack of work on your part, you’d get into sous vide and fill a cooler with boiling water, stick your fish in a ziplock and call it a day without heating up your kitchen

        I’d like to see you boil water without heat. :D But, thanks for the tip! I’m going to try it! But, I have to wonder how good something tastes after it’s been boiling in a plastic bag that’s leeching its chemicals into the water/fish?

        • noggin says:

          Yeah, definitely don’t use boiling water, as Bill B points out.   You want the temp of the water to be at the ‘done’ temperature of the meat.  For fish, ~145F.  While it might be tempting to try this in a large pot of water stuck in an oven (mine will do 140, so of course, I tried this with pork chops) practically all ovens have dumb thermostats (not PID control loops) and so can’t reliably keep the food at the desired temp for long periods.  Not a problem if you are only talking a couple of hours of holding, since most food remains safe for a couple of hours below 140, but after that, the risks of food-born illness outweigh the benefits.

          I know some people use ziplocks instead of a vacuum, but there are similar risks if you have air bubbles.  Not saying don’t do it that way, just saying there is a greater risk of air insulating the meat and not having a safe meal.

          Starting with frozen fish would also be a bad idea without a PID loop system to compensate for the cooling effect that would have on the water, again, resulting in unsafe cooking.Sounds like a lot of trouble, but done right, the fish will taste great since the plastic chemicals that leach out those temps are flavorless.  

        • mccrum says:

           We roll with an electric kettle, which uses a lot less heat than our oven.  Plastic bags are about as bad as the aluminum that’s leeching into your fish, so it’s kind of a push on that one.

          Seriously though, sous vide is much easier than I thought it would ever be, I was really impressed at how much more time I had for other things.

          • Cowicide says:

            Is cooking with aluminum foil really that bad if you don’t burn it? I’ve never tasted anything using foil and I just checked Mayo Clinic on aluminum and they just mention it in a recipe to wrap around some fish to cook.

            I found one link to one study here:

            But nothing else from any reputable sources saying that aluminum foil leeches into food in any significant amount to be dangerous.

            Do you have more info on this? I’m finding some flakey sources online saying it might be bad, but nothing reliable. Like to see some solid studies on this.

          • Antinous / Moderator says:

            I remember covering something with aluminum foil, leaving it in the fridge for a day and found holes in the foil where was contact.

          • Cowicide says:

            Like it melded with the food and got absorbed or did it rip off and you could see little flakes of foil on the food?

          • Antinous / Moderator says:

            Little discolored spots on the food where it had dissolved.

          • Cowicide says:

            WTF?! Dissolved?! Were you eating acidic compounds again, Antinous?

          • Antinous / Moderator says:

            I think that it was a lobster mousse. It shouldn’t have been particularly acidic although it might have had a tiny bit of lemon juice in it.

          • Cowicide says:

            That sounds delicious and worth its metal.

          • mccrum says:

             It depends on what else you have in there.  Antonius, I’m willing to bet you had tomatoes or some other highly acidic (or base, for that matter) food in contact with the foil.

            But if you’re concerned about plastics leaching you should be aware that there is a decent chance of aluminum doing the same thing.  It’s more a concern in the water supply of homes at this point, as tap water seems to take it on easier, but if you’re going to be paranoid, don’t stop halfway.

  12. jklett says:

    Go vegan!

  13. nox says:

    What kind of pit does this control?  

    I got the much cheaper/simpler Maverick, and it’s one of my favorite BBQ/oven tools now.

  14. RJ says:

    Alternatively, you could just learn how to run a smoker.

  15. bolamig says:

    Need the wifi-enabled Son 2.0 for seamless dynamic loading of the fuel.

Leave a Reply