The UltraQ BBQ
Temperature Controller


The item(s) contained in this review have been provided gratis by The BBQ Guru. This was done with the understanding that the manufacturer may request correction of any factual errors, but may not otherwise dictate the content of this review. We keep the donated items for the purpose of any future testing, and for our occasional personal use. No other condsiderations, financial or otherwise, were given.


Introduction

BBQ Guru is probably the biggest and oldest name in electronic BBQ temperature controls. When gadgets and gizmos started connecting to the internet via Wi-Fi, BBQ Guru brought out the CyberQ Wi-Fi model, but like so many of the "Wi-Fi" devices, it suffered from the fact that getting it to work so that you could monitor your cook from anywhere was pretty tricky for the common user. You had to learn how to log into your router and manipulate functions like DHCP Reservation and Port Forwarding.

Then cloud-based devices started coming out, moving function from the controller to the Cloud. Suddenly, no more logging into your router. No more DHCP Reservation or Port Forwarding! So naturally BBQ Guru came out with their version of a cloud-based controller, the CyberQ Cloud. But the CyberQ Cloud suffered from the lack of an App for smart devices.

Well, BBQ Guru has addressed that need as well as added a few new twists with the new UltraQ BBQ Temperature Controller. Let's see how well they did.


Features

Here is a list of features and specifications for the UltraQ unit from the UltraQ User's Guide:

  • Connects to your Bluetooth® enabled device for direct access to temperatures using the BBQ Guru App
  • Wi-Fi capability allows for remote access from a mobile device
  • 2.4 GHz, IEEE Std. 802.11b, g, n™, Wi-Fi® certified (WFA ID: WFA61069)
  • Patent pending 15 multi-colored LED Q light ring indicates real-time pit and fan statuses at a glance
  • Digital high intensity LED display
  • Text and email alert capability
  • Smart Cook full-time adaptive control algorithm learns the pit for better stability and accuracy
  • Armored, dishwasher-safe, high-temperature pit and food probes
  • Controls your pit and monitors up to three food temperatures
  • Open Lid Detect senses when the pit’s lid is open to minimize temperature disturbance
  • Patented low and slow Ramp Mode lowers the pit temperature as food temperatures approach the done setpoint so the food does not overcook
  • Scrolling display cycles through all of your temperatures with special LED indicators so you know what probe temperature is currently displayed
  • Audible, adjustable alarm option to sound for high pit temperature and food done temperatures
  • Displays in F° or C°
  • 32°F to 475°F (0°-246°C) [control] range with ± 2°F accuracy
  • Included patent pending 5-in-1 magnetic control mount allows viewing from any angle
  • Runs on 110-240VAC for worldwide use or 12VDC for automotive supply use
  • Compatible with Amazon Alexa


Here is a list of other features and specifications:

  • Automatically and constantly controls your grill cooking temperature with oven-like precision
  • Share, track, control, and record cooks
  • Graphing capabilities of your cook temperatures
  • Share cooks on social media
  • Comment on other cooks
  • Upload photos of your cooks
  • Ships with 1 six-foot pit probe and 1 six-foot food probe
  • Ships with 12 volt - 3.5 amp 42 watt power pack
  • Power pack supports 100-240 VAC, 50-60 Hz
  • Pit Temperature Probe - Type T thermocouple probe with 72" stainless steel-braided cable.
  • Food Temperature Probes - Type T thermocouple probes with 72" stainless steel-braided cables.
  • Probes good up to 500°F (260°C)
  • Probes/cables smoke and moisture resistant, now dishwasher safe.
  • Timer-based temperature hold or alarm
  • Power Glitch Safe - Continues running at the saved set temperature when power returns.
  • Food Temperature Alarms - Lets you know when your food reaches your target temperature.
  • Pit Temperature Alarm - Lets you know if your pit temperature strays too far (configurable), from your target.
  • Unit dimensions: 4⅛" x 4" x 1¼" / 105mm x 101mm x 32mm
  • Unit weight: 6.2 oz / 175 grams
  • Food Alarm Temperature 32°-475°F (0°-246°C)
  • 3-digit seven-segment LED display, 13/16" x 2⅛" / 21mm x 54mm.
  • 3-button keypad for data entry and selection.
  • 10 cubic feet per minute (CFM) blower with damper.
  • 23 different blower adapters available for connecting to a world of cookers.


Compared To Other BBQ Temperature Controllers

Like most other temperature control systems, the UltraQ system is blower-based, controlling airflow through the cooker with a blower. Features like the display, keypad, number of temperature probes are comparable to other controllers, although the new "Q" light ring is a BBQ Guru exclusive. It provides a complete set of features like Open Lid Detect, Ramp Mode, and timer-based actions that are missing from some other controllers. It is also paired with a feature-rich website www.ShareMyCook.com that, in addition to remote control and monitoring, provides sharing of recipes and cooks with other users. And like many other temperature controllers, the UltraQ system now comes with an App for monitoring your cooks on a smart device without having to use a web browser.

We'll be reviewing the BBQ Guru DynaQ at a later date, but we thought we'd include a short comparison between the DynaQ and the UltraQ showing only the differences in features:

DynaQ UltraQ
Food Probes 1 Up to 3
LED Temperature Display No Yes
Display Scanning No Yes
Food Done Alarm No Yes
Email and Text Notifications No Yes
Wi-Fi and ShareMyCook No Yes
Voice Control No Amazon Alexa


The Basic System

The basic UltraQ package comes with the following items:

  • The UltraQ control unit
  • 12 volt power supply and power cord
  • 1 Type T thermocouple food probe
  • 1 Type T thermocouple pit probe with alligator clip
  • 5 in 1 Magnetic Control Mount
  • Quick Start card (User Guide is available at the BBQ Guru Knowledgebase.

If you have purchased a temperature controller from BBQ Guru before, you may already have a blower and adapter. If not, when you order your UltraQ, you must also purchase:

  • Pit Viper 10 CFM blower or Pit Bull 25 CFM blower
  • Blower adapter for your cooker


A Few Observations About The Components

The UltraQ innards are housed in a plastic case that is protected from water splashed on it. In other words, keep it protected from hard rain, and don't submerge it in water. The power supply should be treated the same.

The temperature probes all have braided stainless steel insulation, are protected from smoke and moisture, and are now dishwasher safe. The Pit Viper blower is described as "moisture resistant." The new plastic case on the Pit Viper certainly will better resist the intrusion of moisture into the blower than the original blower's stainless steel plate. And with the air intake on the new blower being more covered, there should be less chance for splashing rain entering from below in a heavy rainfall. In general, everything feels sturdy and well built.


The System Unit

The UltraQ unit is a small plastic box about 4⅛" x 4" x 1¼" (105mm x 101mm x 32mm) and weighing 6.2 ounces (175 grams). The case houses the electronics and has the display on the front and control buttons on the left side. The display itself is a 3-digit seven-segment LED display, 13/16" x 2⅛" (21mm x 54mm). The display also includes the white ring around the display and the little white tail at the bottom right of the unit. The ring and tail light up to give visual indications of various things. There is no dedicated power switch, per se, as power is turned on and off by plugging and unplugging the power cord. The back of the unit has a square recess that mates with the new 5-in-1 magnetic control mount. The unit has connections for power, the blower, a pit temperature probe and three food temperature probes.


Controls

The left side of the UltraQ unit contains a 3-button keypad:

  • Center Button - The "Select" button which acts like an Enter key. It is used in manual mode to set target temperatures. It is also used to manually cycle the display through the various probes.

  • Top Button - Marked with a "+", it is used to increase temperature settings.
  • Bottom Button - Marked with a "-', it is used to decrease temperature settings. Also, pressing and holding it for 2 seconds starts the display automatically scrolling through all the probe temperatures.


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