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Author Topic: How many of you use an ATC with your WSM?  (Read 8108 times)

jdefran

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How many of you use an ATC with your WSM?
« on: February 07, 2017, 09:31:57 AM »
I'm considering purchasing an automatic temp control/blower system to run my WSM for me. Are you running one and how has your experience been?

Yes, I know, theoretically I can set my vents and voila WSM will run stable. With a toddler and growing family, that quick temp check or slight vent adjustment can sometimes hinder my ability to cook. To address these concerns and maximize my family time, I've thought a PartyQ with quality rechargeable batteries would be my best bet. 

TheDude

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Re: How many of you use an ATC with your WSM?
« Reply #1 on: February 07, 2017, 10:17:41 AM »
TTT and a 732. You're set for a lot less money.
Still need a 22 yellow

HoosierKettle

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How many of you use an ATC with your WSM?
« Reply #2 on: February 07, 2017, 01:12:07 PM »
I haven't seen the need for any gadget. It's taken me a few cooks to dial in what it likes but once you do that it's pretty much auto pilot. I got mine second hand and my factory door latch left the door very loose. I upgraded to the Cajun bandit door and latch and it is much more consistent. The door is the one thing on the wsm that is not great imo.


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HoosierKettle

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How many of you use an ATC with your WSM?
« Reply #3 on: February 07, 2017, 01:15:14 PM »
The only maintenance that's really required is adding fuel or water if needed. I haven't seen a robot on the market that will check and add fuel for me.


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Harleysmoker

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Re: How many of you use an ATC with your WSM?
« Reply #4 on: February 07, 2017, 09:33:39 PM »
Bought new 22.5", no mods, no temp controllers, no tip top vent blocker, no "upgraded door", lock in temp and cook, almost to easy

pbe gummi bear

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Re: How many of you use an ATC with your WSM?
« Reply #5 on: February 07, 2017, 10:10:01 PM »
I have in the past for overnight cooks. An ATC is good piece of mind but with practice you can get the wsm running at steady temp for hours. You need to pack the charcoal in such a way that the fuel density near the fire doesn't change drastically as it burns. Also, learn how to use a wsm without water so you don't have to worry about it drying up.
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jdefran

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Re: How many of you use an ATC with your WSM?
« Reply #6 on: February 08, 2017, 03:33:35 AM »
To @Harleysmoker's point, perhaps locking in temp is where I lose time.

For example, to get the timing down for my cook for Super Bowl, it would have required skipping church. Instead I got my WSM to settle at a lower temp than I usually cook at (225 v 275), put the meat on approx 90 minutes before my ideal start time and out the door we went to church.

I set my vents and let the smoker warm up before for about an hour to make sure it was stable. It ran where I wanted for about 30 min and i felt confident. Upon returning home, the smoker was at 210. Not too big of a deal, but I have no idea how long it stayed there but thankfully I had enough time left in the day to increase temp and speed things up.

At the end of the day, I find myself negotiating how time is spent (family, activities, etc) and am trying to avoid comprising my desire to BBQ and make great food.

I have in the past for overnight cooks. An ATC is good piece of mind but with practice you can get the wsm running at steady temp for hours. You need to pack the charcoal in such a way that the fuel density near the fire doesn't change drastically as it burns. Also, learn how to use a wsm without water so you don't have to worry about it drying up.
@pbe gummi bear I use a foiled terracotta base.   

The only maintenance that's really required is adding fuel or water if needed. I haven't seen a robot on the market that will check and add fuel for me.
I don't have to refuel on most cooks, but when I do it is often from an overnight cook and i reload in the morning. Not sure how true this is, but I think I've read in some reviews about ATCs that fuel usage is maximized and makes me think that possibly there is a small savings per cook on charcoal.

TTT and a 732. You're set for a lot less money.
@TheDude after reading reviews on that gizmo it makes me think that perhaps I need to use my top vent to dial in temps...I always left my top vents open on all charcoal cookers.

HoosierKettle

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How many of you use an ATC with your WSM?
« Reply #7 on: February 08, 2017, 05:33:13 AM »
Your temp dropped when you left because of the cool meat placed in the cooker, not because the cooker was unstable. This is the same with my kettles and wsm. It takes a couple hours for the meat to warm and temp will climb right back up on its own. This is the part that people will drive themselves crazy. At least I did at first. Opening vents after the meat is on only to return to a cooker temp exceeding 300 later on when meat warms them trying to fight and get pit temps back down. If you know your cooker and fuel, dont worry about Low temps the first hour or 2. Temps will return to normal and you won't have to fight a temp spike later on.


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blksabbath

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Re: How many of you use an ATC with your WSM?
« Reply #8 on: February 08, 2017, 01:10:36 PM »
I haven't rigged up a controller but was going to just because I like building shit like that.  My wsm runs great without one.




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magonzo

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Re: How many of you use an ATC with your WSM?
« Reply #9 on: February 08, 2017, 04:12:52 PM »
I use the Party Q and have had very good results.  For ribs I still go without but for the 12 plus hour cooks I use it every time.  It will hold 225 for 10 hours without issue or any intervention. After 10 hours a few handfuls of charcoal are needed, then another handful every hour or so.
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SmokenJoe

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Re: How many of you use an ATC with your WSM?
« Reply #10 on: February 08, 2017, 08:42:31 PM »
I use an Auber Inst ATC from time to time, but my 18" WSM doesn't really need the excessive monitoring.  I NEVER leave a lit kettle/WSM alone on my WOODEN deck (any more), but when I'm cooking on the lawn I'll take a break between cigars to chat with the rest of the family :)

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jdefran

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Re: How many of you use an ATC with your WSM?
« Reply #11 on: February 09, 2017, 04:32:42 AM »
I use the Party Q and have had very good results.  For ribs I still go without but for the 12 plus hour cooks I use it every time.  It will hold 225 for 10 hours without issue or any intervention. After 10 hours a few handfuls of charcoal are needed, then another handful every hour or so.
I would do the same. Glad to hear positive feedback about the PartyQ

jdefran

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Re: How many of you use an ATC with your WSM?
« Reply #12 on: February 09, 2017, 04:33:43 AM »
I haven't rigged up a controller but was going to just because I like building shit like that.  My wsm runs great without one.

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If time permitted I would venture into building one as well. If you build one, share the process with your fellow grill fellas!

Wahoo95

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Re: How many of you use an ATC with your WSM?
« Reply #13 on: February 10, 2017, 03:23:34 AM »
If you want to add an ATC then do it even if it's to give you more peace of mind during your cooks.  I too have a lot going on and I added one to my UDS. Heck that thing will run for 3hrs on one load of fuel but there have been times on 2 rare occasions when something went wrong while it wasn't being monitored.  Since adding my Pitmaster IQ 130 I can now do my overnight cooks and actually sleep without subconsciously thinking about it.  It will hold temp the entire night and also allows me to make adjustments from my phone which is a nice feature as some pieces of meat cook faster than others.  It also takes the weather out of the equation.  I've had cooks be affected by changes in the weather over the course of the night so now no more worries about that anymore.   
It also is much more efficient with fuel usage.  I like it so much I even use it for small cooks on my Weber 22.5 Kettle.

Hope that helps.

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mrbill

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Re: How many of you use an ATC with your WSM?
« Reply #14 on: February 19, 2017, 12:47:10 PM »
i love my pitmaster iq110, makes things stupid easy.
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