Product Review: IQ 110
Automatic Temperature for Charcoal Smokers (Weber Kettle, Weber Smokey Mountain models, Big Green Egg Smokers, Drum Smokers, etc.).
Our team discovered the impact automatic temperature control can do for your turn ins when we added Rock’s Stoker BBQ controller to our main rig last year. Additionally, it gave us a chance to actually get some rest instead of monitoring our rig temp, fuel level, etc. This led us to consider adding a second stoker fan and adaptor kit for our Weber bullets. In our search we stumbled upon the IQ110. We were intrigued by the design, and reached out to John Kennington, owner of PitmasterIQ.com, for more product information. A few weeks later, we were sent a demo model to conduct a review, so here we go.
When the unit arrived, it consisted of 5 parts: the control unit, air adapter, hose, temperature probe, and an AC adaptor. A couple of koozies also found their way into the fed ex box, which was much appreciated. We found the instructions to be straight forward and easy to follow. Just looking at the pieces, it was pretty obvious how to use it and set it up, but we did due diligence and went through the steps in the instructions. For our review, we used the Weber 22” Smokey Mountain cooker. We were running some trial briskets, so we had two long cooks coming up, which would be a perfect time to put the IQ to the test. We installed the IQ110 in about 2 minutes, no problems.
Operating the IQ110 is simple, you turn the dial to the desired temperature and the IQ takes care of the rest. There’s a LED light that will be doing one of the following:
- Flashing green – your pit is10 degrees cooler that the set point
- Solid green- the pit is within 10 degrees of the set point (desired result).
- Solid red- pit is 10 degrees or more over the set point
- Flashing red- pit is 50 degrees or more over the set point, not good.
- Alternating red/green: This happened to us a few times, and was due to us taking the lid off to mop the brisket. This is the unit detecting the lip being open, and the LED returned to normal within a few minutes. However, if it would have stayed alternating red/green, it could mean the probe has failed or the main unit has overheated.
As you can read above, it is easy to set up the unit and have a decent idea of where your temp is by observing the LED light. If you can’t figure out how to do that, you probably shouldn’t be around fire and need to stop reading now. For the rest, I digress to the results.
As side benefit: Even though there isn’t a current temperature gauge on the IQ – you can turn the dial until it turn’s solid green and get a real good idea of where the temp sits currently. Quickly turn it back to your desired temp though! The IQ reacts very well! The fan will kick off within a couple seconds if you move it to a temp where it thinks it needs to stoke the fire!
We filled the charcoal chamber up and used 1 charcoal starter full of lit coal to start the cook, in addition to hickory chunks. The LED flashed green and the fan kicked in. In 35 minutes, it was at our set point of 240, and the LED was a steady green. Our brisket was added. For the next 8 hours the unit rarely went away from the steady green, and if it did, it recovered quickly. In both cooks, we found the product to work near perfect during the first 8 hours. The only issue we had was when we began mopping our brisket, and we took the lid off every 40 minutes or so for 5 hours. We did have a couple of times of flashing red and red LED indicators, for about 15 minutes an episode. It is important to note that the Weber 22” is a great cooker, but has the flaw of extreme temperature rises when the lid is off. We had better luck in our second cook when we closed the bottom intake vent and top vent ½ way. The issue we faced was related to the smoker, not the IQ. For the 18” Smokey Mountain, we would not foresee this issue. Also, if we weren’t mopping so often, it wouldn’t have surfaced.
Turning to accuracy, the IQ’s temperature dial is segmented in 25 degree intervals, with space to set in between (see pic below). So you if you want 240, you need to use your best judgment where that is. To test the accuracy, we used the built in thermometer on the Weber as well as a 3rd thermometer placed in one of the top vent hole as our gauge. Both thermometers and the IQ ran at the same temp, which was great to find out. We were left with the impression that the IQ temperature probe is very accurate.
The IQ110 did what it said it would do. It does not have the features of some of the fancier controllers out there, such as digital readouts, food probes, etc. It also does not have the hefty price tag that comes along with those. It’s a no frills temp controller that is a great match for bullets, kettles, Big Green Eggs, Drum smokers, and similar types of smokers. What we found with the IQ110 was an easy installation, easy to operate, and most importantly, a very accurate temperature control for long periods of time. As a competition BBQ team, the last thing you want to do is battle rig temperatures all night long. When we cook on our bullets, we find them to be accurate, but still get up every few hours to check the temperature during the night and usually make an adjustment to the vents during those times. With the IQ110, I would be comfortable sleeping through the night. Many backyard bbq folks and competition folks use aforementioned cookers. With the smaller price tag, the IQ110 isn’t going to break the bank and should provide some comfort before you close your eyes for some sleep during your cook. Here is a pic of the brisket we turned out using the IQ110.