New 2 Star testing
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Thread: New 2 Star testing

  1. #1
    Senior Member
    Join Date
    Jun 2014
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    Indianapolis
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    New 2 Star testing

    So I've had this unit for a few weeks now and have been getting some strange results vs my older 2 Star (2014). It culminated with a babyback smoke on Saturday where the temp swings were wild causing me to babysit a process that I never had to in the past. With it set to 225 the PB was reporting 265 ???
    The aha moment.... billowing smoke coming out of the pellet hopper.

    Okay, next day (the ribs turned out fine by the way) I teardown the smoker and sure enough the firepot is full despite this only being my 3rd smoke. Never had this occur with the older unit using BBQ'rs pellets. Cleaned the pot out, dumped remaining pellets (Bear brand), steel wooled the built-in therm, went ahead and installed the wifi I saved from the older unit, put in a fresh batch of BBQ'rs Delight pellets and fired it back up. Determined to understand how this unit was functioning I started recording time, PBoss temp and what the actual center grate temp was using my ThermoWorks ChefAlarm. Ran it on smoke, at 225 and then at 245.

    Results: similar to the older unit, grate temps are approx 10-15 hotter than what the PBoss reports. PBoss usually reports 5 lower than what it's set for and one curious discovery. The PBoss beeps signaling it's reached set temp yet what it shows at that point on the screen is 10 lower than the set temp. None of this is major and going forward I will return to setting the PBoss 10-15 lower in order to achieve the correct grate temps I want. One thing I will not do is use the supplied Bear pellets which created, in my opinion, far more ash. I also wonder if they contributed to the wild temp swing I experienced. Suppose I could go back and test that, but life is short and I have a solution.

    Bottom line: know your smoker and you will consistently get Good Eats

    Last edited by mcschlotz; 07-17-2018 at 07:54 AM.
    MAK 2 Star #3623
    MAK 2 Star #1915 now w/another smoker
    Twin Eagles Gasser

  2. #2
    Interesting results. I noticed some wild swings in mine on one of my first runs. Swings to the tune of 25-35 different in the PB setting and the PB temp reading. I do not have wifi installed on mine. It's possible I had the supplied pellets in mine during that run, but I can't be certain as I didn't record anything and have run several different pellets over the course of my cooks.

  3. #3
    When the grill is brand new it will have a lot heat refraction from the shiny stainless, as it breaks in (season's) it will become much smoother. Just keep smoking
    Superior Wood Pellet BBQ Smoker Grills!
    www.makgrills.com

  4. #4
    Like mcschlotz, my MAK is new, and it is my first MAK. I also noticed a big VARIANCE (not temp swings) from the PB's setpoint and readings versus my Fireboard ambient monitors. I have cooked at least 6-7 times now, the last being a pork shoulder butt (9 lbs) this last Friday. I have done pig shots, bacon, steaks, chicken, ribs a couple of times and this pork butt.

    I decided to emulate MAKDADDY's test he post on 5/18 - I bought Thermoworks IND-IR temp monitor with optional ambient K-Probe for it. I then set that probe in the very center of the main grates as shown in his photos. I also put 2 Fireboard ambient probes, one next to the Thermoworks, and one on the upper 3/4 grate. Here are the results:

    I started at 7:30 and decided to go at 225 for 1 hour, then 250 for 1 hour, then finally 275 for 1 hour.



    Setup of Probes:

    Thermoworks K-probe at center of main grates.
    FB 100K thermistor and FB RTD ambient probe next to TW K-probe center of main grates.
    FB 100K thermistor and FB RTD ambient probes center of upper 3/4 rack.
    Start Pellet Boss at 225.

    Readings at 8:30 AM after 1 hour:

    Pellet Boss - 225
    TW K-probe - 238
    FB Uppers - 248
    FB Mains - 238

    8:32 raised PB to 250
    Readings at 9:30 AM (after 1 hour):

    PB - 250
    TW - 268
    FB upper - 283
    FB main - 270


    9:32 raised PB to 275

    Readings at 10:30 AM (after 1 hour):

    PB - 270
    TW - 300
    FB upper - 310
    FB main - 300


    As you can see, the temp at the main grates was consistently 15-30 degrees above the setpoint and PB readings. The upper rack temps were 10-15 degrees above the main grate, 25-40 degrees higher than the setpoint and PB readings. The charting using the Fireboard's cloud session recording shows at these temp readings were stable, just at a significant variance from the setpoint and PB readings. I did not see a VARIANCE between the setpoint and PB temp readings, nor huge "swings" - just the large difference in readings.

    My pork butt cook, done after the above testing, produced a good pulled pork, not great. I set the PB to 210 with the goad of having the cook temp be 225. While the PB reported 205-210, the Fireboard reported 15-30 degrees above that over the 6 hours before I foiled in a pan and raised the temp.

    While I can manage knowing about this VARIANCE (not swings), it just seems "wrong". I think my MAK has lost the new pit sheen, so I am not as convinced this is reflective heat.
    --Sam

    MAK 2 Star #3634
    Weber Summit E450 gasser
    Blackstone 17" griddle

  5. #5
    Quote Originally Posted by MAK DADDY View Post
    When the grill is brand new it will have a lot heat refraction from the shiny stainless, as it breaks in (season's) it will become much smoother. Just keep smoking
    No worries, I've already noticed it's much smoother and I'm a happy customer!

  6. #6
    There will always be a variance around the grill compared to other areas including where the MAK TC is located due to the fire pot pushing the heated air in those area's as well as the metal heating up. The TC in the corner is a good average of pit temp (we have to put it somewhere) and located out of the way best as possible.
    Superior Wood Pellet BBQ Smoker Grills!
    www.makgrills.com

  7. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by MAK DADDY View Post
    There will always be a variance around the grill compared to other areas including where the MAK TC is located due to the fire pot pushing the heated air in those area's as well as the metal heating up. The TC in the corner is a good average of pit temp (we have to put it somewhere) and located out of the way best as possible.
    Just a thought, but could an additional port that you could plug a TC into that could be placed anywhere in the grill (let's call it a "floating TC"), similar to a Maverick, Thermoworks, etc, be added to the PB - future build of course? And then have the PB give the option of which TC to monitor for the cook? Meaning if I opted to use the floating TC, the PB would override the stock TC and read/control temps off the floating TC instead. Does that make sense/is it possible?

  8. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by MAK DADDY View Post
    There will always be a variance around the grill compared to other areas including where the MAK TC is located due to the fire pot pushing the heated air in those area's as well as the metal heating up. The TC in the corner is a good average of pit temp (we have to put it somewhere) and located out of the way best as possible.
    OK, I'll try what for me is a "Brave New World" - I'll set the PB to the temp I want to cook at and let 'er ride. Well, maybe set it 10 degrees lower as I like to smoke on the 3/4 upper. Since I like ribs cooked at 275 (3-3.5 hours for baby backs), and set the PB for 265, then see if it cooks as previous ones at that temp have gone (usually very well, although that was on my previous smoker). If the temp is running "hot" as my testing suggests, I would expect the ribs to be dry or overcooked or even a bit charred. if the PB is doing "the right thing", then I should be golden. Aldous Huxley, here I come!
    --Sam

    MAK 2 Star #3634
    Weber Summit E450 gasser
    Blackstone 17" griddle

  9. #9
    Not trying to be the devils advocate. I don't own a MAK but I'm just speaking from some smoking/grilling experience. I don't know if your MAK will settle or not. If not, and you're not happy with it, I'll take it. LOL!! I want one. Anyways, I know the PB is there for a reason and should be pretty accurate. All grills have some fluctuations. It's our job as cooks to know those to produce the best Q we can. Now for the grilling side, The extra heat would seem good. I guess now that you know your temps, you should continue to monitor them to see if your grill settles down a bit. Then, you can make cooking adjustments to produce the results you want. I know spending the money you did on this grill and after a few cooks having the temp differences you do, I'm sure I would be sweating it too. I guess it's good that you know your grill runs a little bit warmer and you can adjust to it. So, Best of luck and I'm looking forward to seeing some of your cooks!!

  10. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by rzrbrewer View Post
    Just a thought, but could an additional port that you could plug a TC into that could be placed anywhere in the grill (let's call it a "floating TC"), similar to a Maverick, Thermoworks, etc, be added to the PB - future build of course? And then have the PB give the option of which TC to monitor for the cook? Meaning if I opted to use the floating TC, the PB would override the stock TC and read/control temps off the floating TC instead. Does that make sense/is it possible?
    We do this on the 3 Star because it uses K Style probes and has 4 inputs, we call it "zone control". We have found it never gets used because once they own the grill for a while they figure out what temps they like to smoke different things at and don't bother with the extra probe. It's on the future design list of ideas for the 1 and 2 star so you may see it one day.
    Superior Wood Pellet BBQ Smoker Grills!
    www.makgrills.com

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