Update 6/29/18: To read my full review, impressions and thoughts on the iKAMAND smart BBQ controller after a week of ownership and 5 successful cooks with it, read Kamado Joe iKAMAND First Impressions; Thoughts and Review
I first learned about the coveted Kamado Joe iKAMAND smart BBQ controller in the Facebook Kamado Joe enthusiast group, “Kamado Joe Grilling, Smoking and more.” Thanks to the Altanta Grill Company, I was able to pre-order at a discounted rate and promptly received this long awaited device to mixed reviews from early adopters. This post is pretty much an unboxing, installation and setup guide. I’ll publish another post detailing my personal experience and thoughts about it after doing several cooks with it.
So what is an iKAMAND? The iKAMAND is a smart BBQ controller and monitoring accessory developed by Kamado Joe in conjunction with Desora amidst a growing market of barbecue grill temperature controller and monitoring devices. Currently, the iKAMAND only works with Kamado Joe Classic and Big Joe while iKAMAND documentation indicates mounting plate for other non-Kamado Joe cookers will be made available in the future. Unfortunately, the iKAMAND is strictly a cloud-based device controlled through the iKAMAND iOS or Android app and requires an iKAMAND user account and internet connection to function properly.
Unboxing the iKAMAND Smart BBQ Controller
The iKAMAND is packaged in a rectangular water resistant zipper case with a hang tab label show casing the product’s featured benefits.
iKAMAND Smart BBQ Controller Installation
The iKAMAND installs directly onto the lower vent of the Kamado Joe Classic or Big Joe with a size specific replacement sliding lower vent cover. The installation of this replacement vent plate, according to the iKAMAND’s official instructions, will require the user to remove the original lower temperature vent plate which involves removing the fire box, removing the two screws holding the lower vent plate backing in place, swapping out the original lower temperature sliding vent plate and replacing it with the vent plate that is included with the iKAMAND package. It is a pretty straight forward installation. This is also the perfect time to sweep up or vacuum the ash accumulated behind the fire box of their Kamado Joe during the installation process!
However, some iKAMAND users in the Facebook Kamado Joe group suggests installing the iKAMAND replacement lower vent plate ON TOP of the original Kamado Joe lower temperature sliding vent door. This is what I did and I did not have to remove the original lower temperature sliding vent door. I rotated the Kamado Joe Classic II counter clockwise to clear the lower vent from the stand then inserted the iKAMAND replacement lower vent cover from the left:
I continue pushing the iKAMAND replacement lower vent cover along the track with my index finger and thumb.
The whole process took about 5 minutes, but you can install it over the existing lower temperature sliding vent door easily:
Of course, the iKAMAND vent cover is now optional but it still looks cool if you’ve removed the iKAMAND:
Doing this allows the option to use the original vent plate to completely close off the lower vent during the cool down process. Some users have reported high temperature cooking resulted in warped iKAMAND mount covers.
The iKAMAND unit then simply clips onto the replacement lower temperature sliding vent and is secured on by two pinch tabs on opposite sides of the mounting hole:
Download and Install the iKAMAND App
Setting up the iKAMAND
Setting up the iKAMAND so it can connect to an existing WiFi is very similar to setting up a Ring or Nest Hello doorbell camera, or even an ecobee smart thermostat. But instead of relying on a Bluetooth connectivity, the iKAMAND broadcasts its own ad-hoc WiFi network as you would see in a DJI Phantom drone or baby monitors.
- The user will need to connect to the device’s built-in wireless ad-hoc network so the iKAMAND can be configured through the iKAMAND app.
- Once connected to the device’s ad-hoc network, the iKAMAND must be configured to connect to an existing 2.4 gHz band WiFi network, which the user will supply the compatible network’s SSID and password as prompted.
- Once connected to an existing 2.4 gHz band WiFi network, the iKAMAND setup is complete and the iKAMAND can be controlled across the internet through the iKAMAND app just like any other IoT / smart device.
Here is a step-by-step walk through to help you get your iKAMAND up and running:
First, connect the iKAMAND device to a power source. The iKAMAND power cord is only 5 ft long, so you’ll most likely need an extension cord with a 2-prong outlet. The LED light will light up turquoise on initial start up:
Press and hold the button on the iKAMAND for 8 seconds, then release the button. The LED light flashes turquoise, then quickly flashes blue as it enters setup mode.
If you press the button and release for less than 8 seconds, you will activate stoke mode, turning on the fan. To turn off stoke mode, press and release the button again.
Launch the iKAMAND app and sign up for an iKAMAND account through the app if you haven’t already, then click on CONNECT.
Connect to the iKAMAND’s ad-hoc wireless network from your phone by going to the phone’s WiFi setting and scanning for iKAMAND-x###
Once connected to the iKAMAND’s ad-hoc wireless network, return to the iKAMAND app.
When prompted, enter the credential to an available 2.4 gHz WiFi network. The SSID for the network is case sensitive. Press CONNECT.
Setting up and connecting the iKAMAND to your WiFi requires the presence of a 2.4 gHz band WiFi network. Most newer WiFi routers and mesh WiFi system are dual band broadcasting both 2.4 gHz and 5.0 gHz signals and devices will automatically connect to the correct band. If attempting to connect the iKAMAND to an older device or a device that does not automatically switch bands or does not offer dual band connectivity, the band may need to be manually selected from your router admin configuration page.
The LED on the iKAMAND will slowly flash blue as it attempts to connect with your WiFi network. It will then become solid blue once it establishes connection with your WiFi and is connected to the internet. The iKAMAND app will notify you once it is successfully connected.
Using the iKAMAND
From the home menu, the iKAMAND app offers many different cooking presets based on the meat of choice:
Simply select the meat type and enter the total weight of the meat being cooked:
iKAMAND will load up the preset recommended cooking pit and food temperatures, which you can adjust:
Once you click on COOK, the iKAMAND will do its job and automatically operate the fan speed to maintain the pit temperature at the set temperature. A total of three food temperature probe can be added. The iKAMAND kit includes one food temperature probe and additional probes will be available for sale in the near future. Once on COOK mode, you can assign the the temperature probe (Probe1, Probe 2 or Probe 3) to monitor the temperature of the food.
I will be smoking a pork butt overnight as the iKAMAND’s first cook following Chef Tom’s classic pulled pork sandwich recipe.
I will post a follow-up article on the results and my thoughts on the iKAMAND. Stay tuned!