Grilla Grills have released a new control panel called Alpha Connect which now brings all Grilla Grills products into the WiFi pellet grill line-up to compete with Traeger, Camp Chef, Weber etc. Now, I’ve updated my Grilla Grills pellet grill page and FAQ article to reference the new Alpha Connect WiFi control panel. However, the Alpha Connect panel has some really cool features and customization which I wanted to discuss in more detail. One of the new features called Temp Tamer you will not currently find on any other pellet grill/smoker and its a simple yet powerful feature. So let’s get into this 🙂
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Introduction To The Alpha Connect Control Panel
The overview video above from Grilla Grills on their new Alpha Connect control panel does an excellent job of discussing the new features and functionality of their new WiFi control panel. I’m aware its quite a long video at 13 minutes, but its really worth a watch. I’ve known Grilla Grills were working on a WiFi control panel for quite some time now. My article on WiFi pellet grills is getting more and more readers each month, and WiFi/App functionality is a feature I get asked about a lot. Some people see it as an unnecessary gimmick, however, I also know those who thought that way until they actually got a pellet grill with WiFi/App functionality and they realised the time it saved them being able to monitor and adjust the cook remotely.
The other good news is that Grilla Grills are making the Alpha Connect panel available for existing customers to upgrade to WiFi functionality if they want to. As of writing this article the demand for the Alpha Connect is more than their supply. However, if you already own a Grilla Grill head over to their Alpha Connect upgrade page and you can enter your email address and they will let you know when they have more stock available. Right, let’s start discussing some of the interesting/unique features of the Alpha Connect panel.
Temp Tamer – What Is It & What’s The Benefit?
So when I was reviewing all the information on the new Grilla Grills Alpha Connect control panel the Temp Tamer feature really stood out to me as evidence these guys are constantly trying to improve and innovate with their products, not just match what Traeger, Pit Boss and Camp Chef are doing. What Temp Tamer does is help to address an issue that is created from opening the grill lid during a cook for an extended period of time which on many pellet grills can lead to a temperature spike.
The Temp Tamer feature is a pause button on the control panel. However, the combustion process is not completely paused, the pellet feed auger from the hopper and fan will continue to operate. What’s been paused is the Alpha Connect control panel for the 5-10 minute period set will not monitor the internal RTD probe. As a result, once the lid is open for you to inspect/tend to the food, the cooling RTD probe will not be telling to control panel to feed more fuel to try and get the grill back up to temperature.
Once the lid is closed and the duration of the pause button has lapsed the control panel will again look at the RTD probe temperature, and once the lid is shut the RTD probe will have a much better idea of how much fuel is really going to be needed to get the cooking area back up to the desired set temperature. I love simple/clever ideas to solve problems, and the Temp Tamer pause button is definitely one of those ideas. As it helps to resolve temperature spikes after opening the grill lid to attend to food it will also save on pellets.
The Option To Choose Pro Or PID Cooking Modes
Grilla Grills have carried over a key feature from their previous AlphaSmoke control panel to the latest Alpha Connect control panel, namely the ability to chose between Pro or PID cooking modes. As I discuss in my PID control panel article, the benefits of PID algorithms is more precise control of the pellet combustion process resulting in more precise internal grill temperatures.
However, the problem is with more precise control of the combustion process, naturally, you will also get less smoke. Therefore, on the Alpha Connect, you have the option of more smoke (Pro Mode) or more precise temperature control (PID mode). However, you don’t have to stick to one or the other for the full duration of the cook, you can quickly/easily jump between the different modes. You can do this either on the control panel directly or via the Grilla Grills App.
Auger Trim Setting Adjustment
So this is a setting that most people/most of the time need not worry about. However, for those who want more direct control over how the pellet grill is functioning you can now adjust the auger trim/idle settings. As Mark discusses in the video below, how the pellet combustion process performs will depend on the current ambient temperature. In other words, is the pellet grill sucking in cold or warm air for the combustion process. Well, you can now adjust the idle setting of the auger speed either above or below its default setting.
RTD Offset Adjustment
Another cool feature of the Alpha Connect control panel is the RTD offset adjustment you are able to do. So the RTD probe is positioned on the left side of the cooking chamber. RTD stands for Resistance Temperature Detector, its this temperature sensor that dictates how the control panel operates and its what gives the temperature readout on the control panel. Well, on the Alpha Connect you can adjust how the RTD interprets the internal temperature above or below the temperature it believes the grill to be at. As Mark discusses in the video below, you might do this to make the grill match any additional/aftermarket temperature monitoring equipment you wish to use.
Meat Probe Offset Adjustment
So in a similar manner to the RTD offset adjustment above, you can do the same for the meat probe and adjust its readout above and below its original settings. For instance, as the Alpha Connect only has one meat probe port, you may wish to use an additional aftermarket WiFi meat probe setup to provide you with additional monitoring. Well, being able to adjust this meat probe setting means you can get the pellet grill and the aftermarket meat probe to match on temperature reading.
Conclusions On The Grilla Grills Alpha Connect Control Panel
As I stated above, I’ve known for quite some time that Grilla Grills were working on a WiFi control panel, and I think that extensive development time is shown in the features of the Alpha Connect panel. Instead of just rushing a WiFi control panel to market, the team at Grilla Grills appear to have really planned out what additional features they could add as well as WiFi/App connectivity. The Temp Tamer/pause button I think is an excellent idea to avoid temperature spikes after the lid has been open for a while, likewise the ability to finely adjust the Auger trim, RTD and Meat probe offset settings is going to appeal to a lot of people who take their BBQ very seriously.
That’s it! Thanks for reading, I hope you found this summary of the Grilla Grills Alpha Connect control panel interesting/informative. If you want to learn more please check out my Grilla Grills pellet grill/smoker article and also my Grilla Grills FAQ. 🙂
Back in 2007 when I first become aware of pellet grills and smokers the only brand I was really aware of was Traeger. Traeger is really where this whole concept of cooking with pellets started in the 1980s. It was a ‘slow burner’ (pardon the pun) but since the 2010s is really when pellet grills and smokers started to get mainstream awareness, discussed alongside gas and charcoal grills. There are now over 30 pellet grill/smoker brands that I’m aware of, and the link above goes to my A to Z list of brands article.
Now, you may already be aware of a few of the other brands such as Pit Boss, Camp Chef, Z Grills and I’m sure you are aware of Weber, though you may not have known they have entered the pellet grill game. However, they are now many, many more brands to look into. Some may be what are commonly referred to as ‘Traeger clones’, but many others are offering their own unique designs and features.
A pellet grill/smoker is only as good as the BBQ pellets you put into it. The type/quality of the BBQ wood pellets you use will impact temperature performance and smoke flavour. There are many pellet flavours including Apple, Hickory, Mapel, Oak and Walnut to name but a few. However, some brands are hardwood blended pellets whereas others are 100% single wood species.
In this article, I provide details on over 20 brands of BBQ wood pellets, their range of flavours, whether they are 100% single wood species or hardwood blended pellets, their typical price and where they are available. I also provide tips on how to get the best deal when buying BBQ wood pellets and how to test pellet quality. Finally, I discuss the new kid on the block, charcoal pellets and their special attributes compared to all other hardwood BBQ pellets.