July 1, 2021
A few words of warning: I’ve gone through the process of programming my MAK 2 Star grill and think this is correct. If you are programming your grill from this post, please run a small test first to confirm my results. I may have a mistake, or two, or many.
This post is directed to a very small audience. I’m posting it here so I can link to the step-by-step process on social media sites – especially the “MAK Pellet Grill Fans” group on Facebook. So, if you are looking for pictures of trains, a reading report, or a cooking recipe, you’ll have to go to another cook. But if you want to program your MAK 1 Star or 2 Star grill, keep on reading.
The MAK pellet grills are great machines. The newer ones – 2019 and later – can both smoke low and slow and grill at high heat. When I had one of the earliest models in 2011 I had to keep my gas grill to do some serious hot cooking. But after getting the new one two years ago, I got rid of my Weber gas grill and Weber charcoal grill.
People who cook on Weber Smokey Mountain grills – or other wood/charcoal grills – need to periodically manage air vents and charcoal levels to keep the heat at a steady 225°. Been there, done that, got the T-shirt. I love the “set it and forget it” ability of the MAK Grills. For that set-and-forget cooking, you can use the Wi-Fi controller and connect to the MAK server to control your grill and even program it.
I’ve tried in the past to run programs, but it is not intuitive to me. I invariably have a problem with the steps and have to cancel the program and control the steps manually. Easy, for sure, for a day long cook. But I have an overnight cook coming up: I want to start cooking at 10:00 PM and not have to get up during the night to check. I found that some other users also have problems with programming the grill, so I finally got serious about programming the grill and ran some tests. I finally got it figured out.
I started the grill and set the temp point to “Smoke” which is below 200° and generates clouds of smoke for your BBQ pleasure. These screen shots are from the MakGrillsMobile web site which is used to control the grill.
I had multiple cooking programs set up but deleted them so I could start from scratch. Here are the 2 remaining
We will be running the “Programming Test” program. It would never be used for actually cooking something.
For my test, I want to have the grill do the following:
- Smoke for 5 Minutes
- Cook at 300° for 4 Minutes
- Cook at 225° for 3 Minutes
- Set the grill to 200° keep the food warm until I can take it out.
Now, I fought the programming steps a few times before I finally got it sorted. To me, Step 1 should set the grill to “Smoke”, cook for 5 minutes then got to Step 2. Nope. I programmed and developed software systems for most of my entire work life. One thing I learned is you can’t get anywhere if you think the program is going to act the way you want it to. First, you have to learn the syntax of the software and build your program based on how the software will do things. With some helpful advice from my fellow Makianics I got it sorted out.
Here are the program steps.
The way to read this program is:
- Set the starting temperature to “Smoke” [done when setting up the program: See the “Start Temperature: SMOKE] next to the second “Edit” button.
- After 5 minutes at “Smoke” set temperature to 300°
- After 4 minutes at 300° set temperature to 225°
- After 3 minutes at 225° set temperature to 200° to maintain an ending low temperature
The Temperature column value is the target at the end of the step.
4:03 PM – I Started the program. This page appeared with a countdown from 5 minutes. Notice that the Set Point is “Smoke”; that is set up on the initial program page.
4:08 – [5 minutes later] Step 2 kicked in with a 4 minute countdown.
Set Point: 300°
4:12 [4 minutes later] Step 3 started with a 3 minute countdown (I caught the screen shot just at the end of the timer!)
Set Point: 225°
4:15 [3 minutes later] The cooking program ended. The “Completed” timer is now counting up instead of down.
Set Point: 200° which will keep food warm until I have a chance to take it off the grill.
Let’s jump back to the Cooking Programs page
I clicked the “Stop” button on the running program; then went to the main Grill Control page to make sure my Set Point was still at 200°
So there you have it. The event to switch to the next step doesn’t have to be time; it can also be the temperature of a food probe.
Here is the program I set up for my Friday overnight cook of pulled pork I want the grill to generate a lot of smoke for 2 hours, then set the temp to 235° until the meat probe #1 reads 198°. Then turn down to 200° it only needs 2 steps.