Is this bbq controller even possible?

I am trying to come up with a fairly complicated bbq smoker controller. I was thinking about using PIDs and a labjack but am now thinking that an arduino setup might work better.

First though, a little about me. I am very capable when it comes mechanical things, somewhat ok with electrical, but know absolutely nothing about programming. I am a very quick learner and do have a couple programmer friends that could probably be bribed into helping with that though. With my skill levels how doable would something like this be?

I am looking for something that will monitor the air temperature in the smoker and activate a fan hooked to the air inlet to control the temperature. In its most basic form that it was it is. I also want it to be able to have these features too.

Use k type thermocouples
Run at least 2 pits independently
Monitor food temp as well (just a read out, this would be have no affect on the fan)
Integrate with a computer for tracking, real time info, and making adjustments
Control an actuator that would completely close off airflow
Have a momentary switch that will stop the fan from turning on for a set period of time
2 digital readouts that will show the air temp and food temp for each pit
I would also like it to use PID logic to avoid or minimize overshooting the temp.

So is this feasble or should I continue researching my original plans of the PIDs and labjack?

Thanks.

I remember another project like this: http://arduino.cc/forum/index.php/topic,22277.0.html
Monitoring the temperature and turning the fan on and off is fine for a beginner, just make sure you can follow the tutorials.
If the arduino is directly connected to the computer then communication would be fine for a beginner. Using wireless communication would require a bit of programming, but there are examples of that, it may be intermediate.
controlling the actuator motor Motors 1
learning programming: Arduino Tutorial - Lesson 1 - Let there be blink!
thermocouple hookup: Thermocouple sensor tutorial

Thanks. That gives me something to keep me busy at work today.

I had looked but all I could find on here was people that had hooked it directly to a heater.

Totally possible. I have this same item.

It's called a BBQ Guru http://www.thebbqguru.com/
The BBQ Guru Turbo Grate on a Big Green Egg 06 - YouTube

If you actually want this device, I might suggest just buying it. I looked into building what you're talking about, but heard that tuning the PIDs can be tricky.

But I realize sometimes these projects are more about the 'doing' than then 'having', and if that's the case, go to town. Here's the proof that it's possible.

I am familiar with the guru but would want something more along the lines of the stoker. The only problem is it would run me $500. Plus there are a few functions that I want that aren't available with the stoker, or guru for that matter.

I had thought I wanted to use thermocouples but now I am reading and thinking that RTD might be better if I do go the arduino route.

Ok, so I just want to get an idea of everything that would be needed.

Main arduino board/kit
wifi board
temperture boards (either rtd or thermocouple)
thermo probes
fan
and other small misc things for attaching and wires/switches etc

What I am overlooking?

You ever get this going?

I've got mine going, but need some help with programming as I'm overrunning my temps
in both directions as adjustments are being made.

Thanks

bigflash1:
I've got mine going, but need some help with programming as I'm overrunning my temps
in both directions as adjustments are being made.

Post your code and I'm sure you'll get help.