I have a steel (non-ceramic) "Akorn, Jr." and my position is entirely different. After every cook, next day:
Detach the bottom of the firepot, which in the Akorn is removable.
Remove the unburned coals and put back into the bag. (It still surprises me how much is left!)
Wipe down the entire firepot inside and out, as well as the bottom piece and the vent, removing remaining ash and coals from the various slots. (Ash/charcoal can capture moisture ...)
Wash and scrub the cast iron grates, usually with no use of soap to protect the seasoning, but with soap and even a stiff brush if need be. (Any sign of rust calls for sandpaper and re-seasoning, as with any piece of cast-iron cookware.)
Store the grill with the bottom section upside-down and propped up by a small piece of wood, and a small steel pan loosely covering the closed top vent. Iron parts such as grate-lifters are stored inside the pot out of the weather. Lid closed and latched.
Several years later, my grill still looks very much like it did when I brought it home. The cast-iron grates (not all kamado grates are cast iron ...) have built up very nice and entirely stick-proof seasoning.
The entire ritual takes about fifteen minutes.
The cover I think keeps the rain film and snow grunge (PHEAD and daninpd you don't have to worry about this). Mine came with the cover and I'm glad it did. Milk Duds haven't had some of them for a long time. That holder for the scoop is not a precision made part with close fitting tolerance. The shop vac might be a good idea.
I just received a Fireboard 2 drive and fan this weekend. I did a 2 and a half hour cook with some boneless chicken thighs as a test run yesterday evening. The fan does not fit without a slight modification with a dremel to the intake channel on the Akorn. I cut slot big enough to allow the built in connectors on the fan to get into the slot. This wasn't perfect but it worked. My temps stayed within a couple degrees of my 300 degree target. I had to almost close the top vent entirely, leaving just the slightest opening.
I'm planning to do two pork butts tomorrow and letting the fireboard hold my temp while I am at work. I'll have more info afterwards and will take some photos. I think a little felt insulation would probably help the fan connection on the akorn, but I have none at the moment. I'll be tinkering as I get ideas.
Cheers and I welcome any input from others who have perhaps already done this.
Hey Phead. Big Joe 1 ia $2k Big Joe 2 is $3300 and Big Joe 3 is $4k....pretty expensive even with the exchange rate! $2k more for the 3 than the 1 and $700 more than the 2...and only real add on is the slo roller I think for the 3 and deeper firebox?
I'm reminded of Jeff Foxworthy describing the first child (growing organic vegetables to make home made baby food) vs the third child ("Aw, comeon, don't eat that Milkdud you found under the refrigerator without wiping the cat hair off first"). Three years in with a Joe I, it's a big douche about twice a year. With a cover, for the most part, it takes care of itself.