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  1. A bit off topic but wanted to share my experience cooking a whole hog for my son's high school graduation party. Was a fun and interesting experience, a lot of work getting ready and cleaning up, cooking the pig was pretty relaxing. Cooked it for about 7 hours on a propane cooker. Hams and shoulders got up to about 170-175, was aiming for 180 but ran out of time. Some observations: Ribs and loins were done well before the hams and shoulder. This means they got overcooked waiting for the rest of the pig to finish. You can mitigate this by using a charcoal cooker and controlling where the coals are placed (put them in the four corners) Or you can add some meat like brisket flats under the ribs to increase the cook time Overall impression is cooking a whole hog is a nice spectacle for a party but cooking just the shoulders (butts) produces superior BBQ for amateurs like me
  2. moloch16

    Smoke Ring

    I have noticed the same thing, and it comes down to is the amount of combustion gases that interact with your meat. Since the Akorn is so efficient, there is not a huge amount of combustion happening. An inefficient side-burner will burn through alot of charcoal/wood just to maintain 250, so there is a lot more combustion gases passing over the food than what you get with the Akorn. In short, if you want a nice smoke ring, get a sider burner but be prepared to spend all day next to your cooker and burn through a lot of fuel Also, here's a great article related to this: https://amazingribs.com/more-technique-and-science/more-cooking-science/mythbusting-smoke-ring-no-smoke-necessary
  3. moloch16

    Temp Issues

    Couple thoughts: Make sure you are using lump charcoal, not briquettes Not sure how you did the volcano method. It's a reverse volcano, basically dig a hole in the middle of your charcoal until you can see/touch the grate. Light it all around in that hole. Give it 5-10 minutes to get going before closing the lid.
  4. Chicken is much better cooked at 325 or greater. I smoke whole spatchcocked chickens at 325 for about 1.5-2 hours, putting the Alabama sauce on it for the last thirty minutes. This turns out some absolutely amazing chickens
  5. moloch16

    AmEx Offer: Thermoworks $15 Back

    Interesting, never noticed a mistake on my bills but thanks for the notice I will be more diligent.
  6. Couple things I've noticed with my past few cooks: Theory During most low-and-slow cooks I put a large aluminum pan on top of the smoking stone (but under the grate) to serve two purposes: Collect drippings keeping the cooker clean Serve as a water pan to add moisture As of now I've stopped adding water to the pan based on my observations and theorizing that once the water in the pan is gone, the temperature will spike. For example if you have it locked in at 250 with water in the pan, once the water has evaporated, you might be at 275-290. Therefore, I've stopped adding water before the cook. Bonus: With the aluminum pan in place if you do get a temperature spike you can't control with the vents, you can add water to the pan to bring the temperatures down. Observation I've started keeping my cooker closed as much as possible. Opening the cooker throws off the dynamics, introducing a new supply of oxygen, and in general severely affecting the cooking temperature either up or down for 30-45 minutes after closing the lid. Now that I have several cooks under my belt and am confident I know what's happening inside the cooker, I put the meat on and just leave it as long as possible. For example with butts, I put them on and don't look for 10+ hours. I use the meat temperature probe to judge progress. Just some thoughts...
  7. I've never done a low-and-slow without the TTT so I can't compare to not using it - I bought it at the same time I bought the Akorn. I do feel confident knowing it's on there and I've not had any trouble maintaining temps when using it. I use the plate hanger technique, works great!
  8. Yes I use a Thermoworks Smoke, love it! Just splurged on the gateway for fun not that I really needed it The Akorn ran like a champ, stayed around 245 give or take 5 degrees the entire night. I use a Tip Top Temp to help keep the temps stable.
  9. moloch16

    Ranch chicken part 2

    Looks good! What's in the dry rub spice mix?
  10. Overnight cook, first peak in 10 hours.
  11. moloch16

    AmEx Offer: Thermoworks $15 Back

    What were the problems you found? So far I've had no problems. I payed for a Disney World vacation with the cash back feature. Took 5 years to save up, but that was the plan when I got the AmEx card.
  12. Agree with Rip, doesn't require much cleaning. I empty ash tray occasionally, but I don't clean it I just empty it unless there is some caked up gunk, just scrape that out. After cooking I'll open the vents and let it get nice and hot, then close the vents. Next time I cook all the residue grates has burned to carbon, so scraped it off with a brush or something. Key thing to worry about with the Akorn is keeping it dry. If it rains and your Akorn isn't covered, let it air out real good, and take the ashpan off and check for water. Any water that stays in the ashpan is bad news. If there is moisture and you put the cover on, the moisture has no where to go and might start the rust process.
  13. moloch16

    Sliced Pork vs Pulled

    Pork butts and shoulder are ready to eat at 165 internal temperature, however at this temperature the pork will not pull, you'll have to slice it or chop it. Internal temperature of 195-205 will get you pulled pork. So...if you want sliced pork, pull it off at 165-170 internal temperature.
  14. moloch16


    Smoking Stone Cover Grate Brush Digital Thermometer Instant read thermometer Tip Top Temp Reference Books
  15. Also if your temps get too hot a good way to cool it off is to add water to a water pan. You can start your akorn with a water pan with a no water, or maybe a quarter inch to 1/2 inch of water. Now, if your akorn starts to cook hot like you said it's hard to cool it off with just vent adjustments. Open it up and add 1/4 to 1/2 inch water. Depending how much you want to cool it off you can add cool water, warm water, or hot water. Be careful because if you add a ton of cool water then you might cool it off too much. Again, experience is the key, takes a while to learn your cooker.