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  1. Heads up, The Walmarts around here have 30lb bags of lump charcoal for $9.88. The brand is Western. I bought a couple of bags and been using it the Akorn and it seems to work well. The pieces in are of decent size (so far), and not too much dust or crumbs. But, I'm still only about 1/3 of the way into the bag. If you do a search for this on Brickseek.com, it'll tell you which Walmarts have it in stock.
  2. Home depot has the weber charcoal grates for $10.99 in the store (usually). I actually just use whatever oil spray we have in the house. Right now, it's Costco brand which is canola. I'm not sure it will make a difference. After cooking for awhile, you really won't have to spray much, just occasionally.
  3. I ordered a couple of man-law grill surface thermometers from Amazon ($5.99) each and tested the dome thermometer to those. I found that at lower temps like 200-250, the dome was way off by up to 25-50 degrees, but as the temperatures increased, the dome got more accurate. So, if the dome read 375, it was actually pretty close to the man-law grill surface thermometer.
  4. I haven't cooked burgers on my Akorn in a long time - I usually do the burgers on my Blackstone Griddle. But, if I were to do burgers, I would would not use too much charcoal as it will be a short cook. I'd start the charcoal in a chimney starter and pour the charcoal in trying to keep most of it on one side. This will give you a safe zone on the grate to avoid flare ups or too much burned oil taste on your burgers and a hotter zone for searing if needed. Have the bottom vent around 1.5-2 and the top vent about that also. Put the grate on and let it get hot (if you want sear marks). Maybe run the temp on the dome up to 400 or so (adjusting the vents as necessary) and the put the burgers on keep an eye out for flame-ups from the drippings. I don't think you necessarily need to get to 400, but you'll know when it's hot enough for the burgers - I usually use the hand test. Hold my hand above the grate and it should be too hot after a few seconds. Reminds me of when I was teenager working at McDonalds - We cooked the frozen burgers on the flat top at 350 degrees (1/4 pounders were 375 degrees) and I still remember how to gauge the heat with my hand. Again, flame ups are what I would be most concerned about. Hot dogs are hot dogs. I'm a firm believer the best hot dogs come out of a frying pan....
  5. I think the best practice is the clean the cast iron grate while it's hot and then hit it with a coating of PAM and then shut it down. No need to bring the grates inside as they will be seasoned and not exposed to moisture this way. Again, I think that would be the best practice. But, in real life, after I pull the food, I usually shut the vents, go eat and try to remember to clean the grates before it cools all the way down. And, usually after I eat, I'm usally too lazy to PAM it. Keep in mind that my Akorn is old and the cast iron in mine is well seasoned, so I am not concerned with rust anymore. For a new one like yours, I suggest you work on keeping it oiled for away and then you can get lazy with it.
  6. DWFII, I'm wondering if you've tried making pizza without the stone? Also, are you elevating your pizza stone as pictured? If so, do you find this helps browning on top? I made pizza last week without a diffuser and with just a regular pizza stone on the top grate. I slowly got the temp of the stone up to 500 degrees or so, checking with an Infrared thermometer. The pizza came out really good. Crispy on the bottom and browned on top, but the top browning could have been a little better. Thanks
  7. People are using a true "Weber" charcoal grate to hold a heat diffuser as the charcoal grate for a Weber 22" fits perfectly to hold a pizza pan or whatever you choose to use as a heat diffuser. The cooking grate for a 22" Weber is too large to replace the Akorn Cast Iron grate, but I believe there are 2 companies, onlyfire being one of them, that make a replacement top grate for the Akorn.
  8. Just wondering how folks are doing pizzas on the Akorn. I'll be using a pizza stone. What temps are you using and I'm wondering if the top vent is left wide open for more exhaust? Thanks.
  9. I agree with Antinoz. Remember, just because you hit the temp, it doesn't mean the nasty starting smoke isn't gone yet. I usually don't put any food on until mine has been running at the desired temp for at least 20-30 minutes. I always budget 30-45 minutes starting time for the charcoal to get going. Additionally, chicken absorbs smoke more than beef and pork, so a little smoke on chicken goes a long ways.
  10. One of my family's favorite simple main dishes is roast pork shoulder. I get a pork shoulder, rub it with olive oil, then season liberally with salt, pepper, and garlic powder. Get the Akorn to 350 degrees and roast till it hits 170-175 degrees internal. Slice and eat. So good.
  11. It's the charcoal grate for the 22" Weber Kettle - Part # 7441
  12. Hi All, I just picked up a 6520 Akorn yesterday from CL for $40. The body and table are in good shape, but the outer cast iron grate has 2 cracks near the center and the center grate is cracked into pieces. I can still use both grates. I think the outer grate will be ok for while, but the center grate needs replacement for sure. I looked on the chargriller website and they want nearly $20 just for shipping the $11.98 center grate to Sacramento, CA 95831 - this makes it nearly $32 just for this small piece. Any suggestions as to alternatives for the center grate? I've seen the stainless steel grate by onlyfire on Amazon for $45. Comments? Also, the year of my Akorn says XDD. Does anyone know what year this is? I can't wait to cook something this weekend! Thanks
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