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  1. Maplewood had plenty in yesterday at $499. I'd grab one to replace my Akorn but I figure I can fight with it for another couple years before it rusts out.
  2. Where do you find prime points? I never see the point by itself out here, just flats and full packers.
  3. That looks like maybe it's a plate cut with cartilage. I don't know if it has enough connective tissue to smoke like a brisket. Maybe cook it like plate ribs? Could be interesting.
  4. This is strange; I normally do full packers around 16 lbs pre-trim, maybe 13.5 post-trim. Sometime I might have just tuck up the flat end just a tiny bit to get it to fit, and the packer will shrink and flatten out normally during cooking. Where are you getting your packers from? Maybe they're being cut differently. In any case propping it over a foiled fire brick or wood chunks should work just fine for the beginning of the cook. I personally wouldn't separate the point before cooking although I have seen people with very small cabinet smokers do this.
  5. IME the thing about charcoal amounts and temperatures doesn't apply to the total amount of charcoal in the pit, but rather the lit surface area. This is something you'll have to learn for your own pit and cooking style, but in general when you light the pit for a low temperature cook you don't want the fire to spread the way it does when you dump a lit chimney over a coal pile, or even when you leave the vents and lid open for a long time to make sure the fire catches sufficiently. A kamado requires very little lit surface area to maintain a sub-300 chamber temperature, no more than a few visible square inches in my steel Akorn plus whatever part of the fire is concealed (fire tends to spread in the direction of the oxygen source, so when you light the top of a coal pile the fire moves down toward the ash pan/vent). If this glowing lit area gets too large, it's going to be a pain to bring the temperature back down without smothering/choking, which can yield some nasty smoke. I've seen a video where a cook gets a too-large starting fire and could only bring it under control by pulling a large ignited chunk of charcoal out of the pit, which I don't recommend for obvious reasons. Start with a very small lit area since it's always easier to heat up than cool down. In general you should fill the chamber all the way to the diffuser. Just be careful to not choke off the airflow with little pieces or crumbs.
  6. In MN whole prime packers have ranged $2.99-$3.49. I think the trimmed flats are considerably more but I was never interested in those.
  7. I forget where it was exactly but I've seen a long video of Wayne Mueller prepping briskets and he stated that his mix was 90% 16 mesh black pepper and 10% iodized table salt, and that he had to special order it just because it was hard for him to find (I assume in the quantities he needs). This was interesting to me just because since it looks like his percentages were by volume, using small crystal salt instead of koshering salt changes the weight distribution between the salt and the pepper.
  8. You should measure it anyway, but my experience was that a 14" red clay planter dish on top of a Weber grate sitting on top of the three tabs worked well. For a couple of cooks I had the grate, then a 14" planter dish, then a 15" pizza stone on top of that. If you just want a stone to sit on top of a Weber grate I guess a 14" would fit about right. Personally I got sick of cracking stuff so I got the aluminum diffuser.
  9. Cooking chicken is one of the few times I'll advocate for using Applewood chips, spread over the top of the coal pile so they catch once in a while, flame up, and go out. Chunks risk an oversmoked product. TBH you could make chicken over straight lump and it would probably get a perfectly fine smoke profile. Not sure why you can't get over 300; I like cooking chicken at 325-375 to get it out of the smoke faster and crisp up the skin and surface fat. Start another thread about that one. I'm guessing you're using the dome thermometer and it may not be very good.
  10. When you get your probes, set them up as if you were cooking something and just do a test burn. You might be surprised at how your grate temps react. I'd say with very few exceptions when you run a below-300 cook, opening and closing the lid results in a momentary drop, followed by a temp spike as the fire eats up all that tasty new oxygen. For most Akorn users I've talked with the struggle is keeping the fire from running away when you open the lid, although tbf that's steel Akorn users. Ceramic guys I know personally don't have as many temp problems; they just leave it alone for the most part. Steel Akorns are extremely well insulated and don't soak heat as well which leads to more fluctuations on lid events. In general, try to leave the dampers alone for about half an hour before you make any adjustments as sometimes the fire will adjust itself. Best of all is just to minimize how often and how long you open the lid.
  11. I'd recommend getting yourself a good digital probe thermometer and measuring the temperature at the grate. Dome thermometers typically take longer to adjust and the Char-Griller thermometers I've used are particularly unreliable. I never look at mine.
  12. 1) Check for smoke leaks as described earlier. 2) Akorn gaskets are great but they're (a) subject to stiffening and (2) held on by tiny little pressure clips and good intentions. Pinch your gaskets all the way around to soften them a bit and look for any points where the little aluminum clips may have popped out of their holes in the body. This happened to me the first time I over-zealously cleaned mine. 3) At 700 you're removing the seasoning from the CI grate and also burning off the grease from the inside of the shell. Try re-seasoning the whole inside with a heavy high-heat cooking spray and/or solid fats. I like to rub down the grate and exposed sections with the hard fat I trim off a brisket once in a while. 4) Cook a bunch of hamburgers for a few days to finish re-seasoning. These are just suggestions based on what worked for me when I cleaned my Akorn and thought I'd developed leaks.
  13. I usually try to eyeball things to make sure the top vent has a touch more open space than the bottom so the smoke keeps getting drawn out and the fire doesn't snuff itself, which to me causes some nasty tasting particulate smoke that one might perceive as over-smoking. My Akorn is pretty well sealed through use by now and to do a brisket around 240-280 my top vent is just a touch past the half moons and the left edge of the slider handle at the bottom is lined up just about with the right edge of the screw. It's hard to figure out how open the bottom vent is on an Akorn due to the slider design, which is something I don't like, but you can figure it out with experimentation. Akorns are almost TOO efficient so tiny little changes in venting have very large effects on chamber temperature. Also moloch16 is right. On Akorns, aiming for 275 instead of 225 gives you better airflow, keeps the thing from dying mid-cook, and I find it yields a better product with less risk of drying out. I personally aim for 250 with the idea that I don't care if it gets up around 280 or even 295 at times. Akorns tend to spike in temperature sometimes and are finicky to bring back down so I like the extra headroom.
  14. It's like foil but it breathes and lets moisture wick through so you don't ruin the bark and/or make pot roast instead of brisket. Think of it like a halfway measure between foil and naked. I like it a lot; wrap up when the bark firms up and turns mahogany.
  15. Grass fed beef is always a bit gamey to me. Maybe that's what you don't like? I used to grill 1.5-2" filets over high heat, literally searing it on each side for about 30 seconds and taking them off. Tenderloin is unique in being a tender cut with almost no intramuscular fat so you can't cook it for long. Most people don't cook them on grills, instead pan searing in butter so you can keep basting, but it can work.
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