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  1. You should be concerned about the rust visible in your vent area. Fix that by drilling out the rivets, separating the halves, converting the rust to blue by boiling, and then spray coating both with high-temp paint. Then, glue the two halves together with high-temp epoxy (and filling the rivet holes with same). Grease buildup may be a fire hazard, but it is not a rust hazard.
  2. I am on my second Akorn, too. The first, I bought even though I was cleared to buy a BGE. I had cooked on BGEs before, and a couple things bothered me, so I bought an Akorn, instead. Unfortunately, I did not also buy a cover for it. It suffered through four winters of near-constant use in Bezosgrad before finally rusting out. The second I bought in spring 2016. I bought a cover and keep it covered. It has yet to show any signs of rust. I still believe it to be the overall most efficient and therefore arguably best kamado on the market.
  3. The only way to guarantee against water intrusion is to keep the Akorn covered. Else rain *will* get in, if rain is a regular occurrence where you live. I live in Bezosgrad, and it has rained over 3 inches this week. None of it got into my covered Akorn. If you want that ash pan to last, you must do two things: 1) keep the ashes from getting between the top half and bottom half; and 2) Keep the water out. To accomplish 1), seal between the upper half and lower half with high-temp silicone *and* be careful to keep the vent side up when emptying ash.
  4. I swim against the flow, here, but I prefer a curved blade over a flat blade for virtually all cutting tasks. I have a nice slicer but we're I buying today, I would go with the 12.5-inch Shogun-series scimitar from Dalstrong.
  5. I made a similar knife by cutting the front radius off a cheap chinesium cleaver I bought on Boston Chinatown 25 years ago for $10. It transformed the cleaver into a whole new knife.
  6. Pay close attention to temp. Grate temps are typically higher than dome temps by 50 degrees F or so.
  7. Just pull the CI grate and replace it with a stainless grate from Amazon.
  8. Thanks. Been here, on and off, since sometime in 2013. Been away taking care of parents for most of the last two years, so that has definitely kept me away.
  9. My other Akorn rusted out as a result of leaking where the rim of the inner tray is riveted to the outer tray. To prevent that, I sealed my new one. I've owned two Akorns. One from September 2913 through May 2019 and now a replacement, bought in late May. My old one lasted 5.5.years completely exposed to the weather in rainy Seattle. I'd still be using it but the outer shell of the ash tray rusted through. Hoping to extend the life of the new one, I set out today to seal the leak point that killed my last one. That leak point is the rim of the inner ash tray where it
  10. I bought my first Akorn in September 2013. For 5.5 years, it was perfect. Then, I suddenly, in June 2019 the ash tray rusted out. This was stored outside in the full range of elements in rainy Seattle. I bought a second one and have modified it based on what the first taught me. Most important: seal around the perimeter ot the ash tray, to keep water from accumulating in the outer shell. So far, no water has accumulated there.
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