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Everything posted by Kalifornia

  1. Still a big newbie here but this forum has really helped me out with getting started. I've been pretty happy so far with my meals on the Akorn since I got it a couple of months ago. By far my favorite meal to make is grilled pizza which I am now doing almost weekly. I also made some smoked salmon last weekend that was amazing, After Christmas, I can't wait to try a smaller brisket and see what happens. Anyway, my question is around the difference in temperature control that comes with adjusting the top vent vs. the bottom. Is there any guidance as to why I might choose to adjust one over the other when making temp. adjustments? Is it a fair statement to say that the bottom vent is for large temperature adjustments while the top is for more fine control or is that not the case? I know to not "chase" temps but I've been a little uncertain as to why I would want to adjust one vs. the other other than my thoughts above.
  2. I love making pizza on my Akorn. I've only had mine for a couple of months but I've already made pizza on it a bunch of times. Cooking a thinner crust at 450 degrees seems to work best for me and I just keep it on a little longer to cook everything all the way through. I tried the 550-600 degree cooking temps once and burned the bottom of the crust before the rest of it was done. I don't have a pizza stone but I bought a 16" cheap pizza pan to disperse the heat on the bottom rack and then just place the pizza itself directly onto the top grill rack with nothing else and it turns out great!
  3. Thanks for the reply, that's good to know. I was a little worried that I would need to empty the ash out after every use. Wouldn't hurt to do so, but it's nice to know that missing that task once in a while isn't a big deal.
  4. I thought I read somewhere that leaving coals (maybe it's ash below) in the Akorn can contribute to rust. Is it OK to leave coals in if they have been used but not used up? Is there a length of time that you would not want to leave them in past if you don't use your grill every couple of days?
  5. Thanks again! Naperville huh? I grew up around Buffalo Grove.
  6. Thanks Edsland! I never used a pizza stone (although I think one is going to be added to my Christmas wish list). I just put the dough right on the grill and used the steel pizza pan as the diffuser.
  7. Thanks for all the welcome notes! To answer some of the questions raised by rwalters: The reason I used a lot of charcoal (it was lump, different sizes and I can't remember the brand, sorry) was because I had read on the forum that the Akorn did a great job of snuffing out fires and it was easy to put more in at one time, and then reuse anything that didn't burn up in the next cooking session. The point about the air vents makes sense. This was only the second time I cooked anything and I believe everything was clear. I can't confirm as I never actually checked but I didn't see any issues that caused concern with lack of air flow. Also given the quick spike in temp when I closed the vents this seems odd that it might be due to a lack of oxygen or airflow. the thing that confuses me is that the temp shot up so high after I closed the vents which seems to indicate that the temp itself was actually higher than the thermometer was reading while cooking. Is it possible my heat diffusion pan (which was pretty large at 16" was pushing the heat up the other side and then flowing out the top before the in-dome thermometer ever measured it? I guess the best next step is to use the digital thermometer I just ordered and keep it on the grate. Too bad it hadn't arrived until yesterday. Thanks again for all the responses!
  8. Greetings all. This is actually my second post as my first post was on a topic of heat diffusers. I'm happy to be joining the forum as I just picked up my Akorn as a birthday gift. This is actually my first time moving away from a gas grill so there's plenty to learn as I'm already finding out but that's the fun of it all. So far I have a black Akorn, un-modded (no current plans to change this) with a very cheap 16" steel pizza pan that I'm using, resting on a Weber 17" replacement grate as my heat diffuser. I'll likely pick up a cast iron griddle soon as a more permanent diffuser solution but I couldn't wait for the shipping time and wanted to make a pizza so the pan seemed to work. One question I noticed was that while cooking the pizza, the temp gauge only showed 350 degrees with the vents fully open. I had a lot of charcoal in the grill so I don't think that was the problem. And yes...I know that the thermometer that comes with the grill is unreliable but that seemed like it should have been much hotter, even if it was off by as much as 50 degrees. The pizza cooked great, could have used a little more time on the grill as the dough was slightly under cooked (lesson learned) but what I noticed is that as soon as I closed my grates to snuff out the fire, the temp shot up to 525 degrees, then slowly climbed to top off at 550 before making its way back down as the coals died out. So I'm wondering if this was normal? Is a 200 degree swing in temp solely due to an unreliable thermometer or did having the vents fully open affect the ability for the Akorn to retain the heat that the fire was producing? I did refrain from opening the top as much as possible so I don't think that was a factor but I could be wrong.
  9. Toe, I did not see that so thank you!! Your name and avatar are easy to remember and I've already seen a few threads where you've been helpful so I'm excited to learn more. Thanks again!
  10. I'm new here (first post!) and wanted to add onto an older thread I found from the search bar rather than start a new thread. First, I just bought my Akorn this week and its put together and waiting for me to season it this weekend. I'm really excited to get started. That being said, I've been reading around a little bit and I figure that I'm going to need some sort of heat diffuser for any time I want to smoke something. Keep in mind, I'm coming from a gas grill which is all I've ever known so I'm hoping some of you can help me out with a thought... Can I use on of the Weber replacement grates like some of you have suggested with a flat cast-iron pizza pan sitting on top? The thought behind this vs. the Smoking Stone is that it seems like it would work as well but also offer a surface to sear steaks when doing a reverse sear which is something that it very interesting to me. Question I have however are, what size would I look for? Has anyone tried it? Would this work better or worse than the smoking stone? Apologies if I missed it via search. Any other thoughts? Not sure if I am allowed to post pics yet but here's an example of what I mean. The price between this and the stone are the same.
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