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  1. Let me start by saying that I love the Big Joe for low and slows. I got it a year ago this month, and I've been pleased with the results when smoking anything. FYI, I always keep the grates level with the opening unless I'm searing steaks, which I have no problems with. I also have the extender. My issue comes from "everyday" cooking -- chicken thighs, pork chops, and ESPECIALLY burgers. Really just things you have to flip. If I divide it, I end up with a flaming inferno on one side when the grease hits, and the other side doesn't seem hot enough when I transfer over. I grilled burgers on it probably for the last time the other day. I had to move all of the burgers to one grate cracking the thing open about two inches, then slowly opened it to a roar of flames that caught the drip pan on fire (every time) and I removed the grate that had them all on there. They were fine, but the hair on my arms was gone. With both of the stones in, even when my grate temp reads 475+, I don't get the grill marks and sear that I'd like, and the temp seems to be more sensitive when adding food, usually dropping 75-100 degrees. It's more baking/broiling than it is grilling. Things that I grill between 400-550 turned out better on the Akorn, which has me contemplating buying another one, or at least a new bottom and ash pan (few months ago I moved it and didn't have the lid latched. Top stayed with me, bottom crashed to the ground and got bent. Seal is very compromised) I could also have my mom's Weber spirit that she never uses, but I don't think I want to go back to propane, even with how convenient it is. I've been patient, usually letting it heat soak for 45-60 mins before using. Am I wrong to assume that it can handle these types of cooks? Maybe not in the same way the Akorn did? I'm thinking about getting another Akorn to cut down on charcoal use anyway, and I like having it for tailgates/traveling. Maybe I can haggle with Walmart. Thanks for the words of wisdom in advance!
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