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Hi, I have been researched over months. First I was looking for a gas grill then weber kettle. Now finally I am seattled down to Kamado style grill. Akron or Kamander are my first choice now. How is the long term user's review on them, will they fall apart after 2-3 years or just some minor issues that doesn't effect the cooking ability. I have never bbq before. I hope I can sear some serious steak on these kamado grill. They are both on sale on my local walmart for 340 Canadian dollar(250 usd). Thanks!
It's been just over 2 weeks since Lowes delivered my Akorn. Lowes was out of stock when I finally decided to pull the trigger on the Char Griller. The first one I ordered had been assembled by Lowes and delivered to my store a few days after it was ordered. The threaded inserts for the lower hinge were partially pulled from the body. Thank goodness I caught it at the store. They ordered a new one and found one still in the box, as was my preference. A few days later a Lowes driver called me to confirm my address for delivery, yeah, I was worried it wouldn't fit in the car anyway. I assembled the grill without issue and ran a load of Lowes Frontier brand charcoal through it to break it in and season the grate and learn some vent control. Then I went to Publix and bought a small brisket. I used a small fire (too small I think) and I got it stay around 225 using my Fluke meter measuring temps at the just above grate. About 5 hrs in things were looking great until I went to eat lunch and run some errands. When I got home things had heated up to close to 300 and I was about out of fuel. Dangit! The brisket was still good but a bit dry and over done. I've since bought the Auber 1615 PID and it makes a sweet combo. A few points... 1.) To all the folks using that galvanized expanded steel or any thing with zinc, STOP! Google "metal fume fever" the fumes from galvanized metal can kill and also permanently incapacitate lung function. There are better options. I bought a stainless veggie grilling basket from Lowes. So far I like it. I helps contain the fire and helps build a perfect sized volcano. 2.) If you can put out your fire using the vents, isn't it sealing well enough? I did buy some BGE high-temp gasket and sealed the lower vent similar to what others here suggested except I sealed the entire vent including between the numbers where it has the cut-outs. I then used the rest to replace the dome gasket top and bottom. I see little if any difference. If you can put out the fire then it should be sealed enough, after all this is not a pressure cooker. I think it was a waste of time and money to replace a still new gasket. 3.) The smoking stone is great so far and helps hold temperature. I can't speak to durability. I took it out form a 250 degree grill and put it on a stump. Almost 2hrs later it was still hot to the touch. 4.) Ken's settings for the Auber 1615 seem ok but further testing is warranted. Saturday I ran a test for 12 hrs with small fire and I smoked some salt, jalapenos, habaneros and garlic for some homemade salt I like. FireSalt® mmmm. The small fire only lasted 12hrs and had burned to nothing. This brings up the next point... 5.) Among the various things that affect target temperature the first consideration should be your fire. Size, mass and shape matter. It needs to have consistent sized charcoal, assembled fairly tightly together. Consistent size pieces fit together and help maximize contact area between coals. This helps keep your fire going when it needs to be small, and it doesn't take many lit coals to keep the grill at 225. I like the volcano style and I build it tight and light from the top for low and slow. I tried the hollow volcano but found it burned more quickly therefore increasing temperatures and or caused temperature oscillation. Ring of fire may work too and maybe I'll try it. Secondly ambient temperature is also a consideration as it's all about how many BTUs it takes to heat a specific space. If its 30 and your target is 225 thats +195, if its 80 with the same target you only need +155, and therefore less coals burning. The 5th smoke on Sunday was +14hrs at 225 +-5 degrees almost the whole time and some fuel leftover. The larger fluctuations were when I opened the lid. Regards, Rich Lando