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My 1st over night smoke... not good.


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Hey guys,

New member here... I purchased an Akorn about a year ago and have had some trouble smoking with it. My biggest issue is with temperature and it getting hot to soon. I've looked around on here, and will try some things I've read... Back to the post topic...

 

I had a 8# brisket I wanted do smoke overnight, loaded up the lump and lit it up. I used the Webber starting cubes (which I've read was a bad idea..). I used more of the cubes then I should have. I know that know.. long story short, went to bed at 1am, and the Akorn was sitting right at 240, awesome! Woke up at 6am... 700+ degrees. My Maverick thermometer actually said HOT without an actual temp displayed. I had crispy brisket for a few days...

 

Anyway, I'm curious about some mods people have done. I've notice a lot of people putting the BGE gasket around the ash pan and the bottom vent. I've already put a piece of expanded metal on the bottom so smaller lump pieces wont fall through.. What else would be considered an "essential" mod?

 

My smoking "technique" (obviously needs some work): Tried the minion method, but put a little to much of the starter cubes in. I use a webber grate and a metal pizza pan wrapped in foil for my full diffuser. 

 

My next long smoke, I will be trying the "volcano" method. 

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Hey, Rhaugle, welcome. We've all experienced our grills temps getting away from us, it happens on occasion. I would take inventory on your Akorn and make sure no damage was done, before cooking on it again. Check the gaskets, as well as your bottom pan, etc. There are many here who can answer your questions on mods on your grill, better than myself. Good luck, and keep us posted on your progress.

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Your problem isn't your lighting technique. Temperatures are not controlled by lighting techniques. After a while it's all going to be the same, no matter how you lit it. Temperatures are controlled by vent settings - and that's pretty much it! And you probably don't need to make any mods, either. It's mostly just a matter of getting the vent settings right.

 

From your description, I'm betting that you had the bottom vent closed down tight, and left the top vent relatively wide open? If so, switch that - leave the bottom vent open, but shut the top vent down to about the 1 mark, or maybe 0.75. The top vent is the one you really need to get right.

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they make a diffuser pan and rack to hold it for the Akorn. I know several people using them with these pans that swear by using it if for no other reason than to use it as a heat sink (and capture any fat drippings in the pan.)

 

I bout one designed for the broil king keg and retrofit it to fit my grill and I will say that for the times you want to do a long low and slow, it is a GREAT way to help steer the grill for long periods of time that it will ride unattended. Air temperatures can change rapidly, whereas water or the juice you may fill your pan with, takes much longer to change temp. You may want to try one!

 

It is very frustrating and discouraging when cooks don't go as planned, but they are all helpful experiences you should document as to what the result was when "x" happened. that way when you have successful cooks you want to replicate you can, and when you have something like you have just experienced happen, you can take that experience, analyse what you did, and choose what variable of that cook you want to change!

 

Better luck with your future cooks!

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Sorry for your crispy Brisket. I'm relitively new to the Akorn arena myself and I still haven't tried to do a brisket. Before I do a brisket overnight I will probably do a couple single pork butts. That way if the unit does run away from me I won't be out as much $. I know some will say just go for it but I'm very hesitant. The other thing I might do is put it on and stay up at night then when the family wakes up in the morning hand off to them and go to bed.

 

One thing you really may want to consider is if you will be going to sleep and not watching the grill is to place the unit in a location away from any part of the house or trees. This means nothing but clear blue above it. That way if it decides to go flamethrower you won't wake up to firetrucks in your yard.

 

Just my $0.02

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With the Akorn if you light too many spots you will not be able to keep your temps low, no matter what you use for vent settings because you will have too big a fire. I use Rutland fire starter pieces and when I am doing 225° cooks, I only use one piece in the middle of the charcoal pile to start. I keep the vents open and let the fire get started and come up to about 180°. I then shut the bottom vent almost completely and set the top vent with only about 1/4 of the circles open. The temps will usually settle down between 225° and 250°. They will usually stay that way all night but not always.

 

I had too many times, with long overnight cooks where ,even with the same settings that would normally work, the temps would go higher then I wanted, or the fire would go out. I finally got a BBQ Guru CyberQ WiFi and now I don't worry about vent settings, I just set the top vent at 1/4 circle, like I did without it and I sleep just great on overnight cooks.

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What were your vents set at!

For a low and slow, I close my bottom vent completely and have my top vent open just past the half moon. Holds 225-250 without a problem.

No mods done at all.

 

My same experiences, too, with my Akorn.

 

No mods to it either and I used it several cooks each week for almost 3 years.

 

 

 

 

 

700* + yikes.

My biggest advice - don't try an overnight Low-n-slow until you have mastered a daytime Low-n-slow and really know how your grill works. That advice is for any kamado not just Akorns.

 

 

Solid advice.

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I have never done a long cook, since I just lit my new Akorn last weekend!  lol

 

BUT, I will wake up at 4am to start my long cook so it can be done by the time I go to bed that same day!   :)

 

 

EDIT: Confused... Frosch and Toe are recommending 2 different things to maintain low and slow.  I guess I'll have to try both.  :/

 

Marc

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Hey all,

Thanks for the info. Toe.. I think you hit the vent settings right on.. bottom was closed pretty tight with the top open a bit more. I'll try flipping that around next time.

have you guys noticed the value to adding a water pan? I've read mixed reviews everywhere I go. Obviously, use of one would not have mattered in this case, but do they help in general?

I'm planning on smoking some beef this week, but it will be cheaper than a brisket! Any suggestions on a cut? The wife doesn't like pork unfortunately. So I can't do that!

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I light my akorn with one cube in a volcano type configuration for any cook I do. For low n slow, leave vents wide open, no grates or diffusers in the cooker, lid down until it reaches 250. Then I close the bottom and crack the top vent about half the width of my pinky and put the diffuser and grate in. The cooker will level out after about 30 minutes around 250-275 and I'm a happy camper. Keep in mind, this exact method may not work precisely for you but it's a starting point.

A lot of folks will put everything back in and start closing down around 150-175ish. That's fine too but it usually takes much longer to get up to the desired BBQ temp that way. Again, it's a method you can try and will get you there. One thing not to do, is leave the top vent open much more than the width of a pencil if you have the bottom vent open much at all. That cooker will get rollin like a freight train if the top and bottom vents are open much and from there on it's just a short time until nuclear meltdown. For low n slow, shut the bottom almost completely and manage your temp with the top vent. I can achieve 400 F with a fully open top and closed bottom, just to illustrate that less is more here. About 1/4 top vent and closed bottom should get you to BBQ temps. Good luck!

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EDIT: Confused... Frosch and Toe are recommending 2 different things to maintain low and slow.  I guess I'll have to try both.  :/

 

Not as different as it sounds, actually. As I said, the top vent is the one that you need to have set right, and we both said that it should be closed down fairly tight. I find that if the top vent is set right for low & slow, moving the bottom vent from all the way closed to all the way open might only make 30 degree difference.

 

But I also find that for a given top vent setting, the temperature will settle in much more quickly if the bottom vent is wide open. If it's closed, the final temp might be about the same, but it'll tend to slooooowly creep up to that point. And I think that more than anything, that slow creep is what gets beginners into trouble: they think that it's stabilized when it's not. So that's why I suggest leaving the bottom vent open, at least when you're starting out.

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