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Rise

Latest Akorn from Lowes; improved?

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Hello! 

 

I took advantage of the slickdeals promo and purchased an Akorn from Lowes this week at the $220 price point. I wanted to act fast before they sold out but I am unsure if I should fire it up (once i do it can't be returned). I noticed the post with all of the mods needed to make it air tight but I am wondering if these latest models have improved to make mods unnecessary? 

 

I really don't want to fire this up and have leaks all over. I also want it to be able to last at least 5 years, or it simply isn't worth the investment to me. 

 

Other choices:

BGE Large Demo w/ nest, nest handler, wooden tables, plate setter for $800

Kamado Joe classic from costco roadshow for $780

 

Are they worth the extra cost? I am more of a long term thinker when I buy something, should I spend the extra cash?

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Welcome to the forum.

 

Well if you have the cash for a BGE or a KJ which are guaranteed for life, go for it.  I didn't have the cash so I went ahead and got an Akorn instead and I'm very happy with it.

 

I also have a cover on my Akorn and that should help it last long.

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I've had mine for a year now and I couldn't be happier..not to mention I paid more than that, so you got a great deal! Is it perfectly air tight? No, but it hasn't bothered me that much. I generally find I get air leaks around the bottom vent and need to make my adjustments accordingly when its a little more windy out.  If I had the extra cash I would of gone with a Kamado Joe...but I don't have any regrets starting out with my Akorn.

 

I generally find that when one starts to have doubts straight out of the gate, it's best to just buy what your brain is subconsciously telling you what you really want  :-D

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Welcome Rise. To go Akorn or go ceramic. That is the question that many ask. There are several questions that need asked first. One question you've already answered and that is can you afford the ceramic now. Some other questions that you can ask before deciding.

1. Will the kamado be out in the weather?

2. If out in the weather does that include the winter snow?

3. What is the avg humidity in your neck of the woods? The higher the humidity the less time the Akorn will last without some TLC.

4. What, if any experience do you have with smoking? If you're used to a gasser or only cooked on a grill a couple times then you may want to test the water with an Akorn at that low price before dropping the more coinage on a ceramic. That may also give you some extra time to save more so you could but a larger kamado.

 

A. If it's going to be in the weather then you will want a cover regardless.

B. Ceramics will last longer regardless compared to the Akorn.

C. Ceramics from what I understand tend to be easier to control temps when first starting out.

D. Akorns tend to be more fuel frugal

E. If you decide to forgo the Akorn and choose either the BGE or the KJ then you need to find out when and how close is the nearest Costco Roadshow. If there is going to be one close, and at the same time frame you're looking to buy I personally would go with the KJ due to the D&C system. The warrenty is top notch. Not to say there's anything wrong with the BGE, it's a great unit. I just think you can do more with the KJ D&C.

 

Whichever you decide to do when you have questions just ask on this forum and you'll get answers in short order. Enjoy.

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The vast majority of Akorns don't need any modification. What happens a lot around here is that a new user will have trouble controlling temps, then come to this site and see the mods thread and think "Oh, I guess I need to fix my grill." In reality, though, the only thing that needs to be 'fixed' is their technique - they just haven't learned the right way to do things yet! There's a learning curve involved with any kamado - or for that matter any other charcoal or wood-fired grill/smoker.

 

There's lots of good info around here on starting and controlling your fire on this site. I wrote up some info on how I do things here: http://www.kamadoguru.com/topic/8026-theakorn-experiment/#entry79649

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I very easily can keep a temp of 200-225 or something higher like 415 w/ my Akorn.  Yesterday I did a pork butt on high (415) and the temp stayed rock solid for 3 1/2 hours.  I usually open the vents and let it get to 500+ to burn anything on the grill and quickly close it.  I can tell if there is any leaks with smoke coming out of the crevices but it's not much.  a tiny bit at the top and even less at the bottom.

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Wow! Thank you for all the replies. I can certainly afford either, but I am "frugal" haha. One thing that is surprising me is that even at the same price point more people prefer the KJ? 

 

1. Will the kamado be out in the weather?

A- Yes! I live in northern illinois. I could bring it in to store in the winter, I would not attempt to move a ceramic.

2. If out in the weather does that include the winter snow?

A- Yes typically 3 months out of the year we have snow/cold weather.

3. What is the avg humidity in your neck of the woods? The higher the humidity the less time the Akorn will last without some TLC.

A- Not like Houston but we have some humid summer days/nights.

4. What, if any experience do you have with smoking? If you're used to a gasser or only cooked on a grill a couple times then you may want to test the water with an Akorn at that low price before dropping the more coinage on a ceramic. That may also give you some extra time to save more so you could but a larger kamado.

A - None, totally new to it I just know i really like to eat it and want to create my own.

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There are two things the ceramics do that Akorn's don't that really matter. They hold consistent temps better and they have more curb appeal. 

 

The ceramics have a lifetime warranty on any ceramic that spontaneous breaks while cooking. That's all it covers. Anything non-ceramic or that does not break spontaneously due to cooking is not covered...at least not forever.

 

The Akorn is bigger, lighter, has an awesome upper swing grate (if you use it), and ash dump, and a cast iron grate. You can also create two heat zone if you do the weber grate mod simply by putting the coals on one side.  It also has shelves that won't rot or crack. 

 

The KJ is prettier (IMO), holds temps better, and has much better vents. It also has a more robust cart and hinge but I don't really consider that huge deal because it's heavy and needs extra beef. It's like Shaq bragging that all his clothes are bigger than yours(...well, thats because they have to be there, big guy).

 

I like cooking pizza and grilling steaks better on the Akorn. I like doing slow and slow better on the ceramics. If I had to pick one to spend the rest of my life with, it would be the Big Joe and it has more than anything to do with the customer service and the fact that KJ is a young company that likes to innovate.  

 

Having said that, the Akorn is a MUCH better value. I think if you keep it covered, use it regularly (which keeps it greasy so it doesn't rust), don't let water sit in it, and keep the temps under control, it's easily a 5 year grill. Easily. Plus replacement parts are SO cheap from CG. Besides gaskets, the ash pan is really the only thing I could see dying in the first 5 years and replacements are < $50 bucks. For $220 bucks, you can't go wrong either way. 

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Pork butt at 415F? Where you in that big a hurry for pork? I have cranked it up near the end of the cook to get it done if the stall was longer than I antisipated but never from start to end. How much meat did you loose to bark?

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Curb appeal/brand recognition do not matter to me. Of course if I went the higher end route customer service would matter a lot as I would not be expecting to buy another grill unless I wanted to or I tipped it over. I either want the best all around, or cheapest possible that still does the job. 

 

Keeping steady temps is important because I do want to cook low and slow on it. However it sounds like the Akorn can do it I just might need to be more attentive during the process? I did order the char-griller branded cover, plate setter, and wireless thermometer using the Lowes $15 off $50 coupon.

 

I also picked up a webber grate #7441 from Lowes, and a "master chef" pizza stone from there as well. Is this what is needed for the webber grate mod? 

 

One accessory I do like for BGE is a basket that holds the charcoal so you can easily shake it out after cooks. Anything like that for the Akorn and KJ?

 

Thanks again everyone!

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It is very windy on my deck because I don't have a fence. This is what started me on this search because my webber struggles to hold a temp with the wind. Gas is not an option for me I'd rather use a stove. 

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