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Questions about Akorn

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Let me say up front that I would rather have a Kong or a full fledged24"  ceramic kamodo. Part of this is that I already own a Chargriller with firebox and some good mods. The Chargriller was so cheaply made that without the mods I might have given up long ago. I would never try a low and slow on it--for that I have a Weber Smokey Mountain. And the temperature gauge on both is a joke, but esp. om the CG.

 

But there is only the two of us...most of the time...and I don't cook all that often--pulled port and beef, ribs very occasionally, beer butt chick and Thanksgiving turkey. I'm not sure I can justify approaching $2k for occasional use.

 

That said, I like the price of the Akorn o (if not the looks) . But I wonder about some things:

 

1) I have read posts complaining about achieving and maintaining low and slow temps. Even the Smokey Mountain is touchy that way. I am near-as-nevermind 72 years old and can't do all-nighters anymore. But if i could set it and forget it...well, that changes everything.  What about hitting and holding 240°? Or even lower for some cold smoked cheese?

 

2) One of the other things I'd like to do is pizza. I'd like to be able to hit somewhere near wood fired pizza oven temps. Say 600°?

 

3) grilling...can I grill dog, brats, and spatchcock chicken in the Akorn? Is it set up to do that without flare ups and "issues?"

 

I see Akorns listed as 20". Is that the diameter of the "egg" or the top grill? And is the 20" Akorn available on the Cart?

 

Can I really get the same kind of results on the Akorn as on a Kong, for instance?

 

Finally what is the build quality like?

 

Lots of questions I know but I would appreciate any thoughts or advice.

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I have had my Akorn (King Kooker) for over 6 years now, and it is on it's last legs due to rust out, but to give you my opinion on them is;

 

Not a ceramic, does not do everything a ceramic does, but for the price, length of service, and flexibility I'm going to buy another the day after Thanksgiving when the black sales start up.

 

-At 71 if you want a ceramic, by all means buy one.  Life is too short to wish for things at our age

 

-I am able to maintain 225 for as long as I want.  I did however do several of the mods to seal up air leaks on the original model.

 

-Myself and several others here make pizza regularly along with burgers, dogs, brats, meatloaf, bread, etc

 

-I've not used a ceramic, but if it fits your budget, why not?  I'm very happy with the Akorn and won't justify the cost of a ceramic at this point in my life.  

 

**********Best suggestion for you is to surf this forum and see all the things people have done, you'll find answers to all of your questions and several different opinions on what works well and what is not so good.********  Than make up your own mind as to what you want/need/can afford.

 

 

 

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That Akron is one heck of a deal. I said to a co worker a couple years ago...a co worker I think highly of...that the Akron is the only grill we sell worth buying. She told me that she and her husband agreed.  (Btw this was prior to KJ making its way into my realm) 

 

anf idk my tablet insists I spell it Akron. Sorry.

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2 hours ago, BBQ Bob said:

I have had my Akorn (King Kooker) for over 6 years now, and it is on it's last legs due to rust out, but to give you my opinion on them is;

 

Not a ceramic, does not do everything a ceramic does, but for the price, length of service, and flexibility I'm going to buy another the day after Thanksgiving when the black sales start up.

 

-At 71 if you want a ceramic, by all means buy one.  Life is too short to wish for things at our age

 

-I am able to maintain 225 for as long as I want.  I did however do several of the mods to seal up air leaks on the original model.

 

-Myself and several others here make pizza regularly along with burgers, dogs, brats, meatloaf, bread, etc

 

-I've not used a ceramic, but if it fits your budget, why not?  I'm very happy with the Akorn and won't justify the cost of a ceramic at this point in my life.  

 

**********Best suggestion for you is to surf this forum and see all the things people have done, you'll find answers to all of your questions and several different opinions on what works well and what is not so good.********  Than make up your own mind as to what you want/need/can afford.

 

 

 

 Thanks.

 

Several follow ups:

 

Why is your Akorn rusting out?

 

What will a ceramic do that an Akorn won't?

 

What is the difference between the two or three models of Akorn  (not the Akorn Jr)?

 

Why are there coloured Akorns listed on Amazon but only black ones on the Chargriller site?

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+1

 

4 hours ago, DWFII said:

...I would rather have a... 24"  ceramic kamodo. Part of this is that I already own a Chargriller ...

 

But there is only the two of us......I'm not sure I can justify approaching $2k for occasional use....

 

1) I have read posts complaining about achieving and maintaining low and slow temps. ...

 

2) One of the other things I'd like to do is pizza. ...

 

3) ...? Is it set up to do that without flare ups and "issues?"

 

I see Akorns listed as 20". ...

 

Can I really get the same kind of results on the Akorn as on a Kong, for instance?

 

Finally what is the build quality like?

I come from a Chargriller 2-barrel, which I use mostly for long, slow cooks that justify the time and effort needed to get it going. I was looking for a charcoal option that was closer to the convenience of a gas grill. The Akorn fits that goal, but it's also opened up a range of options that only a ceramic can do well. 

 

1) Akorns aren't stable long-term. The best I get is a 3-4 hour rise/fall through the 225-250F range. That looks very stable until you want it to run overnight. I think it's a matter of fire size; smaller is better, but it requires patience warming up. Ceramic Kamados have so much more thermal mass they are inherently much more stable. 

 

Note that my low-n-slow settings are bottom closed, top 20-30% open. Closing the top kills the fire. 

 

2) it gets plenty hot enough to do nice pizza crust, but not pizza. The steel carries very little heat compared with a ceramic, so there's lots of heat from the pizza stone on the bottom and nowhere near enough from the top. That's backwards for good pizza. We pop them into the broiler. 

 

3) No flare ups as long as:

- you do the same as for a conventional grill - let the wood get a layer of ash. 

- don't leave the lid open any longer than necessary. You'll lose control of the fire. 

 

The pot has a 20" ID, so the main grill is about 19 3/4" in diameter. Just fits a packer brisket. 

 

I can't say what a ceramic would be able to cook that an Akorn can't, but I think it would be better and easier. Better for oven cooking, like pizza and bread, due to the uniform heat from all directions. Lots easier for low-n-slow due to the greater thermal mass. Conversely, ceramics can be impossible to cool, once you get them too hot, for that same reason. 

 

Given the cost, I figured the Akorn was a good place to start. Now I want a ceramic...

 

Have fun,

Frank

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13 minutes ago, fbov said:

1) Akorns aren't stable long-term. The best I get is a 3-4 hour rise/fall through the 225-250F range. That looks very stable until you want it to run overnight. I think it's a matter of fire size; smaller is better, but it requires patience warming up. Ceramic Kamados have so much more thermal mass they are inherently much more stable.

 

What is the best you could do with a 24" ceramic? If I added a ceramic flower pot base as a heat sink , would that make a significant difference?

 

13 minutes ago, fbov said:

2) it gets plenty hot enough to do nice pizza crust, but not pizza. The steel carries very little heat compared with a ceramic, so there's lots of heat from the pizza stone on the bottom and nowhere near enough from the top. That's backwards for good pizza. We pop them into the broiler.

 

I apologize if this comes off a bit argumentative (don't mean it that way) but reading the posts in this forum, it seems some folks are doing alright (actually better than alright) with pizza using just the Akorn. Is there a contradiction?  I have a 16" pizza stone...near a half inch thick. My wife makes world class pizza using a 40 year old sourdough and we've always suspected that a hotter oven --like in bona fide pizzarias--would kick it up a little. So pizza is a must for me in deciding what grill to buy.

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I love my AKorn, and my family does too. I bought it because I'd never really cooked on charcoal, and wasn't sure if I would use it and forego the convenience of the gas grill. So it was an inexpensive beginning...

I can't remember the last time I used the gas grill... I've had the Akorn about 2.5 years now

I do keep my Akorn in the garage and roll it out to cook, its in excellent condition. i'm sure if I had been keeping it out in the elements, even covered, it would show the effects. But it just about good as new, and the CI grate has been no problem at all. Cooked fish (cod) right on the grate tonight, no sticking, perfectly done. I probably cook anywhere from 2-4 nights a week on it, year round. Mostly chicken and fish. We do pizza too, no problems. Not sure if ours are world class though! But we've been happy with them. I've not done many long low and slow cooks, I think if I did I would invest in a controller just to be safe. Not that I've had any trouble maintaining temps for what I have cooked.

To be honest, the Akorn is almost too good. Because I can't justify an upgrade when its held up so well and does everything I've wanted. For the $, it has been fantastic. If I had to do it over again knowing what I do now, I probably would get a Kamado Joe from a Costco roadshow. The accessories available appeal to me, and I now know I would get my money's use out of it.

We plan to downsize in a couple of years and a nice grilling gazebo will be a priority. At that point I may upgrade.

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8 hours ago, DWFII said:

1) I have read posts complaining about achieving and maintaining low and slow temps. Even the Smokey Mountain is touchy that way. I am near-as-nevermind 72 years old and can't do all-nighters anymore. But if i could set it and forget it...well, that changes everything.  What about hitting and holding 240°? Or even lower for some cold smoked cheese?

You can hit & hold 240 all night long, just a matter of learning vent settings.  I kept my WSM for cheese smoking, I don't think you can keep an Akorn low enough.

 

3) grilling...can I grill dog, brats, and spatchcock chicken in the Akorn? Is it set up to do that without flare ups and "issues?"

You can grill anything in the Akorn, for higher-fat cooks might want to go indirect with a drip pan - that's how I do the chicken.

 

I see Akorns listed as 20". Is that the diameter of the "egg" or the top grill? And is the 20" Akorn available on the Cart?

All the Akorns (not Jr) have a 19.75" top grill (or close to it).  The cart model seems to be available only through Home Depot ship-to-store (at least in my area).

 

Finally what is the build quality like?

Mine is almost 5yo, some rust on bottom tray, some on rim of ash pan, OK otherwise.  If it fails, I'll likely buy another.  Or kick up $1500 for the Weber Summit Charcoal.

 

 

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14 hours ago, DWFII said:

Let me say up front that I would rather have a Kong or a full fledged24"  ceramic kamodo. Part of this is that I already own a Chargriller with firebox and some good mods. The Chargriller was so cheaply made that without the mods I might have given up long ago. I would never try a low and slow on it--for that I have a Weber Smokey Mountain. And the temperature gauge on both is a joke, but esp. om the CG.

 

But there is only the two of us...most of the time...and I don't cook all that often--pulled port and beef, ribs very occasionally, beer butt chick and Thanksgiving turkey. I'm not sure I can justify approaching $2k for occasional use.

 

That said, I like the price of the Akorn o (if not the looks) . But I wonder about some things:

 

1) I have read posts complaining about achieving and maintaining low and slow temps. Even the Smokey Mountain is touchy that way. I am near-as-nevermind 72 years old and can't do all-nighters anymore. But if i could set it and forget it...well, that changes everything.  What about hitting and holding 240°? Or even lower for some cold smoked cheese?

 

2) One of the other things I'd like to do is pizza. I'd like to be able to hit somewhere near wood fired pizza oven temps. Say 600°?

 

3) grilling...can I grill dog, brats, and spatchcock chicken in the Akorn? Is it set up to do that without flare ups and "issues?"

 

I see Akorns listed as 20". Is that the diameter of the "egg" or the top grill? And is the 20" Akorn available on the Cart?

 

Can I really get the same kind of results on the Akorn as on a Kong, for instance?

 

Finally what is the build quality like?

 

Lots of questions I know but I would appreciate any thoughts or advice.

 

I think the first thing you have be aware of is the difference between ceramic and steel Kamados is the difference between absorbing heat and reflecting heat. As "fbov" mentions the ceramic kamados act as a heat sink.  It does make for  more stable temps long term but they also take a lot longer to come to temperature.  If you really want to set it and forget it with either you might want to investigate an ATC ( automatic temperature controller) They work pretty well with either style of Kamado but for day time cooks when you are around it's all a matter of learning your Kamado.  

Pizza is an easy cook in any kamado it's more a matter of technique.  Elevating the pizza stone off the cooking grate and partially into the done works great along with a 2 stone set-up.  John Setzler has a great video on that.  

The Akorn will do spatchcock chickens easily at 425˚F without flare-up as long as you cook indirect.

The Akorn rust issue is more prevalent if you leave them outdoors.  When it rains water will run down the outer shell of an Akorn and come in through the dome gasket and more importantly the ash pan gasket.  It will lay it the bottom of the ash pan and over time will rot the bottom out of the pan.  I live in a salt air environment and I have two Akorn Jr's.  So far so good but I take care of them.  Neglect can be a killer.

Akorns bang for the buck are a pretty good deal especially when they go on sale.  Are they as well built, no I'd say not but you can buy 2-3-4 for the cost of a ceramic.

Ceramics do crack, metal rusts.  Ceramics are not as portable as metal.  Really it's all about preference and budget.

Oh yes and to do cheese in any Kamado buy the  a maze n smoker tray.  Works like a charm.  I get great smoked cheese from it and use it in my Keg.  Here's a link https://www.google.ca/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&cd=2&cad=rja&uact=8&ved=0ahUKEwiK9ffh8bjXAhWBy4MKHRmDDaQQFgg9MAE&url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.amazenproducts.com%2Fproduct_p%2Famnps5x8.htm&usg=AOvVaw1ah8bk4nHfdWIhUaSOh62D

There's no wrong choice really.  

Good luck with your decision, as BBQ Bob mentioned the info is here on this site to assist you in determining what's best for you.

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Hi I got my Akorn as a birthday gift from my kids.  I love it.  Easy to set temps, everything comes out great.  One problem after only 6 months it has started to rust.  Disappointing.  Not covered under warranty, even more disappointing.  My grill has been on a covered deck and has never been in the rain.

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Has anyone tried smearing a little mutton fat on the parts that tend to rust? Lee Valley Tools used to  offer a tin of what is essentially a mutton fat based paste that is touted to prevent rust. I use it occasionally on my vintage tools (which see moisture all the time as part of their use) and it seems to work.

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On 11/11/2017 at 7:45 PM, DWFII said:

What is the best you could do with a 24" ceramic? If I added a ceramic flower pot base as a heat sink , would that make a significant difference?

A Kamado Joe Big Joe is a 250 lb. cooker that's got to be 80% ceramic. The Akorn's a 90 lb. cooker that's 8 lb. ceramic. Adding another 8 lb flower pot won't matter... 

 

As to rust, no grill at this price lasts if left outside. The solution is easy; the cover is cheap, too.   

 

Have fun,

Frank

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9 minutes ago, fbov said:

 As to rust, no grill at this price lasts if left outside. The solution is easy; the cover is cheap, too.   

 

Have fun,

Frank

 

I understand--a cover is a must. I've always used them. Gotta replace my ten year old offset cover this coming spring, as well.

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Agree covers are a must.  Mine is under a roof with the chargriller cover on it when not in use.  As said, mine is old, used often, but even when under cover this salt air causes everything to rust.  The BGE, Primo, and Grill Dome dealers all warn prospective buyers that the "nests/stands" are not going to hold up well at the beach, and are not covered under the warranty.  The bands, springs, and other hardware also rusts but is covered by some.  My area is not typical but lasting 6+ years on the beach is a pretty good history, IMO.

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DWFII,
      I do not think that you would be disappointed with the Akorn at all, I was not with mine.  The fact is that it was a what allowed me to learn that I really like Kamado Cooking.  I gifted the Akorn to my father when I got a ceramic "Vision" brand cooker, and I enjoy the experience even more now. 

 

https://www.kamadoguru.com/topic/36910-i-painted-my-vision-grill/

 

If funding a ceramic cooker is not at issue, and if I were to start now, knowing what I have learned from my experiences, I would get a "Kamado Joe" brand (Big Joe 2017).  I still may purchase one, but I am very happy with my Vision for now.  that said, I will not speak bad of the Akorn, and it performs very well in my opinion.

 

  If you look at "Baby back maniac's" review of the Kamado Joe, it may help some. (He also has many other great grilling videos if you care watch)

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VqVEh7j_p3U&t=189

 

Good luck and great eating on whatever you get.

Have Fun

 

 

 

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