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toddwchandler

Do You Ever Leave Your Akorn Unattended During A Cook?

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This could potentially be a very dumb question, but do you guys ever leave your Akorn unattended during a low and slow cook?

 

Sometime if I'm doing a cook during the daytime, it would be nice to run a few errands while a pork butt sits on the Akorn and smokes.   Am I ok to leave it for a couple of hours or is there a legitimate risk of a fire?

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I do it all the time.  Since it's an enclosed system I think there is very little risk.  When you have the vents closed for low-and-slow I don't see how it's possible for it to suddenly get enough oxygen to go up and flames.  I also use a Tip Top Temp to maintain the temperature.

 

I must say my first overnight cook was a weird feeling.  When I got up in the morning I was thinking "this thing just sat here and cooked for 8 hours and I was unconscious the entire time".  I have a Thermoworks Smoke so the remote display would have woken me up if something went wrong.  Weird feeling but awesome at the same time!

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I agree fully.  Light it up, stick the remote thermometer (with temp alarm set) into the meat,put the other end beside your bed and enjoy a nice sleep or trip to the hardware store.

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I dont think I've ever attended to my Akorn 100% of the time when smoking any meats.  When I go off to run errands I usually place my Thermopro in front of my Wyze Cams. That way when I'm away, instead of logging into my phone to see my patio door, I see my temperature probe.  FYI, if you dont have internet connectivity on your probe I highly recommend the Wyze cam.  They're basically a 20 dollar drop cam with no monthly fees. They also have an audio alert so if my prob goes off I'll get a notification from my Wyze app.   The downside is they're less secure, but I'm okay with someone hacking into the account to see the patio/ and or my brisket temp) .  

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I've started many a pork shoulder at 8:00-10:00 at night, set my BBQ Guru and gone to bed.  "Set it and forget it"    I usually do about 16 pounds of shoulder and have found it takes about 16-17 hours to hit temp. 

 

Get up the next morning to make sure temp is still at 230 (it is) and then just wait for it to hit 195 and take it off.   Wrap it in foil, put in cooler and pull it 1-4 hours later. 

 

I've done the same thing during the day with ribs and brisket.   My Akorn sits on a wooden deck, too. :-) 

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I'm a relative noob but once I'm confident that the TTT is keeping the temp stable, I have no problem going to the store or taking a walk or a nap.  I think being away for a couple of hours the most it's ever changed was 5 degrees which was still within my target range.

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I do it all the time. Yesterday I left the house for a half hour or so while I had two 2" thick strip steaks on the Akorn. I knew that steaks that thick would take an hour to an hour or so to reach 117-120 internal if I let the grill come up to temp slowly. So I threw the steaks on as soon as the smoke was a thin blue (the grill was at around 100-125) and set the vents for the grill to rise slowly to around 300 degrees, then I left and went to pick the kids up from swimming at their grandparents house. 

 

When I made it back the grill temp was in the 250-260 range and the steaks were around 80 degrees internal. Gave them a flip and waited another 20 minutes or so for them to hit 117 internal, then pulled them off the grill for about 5 minutes to rest while I removed the main grate and the smoking stone while opening the bottom vent all the way to get the grill to searing temps. Steaks went back on a Weber grate sitting directly above the coals and received around a 30 second sear per side. 

 

I ended up cutting one of the strips into thin slices for a steak salad and left the other whole to separate into three small steaks to eat with corn and baked potatoes. I rarely ever take pictures but I should have this time as this turned out to be a great meal, the steaks were medium rare all the way through with a thin crust on the outside from the sear. 

 

As far as longer cooks go I don't hesitate to leave the house for a few hours at a time or to go to sleep with an alarm set on my thermometer if the temps reach my comfort zone limits. 

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Do all my cooks overnight mostly.     Use to wake up alot but bought a flameboss and now just let that do the work while I sleep:)

 

If I planned on leaving for a few hrs or most of the day while something cooks I'll probably just cook in the driveway. Can't hurt anything but the grill and food if it did somehow manage to go up in flames( which I can't ever imagine how it would while at smoking temps)

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Since I started using TTT, I've felt more comfortable leaving it unattended, whether it be so I can sleep, or go to store, or a jog, or... fun with the lady.

 

I just ordered the Smoke with Gateway, so at least I can check when I'm out around the city while it's going.  My only issues have been with slowly falling temps, not rising, because as mentioned, the TTT simply won't open enough during a cook to cause runaway temps.  

 

Consistent temps are obviously desireable, but I haven't noticed falling temps to kill a cook.  Even if I'm aiming for 250 and it gradually falls to 190 (which is extreme and very rarely actually happens), simply opening the vents and gradually brining it back to 250 doesn't have any negative effect, other than the time of the cook will be a little longer since it fell.

 

The great thing with the Akorn is the fire never goes out during a low-and-slow.  You might think it has gone out, but trust me - unless your vents have been totally shut down for hours, there's still enough going to bring it back up to temp by opening the vents and being patient.  Patience is the key word with Akorn.

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For long cooking, "a watched fire is unnecessary."  Fully-contained within a sealed compartment, the fire can't go anywhere. Given the limited air-flow, it can't get much bigger, and with sensible fuel-planning it won't go out.  Of course do not neglect it, but once you've established that it is, indeed, "burning according to plan," only occasional checkups are needed.  (Set alarms on your phone!)

 

An external meat-thermometer, attached by long wires to the food inside the compartment, is helpful for this purpose, since you can check it without opening the lid.  ("Opening the lid" is very disruptive to a long, slow cooking process.)  It also gives you an objective measure by which to determine that the process is complete.

 

Consistency is key:  if you establish that "every two hours, I'm going to flip the meat," set an alarm for two hours.  (In the meantime, only check the thermo.)  Open the lid only long enough to get the job done.

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