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When the akorn goes idk what I'll do.  Does everything I need it to and the food off it is great.        When I goes I'll decide if I want to splurge on a ceramic or just buy another akorn.

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3 hours ago, mca90guitar said:

A guy on another forum I'm on was turned off by his kj experience.  Had to repair it like 3 or 4 times in under a year.  Firebox kepted cracking

 

 

The new models have a new and improved multi part firebox design so those issues are hopefully in the past for KJ. 

 

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I have an Akorn and a Big Joe side by side. I like them both, and I am still using the Akorn more (this is due to size/speed of heating, not quality of cook). 

 

The Akorn is vastly more efficient with charcoal, although I do not have a like-sized ceramic around to compare. I added nomex gasket around the bare metal spots where Akorn has the mesh seals, I added stainless steel mesh to the intake, and I use a Tip Top Temp for long slow cooks. It is as reliable as an oven and I will use it happily until it rusts out. 

 

I do not expect it to last forever, but I am about 50 cooks in and it looks like new. I keep it covered and make sure there is no water sitting in it. If they were the same price, I would take a ceramic. If I had been dead certain I wanted to cook on kamados forever I would have gotten a ceramic. When my Akorn dies I will probably get a like-sized ceramic. But if budget or interest were issues, I would buy an Akorn in a second. If budget is really an issue I would watch all of your local walmarts in the fall and find the one that does grill clearances. It is now with a buddy, but my second full-size Akorn was $89 and my Jr was $54.

 

I had no idea if I would like kamado cooking. I got to try with the Akorn for under $400 with all accessories and the answer was an enthusiastic "yes". I doubt I would have ever done the $1k+ impulse buy and I might still be sitting around wondering if there was anything nicer than our gifted Weber Performer. 

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I also started off with the Akorn to "try it before ya buy it". Wasn't sure I wanted to invest $1000+ for a Komado grill before giving it a shot with something cheaper.  I loved my Akorn grill and was surprised at Christmas when my wife bought me the Komado Joe classic.

 

The Akorn gets to temperature very quickly and is very efficient, using very little charcoal. It is also easy to clean and the build quality is good considering how inexpensive it is. It is also better than the Komado Joe in cold temperatures by a long shot. The only negative thing I have to say is that it doesn't maintain the temperature as well as a ceramic grill. Opening the lid for a moment too long can cause the temps to jump considerably.

 

The Komado Joe isn't affected by opening and closing the lid hardly at all. At temperature 50 Fahrenheit and colder the Komado takes 30 minutes or longer to get up to temperature, the Akorn would take 20 to 30 minutes. The Komado is heavy and I wouldn't think about bringing it to camp, but the Akorn is relatively light.

 

Both grills provide a good flavor to the food, they can both do high temp cooks for searing steaks or baking a pizza. Low and slow go to the Komado Joe, which is much easier to maintain a lower temp. I never had luck maintaining a temp under 300 Fahrenheit with the Akorn.

 

If I was to advise anyone to pick one over the other, I would say try the Akorn first, if you like it, then go ahead and purchase a ceramic grill. Worse case scenario is you have two grills, and two grills is twice the grilling space of one, a win win.

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I haven't used the metal Akorn, only the ceramic one, but I think I was in the same place you are a month ago.

 

I was pretty sure I would like a komado, so I wanted to buy one, but I couldn't decide what to get. I would look at the $1000+ models, and think that I wanted one, but I could get 3 or 4 Akorns for the same price. How could it be worth it?

 

Then I saw the Pit Boss at Costco for $600, and read that they typically reduce in price through the summer. So I was just going to wait for those to go on sale. But then I saw that the ceramic Akorn went on sale at Lowe's for $500, including free delivery, and I jumped on it.

 

I haven't spent any time with a Komado Joe, but I've looked at the Green Eggs in my local grocery store. I don't see what could possibly make the Green Egg worth so much more than the ceramic Akorn. There's probably some better quality control, and obviously a much better warranty.

 

But I've been very happy with the ceramic Akorn for the few weeks I've had it. I think the $500-$700 price range (ceramic Akorn, Pit Boss, Vision) is a good value for someone who thinks they want the ceramic, but doesn't see the value in the Green Egg/KJ. I recommend checking out the grills in that price range.

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My Akorn is 4 years old and still looks new. I store mine in a small room in my garage and roll it around to different points depending on wind direction when I cook on it. I would not be able to do this with the majority of the ceramics due to the weight involved  and the difficulty of rolling them on grass and uneven surfaces. My nephew has owned a large BGE for around 10 years now and after watching me move my Akorn around and cook on it he went and bought one for his Dad and himself. He recently told me that he is now using the Akorn for almost all of his cooks. The BGE must be getting lonely.   

 

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On 5/16/2018 at 10:28 PM, ButtsInRibs said:

... I'm a seasoned smoker. ...I've been wanting to add a kamado to my collection for years ...will I just be as or nearly satisfied with the akorn? 

No. 

 

I bought my Akorn last July, in the middle of my yearly club-picnic cook of butts, briskets and birds. I wanted something wood-burning that was easier than the 2-barrel offset rig I was shoveling charcoal and mesquite into all day. Once I bought the Akorn, both advantages and limitations were revealed. Now that I've got a Big Joe, I know that the Akorn was just a Kamado-tease.

 

It's as simple as 6-hour ribs... I could never keep the Akorn fire low enough to cook this long. The smoke rings from the Big Joe were superb, and the fire, stable. It went another 5 hours after a vent tweak when removing the ribs. The 2-barrel may be going out to pasture soon. It's an ash-monster by comparison. 

 

Have fun,

Frank  

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I purchased an Akorn I believe in 2012.  Cooked on it almost every day for over a year.  It was great but the ceramic bug never left me.  I made the plunge for a Primo Oval XL.  I could do anything on the Akorn I wanted and even mastered managing the temp.  Now I am several years in on the Primo and I have a good understanding of both.  After my Akorn experience the Primo was like moving from a Datson pickup to a GMC.  The ceramic is a professional grade tool made to last.  It was like it would read my mind with regard to temp.

 

I have to agree with @John Setzler , the grill is a tool.  You can buy a harbor freight tool that will get the job done and usually just fine but put the same MAC tool in your hand and you can tell the difference.

 

All that being said, I liked the Akorn but wish I had saved the $300 and went straight for the Primo.  I ended up spending $1900 for my $1600 ceramic.

You can buy a ceramic with a good track record, good customer service and a lifetime warranty for $600.

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A little science justification.  The Akorn, a fine product that I've owned myself, is metal so it will rust and you will have to replace it eventually.  Also, it's steel, which reflects heat back to the inside.  While this makes it more efficient at burning it also allows the actual fire to burn cooler.  At the wrong temps, this can be a problem.  Ceramics will radiate heat, making them less efficient but also allowing the fire to burn more consistently.  Low temp cooks can occasionally result in a bitter taste to your food due to the fire not burning properly.  This is not routine but it can happen, happened to me.  Ribs turned out tasting really bitter for no reason.  If you burn a little hotter you can get around it, it's just something to think about.

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24 minutes ago, ButtsInRibs said:

So the Smoke gods must have been listening because the KJ Classic II just went on sale on amazon, with 5% cash back, only $950. Instead of $1200. PURCHASED

 

CONGRATULATIONS!  Sounds like it was meant to be.  :)

 

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I'm very interested in this discussion.  2 years ago I purchased a Joe Jr.   It has worked perfectly and I would like to add a bigger unit but that would be around $1100 dollars.   I would love to try out the charbroil or Akorn to see how they work.    For me it will come down to the results on pork ribs, beef ribs and half chickens.   

 

I will add one item.   I needed some parts on my Joe Jr.   They took care of the issue under warrant and corrected things quickly which is worth a lot.  

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On 5/20/2018 at 9:06 AM, Likes Big Butts said:

Low temp cooks can occasionally result in a bitter taste to your food due to the fire not burning properly.  This is not routine but it can happen, happened to me.  Ribs turned out tasting really bitter for no reason.  If you burn a little hotter you can get around it, it's just something to think about.

 

Great point on this cooker.  I would say that I never got a terribly bitter taste, but because this cooker maintains temp with very little convection, it seems it didn't develop the smoke ring or bark that you would get w/ a cooker that moves more air volume (WSM in my case).

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