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I wish I had kept photos but I recently purchased an Akorn Jr. so that I could have a travelling version of the full size that I have been using for years. I also got the idea that I could use it for a sear station beside my Akorn. I set the big one up for low and smokey and did the sear on the Jr. So, I was running the Jr. wide open. It wasn't building up heat running open but of course the coals were hot. 

 

I made the best New York strips ever. Everyone at the gathering was pretty amazed with the delicious exterior and pink interior.

 

However, I couldn't shut the Jr. down. I closed it and it never really got above 500° but it wouldn't shut down. Then I looked around and noticed that there was now a hole in the ash pan. It had been burned right through on the side below the vent slider thingy. I messaged Char-Griller and they said it was user error and they wouldn't fix it, which was very disappointing. But I was trying to figure out how nothing was damaged except for this one hole.

 

And then it occurred to me this is potentially a more serious issue than I thought and that it would come up more in the Jr. than the full size. My guess is that a piece of charcoal got down inside between the ceramic coated heat resistant interior steel and the exterior (which doesn't seem to be treated at all as anyone who has had a rusted out ash pan can attest). On the rest of the Kamado that separation is impenetrable but at the bottom vent there's a gap where coal could get down inside and directly contact that outer layer. I'm wondering if anyone else has had a similar issue or maybe even has a rusted ash pan they could test.

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I don't know anything about the JR. but I do know that the Akorn has a number of design flaws...none as serious as yours seems to be (as far as I'm aware), however.

 

The Akorn is a good kamado and I like mine, but not much time or effort was put into engineering from what I can tell. I have a "rescued" BGE sitting next to the Akorn and even though the base has a hairline crack (which will never happen with the Chargriller) it is tight and cooks as well as, maybe a little better than,  the the Akorn.

 

The worst flaw...from my perspective...is the use of plastics. Cheap and fragile plastics. Someone was obviously trying to save money and maximize profit there and nevermind the cost...time , hassle and frustration...to the customer. 

 

I have the carted version and while it is more stable than the three leg variation (a big plus IMO) the plastic kick plates that support the wire rack are absolute garbage--breaking and undermining the structural integrity of the whole set up.

 

And FWIW, most of the people who you reach when you message or call Chargriller are nice folks...and doing their best to help, I'm sure...I have seldom run across  people who seem less experienced with their own products or more clueless about the problems that might be encountered, much less what to do about them.

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If you burned a hole through a metal ash-pan, you must have been running some incredible temperatures.  The only way that I know that charcoal can produce enough heat to melt steel is in a blacksmith's forge.

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I do a lot of high temp searing on my Jr. and the bottom will get extremely hot at high temps and actually burns off the coating. I recently noticed that mine has actually rusted through in a couple spots, its only 11/2 years old and I will be trying to get a new pan. If I can't get one for a reasonable price, I will just get an KJ Jr. next spring and give up on rusting Akorns, my large one is 4 years old and it is rusting out to the point of being unusable soon.

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