My sister gifted our mom and me a steak dinner for our birthdays this month. Meaning she bought the steaks and I cooked them. I used a mix of seasoning salts, Lawry's, garlic salt, and something else my dad had in the cabinet to season them. I wish I could have really let the seasoning salts do their job for awhile, but basically just let them come up to room temperature since they were purchased today and we were eating them tonight. I low and slowed them on my Akorn for about an hour @250ish using my BBQube and Bluetooth temp monitor to get them to about 115-120 internal. I then transferred them to some cast iron skillets with melted butter in them I had heated to 450-500 on my dad's gas burner and seared them for 1 minute per side. Overall fantastic results. I wanted a good medium/medium-rare for mine and I think I got it dead on. Money shots provided.
My old Char Broil propane burner was finished after 4 years of noble if uninspired service, good for steaks, chops, and chicken. I decided to try the Kamado life based on recommendations. The ceramics are a dream and maybe one day I'll cave and eat my shirt for an Egg or a Joe, but to get started I needed to jump in cheap. I was looking at getting an Akorn, I have a buddy who has one and it does a good job for roughly 1/3rd to 1/4th the cost. I went even cheaper to CraigsList. $130 later I had a used, but in decent shape CharGriller KingGriller Akorn.
Originally he wanted $150 for it, but the back leg came off rolling it to the truck. I figured it was fixable and was still going to buy it when he kicked me back a $20 for my troubles. He also threw in some gallon ziplocs with briquettes and lump and pretty much full bag of Kamado Joe BB XL. He was getting rid of it since he bought a Traeger. 2 of the 3 rivnuts ripped out, I was able to hammer one back in and it tightened up, but the bottom one wasn't having it. I probably should have gone and bought some rivnuts and a gun and fixed it that way, but my dad figured a good stainless bolt through the lower body would do. I figured it wouldn't hurt too much as long as we didn't over tighten the bolt and pinch the body, threw on a couple of washers on for good measure. I bought some red RTV with plans to pop the bolt back off and seal it up a little, but it hasn't seemed necessary since I haven't had control issues. I did add some gasket to the ash pan and body to help with some smoke leaks, but I doubt that was really necessary since it never got out of control and I could still kill the fire.
I have been doing tons of research and watching youtube videos since buying the Akorn. I do recommend those fan temperature control adapters and bluetooth thermometers. Again I'm cheap and wasn't about to spend more than I paid for the grill for one, so I got lucky and found a gently used BBQube on eBay for $50. I had previously purchased a bluetooth thermometer on Amazon as well. The BBQube is supposed to be a jack of all trades temp control/bluetooth thermometer device, but the bluetooth on mine at least isn't ideal(they have a firmware update I want to try). The range isn't as good as my thermometer and it disconnected more than I would care for otherwise a worthwhile purchase and I recommend it or something like it (might have been caused by weather it got a little stormy both grill and controller were under a patio though and didn't get a drop of water on them). When no one messed with my grill over an 18 hour cook it never went more than 25 degrees in either direction of my set temp 225. Usually it would warm to 230s/240s then slowly go back down I don't think it ever dropped below 220 as long as the grill stayed closed. Links to both devices below they also have apps for whatever platform phone you have. We threw some hot dogs on for dinner since I had already fired it up instead of using the gas grill this caused my temp to drop to 180 and spike to 260 since the controller didn't know I was opening it and started blowing at 100% speed. Found out later you can pause it when you open the grill and resume once you've closed it back and let the temp come back up.
I've found it isn't hard to maintain temps on the Akorn, you just have to occasionally go fiddle with the vents. A smidge open , a smidge closed every so often just to keep it in that Goldilocks zone isn't terrible. With a controller I went to sleep with the alarms set on my temp probe apps and they never once went off and woke me up all night. Got up the next morning with a pork butt at 200 degrees tender and juicy.
Other notable purchases:
High heat grill/welding gloves (burned off too many arm hairs flipping steaks)
BBQube Temp Controller (I didn't pay that much, but I can see why you would, there are a few slightly cheaper options out there, but your trade off is features)
Bluetooth Thermometer (2 probes and really good range can't complain for the price)
Grate Lifter(Don't know what happened to the one that came with the grill didn't think to ask when I bought it)
All in I think I'm still under the cost of a brand new Akorn much less an Egg or a Joe.