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Saturday pizza has become a regular thing at our house, per my son’s request. I had a good thing going with the KJ Classic and a 15” stone setup, down to a science. But a few weeks ago decided to change it up and try pizzas on the Akorn Jr, half to use less charcoal on the high temp and half cause I had a steel I’d never used. And half just for the challenge....okay that’s three halves. But I digress....first couple weeks went okay, a little learning curve with the AkJ getting to temp MUCH faster and the possibility of overshooting temp, coupled with the steel getting and retaining heat much easier than the stone. 
 

Last weekend I burnt the crap out of the bottom of three of four pies (finally got it to cool down a bit by the last one...should have given more time after I charred the first). Having to wait a week for redemption is killing me, but I ordered the canning rack I’ve seen many use on here for the Junior setup, so fingers crossed tonight goes better. And I’ll definitely be watching my temps and shooting the steel with an IR thermometer. I’m hoping more separation of the steel and deflector in addition to getting the stew up higher in the dome makes the difference. 

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4 hours ago, Chris Topher said:

Keep at it. The Akorn and KJ are slightly different animals. 

Thanks. Yeah I love the fact the junior gets hit so fast but it’s a double edged sword I guess. 

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So the bottoms burned again. Only slightly and it was edible but I don’t get why the bottoms are burning so fast. I kept the temp around 450/500 and I’ve seen on here people get it way above that with good results. I did two of the five pizzas without any burning of the bottom but the top was slightly underdone. What am I missing?

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@HokieOC - tell us more about what your pizza setup looks like on the Jr.  You may not be able to just downsize your classic size setup and have success. There are numerous factors at play, including proximity to the fire. 

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10 hours ago, KismetKamado said:

@HokieOC - tell us more about what your pizza setup looks like on the Jr.  You may not be able to just downsize your classic size setup and have success. There are numerous factors at play, including proximity to the fire. 

At first I had the grate with the deflector sitting on it, cooper pipe elbows on that with the steel resting on those. This is essentially my KJ setup except I use the stone on that and it’s obviously much further from the fire. 
 

After some searching here I saw the canning rack setup. Figured putting the deflector lower would help and the steel higher. I don’t know if there’s a bigger canning rack that sits on the grate tabs of the Junior, but the one I got wasn’t wide enough so my setup yesterday was:

 

deflector down on deflector tabs

grate on grate tabs

canning rack upside down on grate

steel on canning rack

 

As I said it didn’t burn as bad but was still pretty charred and the tops could have been done a little more. Temps ranged from 450-just over 500

 

I can always go back to the KJ I know. But would like to get it right on the Akorn Jr to have the pizza option when I travel. Also, you know, out of principle. At this point I have to get it right!

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I think what is happening is the pizza steel is hotter than the dome temp so is cooking the bottom faster than the dome is cooking the toppings. What helped me was having a IR thermometer that i use to monitor the pizza stone. It may take a while to figure it out But domt give up

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Might need to lower your temps a bit to find the sweet spot with the steel? 

 

I didn’t like having my grate in for pizza cooks due to burning off the seasoning because that just created more work to deal with that afterwards. I have two 10” stones and ceramic spacers used in conjunction with the canning rack. I set my first stone on the folded in wings / handles of the canning rack that sits in the fire bowl. Then my spacers. Then my other stone.

 

5B84E6FE-0D74-42E0-AA51-383765486EC9.jpeg.87b6d18c676ad8ed21ca275e76a99de4.jpeg


Definitely a ton of different ways to do this - and your setup sounds doable (would not recommend a low deflector position with high heat in a ceramic, but not so much an issue with an Akorn).  
 

Also, I like the thought of the steel if you plan on traveling. The smoking stone is super stout and no worries about breaking a steel. I hope you can find a way to make it work. 
 


 

 

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7 hours ago, KismetKamado said:

Might need to lower your temps a bit to find the sweet spot with the steel? 

 

I didn’t like having my grate in for pizza cooks due to burning off the seasoning because that just created more work to deal with that afterwards. I have two 10” stones and ceramic spacers used in conjunction with the canning rack. I set my first stone on the folded in wings / handles of the canning rack that sits in the fire bowl. Then my spacers. Then my other stone.

 

5B84E6FE-0D74-42E0-AA51-383765486EC9.jpeg.87b6d18c676ad8ed21ca275e76a99de4.jpeg


Definitely a ton of different ways to do this - and your setup sounds doable (would not recommend a low deflector position with high heat in a ceramic, but not so much an issue with an Akorn).  
 

Also, I like the thought of the steel if you plan on traveling. The smoking stone is super stout and no worries about breaking a steel. I hope you can find a way to make it work. 
 


 

 

Yes that’s the setup I was going off of. Saw yours when I got the canning rack, but don’t have a second stone. Maybe a 10” stone in the bottom of the canning rack would be the key. I have doubts the Akorn deflector covers enough area. It has large gaps on the side that probably let up more heat than would another stone right under the steel. 

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5 hours ago, len440 said:

Don't know if you saw this but good info

 

Thanks yeah I read that awhile ago but good to see again. Gives me the thought it’s possible the dough is an issue here and I should go higher hydration. Too bad I suck at math...

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I like thick topping pizzas that take a bit to cook. To keep my crust from charring on the akorn jr, I make my pizza on a room temp pizza pan and set pan and all on a pizza stone sitting on my grate. Slows down the crust enough until the toppings are done (7 minutes at 550F )

 

IMG_2213.jpg

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