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Deadeye

Versatility of Akorn Jr for smoking, baking etc.?

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I joined this forum recently in search of parts for my GASJOE grill.  We had pulled out an old camping charcoal grill to use while looking for said parts and rediscovered the unique flavor from cooking with real charcoal. That and reading this forum has motivated me to add a Kamodo cooker to our options. The gas is built-in so it will be replaced. Also, the wife likes the ease and quickness of gas. But we also like the idea of adding a portable kamodo, it's just the two of us usually. We have started looking at Mini Max Eggs, Joe Jr and Akorn Jr but we like the idea of being able to do more than just flip burgers, chicken or steaks.  So, my question is how much smoking, baking or low and slow cooking can one realistically do on the Akorn Jr in particular?  Meaning how big of a roast, butt, chicken etc. can one cook on the Akorn Jr cooker? And does the Akorn Jr perform as well as the other ceramic cookers in terms of heat retention etc.? Thanks for sharing your experience and help. 

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I have both an Akorn Jr. and a 24" Pit Boss.  Probably use the Jr. twice as much as the larger grill.  Capacity is surprising.  You won't find a pork butt that won't fit, plenty of room for as big a chicken as you'll find, even spatchcocked.  Will need to cut spares in half and will only fit one rack unless you use a rib holder to stack them upright.

 

Comes up to temp much quicker than my ceramic, holds temps about as well and is amazingly parsimonious with charcoal.

 

Be sure to get the deflector and drip pan

 

so you can cook indirect, and the cover, so it won't rust out.  Keep the grates oiled (again, rust).

 

Doesn't hurt that it weighs less than half as much as a small ceramic, so taking it camping is a real option, plus, it won't break if you hit a chuckhole too hard.

 

Be sure to fill the firebox each cook so you never run out of fuel, and have fun!

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2 hours ago, scdaf said:

I have both an Akorn Jr. and a 24" Pit Boss.  Probably use the Jr. twice as much as the larger grill.  Capacity is surprising.  You won't find a pork butt that won't fit, plenty of room for as big a chicken as you'll find, even spatchcocked.  Will need to cut spares in half and will only fit one rack unless you use a rib holder to stack them upright.

 

Comes up to temp much quicker than my ceramic, holds temps about as well and is amazingly parsimonious with charcoal.

 

Be sure to get the deflector and drip pan

 

so you can cook indirect, and the cover, so it won't rust out.  Keep the grates oiled (again, rust).

 

Doesn't hurt that it weighs less than half as much as a small ceramic, so taking it camping is a real option, plus, it won't break if you hit a chuckhole too hard.

 

Be sure to fill the firebox each cook so you never run out of fuel, and have fun!

What he said. I have an akorn jr and a weber kettle. Like'em both but I haven't found anything the akorn jr can't do. I do ribs on the weber due to space but everything else on the jr being its mainly just 3 of us. 

 

Here's a pic of my jr with about a 3.5 - 4 lb roast. I just did about a 5 pounder this past weekend with all kinds of room to spare. Low and slow at 230-250 for hours is no problem once you get to know your grill a little. A turkey or a brisket is about the only thing that comes to mind that would not fit. 

IMG_2192.jpg.37244d2b9aff94547d46b9af08dfb6fa.jpg

 

If portability is important I would think the akorn jr at 30 lbs +/- is the clear winner in that regard.

 

Plus - it's cheap!

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You can do a lot with a small grill, but sometimes you need to be creative to get everything to fit.  I have a Joe Jr which is slightly smaller than the akorn jr and have done an 8lb pork butt, butterflied chicken, baked bread in my 2qt dutch oven and plenty of other cooks.

 

 

 

 

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9 hours ago, scdaf said:

I have both an Akorn Jr. and a 24" Pit Boss.  Probably use the Jr. twice as much as the larger grill.  Capacity is surprising.  You won't find a pork butt that won't fit, plenty of room for as big a chicken as you'll find, even spatchcocked.  Will need to cut spares in half and will only fit one rack unless you use a rib holder to stack them upright.

 

Comes up to temp much quicker than my ceramic, holds temps about as well and is amazingly parsimonious with charcoal.

 

Be sure to get the deflector and drip pan

 

so you can cook indirect, and the cover, so it won't rust out.  Keep the grates oiled (again, rust).

 

Doesn't hurt that it weighs less than half as much as a small ceramic, so taking it camping is a real option, plus, it won't break if you hit a chuckhole too hard.

 

Be sure to fill the firebox each cook so you never run out of fuel, and have fun!

Thanks everyone for the useful information. It sounds like the Akorn Jr checks all the boxes that we were looking for in our first kamado. 

The deflector and cover are definitely on the list as well. I don't see a drip pan on the Char-griller web site. Do they make one for the Jr specifically or is this something you find generically? Also, I'm not seeing/understanding  where a drip pan would go inside or do you put one under the grill outside to prevent messes? Thanks again.  

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Drip pan goes on the deflector. You can use anything. On my regular Akorn I use disposable foil pans with 1/2 in copper elbows for spacers. 

The idea is something that will fit and not block the heat from what you're cooking. 

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I have a Primo Oval XL and an Akorn Jr.  Love them both.  You can do anything on the Jr. that you can in a regular sized kamado.  Like scdaf said, it's a lot lighter than the Joe Jr. and Green Egg so it'd be easier to transport for camping, picnics etc... And, yes definitely get the deflector and cover.

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On 6/3/2020 at 9:36 PM, Deadeye said:

Thanks everyone for the useful information. It sounds like the Akorn Jr checks all the boxes that we were looking for in our first kamado. 

The deflector and cover are definitely on the list as well. I don't see a drip pan on the Char-griller web site. Do they make one for the Jr specifically or is this something you find generically? Also, I'm not seeing/understanding  where a drip pan would go inside or do you put one under the grill outside to prevent messes? Thanks again.  

I have the standard Akorn and there is room on top of the smoking stone under the grate to put a tray to catch drippings. It's the same with the Jr. from what I've seen. Just need to make sure you don't have one too big.

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