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New guy from Houston


SPD500
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New here guy here, but looks like a great group to learn from. I just got a Akorn Jr from my wife for Christmas. There are only two of us in the house and this is my third grill, so the Jr seems appropriate. My other two grills are an RCS Premier 40" with two side burners built into my outdoor kitchen and Texas Original offset smoker. I used to be into cookoffs many years ago back before life got too busy, now i mainly cook for my wife and I with an occasional pool party. I look forward to getting to know everyone and learning how to use this little grill correctly, so far it is like nothing I have ever cooked on. 

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Welcome, an Akorn may be small, but I have seen some truly amazing cooks come off them. There is a learning curve to kamado cooking but it is not arduous, enjoy your kamado cooking journey. The best cooking advice I can give you is "It is air and not the amount of  fuel that controls heat. The more air you feed a fire, the larger and hotter it grows. A small fire with limited access to air flow will stay small as long as your fuel lasts. That's pretty much kamado cooking theory in a sentence or two. Enjoy the forum conversation. 

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Thanks everyone! I have read through John's book and found some great info in there to get me on my way. I found my way here trying to find answers to why the grill was so uncontrollable on the first cook. It turns out that you don't do anything like a "normal" charcoal grill, lol.

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I tried again last night, with no meat on the grill. I tried the "volcano" method that I read about on here. I did deviate from the plan slightly because I didn't have the cotton and alcohol handy, instead I used one piece of the lump charcoal with some lighter fluid on it. I got it to light ok, waited a few minutes and put in the heat deflector and grates and closed the lid. It eventually started to raise in temperature and I managed to get it slowed down before it go out of control. It finally settled in about 265 so I closed the dampers a little bit to try for 250. It took about 20-30 minutes for the temp to drop, and settled in at just over 250. I let it run for a few hours before bed and it seemed to be pretty stable, but when I checked on it this morning at 3:00 it was completely cold. I was expecting it to be able to maintain the temp for at least half of the night without need for adding fuel or adjusting. Is this normal, or do I have more learning to do in order to get it to stay lit? 

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It could be your still learning the grill, I know nothing about the Akorn grills but i think it should last longer than it did. Did all the charcoal burn up? If it did than perhaps you needed more to start with. Like i said before I don't know your grill and I'm sure you'll get some help here. Keep trying and good luck. One thing you might want to do is keep a log book of what you did. Example amount of charcoal, temp, vent settings, time to get to temp desired, length of cook and amount of charcoal used, and the big one how did it turn out.

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2 minutes ago, len440 said:

It could be your still learning the grill, I know nothing about the Akorn grills but i think it should last longer than it did. Did all the charcoal burn up? If it did than perhaps you needed more to start with. Like i said before I don't know your grill and I'm sure you'll get some help here. Keep trying and good luck. One thing you might want to do is keep a log book of what you did. Example amount of charcoal, temp, vent settings, time to get to temp desired, length of cook and amount of charcoal used, and the big one how did it turn out.

Actually it used very little of the lump charcoal that was loaded into it. I am guessing that I either smothered the fire too much and it went out or I need to learn how to stack the lump better for the fire to keep going. I will likely be playing with it over the weekend and trying to get it to stay constant throughout the day. I work from home, but it is not uncommon for me to be stick at my desk for 3-3 hours at a time, so during the week it is hard to be able to experiment much. 

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As long as your playing with it put some ribs on that's what i did. Not too familiar with the volcano method I just fill the fire bowl up, but each grill is different. Enjoy playing with it. Just popped in to my head  if you have a thermometer that you can monitor remotely will help you keep an eye on temps till you figure out the grill

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1 minute ago, len440 said:

 if you have a thermometer that you can monitor remotely

That is on my list to Santa, but if he doesn't get the right one I will probably be ordering soon. I am also trying to learn a little about the temperature controllers for this little grill, seems like only some of them will adapt to the smaller air vent on the Jr. I am hoping to find an easy plug and play option. It looks like that will cost me more than the grill did, lol. I was given a $150 gift that is going to end up costing me $1000! 

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