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My Akorn Story


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Hi, I thought I would share my story and maybe it will help some decide to get an Akorn or not....

 

About 7 years ago a friend of mine at work who knew I enjoyed pork BBQ was telling me all about his Green Egg. I did some investigation and knew that 1K was too much to spend on a grill but the Akorn looked interesting. I purchased one at Lowes.

 

I had only cooked on gas grills, so using charcoal was new to me. It was steep learning curve, but eventually I figured it out. I also purchased a Tip Top Temp, that changed low and slow cooks for me. After about 3 years I noticed the typical rust around the ash pan. I wasn't worried about it because it was under warranty and I had the receipt.

 

I couldn't find the receipt, so now I had a decision to make...fix it or upgrade to a ceramic grill.

 

I decided to go ceramic, but I still didn't want to spend 1k. After some research I settled on a Vision Classic B.

 

(I ended up selling this Akorn on Craigslist...surprisingly a former co-worker bought it, but I didn't who it was until he came to pick it up) 

 

I ordered the Vision from Sam's and I was really impressed with it. It included a lot of nice features for a good price.

 

The top vent much larger than the Akorn so I had to make an adapter to use the TTT, but I don't think it ever worked that great.

 

After cooking with Vision, I noticed that it consumed more charcoal to the point that on low and slow cooks, I would actually have to reload it with charcoal at about the 9 hr mark.

 

This actually changed how I cooked pork butts and briskets...since I had to reload with charcoal, I would just wrap the meat in foil and cook in direct heat until it an internal temp of around 200.

 

By doing it this way, I could have the meat ready at a specific time which meant no more overnight cooks.

 

Maybe another year went by and I noticed a new Akorn in the box sitting in the garden center at Wal-Mart. It was there at least 6 month, before I decided to ask about it.

 

Without me even asking for a discount, they were willing to sell it to me for 60% off. I couldn't pass on that deal so I bought it

 

I decided to put it together and rotate between the Vision and Akorn to see which one I liked better.

 

The Akorn heated up faster, used less charcoal, and with the TTT, the temp control was very good.

 

After a couple of months I decided to sell the Vision and keep the Akorn...

 

I haven't regretted that decision...I know I will face that same rust issue at some point, but I am fine buying the replacement parts...

 

I know everybody has a different opinion about this grills, but I feel good about cooking anything on my Akorn.

 

 

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Great story! Hang on to the receipt this time!! I just got an Akorn Jr and have enjoyed learning my way around it so far. I figure if it lasts the length of the warranty I will happily spend the money to replace it. So far my only complain is that it is a little small compared to my other "full size" grills. If I had bought it myself I would likely have not gone with the JR, but this one was a Christmas present from my wife.  

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I forgot to mention this part...

 

I was convinced that I had a paper receipt for the first Akron I bought from Lowes and I just couldn't find it.

 

I'm pretty good at keeping receipts, so was shocked that I couldn't find it...

 

Fast forward a couple of years and I had to register my second Akron, so I took pictures of the receipt and kept the warranty confirmation email in a receipts folder in my email.

 

Well I was looking through that receipts folder and I found the Lowes email receipt from my first Akorn...I forgot that I had to actually order it from Lowes...

 

Yep - keep those receipts and emails!

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  • 3 weeks later...

I am on my second Akorn, too. 

 

The first, I  bought even though I was cleared to buy a BGE. I had cooked on BGEs before, and a couple things bothered me, so I bought an Akorn, instead.

 

Unfortunately, I did not also buy a cover for it. It suffered through four winters of near-constant use in Bezosgrad before finally rusting out. 

 

The second I bought in spring 2016. I bought a cover and keep it covered. It has yet to show any signs of rust. 

 

I still believe it to be the overall most efficient and therefore arguably best kamado on the market. 

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  • 3 months later...

I had some similar experiences!!

 

Bought my Akorn in summer 2014.  Used the heck out of it with and without the TTT.  In 2018 my ash pan was rusted out and needed replaced.   In spring 2019 the main body had rusted through.  Several calls to Lowe's and one of their associates located my receipt for my warranty claim!  Akorn replaced the main part of my grill body.  

 

Also in Spring I bought a big ceramic Louisiana from Costco.  Mine is also slower to heat up and for sure consumes more charcoal than my Akorn, but I do find the Louisiana to be easier to control.  Last year I bought a Barbecube and use it for no hassle cooks on both grills.

 

I really prefer my ceramic for longer cooks, and larger cooks (2-3 butts, multiple rib racks, etc), BUT I refuse to give up my Akorn.  Love it for quick grilling, searing steaks, etc.  This spring I replaced my original cast iron grate with a stainless (I do lots of sauce on faster grilling sessions, especially with chicken and pork steaks and the stainless cleans so much easier).

 

I will keep my Akorn going as long as I can and when it finally craps out completely I'll buy another.

 

A note on the rust, mine has really quit rusting since I've been able to keep in our garage at our new house. 

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I always store my Akorn, Jr. with the bottom removed and propped-up upside down by a small piece of wood beneath the grill.  With an old metal coffee can, spray-painted with Rustoleum, sitting over the top (vents open ...), with a smaller wedge of wood beneath one edge of the can.  Air can circulate freely, but water can't get in or accumulate.

 

I first tried a plastic "grill cover," but noticed that moisture accumulated under it and stayed there.

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2 hours ago, MikeRobinson said:

I always store my Akorn, Jr. with the bottom removed

I have always thought this to be a good idea. You have great ideas about inhibiting corrosion. 

I have also considered drilling breathing holes in the bottom of the cooking vessel. These would be sealed when the ash pan is in place but open when it's removed. 

Good Luck 

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  • 1 month later...

All that I can say is that there's not a spot of rust on my Akorn, Jr.  (Nor on my Dad's "Senior.")

 

I guess, also, that "maybe I'm a bit anal-retentive" :) about cleaning the grill up the very next day.  I gather up all the leftover charcoal – which I know absorbs moisture – and put it in a coffee tin for re-use.  Then, I wash the grill inside and out with soap and water, wiping it dry with a cotton towel.  (My storage practices, previously described, ensure that rust-causing moisture has nowhere to hide.)  The entire routine takes all of five minutes.

 

I approached the cast-iron grate exactly as I do my very extensive collection of cast-iron kitchenware, "seasoning" it with canola oil in my kitchen stove and from time-to-time "re-seasoning" it in the same manner.  I use a plastic kitchen scrubber to remove all traces of food residue after every cook.  Sometimes, I put it in the dishwasher, along with the lower grid: proper seasoning is not the slightest bit disturbed by the occasional "bath."

 

So, to this day, the grill pretty much looks exactly as it did when I first took it out of the box, except for the now very well-developed seasoning on the cast iron grate itself.

 

(P.S.: To this day, I am rather astonished that the grates of many Kamado grills are not "cast iron!")

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We just purchased an Akorn at Tractor Supply! We have not yet assembled it .  Regarding Akorn Kamado ash pan rust: I read in these listings to store your ash pan UPSIDE DOWN. I think this prevents rain water from accumulating and to have to be emptied next grill time.  I have also been researching covers and COVERSTORE.COM has a size variety of full coverage Kamado covers which will certainly help prevent rust by covering right after cooling. That being said...
I am wondering if we can grill in our open air breezeway which is undercover.  The directions state to grill 15 ft away from combustible materials. 

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I typically grill with the jr on my covered patio. I've been doing so for a couple years with no smoke stains or any other concerns.  The smoke off a kamado is very minimal once up to temp  and unless I'm cooking pizza the exterior surface never gets much higher than warm to the touch.

 

That said, you don't want to forget and leave the vents open. I accidently got to 700 within just a few minutes after a cook once. Left longer, I'm pretty confident these akorns would burn themselves up.

 

 

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If it’s raining and I am smokin’, then the Akorn sits in the doorway of my garage, just under the overhang and out of the direct rain.  No issues thus far.  No residual smoke smell in the garage.  I have actually watched and the vast majority of the smoke does flow outward.

 

@willys1.  I think if you polled all of the members on this site (anonymously), you’d find we have all accidentally left the vents open once in our career as Guru’s.  Some with worse results than others. LOL

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By "storing the ash pan upside down," immediately removing the charcoal and ash the next day, and thoroughly cleaning everything, I'm preventing anything that would allow moisture to accumulate anywhere.  I maintain the cast-iron grate exactly as I do any of my very-many pieces of cast iron cookware:  using sandpaper to remove any tiny spot of rust and "seasoning" the grate as I've described in another thread.  Nothing ever sticks to the grill. 

 

I have never seen any rust anywhere on the body of the unit, but if I ever did I would immediately zap it with heat-resistant stove paint (inside), or Rustoleum (outside).  But that has never happened in these many years.  It is, literally, "as good as new," and I expect it to just stay that way.

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