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Tip: How I Keep my Akorn (Jr.) As Good as New


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Since the Akorn family of grills use an insulated steel firepot, there is the possibility of rust.

 

I completely avoid this problem by removing the bottom and placing it upside-down beneath the grill, vent slightly open, propped up by a small piece of wood.  A pet-food pan sits loosely over the slightly-open top vent, so that moisture isn't trapped beneath it.  The idea is that air can circulate freely everywhere, but water can't get in, and it will evaporate if it does. The grate lifter is stored inside the firepot.

 

After each cook, next morning I clean and wash the grates using a soft wire brush, remove and store the charcoal that is always left over, discard the ash (removing it from the crevices with a small stick because charcoal and ash will trap moisture), and wipe everything down inside and out with a damp cloth.  Then I store the parts as described above.  The entire ritual takes about five minutes, and years later the grill still looks "good as new."

 

When I bought it, I seasoned the cast-iron grates in my kitchen oven, exactly as I do with my cast-iron skillets.  (Follow the hyperlink for seasoning instructions.)  Nothing sticks to properly seasoned cast iron.  My highest cooking temperature is about 400ºF, so I've never had to re-season.

 

The factory paint coating has never faltered, but if I ever did see rust anywhere, I'd zap it with heat-resistant Rustoleum stove paint after sanding the rust off.

 

I don't cover the grill because my experience has been that moisture becomes trapped beneath the cover.  (When I found mold under there, I got rid of the cover.)

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11 hours ago, MikeRobinson said:

remove and store the charcoal that is always left over, discard the ash (removing it from the crevices with a small stick because charcoal and ash will trap moisture), and wipe everything down inside and out with a damp cloth.  Then I store the parts as described above.  The entire ritual takes about five minutes, and years later the grill still looks "good as new."

 

I agree. A little TLC is wonderful. I covered mine and had no mold issues. I feel that

-in my case-the cover was worth its weight in gold. If one is inclined to use a cover, I would ensure no moisture between the cover and the Akorn. Also make sure the cover has no way to allow moisture through it. It needs to breath as well, and I had good results leaving the bottom open.

 

YMMV on all of this above.

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My experiences with a "cover" might have been unusual – or maybe I just bought the wrong one.   The most important considerations, I think, are "thorough cleaning after use" and "free air circulation."  I am careful to remove all of the ash and charcoal, even from nooks and crannies, and to remove all fat and other food residues, each and every time.  I agree that, if you do use a cover, you should keep the bottom open.  I also think that it's important to remove the bottom and store it upside-down, so that water never has anywhere to linger even if it does get in.  (To me, the removable bottom is a key feature.)

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  • 2 weeks later...
On 5/26/2022 at 6:15 PM, MikeRobinson said:

I completely avoid this problem by removing the bottom and placing it upside-down beneath the grill, vent slightly open, propped up by a small piece of wood.  A pet-food pan sits loosely over the slightly-open top vent, so that moisture isn't trapped beneath it.  The idea is that air can circulate freely everywhere, but water can't get in, and it will evaporate if it does. The grate lifter is stored inside the firepot.

 

After each cook, next morning I clean and wash the grates using a soft wire brush, remove and store the charcoal that is always left over, discard the ash (removing it from the crevices with a small stick because charcoal and ash will trap moisture), and wipe everything down inside and out with a damp cloth.  Then I store the parts as described above.

Brilliant! Your Akorn might last forever! 

I always thought about drilling some vent holes in the bottom of the vessel that would be sealed when the ash pan is replaced but open when it's removed. Hopefully, moisture would be prevented from collecting in the vessel. 

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I really can't guess why you would want to "drill holes" or where you think that moisture might collect.  I rely upon the factory paint coating – which has never failed – to keep rain from affecting the exterior, including the upside-down bottom section.  Then, I prevent water from entering, or if it does, from staying in, the interior vessel.

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Easy answer : Don't use it . Reality when cool remove all ash from the ash pan and remove it  ( ashes will attract  moisture and produce acid this is from the Akorn people) keep covered and clean frequently. Charcoal is brutal on grills. 

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And that's exactly what I do.  The ash is cleaned out of everything, everywhere, every time.  By now I know every place where it likes to hide.  When I store it away, there is no ash, no grease, no residues, and no place for water to go.

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Or . . . . . . . . . just move to Nevada. The home of single digit humidity. Nothing rusts. :)

 

Seriously, I do all of the above for both my Akorn and Akorn Jr.. I guess the only reason I have a cover on them is to keep the brutal sun from fading the beautiful paint scheme that Char-Griller places on them. :roll:

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@NVRider: Used to live in Scottsdale, Arizona, so I know exactly what you mean.  There are more clouds here in Georgia, and my property has many hundred(?)-year-old shade trees.  And of course, it rains more often.

 

@Asim: No, I do not use any kind of fan or controller, because I have never felt the need for one.  I have found – somewhat to my amazement – that I can simply ignore it.  I set the temperature and it just stays there for hours, without any intervention from me. And there's always charcoal left over at the end of the night.  Of course I monitor what is happening at regular intervals, using the device in my shirt pocket, but I find that I usually don't have to intervene. (Other than the slightest adjustment of some vent ... maybe.)

 

Now, having said that, my cooking practices are quite ordinary.  Functionally, my kamado acts as a charcoal-fired convection oven that can also do "smoke."  I'm running the thing steady at about 300-350ºF.  (If I want "sear," I do it in a cast-iron skillet on my kitchen stove ahead of time.)  I get it there and park it there and it just stays there!  I guess it's magic. :)  I certainly never had "a charcoal grill" which behaved like this before – and I'll never go back.  (My "Smokey Joe" was very quickly consigned to a "redneck yard sale," and I hope that the anonymous neighbor who picked it up from the end of my driveway fully enjoys it ...)

 

The "kamado" process (and my $35 external-reading [wireless] food thermometer from Home Depot...) gives me the one thing that I never before had: repeatable precisionExactly like your kitchen oven, but much more versatile. "Okay, you want rare, you want medium rare, you want medium and you want well-done (poor thing).  Coming right up!"  I don't have to ask any of them if their food is as they like it, because I already know. The kamado gives me a predictable outcome, and(!) leftover charcoal. I've never seen anything like it before, but I love it.

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