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From other posts on here I know a lot of guys love cast iron grates. For how often I cook, I find the cast iron grates heavy, no added value to the cook, harder to clean than S.S. It blocks more area of the skin/fat etc from getting a better char. For me I just prefer to not have cast iron. A majority of my past smokers came with cast iron grates and I stuck with them for many years, then just decided it is easy enough to make my own grates if I can not buy em and this makes using what ever smoker I have just that much easier to use for me. No special tools to lift the grates, If they do fall they do not shatter, doesn't take 2 hands to lift and move. ( I have arthritis in both hands).

I think cast iron is great , for the stovetop. I plan on enough high heat cooks I would not be able to keep then seasoned. For something that will sit outside, I prefer stainless steel.

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Just an update, making the larger 17 inch grate into a swing grate can be done, but in order to be able to swing it completely out of the way, the pivot tube/pivot point ends up being kind of in the way. I would have to have the pivot tube and main grate with pivot hole around 90 degrees from front/center or it doesn't swing out of the way far enough for full access of the main grate. So, I'll end up just adding some handles and leave the carriage bolts for legs in place. I could go 1 inch smaller in diameter of grate, but that cuts down the grate to almost the 15 in of the original swing grate. For those that wanted to know.

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I prefer the ease of the swing grate,  I'm thinking about make this one into a swing grate also for the larger cooks.

 

I was thinking with the standard CI grate, you could have the stock upper swing grate, and a larger middle as well. I just bought a MIG setup, much to learn but I want to recreate your CI replacement ASAP!

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Not sure you can get the 17inch "middle grate" in with also using the original swing grate and close the lid. Now if you want to cut out a small section from the 17 inch you can absolutely use both. Just depends on what you want/require. You can make your own middle grate from expanded metal and 1/8X1/2X4ft metal from HD and then use your welder. But the cost is a bit more than just buying the weber grate in my area.  Any questions just ask.

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I don't plan on cooking that much, it was just a thought. I've got some stacking racks - like bakers cooling racks but with legs that fold out and put about 2" between each rack. I use them primarily for making jerky in an oven (just with the light on, and a fan inside - works like a charm!) I could easily stack two on top of the main grate, and I think the swing grate would fit as well.

 

Hmm.. what's the *lowest* temp you can maintain in the Akorn? If I could get down to about 150, I could make some *awesome* jerky in it..

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I can hold 180 no problem for around 4 hrs, then I have to be watching as it can smolder out real quick. 180 seems to be the number/degrees when using coals are either burning or going out. Now I have never tried using just wood chips alone with minimal coals. But I have thought about using an electric hot plate ( cord running thru the intake opening, easy to do) with wood chips in a aluminum packet with holes in it. I believe I can do most any temp with smoke. I just have not tried it yet. I smoke a lot of salmon for my wife at 180 and it is usually done in 4 hrs and if not if the temp shoots up to fast while I'm trying to maintain 180 I can quickly close down the Acorn and the salmon is done at that point. I do not believe I could get temps like that without my intake mod. The original intake opening/slider does not allow the fine adjustments and a more open top vent to work for my requirements. I also prefer to see what opening I'm setting. I can dial this right down with ease. This semi closed opening gets me to 325 degrees on average. And full open still works great for searing.

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I can hold 180 no problem for around 4 hrs, then I have to be watching as it can smolder out real quick. 180 seems to be the number/degrees when using coals are either burning or going out. Now I have never tried using just wood chips alone with minimal coals. But I have thought about using an electric hot plate ( cord running thru the intake opening, easy to do) with wood chips in a aluminum packet with holes in it. I believe I can do most any temp with smoke. I just have not tried it yet. I smoke a lot of salmon for my wife at 180 and it is usually done in 4 hrs and if not if the temp shoots up to fast while I'm trying to maintain 180 I can quickly close down the Acorn and the salmon is done at that point. I do not believe I could get temps like that without my intake mod. The original intake opening/slider does not allow the fine adjustments and a more open top vent to work for my requirements. I also prefer to see what opening I'm setting. I can dial this right down with ease. This semi closed opening gets me to 325 degrees on average. And full open still works great for searing.

sjf8.jpg

r35a.jpg

What do you think?

 

http://www.cabelas.com/product/Camping/Outdoor-Cooking/Smokers-Accessories|/pc/104795280/c/104754780/sc/104582880/Smoker-Electric-Converter/734414.uts?destination=%2Fcatalog%2Fbrowse%2Fsmokers-accessories%2F_%2FN-1100709%2FNs-CATEGORY_SEQ_104582880&WTz_l=Unknown%3Bcat104582880

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My plan was a cheap electric ( probably from salvation army) hot plate, what you posted would probably work but I don't see how to control the temp with that one. I'd still use a drip pan etc above it. With how well insulated the Acorn is, I think it would work great for smoking fish and or jerky at 120-150 degrees. Just another experiment to try.

As far as fire and brimstone, if this works it would just add another plus to any Kamado for those that like to cold/colder smoke stuff. I think doing this would make some awesome jerky and smoked fish. I'm just waiting on the piles of snow to go away and the weather to warm up.

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My plan was a cheap electric ( probably from salvation army) hot plate, what you posted would probably work but I don't see how to control the temp with that one. I'd still use a drip pan etc above it. With how well insulated the Acorn is, I think it would work great for smoking fish and or jerky at 120-150 degrees. Just another experiment to try.

As far as fire and brimstone, if this works it would just add another plus to any Kamado for those that like to cold/colder smoke stuff. I think doing this would make some awesome jerky and smoked fish. I'm just waiting on the piles of snow to go away and the weather to warm up.

Fair enough, sometimes my sarcasm get ahead of my brain and filter. Have you looks at the amazing pellet smoking supplies for cold smoking?

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My first Kamado was home made & built out of two large clay flower pots and used a hot plate for the heat source. If you use a hot plate you need to open it up and bend the the bi-metal thermostat wider so it will not close and turn off the system. You can control the heat adding an extension cord. The longer the cord (due to line loss) the lower temp. Or you can use a "Router Speed controller".

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