You folks weren't kidding!!! I picked up the Akorn on Friday and cured it Friday night. I made my first mistake and didn't let the coals completely light before sealing it and opening the vents. after it took an hour to climb to 80 degrees, I opened the lid and waited a few minutes, then I saw the beast unleash!. I sealed the top and watched it climb to 600 real quick. I seasoned it at the high temperature for about an hour before I started playing with some different things. mainly vent control and dome thermometer accuracy. A "dry run" if you will on my new cooker before I attempted a 10 lb shoulder.
By the time Saturday morning rolled around, I lit the grill with confidence. I loaded it with a few pounds of Cowboy lump (best I can find) and 2 splits, one pecan and one hickory.
Once I was confident enough of the fuel was lit, i closed the lid and opened vents all the way. When the temp rose to about 200 according to my Maverick Et-73 (not dome Thermometer) I closed vents all the way to stall the rise. It stopped rising at about 276. I knew I would lose some residual heat when i put the meat on, so I decided to put it on at that temperature. sure enough, I lost about 60 degrees when I opened the lid and put the shoulder on.
Finally, I opened the top and bottom a hair and had no problem maintaining temps between 230-260 for 11 hour cook. Very minimal adjustments and those vents are touchy. In that time, I was confident enough to go to my daughter's basketball game, take my family and friend out to eat and run various errands in prep for my bbq the next day.
I only opened the dome once during cooking and that was to flip the shoulder. I cooked on the warming rack with a dollar tree foil pan punched with pin holes acting as a heat diffuser.
I went with the standard Akorn. Couldn't find the new performer style and I think I prefer the mobility of the older model.
I grilled some chicken breasts for dinner the next day and a small 4 lb brisket is on the menu for Thursday.
Thanks to all the brethren for invaluable feedback in helping me make this decision. Next up, on the lookout for a weber kettle.
Last edited by BBQdisciple; 02-05-2013 at 02:37 PM..
Reason: my days of week were off again