Originally Posted by MidNightBBQ
Hi folks, this is my first post here in the forum. I was going to start out asking the ins-and-outs of the Char-Griller kookers before I purchased one, but there was a delay in approving my membership to the forum. Meanwhile I called around to local Lowes, Home Depot and Menards and found the LAST Char-Griller Akorn in stock anywhere (in my area) at Menards, so I had them hold it and I ran out and grabbed it. $299 with an 11% mail in rebate, pretty good on the price!
I got the red one, I assume its a newer model, has the cast top damper, I'm wondering what else I should look for to tell if its a newer or older model, and what might need to be tweaked a bit if this isn't the latest version?
I JUST got it assembled, took a break to post this and have a moment of "meditation" and now I am going out to light the first fire and season the cast iron grill with Crisco. (I did watch most of JMSetzlers most excellent videos on YouTube last night)
Any tips you guys have for an Akorn newb I would appreciate it...
Fill it up to just below where the smokin' stone holders are with charcoal. I use weber cubes you can use whatever you like but cubes work great for me. Break or cute a cube in half. Make sure your charcoal is in a pyramid shape. Take the top off and add the half-cube light it and replace a couple bits of lump on it.
Wait for about 10 mins or so for the few pecies to light well. Close the lid and adjust vents to get desired tempature. It will take a while to get hotter than 200-250 with this method. (1/2 hour - 3/4 hour to get to 225-250). This is the point where I toss on smoking chunks.
If you are shooting for a quick 400-600 degree cook then light a cube at the bottom and be careful about your vents. It will heat up like a chimney starter. With a quicker cook I tend to not have as much coal in the cooker. More air will be more efficent getting to the coals to keep the heat up.
If I am smoking chicken/turkey at 350-375 I use a full cube and bury it a bit deeper in the cooker than normal 225-275 smoking. I also add the chicken at about 325. There will be a rush of air and that will cause the heat to spike to 350-375 and then I shut the vents down a bit it will be right abour 330 then I goose the vents to 350-375...
When you add a heavy diffusor it changes how it comes up to temp. My Acadamy 14" griddle really makes getting to the right temp a bit more of a chore. You fight because the temps are slower than the norm, you open the vents to heat it up a little that chunk of cast iron will slow the temp changes when making small adjustments. And if you open the lid the iron will convert that extra heat into a longer temp spike that vents can't immeditely control. Because cast iron can hold a lot of heat.
Once you get it down the Akorn will be the best cooker you could spend 300$ on.