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Q-talk *ON TOPIC ONLY* QUALITY ON TOPIC discussion of Backyard BBQ, grilling, Equipment and just outdoor cookin' in general, hints, tips, tricks & techniques, success, failures... but stay on topic. And watch for that hijacking.


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Unread 03-17-2012, 08:03 PM   #346
cropduster
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First off, thanks JM for truly informative videos and great insight into how to cook with these great CGKK.
OK, I bought mine from a different source right before Christmas. I got mine from a place called Hayneedle.com. Paid $319 delivered but there was a small dent in the lid so they knocked $40 off....so $280. There were almost know reviews or any information I could find out about this thing when I got mine. It just seemed way more practical then a BGE for my needs and I couldn't have bought a BSK if I wanted too as there were none to be bought in December.
I did some of the mods that you guys have discussed with the high temp rtv silicone and a heavier duty spring and stainless washer and locknut for the daisywheel/top damper. I bought the Weber grate too.The good news is the top damper does gunk up a bit which helps to seal it better. Mine is a newer version then the Menards Big Red but not as new as the Lowes version. The differences are:
Wooden slat shelves not metal
Wooden lid handle not composite
No Chargriller logo cast into the center CI grate
No Chargiller logo stamped into the bottom shelf
Not called Akorn
different color-mine is a black/gunmetal grey not jet black
Stainless top damper with printed numbers not a cast damper with stamped cast numbers

I believe this product is a game changer for several reasons;
1. Price- You can tout BGEs and BSKs all you want but they cost hundreds more...hundreds that most folk can put into lump, meat, gas, another Akorn, whatever. I cannot practically see what either one does better then this CGK.
2. All the reasons stated on the box you guys that got it from Lowes have.
3. Perhaps most importantly, you can see a very short reaction period on Char-Grillers part to issues and what works and what doesn't. This thing has been around for a maybe a year and they have made continuous improvements and likely will make more. The top damper, the shelf materials, the gasket(the originals used felt I believe)material. I wouldn't be surprised if the next improvements were a gasket or better functioning lower damper may made from CI like the top dampers on your Lowes Akorns.


Have not done a low and slow yet. I have done quite a few spatchcock chickens and they are fantastic each time.
This BBQ Brethren thread is great. There is an element on the BSK forum that craps on these cookers. I chalk that up to buyers remorse on their part. They spent hundreds more and have to talk themselves into believing they have a much better cooker. I wish them the best with that.
I picked up the cover at Lowe's for the $25 and it's good quality, heavier duty vinyl with the Akorn name printed on it.
I'm looking forward to continued input from the rest of you Akorn brothers of the cloth.

Last edited by cropduster; 03-17-2012 at 08:20 PM..
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Unread 03-18-2012, 06:46 PM   #347
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Went by Menards because I like the red color. They have last years and this years in the shelf. The older boxes show the old style top vent (silver) and new boxes show the black top vent. Both had wood side shelfs. The floor model (Older Style) had only 2 flanges in the fire ring.

Good looking unit. Glad I came across this thread. Gonna pick one up tomorrow.
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Unread 03-18-2012, 07:34 PM   #348
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I picked up the Menards version (newer one) two weeks ago. Last weekend I did some pulled pork, this weekend some fatties! It was my first time smokin' fatties and I think they were great (as did my neighbour).

I really like this grill!



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Unread 03-18-2012, 10:10 PM   #349
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Picked up an Akorn yesterday - so far so good!

I'm coming from a cheap char-broil offset that I've had for a few years - and this is a massive improvement. It gets hot very fast and held 400 with no effort, although if you use too much charcoal off the bat you might have trouble keeping a low temp without snuffing it.

I decided to cook a rib-eye on the first go, letting it get up to what I imagine was about 650 (Maverick tops out at 572). The steak came out perfect. Here's a pic:

http://a.yfrog.com/img878/3624/heblm.jpg

As suggested, the thermometer was off by 30-40% in the first run. With the vents closed down and a bit of wood burning I did have some smoke leaking out of the gasket on the dome, but no where else.

My biggest complaint? They put a sticker on the inside of the dome - and it doesn't come off easily. Seems like a silly thing to complain about, but they got some many other things right, it's an odd mistake.

Looking forward to some smoking.
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Unread 03-19-2012, 09:52 AM   #350
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One challenge I'm facing with my Akron since I got it back in Dec. is how much lump to use. I'm still in a pilot phase with that. I started out using Cowboy but have switched to Royal Oak as it is now readily available and quite bit cheaper. I decided to try and contain the lump and at the same time portion control it. To do this, I bought a galvanized steel furnace duct size reducer from Home Depot for about $6 or $7. I fill my chimney with lump with a weber starter cube and add few more chunks into the reducer depending on what I'm cooking. Now I know some purists will say that the zinc is poisonous etc... but I checked it out with a metallurgist Phd. guy and he said that's pure BS. Since it sits about an inch higher then the diffuser grate tabs, the diffuser grate has to sit on top of the reducer when I use it, but that works just fine. I believe the Phd guy not the self-proclaimed purist on this one.
How much lump are you guys using for example to cook a 6-7lb. chicken?
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Unread 03-19-2012, 10:47 AM   #351
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I had the same basic idea, but make a bottomless circle of expanded metal like a Uds basket to use to get plenty of air to get to the coals, but also to keep the metal around the basket free from the direct coals. Perhaps extending the life of the smoker? Make sense or not?
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Unread 03-19-2012, 10:56 AM   #352
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Quote:
Originally Posted by retired trucker View Post
I had the same basic idea, but make a bottomless circle of expanded metal like a Uds basket to use to get plenty of air to get to the coals, but also to keep the metal around the basket free from the direct coals. Perhaps extending the life of the smoker? Make sense or not?
I'm trying to make a mental image. I don't think I have a full picture of what you are describing though.
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Unread 03-19-2012, 11:16 AM   #353
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cropduster View Post
I'm trying to make a mental image. I don't think I have a full picture of what you are describing though.
Just take a piece of expanded metal and make a cylinder out of it without a bottom and set in down on top of the fire grate. Put your lump into it and fire it up.
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Unread 03-19-2012, 11:35 AM   #354
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Quote:
Originally Posted by retired trucker View Post
Just take a piece of expanded metal and make a cylinder out of it without a bottom and set in down on top of the fire grate. Put your lump into it and fire it up.
OK...now I got it. Yeah, that would work even better beacuse you can customize the size and/or have more then one depending on the cook.
Aside from having to make cut it and put it together, it's a better idea actually.
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Unread 03-19-2012, 11:42 AM   #355
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If you get the thin stuff from Home Depot or Lowes, you can cut it with a good pair of metal snips.
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Unread 03-19-2012, 11:59 AM   #356
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Quote:
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If you get the thin stuff from Home Depot or Lowes, you can cut it with a good pair of metal snips.
Is expanded metal galvanized?
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Unread 03-19-2012, 12:17 PM   #357
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No, it is heat tempered steel. My Uds basket (my second one) is made from the thinner metal. My first one was the thick #9 stuff and was framed from angle iron and was just too heavy to lift out full of charcoal for me. (I have injured shoulder's) so I had a lighter one made. Works as good as the heavy one.
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Unread 03-19-2012, 12:24 PM   #358
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Thanks. Good idea and good info. I think will take the measurements and buy some along with some stainless machine screws,nuts and fender washers and make one. I will use the thinner gauge stuff if they have it. I have a few pairs of metal sheers.

I'll post the final product after I do it...gotta paint the dining room first to keep my wife happy though!
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Unread 03-19-2012, 12:49 PM   #359
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So what is the consensus on this product? Seems like it's pretty good based on 24 pages of comments

Is it as good as a big green egg (or other ceramic) or a big steel keg? Or is it just another good cooker to add to my collection.
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Unread 03-19-2012, 01:02 PM   #360
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Quote:
Originally Posted by retired trucker View Post
Just take a piece of expanded metal and make a cylinder out of it without a bottom and set in down on top of the fire grate. Put your lump into it and fire it up.

I've made one of these out of expanded metal for my keg. I also used stainless hardware to fasten it together, however I'm going to work on a 2nd one soon and going to try to use stainless zip ties instead of bolts and washers. The biggest benefit IMO is keeping the lump closer together for more consistent burns, however the lump should be packed fairly tight. You won't be able to make different sizes, because you have limited room to work with, too tall and your diffuser will be sitting right on top of it. Too wide and you might not as well even use one.
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