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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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Old 06-19-2013, 07:58 AM   #1
Wandering around with a bag of matchlight, looking for a match.
Join Date: 01-28-12
Location: Fulton, MS
Default $300 18.5 WSM or Char-Griller Akorn

Looking for something I can start cooking on both at home and maybe at backyard events if I ever master cooking. Any thoughts or ideas? Why would you choose the one over the other? Thanks
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Old 06-19-2013, 08:29 AM   #2
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Join Date: 01-16-13
Location: USA

Not OR but AND
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Old 06-19-2013, 08:38 AM   #3
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Join Date: 08-15-12
Location: Irish Hills, MI

IMHO two very different animals really. I own an Akorn in addition to other cookers, but I see it more as a grill/roaster than an all out smoker. I love the Akorn for indirect grilling and reverse-searing, and they're super efficient. People do use them for smoking with the use of a diffuser however, I just have not as I have other dedicated smokers. A WSM (though I've never cooked on one) I see as more of a smoker than the Akorn, and I bet it has more capacity too. I suppose it's all in what you wanna do with it. I'm sure some WSM users will chime in soon.
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Old 06-19-2013, 08:45 AM   #4
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Join Date: 09-26-12
Location: Locust Grove, GA

As J-Rod says, it is not an apples to apples comparison. The WSM is a great smoker that is easy to use and puts out great BBQ. It can be used for direct heat grilling, but it is really not made to do that and is in more hassle that it is worth in this regard. As a smoker, it is easy to control and has more than enough capacity for most things you will want to do. The CG Akorn is much more versatile in more areas because it can do direct heat, indirect heat and low and slow BBQ. I use mine for pizza and have also baked bread in it. The downside is that the Akron does not have the capacity of the WSM when it comes to BBQ.

One thing you did not mention in that price range is a Weber Performer because it also falls in the same price range and can do all things, but is best when used as a grill. It is something to consider, especially if you are new to grilling/BBQ.

It is all about trade-offs.
WSM, 2 -Performers, 2-OTG, SJG mini WSM, Summit 420, Q100, KJ Classic, KJ Jr, and Schwenkgrill
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Old 06-19-2013, 08:49 AM   #5
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Join Date: 05-08-12
Location: Iowa

I've never used an Akorn, but I've had my WSM for over a year now and love it. A lot of us on here have them and use them successfully.

But like the others say, I'm just smoking with it. I haven't, or don't have any desire to "grill" on it
18.5" WSM ; 22" Kettle ; Weber E-330 ; Weber Q200 (for tailgating)
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Old 06-19-2013, 08:50 AM   #6
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Join Date: 05-22-10
Location: Smoky Mountains, NC

If I had to pick one of those, it would be the Akorn, hands-down. the WSM is an absolutely great smoker, but that's all it is. the Akorn is a great smoker, plus a great grill, plus a great pizza oven, plus, well, you get the idea. I have an Akorn, and a whole bunch of other cookers, including upright and trailer smokers, but the Akorn is my favorite for most smoking unless I'm cooking for multitudes of people. Turns out great butts, ribs, chickens, whole turkeys, pizzas, plus anything you'd grill. It's like a dedicated smoker with added kettle powers.
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Old 06-19-2013, 09:57 AM   #7
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Join Date: 08-08-11
Location: Huntington, NY

I am a WSM man, but after seeing the write ups here (look for jmselters) I am convinced the Akorm is the way to start, unless you a looking for just a smoker.

I was with the others who would think that if you had to get just one, the big green egg would be the way to go and after considering the cost of a smoker plus a charcoal grill. The Akorn's prices makes that decision a no brainer.

If you are looking for a smoker, then by all means, get the WSM. But if you want to do grilling and smoking, then get the Akorn.
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Old 06-19-2013, 10:17 AM   #8
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Join Date: 09-02-12
Location: Kentucky

There have been pictures posted of an Akorn with a table attached to it, performer style. This may be the one that pushes me over the edge for the Akorn, an attached table is always handy.
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Old 06-19-2013, 10:21 AM   #9
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Join Date: 10-13-09
Location: Alvin, Texas

+1 for the Acorn. It is just too versatile. Smoke, grill, pizza. It can do it all and do it well. I have a WSM and it certainly has more capacity than the Acorn but if I was going to chose one and only one it would be the Acorn.
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Old 06-19-2013, 10:25 AM   #10
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Join Date: 07-15-09
Location: Memphis, TN...Formerly of Decatur, AL

If versatility is an issue, the Akorn hands down. But, if portability is an issue, the WSM would be easier to move from place to place, plus it has greater capacity. It depends on what your needs are.
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Old 06-19-2013, 11:04 AM   #11
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Join Date: 06-12-13
Location: Northern Michigan

I have no experience with the WSM but love my Akorn.. The versatility as mentioned is great but the majority of my cooks on it are Low and Slow. I would have been extremely happy if the Akorn was only capable of smoking based on its efficiency, ability to peg a temp and stay there as well as the moist cooking environment.

One thing with the Akorn is not all units are perfectly adapted to low and slow from the get go.. Most require a roll of Nomex gasket to get it really sealed up tight. Additionally you must purchase some sort of deflector in which their are many tried and true methods from the weber grate and a pizza pan or stone to the Akorn Smoking stone.. One piece of equipment for the Akorn that I do not think I could do without while smoking is some form of digital thermometer. The supplied thermo is junk for the most part and the whole key to having consistent temp in the Kamado is keeping the lid closed, the remote thermo aids in this. .

I have had my Akorn around a year and I could not be more pleased once I got through the learning curve and have her all sealed up.. I can run the entire BBQ temp range from 300 all the way down to 225 with very minimal babysitting. The Akorn uses barely any lump and is extremely efficient when running low temps.

As to the portability, its not bad. The girlfriend and I easily lift it in the back of the truck. The only problem I see with portability is having adequate time to snuff the fire.. It may lead to disaster if the charcoal was not completely snubbed and you got her going 55mph and had a small air leak.

You are comparing to cookers both capable of turning out great product. You need to look at your stable and identify what you want from a cooker and than make your decision..
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Old 06-19-2013, 11:42 AM   #12
On the road to being a farker
Join Date: 03-15-13
Location: iowa

+1 on the Akorn, after using mine for 7 months my other grills and smokers just gather dust now.I am actually considering buying a couple more and using them at competitions rather than hauling my 275 gallon smoker around next summer.
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Old 06-19-2013, 11:49 AM   #13
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Join Date: 10-22-09
Location: Wilmington, NC

I think all has been covered here except your comment about backyard events. It would be very difficult to pull off ribs, chicken, and pulled pork in an akorn alone. That being said, I have an akorn and would highly recommend it for home use. It can do almost everything.
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Old 06-19-2013, 12:02 PM   #14
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Join Date: 04-12-10
Location: Houston, Texas

I would suggest holding off until after July the 4th for sales on the Akorn. I managed to snag to two last year from Kroger @ $149.00 each.

Last edited by yakdung; 06-19-2013 at 12:23 PM..
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Old 06-19-2013, 12:20 PM   #15
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Join Date: 05-07-10
Location: Twin Cities, MN

I am a huge Weber fan, have been all of my life. I own several Weber grills, including a 18.5 kettle my dad gave me in the 70's when he upgraded to a larger kettle. I still use it at our cabin.

Since I got my Akorn a year and a half ago I haven't touched my other grills. Mainly it's used for my wife and I or small (6-20 people) get togethers. As others have said, it works great for different styles of grilling plus low & slow. I haven't made any mods to mine and have no problems holding 225-250 temps. I think as you use them they "gunk up" and seal themselves.

Also, because of it's design I feel comfortable using it on my wooden deck without fear of an ember starting a fire. I would not use my Webers on a wooden deck.

One thing that doesn't get much mention is that the WSM is very susceptible to wind & somewhat less to cold. We are in a pretty wide open area of Minnesota and I had to build a wind screen to protect the WSM to help keep temps steady. The WSM will eat up a fair amount of charcoal on a cold winter cook. The design and insulation of the Akorn makes it pretty bullet proof when it comes to wind and cold.

If you are going to smoke a lot of meat at a time for groups or a comp, a WSM and a kettle (look for a Performer on CL) might be the way to go. Or you could start with the Akorn and expand from there as you see where you want to go.

If I had to choose between the two right now, it would be the Akorn without question. But I'm gad I don't have to.
WSM, Green stainless Performer, Genesis 3000, 2 18.5" Weber kettles, CG Akorn

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