PDA

View Full Version : The Smoke Ninja Challenge


ebijack
02-14-2015, 12:18 PM
Well I picked up my loaned out modified Acorn today and delivered to Smoke Ninja. 16 degrees out right now, winds in the 20+ MPH range and gusting, wind chills around -20 and dropping to low single digits /-35 tonight.
I found the guy I loaned my Acorn to, did NOT take care of it. The ash pan completely full of ash and solid like a rock. My grill grate I made was all rusty and the swing grate wouldn't move.
So anyway, with temps being in the below zero readings for the weekend, Smoke Ninja is going to try smoking some meat! After burning off all the crud, rust etc and dumping the full ash pan. I recommended he run what coals are in the coal basket at max temp before doing anything.
Your mission: see if you are able to work the Acorn without much trouble and how you like the Acorn.
Good luck :twitch:
And we want photos! :biggrin1:

CharredApron
02-14-2015, 12:25 PM
Can't wait, I love frozen acorns

Smoke Dawg
02-14-2015, 12:36 PM
50 Shades of Ninja!

Mike Twangzer
02-14-2015, 01:14 PM
That's a challenge waiting to happen !!!

smoke ninja
02-14-2015, 01:46 PM
I gladly accept. Tomorrow's temps are expected to be -30 wind chill. I'll see how she fairs. I'm thinking ribs. It's never too cold to Q.

Moose
02-14-2015, 02:01 PM
:pop2:

dadsr4
02-14-2015, 03:17 PM
Good luck. I'm cooking a chicken indoors for the first time in a lot of years. The winds are blowing the snow sideways and rocking the kettle. My wife is baking, so the oven is on anyways.

Decoy205
02-14-2015, 03:40 PM
I'm curious how you dig the Akorn. It's on my short list for a new cooker. I know there were some mods done to this one. I love ribs so I'm looking forward to this.

AClarke44
02-14-2015, 04:42 PM
I'm curious how you like the Akorn too. I may just be dumb, but I cant get mine to make any low and slow (smoked) food taste very good at all. Mine is on probation right now. Meaning it may end up on Craigslist soon. :biggrin1: Only thing making me wanna keep it is it's wonderful on a really cold/windy day if I wanna through on some steaks, burgers, or whatever that I can cook at 400 or higher. But man once the temps get going on that thing.....watch out! It'll just keep going and going and going.....

ebijack
02-14-2015, 05:33 PM
The challenge really is can Smoke Ninja use the Acorn with only a 5 minute run down on how to use it and in 0 temps, 25 to 35 MPH, real feel temps down to -35 degrees. I believe he can. The last guy was able to control it without a problem, just not in these terrible conditions (wimp) :mrgreen:. I sure wish that guy would have taken care of the Acorn. Would have made it a lot easier on Smoke Ninja just to start off.
But Steve did bring this on himself as he has requested using it to see if he really wants an Acorn. So the best of luck. I hope he likes it! And hope it works as well for him as it has for me. We might have to do a deal/trade on his small stick burner he got from Buttburner, if he really likes the Acorn. Ya never know :biggrin1: I'm always open to learn (and modify if required) another smoker. I think I can make room for it.

AClarke44
02-14-2015, 05:41 PM
:biggrin1:The challenge really is can Smoke Ninja use the Acorn with only a 5 minute run down on how to use it and in 0 temps, 25 to 35 MPH, real feel temps down to -35 degrees. I believe he can. The last guy was able to control it without a problem, just not in these terrible conditions (wimp) :mrgreen:. I sure wish that guy would have taken care of the Acorn. Would have made it a lot easier on Smoke Ninja just to start off.
But Steve did bring this on himself as he has requested using it to see if he really wants an Acorn. So the best of luck. I hope he likes it! And hope it works as well for him as it has for me. We might have to do a deal/trade on his small stick burner he got from Buttburner, if he really likes the Acorn. Ya never know :biggrin1: I'm always open to learn (and modify if required) another smoker. I think I can make room for it.

I'm putting my money on Ninja....after all he is a Ninja!

Too bad he doesn't live closer, I'd think about selling him my Akorn if he really liked it. Akorn, smoke stone and cover for a good price.....probably half what it would all cost new......and its only about 6 months old too...

smoke ninja
02-14-2015, 06:49 PM
Well the hard part is done, all cleaned and ready for tomorrow. Bring it on!

smoke ninja
02-14-2015, 06:52 PM
Oh and you'll have to pry that ok joe from my cold dead hands, I love it. Who know with tomorrow's temps it may just happen.

Fwismoker
02-14-2015, 07:59 PM
I gladly accept. Tomorrow's temps are expected to be -30 wind chill. I'll see how she fairs. I'm thinking ribs. It's never too cold to Q. I'll be with you brother ninja son...my TD cook it'll be minus 5 with UN godly wind chills.

SmittyJonz
02-14-2015, 08:19 PM
It'll be Windy but Warm 68* here tomorrow.........:mrgreen:

smoke ninja
02-14-2015, 08:32 PM
I'll be with you brother ninja son...my TD cook it'll be minus 5 with UN godly wind chills.

Well I'm sure there's room in the akorn for some dune spuds.

Fwismoker
02-14-2015, 08:51 PM
Well I'm sure there's room in the akorn for some dune spuds.
Just for that I get a free shot with a snow ball.:razz:

Check that...the snow's too cold to pack, it just squeaks! Lol

dadsr4
02-15-2015, 01:07 PM
Shouldn't there be some action by now? If he waits much longer, it will be grilling, not smoking.

tish
02-15-2015, 01:31 PM
I'm so sorry you got your Acorn back in that condition, Tom. Maybe should think twice before lending it to that friend again. But on the bright side, lending it to Steve, he gets to find out what he wants to know, and you get a clean Acorn in return. Win/win! :clap2:

ebijack
02-15-2015, 01:36 PM
I'm so sorry you got your Acorn back in that condition, Tom. Maybe should think twice before lending it to that friend again. But on the bright side, lending it to Steve, he gets to find out what he wants to know, and you get a clean Acorn in return. Win/win! :clap2:

Yeah I still have 2 other smokers out on loan. Actually it is the only way I can have so many smokers. I just don't have the room. If Steve does like it, I'm sure we will work something out. It is a great smoker, just not for me. One of my UDS's is supposed to be going out on a long vacation to another friend who wants to learn smoking. ( that opens up room for Ninja's stick burner, after his hands freeze today :biggrin1:)

smoke ninja
02-15-2015, 01:59 PM
Well pit is getting to temp. Actually i waaaay over shot. Getting my first lesson in insulated cookers before the meat is even on. its just about settled in so the meat is going in any minute. Ebi's custom intake was frozen/crudded up from previous user and is giving me some trouble :mad:. Ill get some pics of the intake, his mod is designed to make up for one of the akorns known issues, the super sensitive intake adjustment

Here we go
.

Wolverine
02-15-2015, 01:59 PM
Still waiting for an up date.!!!! Pretty darn cold out, Ninja is brave

Happy Hapgood
02-15-2015, 02:17 PM
Somebody shovel ninja out of the snow!

ebijack
02-15-2015, 02:22 PM
Somebody shovel ninja out of the snow!

I helped him a bit yesterday just to deliver the Acorn. We actually have a bit of sunshine right now! Up to 5 degrees and only a wind chill of -1. Heat wave.

AClarke44
02-15-2015, 02:24 PM
Well pit is getting to temp. Actually i waaaay over shot. Getting my first lesson in insulated cookers before the meat is even on. its just about settled in so the meat is going in any minute. Ebi's custom intake was frozen/crudded up from previous user and is giving me some trouble :mad:. Ill get some pics of the intake, his mod is designed to make up for one of the akorns known issues, the super sensitive intake adjustment

Here we go
.

Tried to warn you yesterday about how those Temps just keep going. I'm curious to see what happens when you open the lid to put the meat on. Don't keep it open for more than a few seconds. I tried making moinks on mine, adding those one at a time my Temps shot up 100 degrees because it took me about 1 min to get them all in. I managed to get the Temps back down but it was a pain. Don't be looking very often or again she'll get all hot and bothered on you! :biggrin1:

I may have missed it, but what are you going to cook?

smoke ninja
02-15-2015, 02:37 PM
Yea it was brutal this morning.

http://i1121.photobucket.com/albums/l520/smokeninjabbq/Screenshot_2015-02-15-08-07-23_zpsnl9thvwd.png (http://s1121.photobucket.com/user/smokeninjabbq/media/Screenshot_2015-02-15-08-07-23_zpsnl9thvwd.png.html)

A sunny day in February means it gonna be cold. Temps have climbed to a balmy -10 real feel.

On the menu is ribs, a fatty, and maybe a throwdown surprise. http://i1121.photobucket.com/albums/l520/smokeninjabbq/Ribs/20150215_130319_zpskoiyedra.jpg (http://s1121.photobucket.com/user/smokeninjabbq/media/Ribs/20150215_130319_zpskoiyedra.jpg.html)

Here's the charcoal basket loaded up, we'll see how much fuel she burns.

http://i1121.photobucket.com/albums/l520/smokeninjabbq/20150215_123217_zpsr3ymsh9w.jpg (http://s1121.photobucket.com/user/smokeninjabbq/media/20150215_123217_zpsr3ymsh9w.jpg.html)

Here's the modded intake, after this cook I'll take it apart and clean it up.

http://i1121.photobucket.com/albums/l520/smokeninjabbq/20150215_140218_zpsk1qexmwz.jpg (http://s1121.photobucket.com/user/smokeninjabbq/media/20150215_140218_zpsk1qexmwz.jpg.html)
http://i1121.photobucket.com/albums/l520/smokeninjabbq/20150215_140226_zpsmqk3pvpx.jpg (http://s1121.photobucket.com/user/smokeninjabbq/media/20150215_140226_zpsmqk3pvpx.jpg.html)

It's designed to make control easier at smoking temps.

AClarke44
02-15-2015, 02:55 PM
Ah! I remember the thread he posted showing how he made that intake!

SmittyJonz
02-15-2015, 03:47 PM
Well?

smoke ninja
02-15-2015, 04:39 PM
Fatty is done.

http://i1121.photobucket.com/albums/l520/smokeninjabbq/20150215_163229_zpsazhqcbzo.jpg (http://s1121.photobucket.com/user/smokeninjabbq/media/20150215_163229_zpsazhqcbzo.jpg.html)

So far so good. Small spike when I took it off. Ribs are humming along nicely.

DetTigersFan
02-15-2015, 05:32 PM
Nice.... You're a brave man Ninja... -15 air temp this morning south of Ann Arbor when I left for work at 6:30... Wind chill was in the -30 neighborhood lol
Those are some nice thick looking spares too... Where did you buy those bad boys?

smoke ninja
02-15-2015, 05:47 PM
Nice.... You're a brave man Ninja... -15 air temp this morning south of Ann Arbor when I left for work at 6:30... Wind chill was in the -30 neighborhood lol
Those are some nice thick looking spares too... Where did you buy those bad boys?

I got them at meijer. I was actually a little disappointed. They seem to be a new brand that they stock now. They previously were trimmed a bit, no breast bone, some of the loose meat on the end, ect. These were totally untrimmed. They also now read "tender and juicy" which i take to mean enhanced. They have that same reddish liquid in the package as tyson brand ribs and ive never liked those.well see though, for $2 lbs they werent a bad deal.


Robs are looking good and the akorn is holding steady.

DetTigersFan
02-15-2015, 05:55 PM
I got them at meijer. I was actually a little disappointed. They seem to be a new brand that they stock now. They previously were trimmed a bit, no breast bone, some of the loose meat on the end, ect. These were totally untrimmed. They also now read "tender and juicy" which i take to mean enhanced. They have that same reddish liquid in the package as tyson brand ribs and ive never liked those.well see though, for $2 lbs they werent a bad deal.


Robs are looking good and the akorn is holding steady.
Yeah man $2 per lb is a pretty good deal in my book... I've never messed with anything enhanced before though. Not sure I want to try them honestly...

AClarke44
02-15-2015, 05:57 PM
Fatty looks good, you even managed to get a slight smoke ring which is fairly difficult in an Akorn.
I'd be interested in your opinion of the flavor of the fatty and the ribs when you are done. Me and my family agree fatties and ribs are much better coming off the OTG.
One more question, what are you using for fuel and smoke?

Thanks for the show I know I'm enjoying it at least! :pop2:

smoke ninja
02-15-2015, 06:25 PM
Fatty looks good, you even managed to get a slight smoke ring which is fairly difficult in an Akorn.
I'd be interested in your opinion of the flavor of the fatty and the ribs when you are done. Me and my family agree fatties and ribs are much better coming off the OTG.
One more question, what are you using for fuel and smoke?

Thanks for the show I know I'm enjoying it at least! :pop2:


The fatty came out good, I'd say about the same as always. I run a pretty clean fire most of the time anyway. Most often there is not much visible smoke coming from any of my cookers. I'm using frontier lump and cherry wood chunks. I used way more wood then on the weber, about 4 or 5 good chunks but I split them down into smaller pieces and mixed it into ebi's charcoal basket. There's a pic of it earlier in the thread.

Ribs are getting close
http://i1121.photobucket.com/albums/l520/smokeninjabbq/Ribs/20150215_180649_zpsvwtl2rh8.jpg (http://s1121.photobucket.com/user/smokeninjabbq/media/Ribs/20150215_180649_zpsvwtl2rh8.jpg.html)

dadsr4
02-15-2015, 06:31 PM
I threw some spares on the kettle in support for you.

toddrhodes
02-15-2015, 06:41 PM
The last rack of spares (trimmed) I got from Meijer weren't that great either Ninja. On the surface they looked good and were pretty well trimmed but the taste was a bit off (wondering if these too were "enhanced") and there was a big line of fat running above the bone but under the muscle and it was not s'good. They looked pretty in pictures though :( Good on you for cooking in this weather!

Decoy205
02-15-2015, 06:55 PM
Go ninja go!!

AClarke44
02-15-2015, 07:01 PM
The fatty came out good, I'd say about the same as always. I run a pretty clean fire most of the time anyway. Most often there is not much visible smoke coming from any of my cookers. I'm using frontier lump and cherry wood chunks. I used way more wood then on the weber, about 4 or 5 good chunks but I split them down into smaller pieces and mixed it into ebi's charcoal basket. There's a pic of it earlier in the thread.

Ribs are getting close
http://i1121.photobucket.com/albums/l520/smokeninjabbq/Ribs/20150215_180649_zpsvwtl2rh8.jpg (http://s1121.photobucket.com/user/smokeninjabbq/media/Ribs/20150215_180649_zpsvwtl2rh8.jpg.html)

I use royal oak in mine. I will agree that the akorn sips fuel. One of the reasons I haven't sold it yet. I like clean fires too but for some reason smoked food just tastes better off the kettle.

smoke ninja
02-15-2015, 07:14 PM
The last rack of spares (trimmed) I got from Meijer weren't that great either Ninja. On the surface they looked good and were pretty well trimmed but the taste was a bit off (wondering if these too were "enhanced") and there was a big line of fat running above the bone but under the muscle and it was not s'good. They looked pretty in pictures though :( Good on you for cooking in this weather!


They are definitely a new brand/packaging. They never said "tender and juicy" before which is code for enhanced usually. i wonder why the change? I believe they are family owned but it's a large company, I think of it as Walmart with a soul. I'm normally happy with their meat and produce. These ribs didn't have the super hammy taste I have experienced from the tyson but they weren't as good as the old ones

ebijack
02-15-2015, 08:00 PM
I use royal oak in mine. I will agree that the akorn sips fuel. One of the reasons I haven't sold it yet. I like clean fires too but for some reason smoked food just tastes better off the kettle.

IMHO you don't get quite as much of a "smokey" taste is due to the extremely little amount of coal and wood that actually get burned thru a cook. One of the reasons I didn't care for the Acorn as much as my other smokers. The food tastes just fine, just not as much smoke flavor. I don't have a problem paying and using more coal and wood to get the flavor profile I'm looking for. And that Acorn uses about a total of 2 hrs worth of coals as when I smoke on my UDS's when I'm smoking for 7 to 8 hrs when smoking for the same amount of time and temp. If that makes sense.

smoke ninja
02-15-2015, 09:02 PM
Well they're done.

http://i1121.photobucket.com/albums/l520/smokeninjabbq/Ribs/20150215_183227_zpsoqk78toa.jpg (http://s1121.photobucket.com/user/smokeninjabbq/media/Ribs/20150215_183227_zpsoqk78toa.jpg.html)http://i1121.photobucket.com/albums/l520/smokeninjabbq/Ribs/20150215_183842_zpsicz0px3c.jpg (http://s1121.photobucket.com/user/smokeninjabbq/media/Ribs/20150215_183842_zpsicz0px3c.jpg.html)http://i1121.photobucket.com/albums/l520/smokeninjabbq/Ribs/20150215_184518_zpsupvzk882.jpg (http://s1121.photobucket.com/user/smokeninjabbq/media/Ribs/20150215_184518_zpsupvzk882.jpg.html)

the verdict: it did well, I'll see later how much fuel I used. As for smoke flavor I had more than enough for me, although I used alot of wood. The ribs were moist, I've heard that as a claim for kamodo style cookers. I'll give it some more use but so far so good

AClarke44
02-15-2015, 09:36 PM
Did you fight with the temperature all day or did it pretty well stay put?

Ribs look great! :eusa_clap

ebijack
02-15-2015, 09:40 PM
Looks like you nailed it! Hope it was an easy cook for you without much tending at all. I await your review of your first smoke on the Acorn. :twitch:

Wickedcajun
02-15-2015, 09:44 PM
This thread was much better to watch then Titanic....:rolleyes: you must be a Master Smoke Ninja!:biggrin1:

Blythewood BBQ'er
02-15-2015, 09:45 PM
Looks great ninja!

Smoke Dawg
02-15-2015, 09:57 PM
Something is wrong with that Acorn - it makes your pictures very wide!


Looks like it worked well for you. I'd eat those ribs right now!

smoke ninja
02-16-2015, 02:04 PM
I went and checked the charcoal basket this morning. It didn't even use a quarter of the load.

http://i1121.photobucket.com/albums/l520/smokeninjabbq/20150215_123217_zpsr3ymsh9_edit_1424111732605_zpsc 5ohzxtj.jpg (http://s1121.photobucket.com/user/smokeninjabbq/media/20150215_123217_zpsr3ymsh9_edit_1424111732605_zpsc 5ohzxtj.jpg.html)http://i1121.photobucket.com/albums/l520/smokeninjabbq/20150216_131357_zpsd4gswy15.jpg (http://s1121.photobucket.com/user/smokeninjabbq/media/20150216_131357_zpsd4gswy15.jpg.html)

Overall I'm impressed. This was the first time I've used a cooker like this. It held temps steady and that's with me opening the lid almost every hour (iI got a tip to close the intake before hand. It needed minor adjustments due to the opening but if I got it settled in I envision this thing running for hours at a consistent temp. I still have to put it through its paces grilling and on a with a longer smoke but so far I like it. It helps that ebijack has done the mods and tweaks. The fire basket, sealing up, and most definitely the modded intake are all additions that improved the performance. As for the smoke flavor it was fine for me. the elusive kamodo smoke ring was there on the fatty and ribs.

I am concerned that it won't preform as well as the weber when cooking multiple things and stuff like reverse sear. On the weber with coals to the side I have multiple heat zones and can jockey food around as needed for searing, indirect, holding, ect, really easily.

AClarke44
02-16-2015, 03:19 PM
Nice review and overall cook, Ninja. I think the mods did help but you also pointed out some things that I found with mine as well when comparing it to the weber. I think the akorn is a good cooker especially if you want to modify it somewhat. I think my problem is I learned on my weber and I'm partial to it and prejudice to other grills. Having said that I'm still not sure I will keep my akorn or not. It still does a great job searing and, like I mentioned and you noticed also, it sips fuel. I've used it a few times in conjunction with my weber where I reverse sear a tri-tip. I do the low temp cook (250-275) on the weber and when the tip is ready for the sear I toss it on the 500 degree akorn. I've also noticed that when it's cold outside it'll still get up to temp just about as fast as a gasser. All that said though, I could sell it and buy stuff for my weber........like maybe a kettle pizza or a Cajun bandit!

Thanks again for the review! :clap:

toddrhodes
02-16-2015, 03:21 PM
Looks great ninja!

Agreed, nicely done!

ebijack
02-16-2015, 03:33 PM
Glad it worked for you! And being your very first smoke on an Acorn! Do you think your Weber could have performed like that in those temps? Once you have more time to use it, you will find you DO have different temps zones. The swing grate runs hotter than the main grate by a few degrees. Also simply lifting out my SS grate and removing the deflector you will have more than enough heat to sear anything you want. Remove/open the slider and you can be grilling at 700+ degrees in just minutes ( Weber can't do those temps). Way faster than most grills. From the photos, it doesn't look like you used much coal at all for the amount of hours you smoked. A few more weeks and you will have mastered the Acorn :biggrin1:

smoke ninja
02-16-2015, 03:58 PM
^^^ the weber would have used more fuel, it wasnt as windy as advertised and thats what makes it less stable but i see the akorn being more stable overall. I know i can get different heat zones and more or less direct fire with adjustments but with the weber they are basically available at the same time with no adjustments. It will just be a matter of learning the tool. Ive been cooking on webers since i was a teenager, long before i did any BBQing, so im probably a little set in my ways. Ya know when your holding a hammer all you see is nails. Ill continue putting it through its paces, learning how it operates and reporting back on my progress.

Mike Twangzer
02-16-2015, 04:05 PM
Yes, very nicely done. the challenge is complete and you have gone from Grasshoppa to Master Smoke Ninja !!!

ebijack
02-16-2015, 04:07 PM
So the challenge was met, beat, slammed and put to bed, and you ended a Winner! :laugh:
Congrats!! :clap2::clap2::clap2::clap2:

Ron_L
02-16-2015, 06:20 PM
I am concerned that it won't preform as well as the weber when cooking multiple things and stuff like reverse sear. On the weber with coals to the side I have multiple heat zones and can jockey food around as needed for searing, indirect, holding, ect, really easily.

You can create indirect and direct zones by using a partial heat shield. I use a half-circle pan and a raised grate in my BGE. Or, you can set it up indirect for the first part of the reverse sear cook, take the steak (or whatever) out, remove the heat shield and open the vents to get to searing temp and then do the sear. It works well, but not as convenient as a kettle.

Wolverine
02-16-2015, 07:06 PM
Great learning thread. Nice job ninja you gave me lots to think about.

smoke ninja
02-27-2015, 11:23 PM
Steak and potatoes on the akorn.

http://i1121.photobucket.com/albums/l520/smokeninjabbq/2015-02-27%2023.00.09_zpsu2uxhp7w.jpg (http://s1121.photobucket.com/user/smokeninjabbq/media/2015-02-27%2023.00.09_zpsu2uxhp7w.jpg.html)

It came out well (I mean it was a good steak, I cooked it to med rare). The deep charcoal basket heated up hot fast. It put a crust on the steak in no time. I pulled the diffuser for the sear. still will take some getting used to. I may try Rons ideal of a half diffuser to give me more heat zones and access to direct fire and indirect at once. still I am impressed overall.

ebijack
02-28-2015, 05:39 AM
You might want to try using a piece of expanded metal bent with about a 3 inch side that will fit 1/2 the 17 inch diffuser grate. That allows you to put coals only on 1/2 the grate and will still lower temp cook on the other side if you don't use bricks. I had one somewhere for that Acorn. Might be gone. How hot did you get the Acorn? I hope you able to get the swing grate to swing and remove easily, if not let me know and I'll get it back to working right.

smoke ninja
02-28-2015, 11:10 AM
Thanks ebi. I plan on a coals divided cook soon, that is a method im most familiar with. Glad to report the swing grate is fully functional and removes just fine. I didnt check the temp for the sear but it was plenty hot, only took about 4 minutes to sear off the steak.