I love this thing. No complaints.
AKORN Kamado Kooker Grill with Cart
Pros: Dual Racks for more cooking area, Cast Iron main grate, low-and-slow to screaming hot achievable, HUGE side table for foiling, Lower cost than ceramic
Cons: Stock unit leaks air, The leaks make temperature control tough until fixed, Steel and Not Ceramic, Average build quality.
The CharGriller King-Kamado Akorn is an insulated steel egg with a large side table on a cart. The manual states triple insulated. It is unspeakable efficient with it's coal consumption. This statement is coming from someone who owns a Mini-WSM and a WSM-14.5. Once the unit is properly sealed, temperature control becomes much easier. The last three photos show areas which require sealing. An optional port for the Pitmaster IQ-120 is shown in some of the pictures. The removable ash tray makes it much easier to remove the ash after a smoking session. However, the ash tray is the area which requires the most elements to be sealed. The slide damper on the ash box needs to be removed and sealed. The new units have some black silicon around the slide valve, but on mine, it was not a good continuous seal. The flat top portion of the ash tray is spot welded every inch and a half to the round portion of the ash tray. There can be gaps which require high temperature silicone sealant, and high temperature foil rolled over the edge to ensure no leaks occur at the seam where the two metal pieces are joined. Lastly, Nomex gasket tape needs to be applied to the mating surface where the ash pan joins the main body to tighten that seal as well. Some people make adjustments on the latches to increase the crush on the existing gasket. Finally, Nomex gasket needs to be applied to the top of the main body, where the lid comes down to improve that seal as well. Once you have put in the sweat equity to fix all these leaks, the unit is excellent.
The cast Iron grate is very sturdy, and has a removable center section to drop wood chunks into coals as needed. The older units still say "CharGriller" on the center piece, newer units are just straight bars. The unit also comes with a cast-iron grate remover, for handling it when it is hot. The second "warming" grate is relatively light weight, but would have no problem holding a 8 pound chunk of meat. The latch for the lid is there for safety measures, but does not pull the lid down tight. The lid on mine fits a bit crooked, and needs to be pulled to the left about a quarter inch to be centered upon the base. Many people (in other forums), have commented the instructions for assembling the table section are a bit unclear; I tend to agree.
The sealed unit will cruise at 225 in excess of 20 hours on a single load of lump charcoal, and require few adjustments. The dampers can be opened part way up to achieve a screaming 700 degrees for a brutal sear on a steak. Pizza off the grill looks and tastes just like it was cooked in a wood-fired brick oven, crispy crust with the cheese nicely caramelized. The main grill surface is 19.75 inches across. The second warming level is 13 inches across. A 13 inch pizza stone rests snugly in the upper rack. A 15 inch stone fits with plenty of spare room on the lower rack, with the upper rack in place.
The "smoking stone", a $40 option is a good item to have. I realize many users have come up with other options to avoid the expense (or difficulty to find), but it is 5/8ths of an inch thick, heavy and substantial. The stone can be ordered online from a variety of sources. Mine came from Home Depot, and was ordered the same time as the Akorn.
Final analysis. After the work sealing the Akorn, it is an excellent unit. Some people claim they did not have to seal their unit, but do not count on having their luck. Based upon what damper settings some owners say they use in the forums, it is clear leaks are common. I do not want to give the impression the Akorn is a bad unit, I am very pleased with it now. Some day, when the bottom has rusted out of it (as it has for some users), it will be replaced with another Kamado-style cooker. They are just that good.
|Feature||This item qualifies for free-shipping on Amazon.com!|
|Title||AKORN Kamado Kooker Grill with Cart|
|ProductGroup||Lawn & Patio|
|Package Weight||120 pounds|
|UPCList - UPCListElement||789792065205|