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New Akorn Owner

post #1 of 16
Thread Starter 

So after my last comp this past weekend I realized I needed something better than my grill to do chicken on. I wanted to go with a BGE or Kamado but after doing a bunch of research today I decided its not really worth the money in my opinion. I know they are great but from what I have read the Akorn is fabulous after you do a few mods. I prefer tinkering with my cookers. it makes them one of a kind and you can be proud of making something work just how you want it. So I drove over to Lowes and they had 3 left but 2 were being held. The 3rd was the floor model that had a small ding in the lid (should be able to hammer it out) and a small alignment issue when closing. No after playing with smokers the last few years I knew the alignment would be easy to fix once I adjusted the hinge a little but I didnt let the manager know that. complained that there was a dent and alignment issue was severe that it would cause leaking so he gave me 20% off. The mods I want to do are listed below. Please let me know if you know of any others that are great for this cooker.

 

Remove gaskets and replace with fiberglass ropes.

 

Expanded metal on top of charcoal grate to prevent small pieces of lump from dropping in

 

Grab a heat diffuser. would the large BGE one work. I can get those for cheap.

 

I have seen some mods on the air intake but dont really understand what was done. can anyone explain

 

It looks like the inner porcelain is easily removable. Thought about jamming more insulation in there. You think this would work?

post #2 of 16
Thread Starter 

So I finished up some mods on the Akorn. I replaced gaskets around lid and charcoal pan. I installed BGE gasket around damper door. I am still getting leaks around the bottom even though It fits extremely tight. I fired it up and got it up to 700* just to break it in. The silicone around the gasket turned white and started breaking down. I thought this was rated for higher temps. Also the top part of the porcelain turned white. After it finally cooled this morning the white residue wiped off. The whole time it was running I had a slight chemical smell to it. Anyone have any ideas. I tested the temp gauge that came with it and it is spot on.

 

Here you can see the white ring around the top

post #3 of 16
What silicone did you use? Not all are rated to that temp. Most are rated for short bursts at higher temps, but not longer times. There are a few that go higher, but not sure how food safe they are. Rutland makes one that is food safe for up to 600 degrees.

I am curious to see how this goes. I am looking at getting one of these after the funds return, took a big hit on getting tires for the truck. I have wanted a BGE, but $1200 is not in my budget, but $300 is more manageable.......
post #4 of 16
Thread Starter 

JarJar 

 

I am in the same boat as you. I also need tires for the truck but went with the smoker instead. hoping I dont get a blow out in the next few weeks.

 

I was an idiot and got plain 100% silicone that goes to 400*. I just picked up some rutland 2000* gasket cement for ovens. going to remove the gasket clean it up and re apply tonight. I am still confused on what the white stuff on the top is. once I get it replaced I am going to try and push the temp higher. I used cheap briquettes the first time and I am going to go with lump for the next high heat run. I plan on doing the first smoke on sunday with a whole packer brisket. I have read a lot about people over shooting temps with too much charcoal. I am thinking about fully lighting two large pieces of lump and putting them on top of a few other unlit pieces. let it come up to 225* and close down dampers to the #1 position and hoping it will hold around 250*. anyone have good experience with low temps on these?

post #5 of 16

I have an Acorn that I bought a year ago .Cook on it all the time,right through the winter. I don't bother with the offset ,the MES or the Weber Genesis anymore .Lighting the Acorn with my Harbor Freight heat gun makes things very simple .The other part that is great about the Acorn is it's ability to give you set it and forget it heat stabilization . That is all without doing any Mods. My Acorn was bought off the floor at BJ's (floor model) so you know if it was going to have problems it was a prime candidate .Only time I use my Auber PID is on a long cook ,like a 10 hour brisket . What I am saying is that too many people are too quick to do moding on that grill based on some erroneous reports about the quality of heat control with the Acorn . The only thing I did do was tightened up the latches for the ash pan and the lid .I did it the easy way by wrapping them with aluminum foil and that was all it needed . NO dissembling and bending . The Acorn Is excellent as is. For the money there is nothing that can touch it . You won't overshoot your temps with too much charcoal ,quite the opposite you get better stabilization when filled . Don't believe what you read .Do a test burn for yourself . Light your lump right in the middle of the pile ,and that's all .Let it come to temp slow .Look on Kamado Guru web site .you will see sample top damper settings and all kinds of info about stabilizing the Acorn .


Edited by sctdg35 - 4/25/14 at 5:25pm
post #6 of 16
Thread Starter 

sct. Thanks for the input. On you low and slow cooks how much fuel do you use and how much of it is lit? What do you set the dampers at to maintain your low temp?

post #7 of 16
Not 100% sure what the white stuff is. I have seen some silicone sealants that turn white and get chaulky when they get too hot. Perhaps that is what yours did????

I am going to start leaving the hints with the boss about the Acorn for Father's Day.....
post #8 of 16

When I load the Acorn I'm loading to just below the heat deflector ,probably about 3.5 inches below deflector . You want the Lump charcoal in a volcano shape . Light it with whatever right in the top of the volcano .I use a heat gun,others use those little cubes from weber or the ones that come in a box like stick matches .Lot's of people use a torch .The main thing is to NOT try to get a roaring fire right away . The top and bottom damper can be left about half way open for a few minutes to get things going but don't go more than a few minute before you start closing things down .Main objective is to trim down dampers when you are within about 50 degrees of target temp .No less . For 225 degrees top vent will be open where the little half circles are just about all you have open . Bottom vent will be barely open ,looking at the bottom damper you will probably not be able to see a crack opened.  My suggestion to you would be to put a load of lump in there and play with it .Always remember with any Kamado if you overshoot your temp it is very hard to bring down . They hold heat very well. When I do a brisket and it takes about ten hours I will have about two or three more shorter cooks left on that coal .There are pictures on Kamado Guru website for Damper openings on Acorn . They also have a whole forum dedicated to the Acorn alone .Check it out. A lot of valuable advice .

post #9 of 16
Thread Starter 

Thanks sct. I fired her up this morning at 6:30. I purchased a medium plate setter for a BGE and it just fits in the akorn. Put a moisture pan on top and then the cooking grate. I had a 6# brisket and was planning on going 250-275 because I needed it done quicker. I played around with the temp openings until about 8 to get used to how much it moves. I was able to get it dialed in around 265 and left it there for 4 hours. This is where the mistake happened. I went to pull the brisket to wrap it in foil and left the top open. Went inside to wrap it up nice and tight and when I came back my maverick read 325*. lets just say the oven was turned on for the remainder of the cook. 

 

My next attempt this week is going to be pizza. One question I have though is I see a lot of people using heat deflectors for pizza. I thought you would want as much direct heat on the stone as youc an to keep it nice and hot. Am I wrong?

post #10 of 16

 

lump  charcoal you need to use lump ! heat deflector is a good thing w/ pizza get the pizza as high as you can in the dome ! that way it cooks from top to bottom.

post #11 of 16

Can I get a picture of the top vent setting for 225°F?

post #12 of 16

Third (or fourth) the lump charcoal.

 

Secret to good use is : lump charcoal, don't over shoot your temp when first starting it, don't soak your wood chunks (and use chunks not chips) for smoking.

 

Quick way to light, soak a paper towel in veg. oil and put just underneath the surface of your charcoal. Light that and you're off running without much problem.

Even though I have a BGE I want to get one of these on the cheaper side and play with it. I keep looking but they disappear before they drop in price! I am hoping to set my dad up with it this summer when he moves up to where I live.

post #13 of 16
Thread Starter 
Boxmaster,

Temp is tricky on these things but when u get it figured out they run for a long time. Use the minion method. With 225 you wont need a full chimney. Once you dump coals put deflector in place and close lid. Have top and bottom wide open. Once u get within 75* close both half way. Once u r within 25 close them both so only a small amount of air will get thru. It will settle in ur target temp. If u over shoot by a few degrees throw in a water pan to help stabilize it.
post #14 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by sctdg35 View Post

 

For 225 degrees top vent will be open where the little half circles are just about all you have open . 
 


Do u have a picture of this setting?

post #15 of 16
I bought aweber 22.5" grate and put a pizza stone on it as a diffuser. The grate was on sale at the end of the year at Lowes, and the stone was a Wally world special. Boxmaster, I don't have apic of the setting, but it shoul be half way between closed and the "1" setting on top. I'll try and figure out posting pics.
post #16 of 16

In reply (where i am now inorder to reply) the first box to your left under source   if u run your curser over it it says insert image
 

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