Suggestions for new grill/smoker replacement

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bstacy1974

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I currently have an Akorn that needs some replacement parts. Rather than investing more into this grill, I'm considering something new.

I'm skeptical of the new temperature controlled grills like the treager and master built gravity charcoal. It gets really cold where I live and I don't think the controller would function at -20F.

I can't go full ceramic, as I have to move my grill around on snow and ice in the winter. The weight would be too much.

I'm considering the new Kamado Joe kettle or the Weber Summit kamado. The Joe has ceramic inserts for heat retention and is much cheaper. The Summit is double wall steel like the Akorn, and slightly larger in diameter.

What say you fellow grill smoking gurus?
 

Mr. Vern

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I agree.

A controller would not be the best option for those conditions. The cold start and warm-up period will likely introduce condensate as water vapor is hard to protect against. NEMA 4 rating or IP65 does not protect against humidity, and even though they charge the proverbial Arm & Leg, they most likely did not invest in that level of protection. Aftermarket is gold to them, and personally I do not like the thought of sawdust pellets.

I love my UDS from OK Joe, that Webber looks bad-ass and they are known for longevity if you care for them. TBH I think quality probably has taken a turn for the worse for all, "they don't make em like they used to" but Webber seems to hold up very well although they have some imported parts these days. I sold them a N2 generator in Washington for laser cutting SS plates and baffles maybe 5-7 years ago.

I guess my vote is for Webber. WSM or Summit they make quality stuff AND they are a US Based company. Same reason why I bought Perlick over Intertap.
 

stealthfixr

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Love, love, love my Grilla Grills Kong, a egg shaped ceramic Kamado type for a lot less than the common brands. Use it 2-3 times a week for three years now--best grilling/smoker I have ever had by a wide margin and more than worth the $799 I paid for it. Perfect size, too, fits a Thanksgiving Turkey no problem.
 
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I currently have an Akorn that needs some replacement parts. Rather than investing more into this grill, I'm considering something new.

I'm skeptical of the new temperature controlled grills like the treager and master built gravity charcoal. It gets really cold where I live and I don't think the controller would function at -20F.

I can't go full ceramic, as I have to move my grill around on snow and ice in the winter. The weight would be too much.

I'm considering the new Kamado Joe kettle or the Weber Summit kamado. The Joe has ceramic inserts for heat retention and is much cheaper. The Summit is double wall steel like the Akorn, and slightly larger in diameter.

What say you fellow grill smoking gurus?
I really wanted to buy that Weber Summit kamado. REALLY wanted to. Looked perfect for me - it was a hollow kamado, which made it lightweight, it was a Weber, it just looked right. But I could not find it anywhere local. Didn't really want to order it without seeing it in person, first. And, there was an odd design change a year or two ago, a renaming, and unsettling unavailability. Anyway, I hope you get it, please let us know how it turns out.

I ended up getting a Traeger, but I doubt that would work well in your cold temps. Works VERY well down here in FL. It has very little insulation like a kamado.

[btw, when I think about Fairbanks, I think about a Johnny Horton song, "When it's springtime in Alaska, It's 40 below"]
 

betarhoalphadelta

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Hmm... I'm a Kamado Joe guy and really think the company does great things, but are you sure a single-walled kettle-style grill will be the best thing as a smoker in -20F conditions? It won't have anywhere near the same heat retention as the Akorn or Summit kamado...

Given the location, I'd say you want to stick to Kamado-style options. They have the versatility of both grilling and smoking very well, especially in cold temps.

If you're looking to keep the price tag down, I'd tell you to buy another Akorn. I think it'll give you more happiness than the Kamado Joe kettle since the kettle isn't insulated. Granted, it may only last 3-5 years, but for the price... Is that really all that bad?

If you want it to last longer, the Weber Summit Kamado will cost a lot more money but it's certainly a company that stands behind their stuff. Just not sure it's worth the cost of three Akorns...
 

stealthfixr

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I should have also mentioned that prior to my Grilla Grills Kong kamado grill & smoker, I had a long line of Weber grills and smokers. My Weber Smokey Mountain bullets never held temps in super cold and/or windy conditions. And, even in the best of conditions, temp stability was so hard to hit & maintain.

While I live in AZ now, I was in northern VA when I bought the Kong. I can verify that down to 15F, it didn't care about ambient temps too much--it would hit any temp I wanted regardless of the wind or ambient temps (to 15F, but I suspect a lot lower would be fine). I use a Looft Lighter Original to light the lump charcoal, and it works every single time. It will get to grilling temps in 15 minutes. For smoking, the temperature stability is amazing. With a temperature controller, like a BBQ Guru DigiQ, it will hold temps within a couple degrees for hours and hours. Smoking sessions at 220F have gone as long as 18 hours without refilling charcoal. I can put on the Thanksgiving turkey the night prior and go to bed, knowing that it will stay rock solid temp wise all night long. It also does a fine job of pizza at 500F on the accessory stoneware. The Kick Ash basket and Ash Catcher cup also make life a lot easier.

No connection to Grilla Grills, just a very happy customer.

Also, for moving it on snow/ice, check out this accessory to the Kong that specifically calls out sand/snow mobility.
 
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bstacy1974

bstacy1974

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Thanks everyone.
I'd love to get a ceramic kamado but I have to pull it in and out of the garage all winter. On hard pack snow and ice, that would be difficult. Not impossible with the right cart however. We have a local BGE dealer and the big home improvement stores will occasionally have a ceramic grill in stock. Otherwise, I'm limited on selection.

I really like my Akorn and considered getting another, but they're too small. I have a large family by modern standards, wife, 4 kids. And if we have friends over, I run out of room very quickly. I hate having to use both the Akorn and the gas grill. If only Chargriller made a bigger Akorn.

The size of the Summit is nice, but you pay a ceramic price for a steel kamado. That's hard to swallow, but it actually fits my needs more than the other options discussed in this thread. I guess I'll start doing more chores for the wife to justify the new grill! :)
 

NSMikeD

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The Weber performer has a good reputation for doing double duty as a smoker and a grill. I am a former Akorn owner an was disappointed with the quality (lots of parts rusted away. I have had a Weber gasser, 2 wsm, Q200 and a Smokey joe. Not one complaint, all lasts a lifetime.
I can’t personally vouch for their new kamado. You might ant to check out the BBQ brethren site. Those guys put cookers through the tests.

No way you can put a ceramic someplace that it can stay put for the winter? I haven’t used a steel smoker that didn’t chew up charcoal and require constant attention in sub zero. I’ve smoked a lot in the snow Over the years.

too bad about the controller. My FEC 120 from Cookshack is a dream. It converted me to a pellet guy.
 

TwistedGray

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Another Akorn fanboy here. I am seven years into mine, and the only thing that it needs is a new o-ring in the damper up top. I literally removed it today! You're right though...small for your needs even with the warming tray thingy to put stuff.

You haven't mentioned budget, but BGE family size (whatever they classify it as) might due the trick. It'll certainly drain the wallet is nothing else. That's the best part about the Akorn.

Hell, buy two :)

Hard to beat the value!! I blame my brother...his BGE made me jealous, but I'm a penny pincher.
PXL_20210418_235634766.PORTRAIT.jpg

You can see the bag o-ring ^
...seven years later
 

Brewin’&Qin’

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As you can see from my avatar I have a Rec Teq 680 pellet cooker for all my low and slow cooks. Rarely do I use it for any high heat quick cooks, but have on occasion. I have a Weber 22 inch kettle and an old classic Happy Cooker 22” kettle for those cooks that require high heat and that great charcoal cook flavor. Finally I have a Weber Genesis gasser that is used, well quite frankly, mostly as a shelving unit while I am cooking on the other cookers. It gets used occasionally. I live in NJ so my cookers see hot and humid, wet and rainy, snowy, windy and some pretty cold temps. I love the RT 680 and it has never failed me in any weather. Holds temps like a champ and does as it is advertised. I have cooked in ambient temps down to single digits and temps at triple digits and the cooker performs. I do find temperature and any type of precipitation are not the biggest obstacle to a good cook on the RT, or any of the other cookers. I find the biggest issue is wind!! Although I have not cooked down at -20F some guys on sites I belong have. I really do love my pellet cooker for what it does, and reccommend at least looking into them.
 

colbin coco

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You can consider using the Pit Boss pellet grill. My grill is this brand, it is very cost-effective, and it is also very convenient when you need to replace parts after a long time of use. You can search for the replacement parts you want on Google. I often do this.
 
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