The Char-Griller Akorn Kamado Kooker is billed as the low-cost alternative in an expensive luxury market. Made of metal, insulated, and inexpensive. The most expensive of this line of charcoal grills costs a little over $400. That is more expensive than the least expensive Big Green Egg. The question is, does this grill compare?
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The Char-Griller Akorn Kamado comes in a number of sizes and configurations. There is even a ceramic version (though really just a mini version of the Vision Kamado). There are cart-mounted units and now a model with a built-in temperature control system. You can set the temperature and the grill will do all the work to get to and hold that temp. These charcoal grills are widely available through most of the major retail stores.
If you look at the prices of all the different models of the Char-Griller Akorn you might get confused. Two similar models can have a price difference of over $100USD. This has to do with two factors. One is the extras and features they contain. A base model doesn’t have a diffuser for smoking (typically an extra on kamado grills) or much else on it. There are packages that give you all the extras, which is the smarter choice. Get the more expensive model since it will have the extras you need.
The other factor is where the grill is sold. Char-Griller typically imports for big box stores. These stores set the price. Char-Griller adjusts the features to fit the price. Do some comparison shopping before you buy.
- 302 square inches of primary cooking area with 165-square-inch warming rack
- Cast iron cooking grate
- Consistent insulation
- Top and bottom dial dampers
- Fold down metal side shelves
- Steel construction powder-coated exterior and porcelain-coated interior
- Three legs stand on a wheeled cart
- Removable bottom vent section/ash pan allows easy ash removal
- Easy dump ash pan
- Available in a variety of colors
- Made in China for Char-Griller
Char-Griller Akorn Kamado Grill
Ceramic Kamado Grills have problems. The ceramic material can be fragile and heavy. The weight means that they are also expensive and difficult to ship. Add in the whole part about attaching metal parts to ceramic bodies and production costs are rigid and high. This led the people at Char-Griller, makers of lower-priced grilling products, to give metal a try. The Akorn grill is what they came up with.
Grills, cart, and side tables bring this grill up to 97 pounds in total weight. A comparably sized ceramic unit weighs more than 200 pounds. Since the Akorn is metal and less fragile, it also doesn’t need all the packing materials so a smaller box to ship, which is a good thing since this grill is coming from the other side of the planet. But the big feature here, actually the only noteworthy feature, is that the Akorn can be had for around $330USD, or a third the price of a similar-sized ceramic grill.
Actually, there are a number of features to the Akorn that its metal shell allows for. The bottom drops away for easy clean-out. The whole unit is mounted on a cart with wheels and since it is lightweight, it is easy to move. The lid locks in place and all you really have to worry about is that the paint will come off because it might rust.
Ultimately, the argument for buying the Char-Griller Akorn comes down to price and value. It lacks the quality of higher-priced Kamado grills. That is just a fact. It won’t last as long and it will probably give you trouble eventually. Don’t expect it to be great. It isn’t. It is, however, cheap in both senses of the word. At around $330USD it isn’t a serious investment. It will grill at a high temperature and smoke low and slow. But all in all, it is a tradeoff of quality and function over price.
Char-Griller Akorn Bottom Line
This charcoal grill has good features. The biggest one is the lack of a premium price tag. This grill is affordable, but still a good kamado. The dual adjustable dampers provide excellent temperature control. The insulation means you burn less charcoal. Because you get both high temperature cooking and low and slow smoking, this is a very versatile grill. This steel kamado can grill steaks and chicken or smoke brisket. You will love the versatility.
Why You Should Trust Me
I have been writing about Barbecue & Grilling for 25 years. I have cooked on almost every grill or smoker ever built. In that time, I have endeavored to match people with the grill or smoker that is right for them. I believe that the right product is the one that you find easy to use, capable of doing everything you want, and reliable for the long haul. If you have a good first experience, you will be back for more. In this way, we grow barbecue for the next generation. I want you to make the memories that your children will cherish.
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