Top positive review
I love it. Grilling is in my DNA
June 3, 2017
This grill has had some mixed comments, so I wanted to weigh-in with hopefully an accurate and objective review. First, I love it. Grilling is in my DNA. My grandfather manufactured the first Hasty-Bake for Grant Hastings after WWII, so quality grilling is something I know about. Hasty-Bakes are a classic. This is my first venture into the Kamando arena, and I'm so glad I chose this one. I don't need the large size, so the Jr. is perfect for a couple stakes, some chicken, couple pieces of fish, rack of lamb, etc. (for probably 1-3 people)
There are a lot of comments on putting the Akorn Jr. together. I'm the guy who will assemble something 180-degrees backwards every time. On this assembly, it took 30-minutes, and I didn't have to un-do anything! Instructions were clear and accurate. I don't doubt other's experiences with mis-aligned parts - some have photos - but this one went together perfectly with just a large-size phillips. The handle is the only tricky part because of the configuration of the part as you can see in the photos, but I noodled around and found the holes on both sides with a little extra work compared to the other parts. I can't say enough about the clarity and accuracy of the instructions. If you follow them, in about 30-minutes, you'll be lighting a fire.
The comments about off-gassing are addressed in the instructions: 1-Hour at 400, and I found that to be accurate. Best to not be around the thing for that hour - you can really smell the chemicals burning off, but after an hour, it settles right down and after 90-minutes (up to 600), I was cooking chicken and steak with zero particle flavor whatsoever.
The color fading comments - well, that's expected at 700-degrees! Yes, it fades to a slight burnt-orange hue (or maybe just less bright), but no big deal. It's a very pretty unit and fun to cook on.
I saw a small Green Egg at a hardware store ($600), and noticed it is much heavier. I don't know if Char-Griller engineered the Akorn Jr. to efficiency, or if there is a reason or advantage to the extra thickness and weight. I'm not going to pay $350 more to find out! This seems to hold heat just fine. When you lift the lid, you're going to lose temperature, but that's on any grill. That's grilling technique.
I'm very happy with the purchase and will have many great meals from this unit. I did notice the stone is out of stock (June 2017) at the company, don't know if that is a long-term thing or not. I ordered a 9" stone from Amazon, which will suffice fine for my needs. Also, the cover for the Jr. doesn't appear on the website, so either the garage or a good ol' trash bag will have to suffice. I'm in Colorado so we get more drizzle than downpours so I should be fine on protecting it. (Can't wait to fire this thing up during a good snowstorm! That will be FUN :)