Char-Griller AKORN Auto-Kamado
My son and I put the grill together. We found the leg alignment (where the wheels go) slightly unforgiving (not a bad thing). So, we kept all the leg screws loose until we had the wheels and the bottom shelf attached. Then, we snugged them up.
I found lining up the inner holes with the outer holes of the left and right "wings" a bit trying. Then, my son showed me that I needed to completely tighten the initial hole to make connecting the other bolts easier. You cannot see the bolt into the "wing"--you just feel the bolt connect to each hole.
For the front handle, the wingnuts provided us a small challenge. Namely, I didn't want to over-tighten them and damage the inner lining. I ended up not getting either side of the handles' exterior completely snug against the outside of the grill. It isn't lose at all. So, I went with it.
Connecting the top lid to the bottom wasn't hard at all. However, one of our holes in the grill became stripped about 90% screwed in. So, I didn't get one of the bolts completely screwed into the side. After testing the operation of the lid by opening and closing it (several times), I decided it didn't matter (and wasn't worth the trouble of returning it for warranty replacement).
Finally, we attached the top (the chimney) to the lid. We just used a screw driver to get the bolts in. You might want to pay attention to which way is front when you attach it (grin). Then, we plugged it in.
I grilled some thick pork steaks. They turned out well. I fast cooked them at 350℉. I found the temperature settings easy to set. The fan did a good job of keeping the internal temperature within seven degrees of my set temperature. The bluetooth connected mobile app notified me when the steaks reached my set internal temperature.
I tried to slow cook some pork ribs at 235℉ and then again at 260℉. In both cases, the grill kept running for about two hours and then flamed out. I expected to get a notification about a temperature drop (yes, I had it set). I didn't--even after a 15℉ drop. Thankfully, the ribs did reach an internal temperature of about 176℉. We just went with that, and we ate them. They tasted fine. Still, I'll probably buy a stainless steel grill basket to help keep the coals together and burning (especially at lower temperatures).
I found the mobile app easy to use. It can get a little chatty if you keep all the notifications enabled. I disable some of the notifications as the cook progresses. My configuration options below show disabling the "Grill Set Temperature Reached" (after it already did the first time) and disabling the "Connection To Grill Has Dropped" as I go around the house. The Bluetooth and WiFi both show "Disconnected" because I don't have the grill powered on right now. When powered on, both show "Connected."
- easy to use
- costs much less than the "green" brand
- keeps temperature good enough for me
- mobile app grill and food temperature monitors with notifications
- wifi connection works on the same network only--a good safety feature; we don't want to encourage leaving the house with a fire going in the grill
- chunk charcoal cost (a known when I bought it)
- bluetooth distance of about 10 meters (~32 feet) before it disconnects--I'm guessing it has a Class 2 transmitter in it as a Class 1 transmitter would give it a longer distance of 100 meters (~328 feet)
- needs fire starters
- no way to see the flames--you must rely on the temperature probe to watch for flameout
- you must take everything out to add more charcoal
- wifi only supports 2.4Ghz--seems many home appliances have adopted this limitation
- you may need a charcoal basket with tighter grates and angled sides to help prevent flameout at low temperatures
Rating: 4/5. For the money, I think it's a good grill--especially since it supports slow-and-low smoking and high-temp grilling (not simultaneously). If you don't need/want the automated smart features, I'd recommend getting the less expensive model without them. Visit the manufacturer's web site for more product information and to purchase direct. I did notice a number of people reporting troubles with the grill temperature probe and some with the meat probe. I purchased mine in June 2023, and I have not had any issues with either. I will follow-up here if I experience any trouble with the grill or warranty services.
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