For years I’ve been hearing people brag how wonderful kamado style grills are, but I never understood the hype until recently. About six months ago I was looking for a pizza oven, but what I didn’t realize is how expensive a basic brick oven pizza maker is. Instead of spending thousands on an oven, my girlfriend’s father told me about how he gets great results on his Big Green Egg. Initially I looked into the Egg, but when I stumbled upon the Akorn for considerablely less I figured I’d give it a shot instead of forking over the big bucks for the Egg.
What I like about the Akorn
First of all it is very easy to assemble. It took me about thirty minutes to have the thing set up and the only tool required is a 7/16” nut driver.
The price – Like I said before the Akorn costs around $400 and is the same size as the large Big Green Egg which sells for around $1,000. Also keep in mind that the Akorn comes with a stand and cast iron grate, both of which are usually sold separately on the BGE.
The bottom plate – On the Big Green Egg and most of the other kamados available on the market, the is a solid piece which makes cleaning out the charcoal ash a real hassle. The Akorn has an easily removeable ash tray that makes cleaning out the grill so much easier. As someone who was never a big fan of charcoal grills this is a major selling point to me, because it reduces the mess and makes maintaince a real breeze.
What I dislike about the Akorn
The only real negative I have about the Akorn is that it isn’t fully ceramic like the Big Green Egg. Instead the Akorn is ceramic plated. This is where most die hard “Egg Heads” justify the hefty price tag of the BGE, but I haven’t had any problems holding maintaining both super high temperatures along with low and slow heat.
So far I’ve only had the grill for six months so I cannot say too much about the long-term durability of the grill, but I can say I leave my grill outside exposed to the elements 24 hours a day 7 days a week with a cheap cover on it and the Akorn still looks brand new.
What can you make on the Akorn?
I bought this grill mainly to make my own pizzas at home, and with a little bit of perfecting I’ve seen some unbelievably good results. Not only can you cook pizza, but kamado ovens are awesome for calzones, loafs of bread, and strombolis. The trick with pizza and breads is to use extremely high temperatures, which allow you to get that perfect rise and crust out of the bread that you normally will not be able to achieve in a typical home oven.
I also own a basic propane grill that I would typically use for steaks and other meats, however now that I’ve joined the world of Kamado grilling I’ve discovered how much of a difference these grills can make with your favorite cut of meat. Most propane grills cannot reach the same level of heat as these ovens. The extremely high temperatures (700 degrees and up) allow you to sear your steaks and lock in all that juicy favor. Trust me, you’ll be amazed at how much of a difference this makes in your meal.
Another great aspect of Kamado ovens are their multi-purpose usage. Not only can you use this as a pizza oven and a grill, but you can also use it as a smoker. The Akorn easily handles low temperatures for long periods of time, which enable you to achieve that perfect slow and low smoked barbeque.
Would I recommend it?
Without a doubt I think the Akorn is a great Kamado oven and has some clear advantages to it’s competition. For less than half the price of it’s competitors I really don’t think that this oven can be beat. I find constantly find myself figuring out new ways to use my Akorn to the point where I’m cooking at least half of my meals on it.