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Last updated: September 15, 2021

Akorn Jr Grill Review

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By
Reviewed by
Reviewed by
Last updated: September 15, 2021
LilGrill is reader-supported. We may earn a commission through products purchased using links on this page. Learn more about our process here
Ideal for:
  • Low maintenance
  • Easy to assemble
  • Compact design
  • Durability
  • Value for money
Highlights:
  • Adjustable top damper
  • Portable grill
  • Ashpan and bottom damper
Editor's Rating
?
GrillScore is a ranking system developed by our team of experts. It aggregates all the scores given to a product in various aspects including the individual product’s features evaluation given by each expert independently, its customers’ feedback rank, and sales rank.
9.2
out of 10
  • Performance 8.5
  • Ease of use 9.5
  • Durability 9.5
Users’ Rating
4.2
out of 5
  • 97 Users’ Ratings rating rating rating rating rating
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    4.2
    out of
    5
    97 Users’ Ratings
    • 5 stars
      28%
    • 4 stars
      64%
    • 3 stars
      6%
    • 2 stars
      2%
    • 1 stars
      0%
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If you want to add more appliances to your kitchen, you might want to read the Akorn Jr Grill Review. Because of the expensiveness of this equipment, you need to know how it functions and how to maintain it before making a purchase.

When it comes to affordability and durability, only a few options (if any) can match Char-Griller’s Akorn Jr. It’s undoubtedly the best entry-level kamado grill, as it’s cheap, performs well, and more importantly, cooks tasty foods.

Notably, the Akon Jr is essentially a smaller version of Char-Griller’s Kooker charcoal grill. This is because the two share most features, though the Kooker is more expensive. One of the standout characteristics of this model is the compactness that allows it to fit in small spaces.

Specifications

Manufacturer
Char-Griller
Model
Akorn Jr E06614
Fuel type
Charcoal
Color
Red
Material
Ceramic & steel
Item Dimensions (inches)
20.5"L x 21.5"W x 25.3"H
Item weight (pounds)
37
Total cooking area (square inches)
153
Maintains temperature F °
200-700

Review

If you are a fan of kamado cooking, the prospect of owning the Akorn JR grill is exciting. First, this equipment allows you to sear meat at high temperatures or roast it slowly at lower temperatures.

Despite its small size, this cooker is incredibly versatile. It has a durable design, thanks to its triple-wall 22 gauge steel. This thick wall also improves insulation, enabling the cookers to maintain temperatures ranging from 200 to 700 degrees Fahrenheit.

This product has top and bottom adjustable dampers that regulate airflow during operation. To increase the heat, all you have to do is open the dampers. On the other hand, reducing the opening lowers the temperature levels. Regardless, this cooker is efficient, meaning that it uses the least amount of charcoal possible.

Overall performance

As mentioned above, the Akorn Jr grill works like other kamado grills. Adjusting the top and bottom vents controls the temperature levels. Both vents have numbers ranging from zero to five meant to increase your precision when cooking or smoking.

Notably, the top vent gets hot faster and retains more heat than the bottom one. For this reason, it is advisable to wear gloves when using this equipment. It would be best to also experiment with cooking times until you master how to control airflow using the dampers.

Unlike most kamado grills, the Akon Jr is made using ceramic, a material that high responsiveness to vent changes. This makes the Akon Jr fuel-efficient, with a small amount of charcoal enabling you to cook or smoke your favorite delicacies for extended periods.  This characteristic is one of this grill’s major selling points.

According to the user’s guide that comes with this grill, you must preheat the equipment before cooking. To do this, set the grill at 400 degrees Fahrenheit for at least one hour. This makes it easier to clean the grates, and more importantly, it removes the chemicals that might contaminate your food.

Naturally, food cooked using charcoal has great taste and an attractive aroma – the Akorn Jr is no different. From meat to roasted veggies, this grill helps you prepare mouth-watering meals. If you use smoking wood, you can impart an amazing wood-fired flavor to your food.

It’s also worth noting that this grill has a cooking grate made of cast iron. Thanks to the excellent heat conductivity of this metal, your meat will have eye-catching sear marks.

You don’t have to be a seasoned cook to prepare tasty meals using the Akorn Jr grill. Temperature regulation is pretty easy since it has an inbuilt gauge and the food comes with a great smoky flavor. Always remember to cover the food when smoking.

The two common complaints regarding this grill’s performance and safety lie in the central ring of the grate. To use it, you need to pull it out before adding fresh charcoal or wood chips to the burning coal bed. However, it’s so tiny, which increases the risk of burning your fingers when trying to fit an item through it. This is why you always need to have a pair of tongs in hand.

Remember to keep an eye on the bottom damper, particularly when you open it widely to increase temperatures. There’s always a chance that a tiny burning ember spills out and leaves an unattractive burn mark on your deck.

Design

The Akorn Jr comes fully assembled out of the box, aside from the lid. Its stand and handles have screws that attach to its main body, but this is an easy process that usually takes twenty minutes. All you need is basic mechanical skills and an equipped toolbox.

There’s no denying that Char-Griller paid attention to detail when designing this product. The triple wall is insulated to maximize heat retention and improve radiation when cooking or smoking.

However, with this grill, you won’t enjoy the benefits of non-stick porcelain that often lines the grates of grills in this price range. This makes cleaning more time-consuming and challenging compared to competitor grills.

Dimensions

The Akorn Jr has a grate with a 14-inch diameter and an area of 153 square inches. While this is half the size of the full-sized model, it is large enough to prepare food for a group of five people.

When designing this unit, Char-Griller had portability in mind. This means that you can’t prepare ‘bigger’ meals like a rack of ribs or turkey using the Akorn Jr unless you chop them into smaller pieces.

Weight

Despite its extensive range of features, this charcoal grill is incredibly lightweight. With all parts attached, it weighs 37 pounds (approximately 17 kilograms). Whether you are stationary or on the move, you are unlikely to experience problems moving this model from one place to another. This makes it an excellent choice for camping, going to the park, and tailgating.

Cooking area

Akorn Jr Grill Review

Compared to other kamado grills in its price range, the Akorn JR has a larger cooking area. The 153- square inch cooking grate allows you to stack a few bottles of beer while cooking up to six chicken breasts, eight hamburger patties, a rack of lamb, or two T-bone steaks.

If you step up the grill for indirect cooking, you can fit in larger foods like a pork butt. However, you will need a smoking stone, which doesn’t usually come with the product.

All in all, this grill is best suited for small families with four or fewer people. If you want to prepare food for more people, you will have to cook in batches.

Materials

The cooking grate of the Akorn Jr grill is made using cast iron. While it has reasonable robustness, this material is brittle and easily breaks if dropped onto hard surfaces. Furthermore, it is susceptible to rusting when exposed to moist conditions. For these reasons, you need to season it properly and regularly.

Alternatively, you can purchase a stainless steel cooking grate. This is more superior and lasts longer, as it isn’t brittle and doesn’t rust. The problem is that you have to incur additional costs to acquire, and even worse, it makes fitting a smoking stone impossible. Also, it performs dismally at heat retention than cast iron.

Most of Akorn Jr’s body is made using ceramic. Kettle grills are usually great for cooking meats, but temperature regulation can be a bit challenging. If you want to make tasty barbeques and reduce the likelihood of overcooking, it will help if you used ceramic grills. They are better suited for beginners, as temperature regulation is easy.

Warranty

The manufacturer offers a five-year warranty on the covering lid and the exterior of the body if it’s rust-through or burn-through. If your products get other defects, such as those affecting the removable ash pan and other parts, the warranty period reduces to one year.

For support, you can contact customer support through live chat, email, and phone. You can also seek help and advice from their social media accounts, particularly Facebook and Instagram.

Accessories included

Here are the accessories that come with the Akorn Jr charcoal grill.

  • Smoking stone
  • Heat deflector
  • Charcoal basket
  • Ash pans
  • Covering lids
  • Temperature controller

Price tag

You can buy a brand new Akon Jr grill for as low as $149 – which is a good deal considering fact that Char-griller company has been on the market for decades and is known for its quality and attention to details.

PROS

CONS

  • Fuel-efficient
  • Excellent heat retention
  • Easy to assemble
  • Relatively affordable
  • Unpleasant odor when preheating
  • Few accessories available

Conclusion

Kamado grills are gaining popularity because of their excellent heat retention capabilities, which guarantee faster cooking times. If you are looking for a lightweight grill for your next camping or hiking expedition, you might want to consider Char-Griller’s Akorn Jr. Despite its relatively small size, this model has a rich set of features. It’s an excellent performer all-around, and more importantly, it is easy to use.

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