The battle between charcoal grills is unending. There’s just something about cooking with a powerful, full-sized charcoal grill that brings out the best in pit masters everywhere. Whether you are interested in cooking a ten-pound brisket or a dozen burger patties, you need a full-featured charcoal grill that can bring the heat and insulation required for juicy, cooked meat. So when it comes right down to it, which among these two legendary charcoal grills is the perfect fit for you?
Weber Kettle Premium
A Legendary, Classic Charcoal Grill
The Weber Kettle Premium is a 22-inch monster with highly insulated tapers and provides a good balance of capacity and size. You can cook up to thirteen burgers made with the Weber burger press on this grill, and it also features a convenient one-touch clean-up system.
The ash trap is easy to pull out and clean, and this significantly reduces the cleaning and maintenance time for the Weber Kettle Premium. The Weber Kettle cover is made of enameled porcelain, and you can safely place the lid on the ground while you are barbecuing/grilling. Weber is a household brand, which would explain why many families have at least one Weber grill at home.
- Pitmasters noted that the Weber Kettle Premium could reach temperatures of up to 250°F/121.11°C before dropping slightly to 240°F/115.57° Within two hours, the Weber Kettle maintained a consistent 240°F/115.57°C, which is good enough for cooking any weight of meat on the rack.
If you are using some extender grills for smaller items and you’d like to get some more work done, you may want to try the Char-Griller Akorn Kamado, but for most grilling tasks in the pit, the Weber Kettle Premium performs very well.
- Old and new grillers who chose the Weber Kettle Premium stated that they liked the idea of having a dedicated smoker. Having a smoker feature makes a charcoal grill more versatile, and therefore, more useful when you need to cook large quantities of meat.
- The Weber Kettle Premium appears to be the preferred charcoal grill for slow-cooking meats (and perhaps for smoking the meat along the way, too).
- Weber Kettles are not susceptible to wind and can hold their own for all-day grilling. In terms of durability, it appears to deliver consistently over the years. No one has complained of durability issues, a sign of a true classic, full-sized charcoal grill.
- The majority of pit masters state that you can’t go wrong with either of the brands, but the Kamado appears to provide more versatility in terms of value. This is perhaps because the Kamado was reengineered from the classic form factor of the charcoal grill, and it has more features precisely because it addresses the gaps of the traditional grill.
- The manufacturer of the Akorn Kamado even says these things on their site. Our take on this is if you want to cook pizza and other items after all-day grilling, you might want to take on newer redesigns like the Kamado. However, if you are more of a weekend grill master, the Weber Kettle is a perfect fit. It’s suitable and will provide all the much-needed features you need from a full-sized charcoal grill.
Char-Griller Akorn Kamado
A Marvelous Behemoth
There’s a good reason why we call the Char-Griller Akorn Kamado a behemoth. This isn’t your usual charcoal grill and smoker combo. Instead, the Akorn Kamado provides a staggering 447 square inches of grilling and smoking space.
That’s not something you usually see in your everyday smokers and grills unless you have a customer smoker because you own a restaurant or barbecue joint. As a result, the mass-market grill offers only half or less of the usual cooking space of the Akorn Kamado. And as we expected, the makers of the Akorn Kamado took painstaking steps to improve the insulation of the smoker and grill, which would account for better heat retention.
Exothermic heat release can only be controlled by the vessel that contains the heat, and the Weber Kettle above tends to lose heat when it reaches its peak heat. This is just something to consider when you are the kind of grill master who wants more heat retention for speeding up the cooking or just for locking in the flavors and juices more efficiently.
- Grill masters remind the beginners that despite the space and features of the Akorn Kamado, it’s a force to be reckoned with financially because it’s not exactly cheap. At more than $300, you may want to look at alternatives if you don’t have a budget yet. But it’s a good investment if you are looking to improve your grilling and smoking skills in the long term or if you have dreams of opening a food truck and you need a higher degree of consistency when cooking.
- There is the feedback that some units of the Akorn Kamado had defective ash pans that tend to leak horribly while cooking. The ash pan is essential on many grills and ironically becomes the Achilles heel because eventually, all metals corrode due to exposure to fats and fluids from grilling meats. This being the case, if you do get a Kamado, be sure to clean your smoker-grill after using it so you don’t end up with a busted ash pan that has a horrible leak. Of course, this reminder applies to every other brand out there, too.
- If you want to maximize the use of the space available in the Akorn Kamado, you still have to buy an additional grilling tray.
- Entry-level Kamados, in general, need to be replaced every three to five years.
- Akorn Kamado is praised for being a better charcoal grill for high-heat cooking and baking. But, again, if you want to do more things with your grill other than just grilling and roasting, the Akorn Kamado is a few points ahead of the Weber Kettle.
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