Quote Originally Posted by loudbeard View Post
Easily 8 hours, I've made it as long as 12 hours on a summer day with low wind, 18" Smokey Mountain.

The fan with the Auber setup is constant speed so it maintains temp by just switching the fan off/on to stoke the coals, so not really a forced burn. The fan doesn't really run that much until you get towards the end of the coals.

Best way to setup the Smokey Mountain for a long burn is to dump 2 unlit chimneys of charcoal into the basket of the smoker and the hollow out a big hole in the middle pushing all of those briquettes to the side. Then light a full chimney as you normally would and dump it in the center of the coal basket. Never use "matchlight" charcoal. I always use the Kingsford original blue bag. I've experimented with both Kingsford Pro and the hardwood lump styles like Royal Oak and I'm perfectly happy with the original - actually less happy with the lump style, they burn less consistently and nowhere near as long.

Here's a really great article on setup, seasoning, and some cool accessories for the WSM. I know I've said this before, but Amazing Ribs is an excellent resource for stuff you're cooking that may be new to you as well as tons of comprehensive product reviews. I was a good pit guy before discovering this website, it's really helped me up my game.
OK, so I think I'm converted to the charcoal game. Now looking at the WSM or the Chargriller Kamado Akorn. The benefits I'm seeing on the Kamado is the higher temps and lower fuel use. Because it is triple wall construction, it is probably better in the lower temps. Benefit of the WSM seems it is more controllable (which I would be getting the Auber controller anyway for either), better built, and it has more capacity, which is a big deal should the Akorn not have enough. The Akorn doesn't have the second rack like the WSM. Do you use the second rack much? Space wise, they are pretty equal, one rack only.