Smoking down under - The Dream-time beginning
Well this is my first post of my experience so far and it’s getting started in Australia.
Firstly, I put a LOT of research into getting my smoker and what techniques I wanted to use etc. This forum was very informative as well as a variety of sites in making good decisions. (But I also had to use a fair bit of Grey matter in the process too lol!)
Okay so the nitty gritty...
Here is what I did.
THE SMOKER (the most important part)
I made the decision to purchase a master-built smoker because of the great reviews and consensus of forum members.
I also decided to get the product to be electrically powered to give more control over the smoker.
Now the hard decision....
There is only one site here in Australia which has the sole distribution rights for selling the 'customized' (Australia changed to 240v power supply requirements) version of the MES. Both the 30" and 40" versions.
Now... unfortunately, these great little beauties are consequently hard to decide to buy because of their price.
The 30" digital version is $525 AUS (which is with the window, cover and some pellets) + $55 shipping.
A $580 set back
The 40" version is $625 AUS (which is with the window, cover and some pellets) + $40 shipping.
A $665 set back
Misty Gully is the site and they are AMAZING for everything they are doing for smoking and other techniques here in Australia (and I endorse them and use their products they sell like hi mountain cures and seasonings. I just felt parting with that amount of cash for my first smoker too hard to bear (and as I'll detail later on given other decisions, even more of a hassle down the line).
After reading reviews and getting frustrated with availability of smokers and products in Australia, I decided to traverse my beloved internet forum in Australia. Namely... Whirlpool. There were discussions and rabble on charcoal grills and I noticed an interesting link to a site which the forum member promised quick shipping (from US to AUS) and cheap prices. A name which would probably be very familiar in the states but unknown here ... Cabela's.
After flying through the site, I quickly looked at the specials board.
I saw the MES analog 30"... $119.99 US - Bargain.
After some investigation and asking the right questions (it's on their board still), and seeing a fellow Aussie testifying that they have used it here, I knew I was home.
I quickly added it to my cart, and having shipped power tools from USA I knew that shipping would probably be costly.
I was amazed when it was totalled it only came to $54. Incredible.
I could buy an electric MES analog smoker in Australia for less than $170 ($165 when converted). Crazy!
I quickly snapped it up, and planned my add ons.
So with my smoker settled, I determined I needed
Here comes the smoker.....
I just purchased a generic cover here in Australia which covers small cylinder BBQ’s. Measured it up to fit perfect.
A cover of a cover
A TEMPERATURE PROBE
As the analog version does not have the included meat, I did some investigation on the bonuses of having a wireless meat probe. As I’m an avid gardener and quite often busying myself around home, I opted for a wireless version. To stay true to the brand and keep the competitive price, I found the Masterbuilt digital thermometer, but it was only available in the US. For the cheap shipping of $12, I couldn’t argue and was happy to part with another $39 towards my dream.
COLD SMOKING? WHAT THE???
I loved the idea of cooking in different mediums (being an ex-chef and all and eventually want to do a plethora of my wares. How was I to accomplish this with chips needing a high heat to burn? Luckily I followed the adventures of many forum members here and the advice of the misty gully site regarding cold smoking capabilities and ability to cook at high temps with an awesome little piece of equipment. I realised this even at the time of making my decision to purchase my smoker. I knew that if I was to buy a smoker, I would have to part with the necessary extra dollars for this incredible equipment taking the smoking world by storm. The A MAZE N PELLET SMOKER.
Misty Gully in Australia was happy to accommodate my order and at a price I thought was reasonable for acquiring the kit (and I must admit I felt a little guilty for not purchasing my MES off them… In the long run, I will ensure I do purchase off them for my next!).
AMNPS and Pellets
TRANSFORMERS – ROBOTS IN DISGUISE
Now I always knew the possibility that my newfangled MES would not meet the requirements here in AUS and be voltage compatible (240v). But before rushing out and buying the step down transformer, I just wanted to check the circuitry to make sure it definitely was not capable. Well the smoker arrived and lo and behold no surprise. Not compatible (just using a travel adapter would blow this thing up).
So I had to take the plunge and understanding the Watts needed to run the analog, went for a 2000w step-down (240v to 110v) transformer. Ordered Tuesday night, Arrived Thursday. Awesome speed.
In summary, these are my order's:
MASTERBUILT 30" ANALOG SMOKER - Cabelas - US - $119.99
Shipping - Cabelas - US - $ 54.00
($165.00 total converted and fees AUD)
Ordered 02/4/12 - Arrived 10/04/12 … unbelievable speed from the US.
A MAZE N PELLET Smoke Generator - Misty Gully - Australia - $ 65.00
Hi Mountain #2 Variety Pack Jerky Seas - Misty Gully - Australia - $ 20.00
Smoking Wood Pellets (2kg) <Alder> - Misty Gully - Australia - $ 30.00
Shipping - Misty Gully - Australia - $ 16.25
Ordered 04/4/12 - Arrived 10/04/12
Masterbuilt Digital Wireless Meat Probe - EBay - US - $ 36.00
Ordered 03/4/12 - Arrived 10/04/12
Generic BBQ cover - EBay - Australia - $ 10.80
Ordered 03/4/12 - Arrived 05/04/12
240v to 110v Step-down Transformer - EBay - Australia - $ 79.00
Ordered 10/4/12 - Arrived 12/04/12
Total to start from scratch $422.05 AUD
Not too bad and considering that my fail safe plan if the element fails I’ll try and replace it with an Australian one and cold smoke with the AMNPS in the meantime… Got to be happy!
SO, in total I’m not that much out of pocket and the goods were received in close to no time over the space of easter. AMAZING START TO MY SMOKING JOURNEY!
So with my parts I got to testing and seasoning my wares.
I connected the transformer, and the MES smoker to the transformer and prayed that it would not blow up.
Just checking the thermometer doesn't work....
It was heating up beautifully and seasoning commenced.
I threw in the AMNPS to season that too.
Are you ready pellets? Get smoking!
Thermo working beautifully
Seasoned and finished with no explosions!
Time to go.. smoker...
Oh wait... explosion?
Could not be happier!
Be sure to check out my next thread on my first smoke, triple cheese ‘Aussie Cheese N Mac’ (made it tonight and it was awesome!)