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Buying first smoker - any hints?

post #1 of 19
Thread Starter 

Hello folks, I'm an avid chef (23 years old) from near Oxford in the UK. Been cooking Italian, Spanish, Asian, etc foods for a long time (10 years or so) and wanted to splash out a bit of bonus money on a good smoking setup. I love the deep South Texan style of BBQ.

 

I have bought the 47cm (18.5 inch) Weber Smokey Mountain with their chimney starter, and some apple (2x 5lb) and cherry wood chunks (2x 5lb). Weber branded also. Got all that for £360 from www.bbqs2u.co.uk as the reviews for it look brilliant as a starter smoker.

 

I'm looking at temperature gauges and I'm pretty sure I'll get the Maverick ET-733 (£58.99 - Amazon) for smoker ambient and meat temperature. I'm also looking at a SuperFast Thermapen (£36 - Amazon) quick read thermometer for doublechecking meat temps.

 

Any advice on what to look out for or anything further I need to know? Still need to get some charcoal but that can't be too hard can it?

 

At the moment I'm looking to start on Pork Shoulder and Ribs before moving on to brisket etc.

post #2 of 19
It sounds like you have a good plan and some great tools to get you there!
post #3 of 19

top vent open always

use water in the pan for at least 5 smokes then fill it with sand - they run hot til broken in 

have fun and dont tell the neighbors cus they already know 

post #4 of 19
Sounds like you will have great que in no time! Just allow plenty of time for the shoulder and the brisky! Many cook them overnite with the WSM/maverick combo.
post #5 of 19
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the advice guys, I'll try it out and let you guys know how it goes. I've seen a lot of mods on this site and YouTube but will keep it simple at the start. As you can tell I've already put about 10 hours of research into this to make sure I know what I'm getting into!

I'm a bit worried about the neighbourhood situation, but my house backs onto the Main Street so the end of my garden is about 20m from any house, and there is about 12m width, so I should be ok with the smoke I guess? I have read that the exhausted smoke isn't too bad once they are up and smoking. Is that your experience too?

I haven't heard of the sand and leaving the top vent fully open before. Still need to look up some good recipes so hopefully that will open my eyes to what they are doing.
post #6 of 19

Sounds like you are off to a great start! I would suggest buying Jeff's book and subscribing to his weekly emails if you have not already done so. Lots  of great ideas in there and on this forum.

Good luck!

post #7 of 19
Wow Thermapens are CHEAP over across the pond. That's what, about $65 US? I guess it evens out as the Weber is considerably more expensive than on this side of the Atlantic. Have fun and just jump in and do it. You're already comfortable around food so it won't be difficult.
post #8 of 19
I stand corrected. Just looked it up and it's a hair over $58. Thats a great price.
post #9 of 19
Thread Starter 
Yeah the UK can be great for some things and crap for others! Will try out a shoulder of pork on Monday/Tuesday and reply back with the result. Fingers crossed it should be fine - I work shifts so I have many days off where I can just sit in the garden for 14 hours and relax :p
post #10 of 19
That smoker is going to want to run hot the first few cooks, and with a pork butt it's fine to let it settle in at 300°-325°. Won't hurt the final product and you'll be done in under 8 hours.
post #11 of 19
Thread Starter 
Ah ok that's a lot hotter than the 225 that most normally recommend :p let's see eh :)
post #12 of 19
Thread Starter 
Hello folks, I've read the starter smoking guide, and it recommends seasoning the smoker first, a couple of dry runs followed by a run with some fatty off-cuts to get it started. I'm not sure what to ask for at the butcher for this, would bacon off cuts about 1-2lb be suitable? I've done a lot of research but can't find too much information about breaking in a smoker...
post #13 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by ewanjackson View Post

Hello folks, I've read the starter smoking guide, and it recommends seasoning the smoker first, a couple of dry runs followed by a run with some fatty off-cuts to get it started. I'm not sure what to ask for at the butcher for this, would bacon off cuts about 1-2lb be suitable? I've done a lot of research but can't find too much information about breaking in a smoker...

The easiest way is to use spray-on cooking oil such as Pam (I used spray-on canola). Coat all the interior surfaces and run the smoker hot for about 3 hours.

post #14 of 19
Thread Starter 
Ah ok good hint! Will definitely do that then. The Maverick thermometer will be delivered tomorrow so its all systems go!
post #15 of 19

Good luck from Canada, let us know how it turns out

post #16 of 19
Thread Starter 
Thanks mate! Ordered the maverick 733 in the end and the thermapen. Both should be delivered tomorrow hopefully! Smoker came today so will start unboxing soon
post #17 of 19
Thread Starter 

OK doing my first smoke then!

 

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post #18 of 19
Quote:
Originally Posted by ewanjackson View Post

OK doing my first smoke then!



 



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I would say good luck but it seems like you've done your research, so luck shouldn't be needed (except for maybe some good weather).
post #19 of 19
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Grillmonkey View Post

I would say good luck but it seems like you've done your research, so luck shouldn't be needed (except for maybe some good weather).

 

Well I had hail and rain, but I did finally get it going. Currently stable at 225-230 F for the last 40 minutes and the meat is slowly creeping past the 145 F mark. Thanks for the thought though, much appreciated! :D

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