It is great to see more of us here from the South East. For a while I thought we were being invaded from the North . It looks as if we also have another recruit from Hoo as well, Bensmokey. I used to work in Strood a few years ago and as a teen I used to sail at the Old Wilsonian sailing club at Hoo - which probably does not exist any more.
Anyway, Welcome to the forum. As has been mentioned above we are a growing group of BBQ enthusiasts who want to do more than just competition BBQ. You will find a lot of good experience here, both from the UK and also the USA. Please don't be afraid to ask anything that you want to know. No question is too basic and nobody is going to think that it is silly. We all have to start somewhere. Once you have your first couple of successes under your belt you will grow in confidence and will soon me developing your own personal styles.
Remember that, although there are wrong ways, there is no single right way of smoking. Ask for advice and you will get as many different variations as you get replies. You need to look at them, work out what is common and then decide which of the variations you like the sound of. I suggest that you try to follow one method to begin with but then don't be afraid to add your own variations as you progress. The "perfect" BBQ is the one that you and your friends and family like to eat the best.
Originally Posted by red robbo 69
Don't have a dedicated smoker yet, been smoking on a Weber 57cm OTP with variable results. My plan is that once I've mastered that, I will move on to a WSM or Pro Q (or a kamado if I win the lottery). But for the moment, loving the seat of the pants cooking on the kettle
You do have a smoker - the Weber Kettle 57 cm is a perfectly good smoker. I still do a good proportion of my smokes on a Weber 57 cm. The secret is to master the temperature control. Forget the Weber manual where it tells you to count briquettes into the coal baskets - You need to look on here for the Minion or Snake charcoal/briquette methods in your Weber. With this you will be able to keep the internal temperature between 110-115 C (230-240 F) without too much trouble. Good quality briquettes or charcoal are essential for this. As you have read, forget the ones that you buy at the supermarket - you need the better quality ones that burn for longer and have no smell or taste. Both Head Beads and Weber Premium briquettes are good. You can see from the post below that a single loading of Heat Beads will give you up to 6-8 hours cooking.
I was at Grillstock in Bristol at the weekend and almost all of the competition teams had at least one Weber 57 cm that they were using.
It is great that you have already invested in a Maverick thermometer. They take a lot of the guesswork out of the cooking. As you said, they help inspire confidence.
Originally Posted by red robbo 69
In addition, much as I love American BBQ i'm really interested in putting a British/European slant on things, so am looking forward to hearing about low n slow that doesn't involve brisket/ribs/pulled pork.
As I mentioned above, there is no single "right" way to smoke any one piece of meat. In the US there are big regional variations and so adding a European slant (which we all do even if unintentionally) is not a bad thing.
A couple of things to remember when following US recipes... US chilli powder is usually a lot milder than the UK chilli powder so be wary of recipes that call for 2 tablespoons, also the US pint is 20% smaller than the UK pint - 16 fl ozs compared with our 20 fl ozs.
I am looking forward to seeing photos. Don't forget to post