Newbee Smoker

Discussion in 'Roll Call' started by sweatysock, Jul 10, 2016.

  1. Hi, I'm new to smoking. Been toying with the idea for a few years but never had the money to get started. I'm about to take th plunge...

    I live in London, UK so weather is not great and tends to change through 4 seasons in a day (just been tipping down but now looks like it may go to sunshine).

    I'm looking to get a Bradley Original Smoker (Costco seem to do a good price on these) as these seem to be the only ones in the UK that I can find with good reviews and a decent price. If all goes well then looking to purchase a cold smoker attachment (love the idea of cold smoked salmon and trout).

    Can anyone point me to the Step by Step guides referenced on this site? Would love to try making up a batch of Pork Belly bacon. Any pointers/guidance for starting out would also be greatly received.

    Looking forward to mny tasty meals ahead.
     
  2. smokinal

    smokinal Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator OTBS Member ★ Lifetime Premier ★

    [​IMG]

    Glad to have you aboard!

    Al
     
  3. smokin monkey

    smokin monkey Master of the Pit Group Lead OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Hi SweatySock, Welcome to our "Family" and "Addiction"

    Plenty of good folk on here, ask any questions you can think of, and you will get your answers.

    Your in the right place for Bacon, just put 5 Kilo in yesterday.

    We have had our 2nd UK Smokes weekend, where members attend and cooked over the weekend, dates and plans are already in place for 2016. Please use the link below to view the website.

    http://www.uk-smf.co.uk

    Smokin Monkey �
     
  4. wade

    wade Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Hi SweatySock - welcome to the forum

    It is great to get another southerner on here to help redress the north-south balance [​IMG]

    Before you rush out and buy the Bradley do you know what you are intending to smoke and how much you are looking to do. The Bradley is a good enough general smoker however it is quite proprietary and uses special wood biscuits for producing the smoke - which are relatively expensive. It could be the right one for you but there are a lot of other options too.

    You mention bacon. That is great but be careful - once you have started making your own you will not want to buy shop bought bacon again. Bacon is very straightforward to make and there are two main methods. The US guys seem to prefer an immersion brined bacon but over here we tend to prefer a dry cure bacon. You should try making both to see which you prefer. To get you started I have attached a step by step guide to help you.

    If you want to initially try making some without having to buy a load of Cure#1 then drop me a PM with your address and I will pop some in the post for you to get you started.

    Cold smoking can be done in a simple kettle BBQ, a dustbin/garden incinerator or even a cardboard box. There are a number of "cold smoke" generators that you can buy that will produce good quality smoke from pellets or sawdust of your choice. Here are a couple of examples

    An example of a cold smoker made from cardboard - http://www.macsbbq.com/cold-smokers

    Here for a garden incinerator - http://www.themeatwrangler.com/2012/06/smoker-setup.html

    http://www.amazenproducts.com/product_p/amnps5x8.htm  - This is the one I use and costs about $85 (£65) including shipping and taxes.

     - This is more for sawdust and produces reasonable smoke and costs about £35. I have one of these too but find it a little temperamental

    ProQ also do a larger version called the "Artisan CSG" which comes in at about £50

    If you are looking to hot smoke then you may already have a kettle BBQ or a bullet smoker which are perfectly good for this.

    I am not sure which of the Bradley Smokers you were looking at - the 4 rack smoker comes in at about £400 from CostCo. It has the advantage of being electric and so very controllable - although this is also a disadvantage if you are looking to get traditional BBQ smoked flavour. You may want to take a look at these couple of alternatives...

    ProQ Excel BBQ Smoker - http://www.souschef.co.uk/proq-excel-smoker.html

    Weber WSMhttp://www.wowbbq.co.uk/products/weber-smokey-mountain-cooker-47cm-and-cover--721001.html

    Hopefully these will give you some ideas.

    Wade
     
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    Wade,

    Many thanks for such a hospitable welcome to this forum. I would love to trial a bacon without committing to buying a load of Cure #1 so will take you up on your offer, many thanks.

    I have a 4 burner gas Ducane BBQ (unfortunately not one of the originals that will last forever but one post Weber takeover; still a decent quality), an old Kingsford charcoal BBQ/smoker I bought from a US colleague who couldn't take it back to the States with him and a very cheap Brinkmann Smoke 'n' Grill.

    The Ducane gets used most weeks but am using this strictly as a grill. I have dabbled with a smoker box in there but nothing serious. I have grilled a Turkey for Christmas a couple of times but tends to be steaks, butterflied legs of lamb or beer-can chicken. With a family of 20+ I tend to end up BBQ’ing for most family events.

    The Kingsford is my overflow BBQ but I really should be using that for smoking; I guess it would be ideal for cold smoking as it is has a separate smoking chamber. I might invest in one of those cold smoke generators you referenced; a lot cheaper than a Bradley.

    My Brinkmann has only been used a few times. I have done a couple of chickens (they turned out okay), a side of salmon (that was good) and a dozen trout fillets (these were a disaster, I tried hanging them during the smoking but once they got warm they got soft and all fell from the hooks straight into the water bowl…).; The biggest issue with the Brinkmann is that it has an open bottom so controlling temperature is nigh on impossible; I struggle to get it up to even minimum temperature. Last attempt at a chicken ended up on the Ducane as a beer-can…

    I would love to do some bacon (everything I have read tends to agree with your statement, once you have tried your own you’re hooked… and I do love smoked sausage so would love to try that. Some of my kids love cold smoke salmon/trout and the others swear by hot smoked so would need flexibility to be able to do either. I also like the thought of pork loin.

    Not sure how much I would actually use the smoker, I guess it would depend upon how successful I was. I guess if I take a little bit of time and ask the right questions then I could make a lot more use of the kit I currently have. Just thought that having an electric smoker would make things a little simpler. I was looking at the Bradley Original Smoker rather than the digital one; Costco have these for £299. From the write-ups I have seen, temp control on the digitals is a little hit and miss so a lot of people end up buying the Auber PID so might as well save the £££’s in the first place. The big drawback is the bespoke biscuits, these can be expensive. I am doing a little bit of research to see if there are alternatives that can be used.

    Looking forward to diving in, one way or another. Will post pics of my efforts and hopefully will improve over time.
     
  6. millerbuilds

    millerbuilds Smoking Fanatic SMF Premier Member

    SweatySock-

    Welcome to the forum.  Since you are new to smoking you may want to play around with what you have first, I had the same Ducane 4 burner gas grill, and I have cold smoked in it using the Amazen tube and it works great.  Just remove one grate and place the tube on the heat deflectors.  As you stated you can also use the kingsford.

    I agree that the Bradley may not be your best option, There are other pellet smokers out there that allow you to purchase your pellets from.  I know that Costco in the states sells the Treager which is a great unit, but a bit on the high side when it comes to price.  The other option is to look at some of the many Electric Smokers out there that you can use chips and pellets.  Since I am not sure what brands are available in the UK I give you any advice.  I personally have the SmokinTex electric and am very happy with it, there website does note that they will help with International orders.

    http://www.smokintex.com/

    Good luck and welcome to the forum, can't wait to hear what you decide to do!
     

    Smoke ON!
     

    - Jason
     
  7. smokin monkey

    smokin monkey Master of the Pit Group Lead OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    10 grams of Cure #1 should get you on your way.

    It seems like you have quite an Arsenal of BBQ gear. I am sure we can get you producing good Q on what you have.

    I do not cook fish, hot or cold. Long story, but I do not like fish and fish doesn't like me!

    Wade is your contact for Hot & Cold Smoking Fish, (it's one of his passions)

    There is videos on YouTube, showing how to make the Bradley Pucks.
     
  8. Welcome to the site from north west Michigan papat. As you have already noticed there are a lot of great people full of great information on the site and willing to share it. Good luck on the bacon.
     
  9. wade

    wade Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    A good selection of grills and smokers and it sounds like you enjoy cooking for large gatherings [​IMG]

    You mentioned that you "grilled" the turkey. Was this as pieces or as a whole bird? The 4 burner gas Ducane will be good for roasting and smoking whole joints / birds using indirect heat and you can include a wood chip or pellet smoke generator to add flavour.

    Brinkmann smokers are renowned to be a challenge for fine temperature control and so I am not surprised that you have had mixed results when using it. There are many threads on here that explain how some relatively simple mods to it can vastly improve its use.

    Are you cooking by time or by temperature? If you are not cooking by temperature yet then one of the first things you need to buy is a dual probe digital thermometer. This will not only tell you the actual temperature inside the cooking chamber (the built in lid thermometers are usually so inaccurate that they should be ignored) but it will also tell you when the joint / bird is cooked and so you will not dry it out by overcooking. Something lile a Maverick ET-732 or 733 is ideal.

    Only hang the fish if you are cold smoking them. Hot smoking fish will quickly become flaky as the flesh cooks and it will fall apart. To hot smoke the fish place it skin side down on an oiled wire cake cooling rack in the smoker. Even when you are cold smoking the fish it needs to be supported as it smokes. This is usually done by keeping the collar on when it is filleted and using a skewer to spread the weight. You can see what I mean here... http://www.smokingmeatforums.com/t/237224/smoking-fish-an-old-dog-can-still-learn-new-tricks


    To give you an idea of how well the AMNPS works here is a quick video I made last year. I was not nominated for Director Of The Year but you will be able to see it in action. Here it is being used with my offset smoker for cold smoking.



    Just shout if you need any more information.

    Cheers

    Wade
     
    Last edited: Jul 10, 2016
  10. Wade,

    That's pretty amazing how long those pellets last. I assume that you are microwaving the pellets up front to warm them up and make them burn easier? Can you also light the AMNPS with a tea light or does that take too long (albeit that I like the thought of using a blow torch in cooking...[​IMG])?

    The Turkeys were done whole on indirect heat, I tend to use the Ducane to roast a lot. Doing chicken wings and ribs slow and low on indirect just gets that meat falling off.

    Has anyone had any dealings with www.bbqgourmet.co.uk? They are currently selling the AMNPS 8x5 for £40 plus pellets for £12 which seems a decent price; Amazon have it for £86 inc postage.

    Thanks to everybody for the help/pointers/comments.
     
  11. wade

    wade Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    The microwaving is mostly to reduce the moisture in the pellets that it picks up from the air over time when they are stored. This is more important in the winter than in the summer. Yes you can light it with a match and small piece of firelighter or using a tea light underneath. I just use the blowtorch for speed.

    BBQ Gourmet are a reputable company and I have heard no bad things about them. £40 for the 8x5 is a good price too. They buy them directly from Todd at Amazen and if you want one I would get it soon before they increase in price due to the plunging US/UK exchange rate [​IMG]. Buying direct from Amazen Products in the USA costs $85 including shipping and taxes which is roughly £65.
     

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