Brummie Smoker New Guy

Discussion in 'UK Smokers' started by tombirmingham, Jul 29, 2015.

  1. tombirmingham

    tombirmingham Fire Starter


    My name is Tom, I am from Birmingham in the UK and have recently restarted eating meat again, I was a vegetarian for 6 years and then started eating fish and now meat. I've decided to do this after rethinking my personal ethos on food consumption and have realised that an informed decision on my food purchasing is vital, choice as a human being is just as important as not eating a certain food. I believe in eating good meat but less of it, I will buy from an organic butcher and not just some shitty burger from a takeaway store. 

    So what brings me here ? Well I love food DIY, I love making my own sourdough bread, lacto fermenting and recently I made my own hot smoker from a bread bin to hot smoke some mackerel. My girlfriend is a strict veggie and struggles with meat and being around it so I've said I'll keep it outside of the house as much as possible therefore the logical step is BBQ and smoking. 

    I have a Weber BBQ but I am really interested in smoking food, particularly fish but also my own sausages, cheese and chillies etc. Yesterday I bought a PRO Q Frontier starter set from Hot Smoked, like all good things I feel this will be a slow journey of learning and hopefully good food and the feeling of doing things my way away. 

    I also believe in self-reliance and have a small blog called  where I am blogging about my journey into self-reliance/sufficiency. 

    I am based in the UK and keen to read books which follow traditional history (I am a bit of a food history geek) as well as practical skills and tips that would be useful on this smoking journey. All advice, good reads and tips would be very welcome !


  2. wade

    wade Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Hi Tom and welcome to the UK Group. It is good for the BBQ world that you are now eating meat again however I never knock people who choose  to be vegetarians (except in jest) and I have eaten some wonderful vegetarian meals over the years. The important things to remember with meat are quality and moderation.

    From your mix of interests you should find a lot of soul mates on here as many of us like to try our hands at different things. Smoked fish and cheese are regular discussion points on here in addition to the meat.

    With both the Weber Kettle (?) and the ProQ Frontier you are set to smoke most things that you are likely to want. There are people on here from the UK and the USA who can help you to fine tune your skills on both. You will be surprised how quickly the journey will be once you have mastered the temperature control of both.

    Please remember that no question is too trivial or too basic and if you are wanting to know the answer then there are likely to be others just waiting for the question to be asked.

    When you get a chance please start a new thread in here and post some photos of your next smoke. We like photos in here.

    If you happen to find yourself in the vicinity of Lincoln next Saturday It would be great to see you at the SMF UK Group gathering.


  3. tombirmingham

    tombirmingham Fire Starter

    Thank you Wade, will keep you updated. Something tells me I'll start with fish, we have an excellent fish market in Birmingham where I am going to look into getting a side of salmon to cold smoke in the PRO Q. I had in addition to some money towards my smoker for my 30th a book by personal food hero Tim Hayward, he covers the actions of salmon smoking well and I like the idea of doing it at home in the garden. I also want to look at smoking cheese, I have a romantic idea of smoking cheese and providing it to friends and family at Christmas as presents.

    The meat aspect is daunting and the idea of smoking a brisket seems quite far away at the moment, I like to learn and geek out at a lot of things and I have done that with my sourdough bread baking. The image below is a raisin, rosemary and caraway bread that I baked at home in my oven. I also am blessed with an earth oven which I built with a crew of people for making pizza and bread baking, it's in my garden and is a monster but very beautiful to use. 2 weeks ago I was getting pizzas cooked in it in under 2 minutes !

    I am also going to look into doing a butchery course, as I have come back to meat I have realised that my love of pork is most evident out of all the meats - I'd like to do a butchery course to learn about the joints, the methodology and how to get the best with minimal waste from an animal. What vegetarianism has taught me is to respect all things, leave no waste and be careful with the decisions I make when eating food. I don't want to seem preachy but I genuinely do feel this way and it is a consideration I have been making for a number of months to get to this opinion and believe it. 

    But for now, on with the smoke, any first projects that people would recommend for toe dipping ? 
  4. smokin monkey

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

    Hi Tom , 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.

    Please take time to look at the UK Smokers Forum,

    And introduce your self on the UK Roll Call

    Some of the best food I have had, was vegetarian in India.

    If you are looking at doing a Butchery Coures you will not go wrong with the people below, especially the Pig In A Day Course.

    Smokin Monkey �
  5. kiska95

    kiska95 Smoking Fanatic

    Hi Tom

    Welcome on board!

    I have done a few sides of Salmon recently and the results have been astounding, and its very simple to do with relatively quick results. I used to buy sides of smoked salmon from a small smoke house in Scotland, they were expensive but really good. But once you get a whole salmon (£4.99KG Makro) filleted, deboned, trimmed, cured and smoked you will never buy it from any smoke house again!!! My next attempt is going to be cold smoking other fish, going to try Monkfish!

    What are you thinking about using for your cold smoke generator as there are a number of DIY alternatives before you spend the big bucks

    A personal goal would be to make my own cheese and them smoke it but that's a while away yet. Just practice on small things until you get to master your rig
  6. kiska95

    kiska95 Smoking Fanatic

    Hi Tom

    I have done a few courses, butchery, sausage making and bread baking but got canny deals on them via Wowcha.

    However I did find most courses a little pricey, so I just asked a butcher friend if I could watch and before you know it you're hands on and it couldn't get better! I also worked in an Artisan Bakers for 6 months same thing just offered to help and wham I was into the whole process. But there is nothing better than bread baked in a Pizza/ Earth oven and yours look great.[​IMG]

    Have you got pictures of your oven for the lads to see. I am thinking about building one too
  7. Hello Tom.  Glad to have you with us.  WEALTH of knowledge here.  Not everyone knows everything but with so many members worldwide I am sure your questions will receive many pieces of GREAT advice.

    Bit of a forgien concept here but when back in Texas I was a hunter.  From about the age of 10.  I also raised animals for slaughter when a bit older.  I TOTALLY agree and understand your ethos.  I would NEVER kill an animal ( by any means ) without planning to use EVERY piece of that animal I could for food.  It is about "respect" for the animal.  Keep Smokin!

  8. Hi Tom,

    I'm a fellow Brummie, born and bred. Both myself and partner had lived there all our lives until December last year when we moved out to Rugeley near Cannock Chase.

    Like you I've just started to smoke meat and like you my other half is a veggie (although she does eat fish).

    We still both visit Brum regularly, normally at weekends for a beer or three.

    Prior to moving we lived in Erdington, where are you?

    As Wade has mentioned this weekend is a smokers weekend at Woodhall Spa, Lincolnshire. We are heading across tomorrow until Sunday, taking the ProQ along and hoping to learn a thing or two.

    Probably short notice for you but be great if you could come along.
  9. smokin monkey

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

    Hi Resurected, I lived in Derby, but worked in Erdington for 10 Years, Summer Road by the Bridge.
  10. Yep, just by the New Inns pub.
  11. tombirmingham

    tombirmingham Fire Starter

    I have had a few invites but I am busy this weekend, I am off to a Mill tour in Gloucester to see where the flour I use comes from and then heading to see some friends in the evening. Tonight I am going to season my PRO Q and then make some plans for the first smokes. I live in Stirchley but I have lived all over the UK including Scotland, my dad fly fished salmon for a number of years and I have fond memories of this so that is where the salmon part comes in. 
  12. Stirchley Wines my favourite off licence ☺
  13. tombirmingham

    tombirmingham Fire Starter

    Indeed. Some great beers there, was introduced to the Kernel Brewery from there including their weird but brilliant London Sour beer from the same brewery. Has to be tried. 
  14. tombirmingham

    tombirmingham Fire Starter

    Yep, just had their Table Beer. 3.3% but such a lovely session drink. 
  15. smokewood

    smokewood Smoking Fanatic Group Lead

    Hiya Tom welcome to the forum.

    It's a shame that you missed the Smoking Weekend as there was an array of food to tempt  every taste, but there is next year.  

    There are quite a few members who hot & cold smoke so you are in good hands, don't forget to post your photo's, so we can all follow your journey.

    I have just had a quick look at your blog, and I think you are on a great journey, I have also bookmarked it so I will be able to follow your journey. 
  16. tombirmingham

    tombirmingham Fire Starter


    Glad to see everyone doing so well over the weekend and enjoying the days, maybe next year for me !

    I was wondering if I could ask a quick question, what would you recommend for your first smoking ? Ideally I want to do a hot and cold smoke over the next few weeks, my brain is full of information (there is a shed load of it) and I want to be able to go for something that won't end in disappointment and can be enjoyed whilst learning the fundamental basics through a hands on approach. 

    What were everyones first smokes ? What would you have gone and done first if you could do your first smoke again ? I might just do a few steaks, am I going in the right direction you think or would it be easier to do something else ?

    My chimney starter comes tomorrow, I'll season the smoker tomorrow night and then it is onto the food. Exciting and a little daunting I must say !

  17. smokin monkey

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

  18. Hi Tom, welcome to the forum.

    The first thing I smoked was a Chicken. It was pretty simple and it's not too expensive if you cock it up ;)
    Just oil it up, throw a little rub on it if you like (make sure to season under the skin), and chuck it on the smoker.
    Keep an eye on it and make sure it's up to a safe temperature before you eat it and you should be well away :)
  19. smokewood

    smokewood Smoking Fanatic Group Lead

    Hiya Tom 

    For a cold smoke cheese is a good one, however I frequently cold smoke pistachio's & cashew nuts to snack on in the afternoon.  Another good one is Demerara Sugar,  Sugar you are now saying!!!

    spread it out on a tray and cold smoke it for a couple of hours.  The good thing about it is that you can just nip out once an hour, stick your finder in it and test it to see when you are happy, if you need more smoke leave it in a tad longer.  Smoked Sugar is fantastic on Fresh Strawberries, it kinda brings them alive.

    As for hot Smoking, I think a chicken, or chicken drumsticks are cheap.

    The first thing I hot Smoked were pork ribs using the 3-2-1 method using Oak & Apple.

    Keep us posted

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