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Discussion in 'UK Smokers' started by kc5tpy, Nov 5, 2013.
hi mrs tweedy
welcome to smf you will get some very good advice on here ,where abouts are you based
Hello Mrs Tweedy. Welcome to our group. We will all try to offer as much help as we can. Keep Smokin!
Hello and welcome Tony.
HI. I am from East London/ borders of Epping Forest. We used to be Epping until they moved the borders and dragged us in to Greater London.
Just working out how to navigate around the site. I am not the best with a computer.
Great in the kitchen or garden but a computer takes a bit of work.
Howdy y'all... Or should I say Hello chaps
Great to see the UK section started and that there are now 16 members. Some of you I have chatted with before - others are new names to me. Looks like we all have something in common - even if it is that we are all exiles from the BBBQS - LOL
Paul - Great gadget - I bought a commercial one a couple of years ago when I was in St Louis - The Pitmaster IQue 110 which does a great job on the Webers. Yours looks like the industrial version and probably gives more air throughput. They take a while to tame but can give good results in the end http://store.pitmasteriq.com/iq110sa.html
I have been hooked on BBQ and smoking for about 20 years - since the time that my (then) job took me reqularly to the USA. I paid just under $49 (about £30) for my first 22.5" Weber - shows how long ago it was - and I was also allowed to bring it back as hand luggage on the plane! That one was still in reqular use until it finally died in June last year, although its younger siblings are still going strong.
I have imported a couple of offset smokers over the years (New Braunfels and Klose) however am currently happy with my own stainless steel (locally commissioned) creation. Unfortunately it is quite big and not too portable but it was a good prototype and is easily adjustable to give me perfect cooking temperatures.
I have never really got into competition BBQ to date as I have never managed to be in the US at the right times - and the UK competition circuit is very small and very cliquey. Maybe that will change over time - however BBQ is not all about competition it is also about having fun cooking great food for family and friends.
Over the past 4-5 years I have become very involved in cold smoking (fish, meat, cheese etc.) and have a variety of prototype smokers dotted around the garden. I am currently constructing a purpose built smoke house and converting the garage into a kitchen ready to use semi-commercially to keep me active when I eventually retire. I am also just venturing into the world of air dried smoked sausage (Salami and Chorizo) and have so far succeeded in not giving anyone food poisoning . HACCP trained so there would no excuses LOL.
Great to see everyone contributing.
how you doing fella
i was going to send you a message about the group and i am glad to see you found it
life ok in deepest darkest kent lol?
Hello Wade and welcome. I have read some of your posts in the past and know you will have some great advice and info to share. We have a small Group at the moment but we are growing quickly. When I asked about starting this Group there were some folks I had hoped would join. I could not have asked for a better group of "founding" members to kick this group off. We have even been lucky enough to attract folks who are new to SMF but not new to grilling and smoking. We have a pretty good skill base from which to draw and share knowledge and info. We do have some folks new to smoking, but isn't that the whole point? We want to try and encourage the British public to get in to some good cooking. You are into cold smoking now and building smokers. I sold my offset and am left with my Old Smokey smoker ( Google. Nepas also has one ) and I will probably start my fridge build in January. We have folks using UDS. Folks with Webers. MarkUK is even getting GREAT results and turning out some fine food on a pizza oven. And various assorted grills and smokers. Not only do we have this talent to draw from, some of us have been SMF members long enough to know who to ask should a Group member have a question we can't help with. We have the makings for a great Group. Have fun. Keep Smokin!
There is nothing wrong with finishing off in the oven once you have it wrapped in foil as you are not getting anything from the coals then apart from heat. Some on the SMF forum have said that after the first 1 1/2 hours you don't get any more flavour from the smoking as the bark will have already formed. I have not tested this scientifically but I can see some logic in it.
The amount of coals/wood that you will go through will really depend on the controllability of your smoker - I can get a good 6 hours from a single chimney of coal on the Weber however the same will only last a couple of hours on the New Braunfels. Especially on very cold or very wet days, once it is foil wrapped I too often bring it inside and finish off in the oven.
Regardless of the smoker type, the quality of the briquettes will often make a massive difference to the cook time. I pay a little more for Heat Beads however I find they increase the usable cooking time by more than 50% over the same quantity of less expensive briquettes.
Love the Pizza BBQ Oven - I have just checked out your link and it looks great value. It isn't clear from the photo how the air flow is controlled but it does not surprise me that you find it a little fuel hungry. Try augmenting the coals with a couple of large chunks/logs of oak as you will probably find they will help the burn last longer and more evenly. Would love to see more photos of it in action.
The food tester looks great too btw - I have one of those as well. She is happy to eat the food but for some reason usually complains about having to wash up the roasting pans. I can't understand why!
Deepest darkest Kent needs the word "coldest" added to it at the moment - Brrr - Summer is over. Need to get the BBQ lit to keep warm Lol
Hi Mrs Tweedy - great you have you on board
The type of "smoker" best suited for you will really depend on what you are intending doing with it. If you want to cook the odd pork joint or sufficient ribs to feed 5 or 6 people then you cannot go far wrong with a simple Weber 57cm (~£100)- and you also have the flexibility to throw on a few burgers and sausages at times (Sorry guys - i did grit my teeth and took a deep breath as I wrote the last bit - but be honest we all do it sometimes !).
If you want something for larger quantities then the Weber Smokey Mountain (WSM) (£300-£400) would work well - or the ProQ Frontier if price is a major factor (£200).
You can get a little more adventurous and buy something like the Pizza/Smoker that Mark recently showed or go for a full offset smoker. A few years ago I had one custom built in stainless steel which I still use regularly - however that is probably a little more extreme.
Paul I know has built an Ugly Drum Smoker (UDS) which is probably the most satisfying smoker to cook on however you would need the facilities/tools to build one and which (as its name suggests) may not win any prizes aesthetically...
The main things to consider when choosing are the quantities you are likely to want to cook, the amount of time you want to invest in getting to know how the device functions and what type of smoking you are wanting to do.
Quantities - If you are unlikely to cook for more than 4-5 people then something like a Weber 57cm would be ideal. For larger groups then the WSM or ProQ
Be careful when looking at cooking areas in offset smokers as these can be deceptive. With many of the smaller (garden centre) units the internal temperature gradient will be quite steep in the cooking chamber and so the area closest to the fire box will probably be too hot to give an even cook. A UDS is also great for larger quantities.
Time - With many of the more "unusual" style smokers you will probably need to experiment several times to find out how best to control the temperature and to find the cooking sweet spot. You may have to be prepared to end up with a few write-off joints as they either get instantly incinerated by dragons breath, go tough as the internal temperature swings wildly or grow mold as you desperately try to get them up to temperature (yes I have had one offset that just could just not get the chamber up to temperature). Once you get to know your unit you will usually get as good a result with it as any other. With the more popular units though you will usually find a lot of advice from others that have already gained the experience.
What are you intending to smoke - I do a lot of cold smoking (cheese, fish etc.) as well as BBQ. For cold smoking, in general, the bigger the smoker volume the better as it minimises any effect of heat given off by the smoke generator. I personally prefer to use my offset smoker for cold smoking however the WSM or a UDS would also be good. I have cold smoked in the Weber 57cm before however even using a relatively cool smoke generator (I use one similar to the AMNPS) the rise in temperature in such a relatively small volume is significant.
If I was to recommend a good all-rounder for someone who wanted to do it seriously and have the greatest degree of flexibility I would go for the WSM. They are compact and take up little space in the back garden, will efficiently BBQ large and small quantities of ribs/joints/chickens etc., will cold smoke very well and will also perform well as a garden BBQ grill. I have used both the 47cm and the 57cm and my advice would be to go for the 57cm if you can afford it. If price is an issue then the ProQ could be an alternative although the build quality is significantly lower.
I hope this is of some help.
Hi Wade. Thanks for all the info.
A little more about myself... I am a passionate cook who makes everything from scratch; preserves, bread, icecream, cakes. The only things I buy from the supermarket are ingredients. I don't do ding ding meals.
We have an allotment and 10 chickens that live at the bottom of the garden.
I make and sell cakes and preserves on a small scale since I retired. And have earned myself the nicknames of Mad Cake Lady and the Pudding Queen of East London!
I have always been a keen bbq fiend, theming the bbqs along the lines of Thai and Chinese but mainly Greek and Turkish.
My son got me thinking about the American style of bbq recently and wanted me to do an American themed bbq for his annual birthday bbq as he loves the pulled pork and ribs.
He has about 30 people over every year for this but I am usually bbqing for up to 10 people.
I went on a cold smoking course in May and have been experimenting a lot since then.
I am interested in cold smoking fish, cheese, veg and I hot smoking fish, chicken and meat, especially whole chicken and duck as I love them.
I think I have got to grips with the brining times and the cold smoking but it is the hot smoking I am still struggling with.
I have had a Napoleon Gourmet Gas grill that can be used on gas or with charcoal trays for years and this year I bought a small Landmann smoker to do smoked chicken and duck breasts.
It has been a hit and miss affair. I find it difficult to regulate the temperature and keep the temperature hot enough. The build up of dust and topping it up with more hot coals is a pain in the bum.
Cold smoking is not a problem as my hubby has built me a lovely wooden cold smoker and I use the ProQ cold smoking gadget.
As I was getting frustrated with the hot smoker I invested in a Peetz electric smoker. The temperature guage is good, and it is sturdy but it is a blinking nightmare getting the smoke dust to start smoking using the pan they supply and putting it on the electric element. If the temperature in the smoker is correct the smoke ignites and goes up in flames. Frustration and foul words everywhere.
I can make it hot smoke with a lot of faffing about by putting the ProQ on a shelf above the heating element and leaving the electric element on low to get the cabinet to temperature. The down side of this is I have less shelf space, I cannot fill the proQ to capacity as it has a tendency to burn across the grids.
I am now thinking about which way to go now. Do I splash out for a Bradley, which is expensive and expensive for the bisquettes?
Or do I get the Smokai cold smoker and adapt the Peetz smoker to work with that and also use it with the Napoleon BBQ?
Also I don't know anything about the Pro Q frontier, so I will go online and investigate that.
I am also tempted by the weber as an extra piece of fire power for the big bbq bash. I am not impressed with the landmann smoker I have.
Any thoughts on the smokai would be useful.
I better shut up now, I do have a tendency to ramble.
Hello Diane. WOW! So you aren't quite a newbie to this smokin thing. You have been fighting this for a while. Smoking meat should be an enjoyable hobby, not a stressful fight to the finish. Stick with us and give us a chance and we will get you sorted one way or the other. Sounds as if you and hubby have some DIY skills. Just for the sake of expense, what about a UDS? They are easy to build ( I help advise a 21 yr old girl somewhere in Norfolk to build her own ) and they work really well. You can get the temps up to grill, hold the temps down for low and slow and even cold smoke in them. Add a mailbox mod ( you can find it in smoker builds ) and you have a really good, cheap, versatile smoker. With two smoking racks you will easily have room for meat for 20-30 people. There are more extravagant builds I could suggest ( I am converting an old fridge in the new year ) but the UDS is quick, easy and cheap. I am not surprised you are having trouble with the Peetz. I do not own one but did look at them. And now you know why I dismissed them. How were you to know without trying it? That's the thing isn't it? New folks are looking for a smoker that doesn't cost a fortune and they don't know where to go for advice. Most times they spend the money and then learn the expensive lesson. Once you get a better smoker you can use your Peetz to store your smoking equipment in. I think the Bradley ( while a good unit ) might be far more expensive than you need. If building the UDS isn't an option, I know of a couple other really good options that won't break the bank. I would say somewhere around £200 will get you going. Plus the cost of a good dual probe therm. Let me know if you need other options. Throwing BIG money at it isn't always needed. Please do me a favour; next question you have, please start a new thread on our Group page. Reason I ask is that posting on the Welcome page; it could be missed. Folks may not want to read all or scroll to the last post. Your own thread will attract attention from all our members and all members of SMF. More ideas are a good thing. Hang in Diane. Things are about to change. Good luck. Keep Smokin!
Your knowledge will be very welcome,
Thanks for that.
I will try to get the hang of starting my own posts. It takes me a while to understand how to use a new forum.
I get there with internet technology but it takes a while.
Took me 3 years to get to grips with the allotment forum I use
Hello Diane. If you look right below the title of this thread you will see a button "Start a New Thread". Click that and you are on your way.
Well I dont live in the UK but I got a invite so here I am.
I live in Pa in the US of A.
I have a UDS and a MES.
I am here to learn things from other areas and maybe to give some input on the american side of things.
Smoking some cheese and butter tonight.
After a nudge in this direction from Danny I thought I'd repost the relevant bits of my role call thread.
I'm in the middle of Cheshire, near Knutsford, a chef by trade with time spent in butchering to learn more about cutting meat so I could get exactly what I wanted at a better price! This was all to lead onto what I do now, I have an outside catering business, mainly doing hog roasts but also bbq, buffet, dinner parties, hot pot suppers and more! If your interested in what I'm doing - have a look at www.hotroasthogs.co.uk or my Twitter (@hotroasthogs).
As for smoking, I am looking to build a fridge based cold smoker with an amns as the generator and a hot smoker from an old gas bbq with the intention of doing cold smoked cheeses, salts, sausage, garlic, chilli and brisket for my Homemade pastrami. The hot smoker is primarily for duck and venison but I'm sure over time I'll use it for a lot more.
Pulled Pork is one thing I'm not really interested in cooking, when your dismantling whole slow roasted pigs every weekend the 'too much of a good thing' saying is very, very true! I'll still do ribs and the odd cut or pork but large pieces hold no interest for me anymore unfortunately!
I am also in the process of kicking off a marmalade and chutney brand, although I'm still a month or two away from a proper launch as there is still some due diligence to complete for it to be above board and kosher from a trading standards and environmental health standpoint.
I'm hoping to have the cold smoker running in the next couple of weeks then the real fun can start!
Hi and thanks for the invite.
Im Ewan from Airdrie in scotland been into bbqs for a few years but never had the room for anything bigger than a argos special. Got a lot more outside space now so more fun food can be tryed. I got into that way of cooking after living in Texas for a few months
several years ago
Hello and Welcome Ewan.