Hello from Southeast London

Discussion in 'UK Smokers' started by molove, Aug 7, 2015.

  1. molove

    molove Smoke Blower

    I've been lurking for a while but now I've actually smoked something, thought it was time to say hello.

    I'm Piers and live in Southeast London/Kent borders, I have owned various smokers over the years starting with a Luhr Jensen Mini Chief which I used regularly for hot smoking fish, and cold smoking cheese. Then I got an ECB which I never had any joy with at all, I tried doing all the mods I could find on the internet which didn't seem to improve it much. It is used now occasionally for cold smoking, I make my own bacon now and again.

    I then bought a cheap offset Landmann (I think) smoker from Makro which also I didn't have much joy with either, despite modding it too. My adventures in bbq smoking pretty much stopped there for a few years, I stopped trying to make pulled pork on the bbq when I discovered a fantastic recipe for it done in a casserole for 5 hours, which was so much easier and tastier than anything I'd achieved in the past.

    Until now...

    I have often looked at ceramic kamado cookers with envy knowing it's unlikely that I'd ever be able to afford one, then recently I discovered the CharGriller Akorn Kamado and that it was available in the UK and affordable (though obviously for twice the price of it in the States!)

    I've just spent the last couple of weeks learning how to use it, how to set the vents to cook at different temperatures, searing steaks, roasting chickens, burning pizzas [​IMG] etc. I also learned an absolutely fantastic way to light the charcoal - a heat gun. It manages to get the charcoal lit in less than a minute with no risk of tainting the food from firestarters [​IMG]

    Last night, it was eventually time to attempt pulled pork again. I googled how long I should cook a 3lb hunk of pork shoulder for, and kept coming across people mentioning the "stall", so decided to put it on at about 11pm last night. I set the Akorn for 225ºF (I have an Auberins temperature controller which I bought for the offset), set my wireless thermometer alarm for 205ºF, and then proceeded to stay up far too late.

    This morning I woke up to find the alarm on the thermometer going off, I have no idea how long it had been going off for as it turned out I couldn't hear it from the bedroom. The thermometer was reading 206ºF, so not too much of a disaster.

    I left it to rest for a couple of hours before pulling it.

    It turned out to be the best pulled pork I've ever made, even juicier and more succulent than the casserole recipe.

    Things I learned today.

         1. Pulled pork for breakfast is a bit weird!

         2. Don't put a small hunk of meat on the bbq at 11pm unless you want pulled pork for breakfast.

         3. Don't use neat apple juice in the drip pan if you want to use the drippings for sauce - way too sweet, mouth puckeringly so!

         4. Loving the fact the kamado will cook for over 24 hours on a single filling of charcoal, so no having to get up during the night to tend the cook.

    Next stop brisket! Once I figure out what I need to buy and where I can get it from.

  2. bluewhisper

    bluewhisper Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Welcome to the board, Piers! Too bad you have to pay so much for a smoker. Have fun sharing conversations!
  3. wade

    wade Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Hi Piers and welcome to the group [​IMG]. Where in SE London are you? I am originally from Bexley and I now live near Ashford..

    As you have been lurking for a while you will already know what we are about. Just to reiterate though please don't be shy to ask questions or to offer relevant advice to others where you have experience.

    The pork on the Kamodo looked great and I think you are right about not starting to smoke the meat so late. Pulled pork is also good cooked the day before and re-heated. I find that it actually adds to the depth of flavour.

    As you found, being able to control the temperature well can result in very long cooking times - especially if you use good quality briquettes or charcoal. What did you use?

    You mentioned cooking time and "the stall". Rather than trying to set a time for the cook you should try to cook by internal temperature. The time required will differ by the individual meat joint and its temperature when you first put it into the smoker. When you simply cook it to an internal temperature of 85-90 C (185-195 F) then it takes out all the guesswork. I am not sure what kind of digital thermometer you have - is it the one with the Auberins controller? Does it also have a meat probe so that you can monitor the internal temperature of the meat as well?

    I am not sure that I am fully convinced about "the stall". I know that many people appear to have them, and at one time I thought I did too. However I now data log most of my smokes and when you look at the readings (logged every 60 seconds) you see that the rise in internal temperature is usually pretty consistent. However the rate of rise does slow down as the internal temperature approaches the oven temperature - which may give the perception that a stall is occurring. I was convinced that I had one a couple of months ago but on analysing the logged data it just showed the usual pattern.

    Looking forward to seeing the brisket photos when you get it going.

  4. molove

    molove Smoke Blower

    Hi Wade

    I'm in Eltham so just down the road from Bexley.

    I use lump wood charcoal, I usually use the Restaurant grade from Makro, but I have recently been using Big K as their 10kg bags were on sale at Countrywide Farmers, they appear to down to £5 at the moment. And tbh it seems just as good as the restaurant grade stuff from Makro.

    I've no idea if I got a "stall" I was asleep and atm have no way of logging the temperatures. The Auberins is a pretty basic pid temperature controller with just a single probe measuring the grate temperature. My meat thermometer is unbranded (RF Tech), but from photos it seems that it is the exact same model as the Maverick Et-72. Unfortunately the wireless range is to my back door and no further, so it won't reach to the bedroom.

    The pork won't go to waste that's for sure. How do you reheat it? I was thinking  vac packing it and heating it sous vide in my slow cooker might work and wouldn't dry it out.

    Anyway it's all a learning curve, I still have to perfect cooking the perfect Neapolitan Pizzas in it.

    Last edited: Aug 7, 2015
  5. smokin monkey

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

    Hi Piers, welcome to the group. I have a small Kamado Oven as well and they work really well. I have a pit controller on it as well which regulates the air flow automatically into the egg. Basically set temperature of Pit and Meat and walk away (or go to bed!)

    Pulled Pork Improves with flavour when left and reheated. Vacum sealing is good and I am an ardent fan of Sous Vide so works good for me.

    Smokin Monkey �
  6. molove

    molove Smoke Blower

    Hi Smokin Monkey

    A couple of questions about smoke for you.

    1. What do you use to generate smoke in the Kamado? Last night I buried some oak chunks in the coals before lighting and unfortunately managed to light one of them when lighting the charcoal so with the fan of the pit controller at full blast as the kamado came up to temperature, there was vast amounts of smoke. I was convinced someone was going to call the fire brigade. It calmed down somewhat when the cooker got up to temperature and the fan only puffed occasionally. And I can't guess which way the hot spot will burn thus making placement of chunks a bit hit and miss.

    2. I see you have Smokai Smoke Unit. How is it? I made a venturi cold smoke generator similar to this one https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lG4RlbhSJJ4

    Which I imagine works the same way as the Smokai. I have the problem that when I reduce the airflow to get a nice steady amount of smoke it goes out after about an hour because the remaining chips become damp from the combustion, if I turn up the airflow to a level where it doesn't go out I get way too much smoke generated. Do you have any such problems with the smokai?

  7. smokin monkey

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

    Hi Piers, I built a little tube, which has mesh in the bottom and holes drilled around the top to allow the smoke out, this will hopefully explain a little more,
    I have not had that problem with the Smokai, but I do not use it that much now days only for smoking bacon.
    This might help, I know it's for AMNPS, but the same principle.

    Smokin Monkey
    Last edited: Aug 7, 2015
  8. molove

    molove Smoke Blower

    Thanks. I'll definitely try the microwave trick, hopefully it'll work with chips too. I was also thinking about making a soldering iron cold smoke generator and seeing if that would produce a small amount of smoke over a long period.

    The pellet smoker looks a great idea, especially with no other way of mounting a diffuser plate. Luckily the Akorn has lugs for a diffuser and my friend made me one out of 1/2" steel, which tbh is a bit heavy.

  9. smokin monkey

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

    Last edited: Aug 7, 2015
  10. kiska95

    kiska95 Smoking Fanatic

    Welcome more love[​IMG]

    Looks like you getting the best supplying you with info. These lads are very good indeed!
  11. smokewood

    smokewood Smoking Fanatic Group Lead

    Hiya Molove welcome to the forum.  

    I tried the soldering iron cold smoker but found that it didn't produce smoke for long enough, so I added an extension tube, and then a bigger tin to accommodate the sawdust.  I found it temperamental and dangerous because I ended up melting the soldering iron and causing a small fire. In the end I built my own version of the AMNPS which is brilliant.  The design is simple, produces a good amount of smoke for a long time but more importantly it is safe, so for cold smoking I would recommend the AMNPS.
  12. kiska95

    kiska95 Smoking Fanatic

    Yep Smokey is right I did the same with a 12" piece of 2" perforated motorbike exhaust tube from EBay @ £3.99 works a treat!
  13. Hello and welcome to the “Family”.  Nice piece of kit you have there.  Any help you need and can not find please feel free to PM me or one of the other Group Leads Wade, Smokin Monkey and smokewood ).  If we don’t know the answer we will find the answer.  Usually though just starting a Thread will get you more info than you need!  We also have members of the Group from the U.S. and they quite often offer GREAT advice.  Glad to have you.  We look forward to your contributions.  Have fun.  Good luck.  Keep Smokin!


  14. Welcome to the lunatic asylum :biggrin:
  15. molove

    molove Smoke Blower

    Will the diy AMNPS and AMNTS burn wood chips or do they only work with pellets? I have a lot of chips I need to use up
  16. smokin monkey

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

    Smokewood will be the man to answer that question.
  17. wade

    wade Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Hi Piers

    It does not mention chips on the Amazen products web site for the AMNTS but we tried one with Smokewood's chips at the group meet and it seemed to work OK. It does say on their site though that it does not work with dust.

    The AMNPS documentation says that it works with both dust and pellets - so is likely to work with chips too.

    If you want to try them out I could lend you one of each for a week or so to test with the pellets that you have.


  18. tombirmingham

    tombirmingham Fire Starter

    Hi Piers, 

    I am new here too, nice to see you are well in the depths of smoking. 

    Enjoy the stay !
  19. molove

    molove Smoke Blower

    Thanks Wade, that's very kind of you. I may well take you up on your offer especially if my soldering iron smoker proves to be rubbish.

    I had ordered a cheap soldering iron from ebay which arrived yesterday so had a go at making a  smoker using the soldering iron and a coffee cannister.

    The first test using it with the lid on with a couple of holes drilled in it wasn't very successful. It smoked for a while and then stopped because the lid didn't let any of the steam generated escape so the chips became very damp.

    The second test was more successful, I left the lid off and it produced a light smoke that was still smoking 6 hours later when I turned it off at midnight. I guess it had used about half of the chips.

    I started the third test about half an hour ago, it hasn't started smoking yet.

  20. smokin monkey

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

    Hi Piers, looking good, let us know what the final outcome is.

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