Complete Newb

Discussion in 'UK Smokers' started by red robbo 69, Jul 12, 2015.

  1. red robbo 69

    red robbo 69 Fire Starter

    Hello All,

    Been lurking around various sites and forums for months and do believe I have finally found the one for me. Have been grilling for many years, but just got into smoking about 6 months ago. 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

    Aussie heat beads, the snake method and a Maverick ET 732 have take some of the fear away, but I'm still nervous as a kitten on long smokes, so bear with me if I ask any stupid questions. 

    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.

    Yours nervously [​IMG]


  2. wade

    wade Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Hi Robin. Welcome to the group. Where in Kent are you?

    I need to dash now but will welcome you properly tomorrow [​IMG]

  3. smokewood

    smokewood Smoking Fanatic Group Lead

    Hiya Robin,

    Welcome to the forum, It's fantastic that you have had a look around and decided to stay with us, that''s great news.  We are a small but growing forum with a wealth of knowledge that covers most things.  You will be among friends using the aussie heat beads as quite a fewof the members use them, they are good, but personally I prefer lump wood.

    As far as we are concerned there is no such thing as a stupid question, so if you are unsure about anything just ask, and you will get plenty of answers, even some from the US, as we also have members from the other side of the pond.

    I am sure some of the other members will be along shortly to welcome you to the group.  Where are you based?

    Like most things you only get out what you put in, so please ask away and start your own threads.


  4. red robbo 69

    red robbo 69 Fire Starter

    Hi Wade, nice to hear from you. I'm in Medway

    Smokestack, thanks for the welcome. I live in Kent but I work in London, so I'm lucky in that I've got easy access to good butchers and BBQ restaurants. 

  5. Where abouts in medway Robbo? I'm in Hoo.
  6. red robbo 69

    red robbo 69 Fire Starter

    I'm in Chatham Bensmokey, so not too far away.
  7. wade

    wade Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Hi Robin

    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 [​IMG]. 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.
    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.
    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 [​IMG]

    Last edited: Jul 13, 2015
  8. osprey2

    osprey2 Meat Mopper SMF Premier Member

    Dartford, displaced to South Wales
  9. smokewood

    smokewood Smoking Fanatic Group Lead

    Now you mention about the chilli powder in US recipes being a lot milder.  I made some BBQ beans at the weekend from a US recipe and it nearly blew my head off, and the grand-kids eyes wouldn't stop watering [​IMG]  

    What a small world, I used to live in Chattenden many moons ago.
  10. red robbo 69

    red robbo 69 Fire Starter

    Hi Wade,

    Thanks for tips, all gratefully received. I think I'm beginning to get my head round how my kettle works and I'm really enjoying it. I've cooked several pork butts using heat beads in the snake formation and baby back ribs using the minion with Weber briquettes and both turned out well. At present I find that the snake gives me the most consistent temps (although several times during my cooks the temps have yo-yoed wildly for no particular reason that I could discern). Smokewood mentioned in a previous post that he used lumpwood rather briquettes. I always use lumpwood for grilling (and we get really good quality local lumpwood in Kent); I would have doubts about my ability to control the temps using lumpwood for a smoke in the kettle, but I'm willing to give anything a go.

    Lastly, though I have lived in Kent for over 22 years, I'm originally from Belfast, so I suppose I'm technically a northerner; don't know if that makes me civilised or not [​IMG]. Anyway we have plenty of great produce in Kent, which I'm happy to fly the flag for it as I believe in buying local wherever possible. Great to talk to people on here, I'm looking forward to getting stuck in


  11. red robbo 69

    red robbo 69 Fire Starter

    Chattenden eh. Military man perhaps?

    Just ordered some wood chunks from you yesterday. Looking forward to getting them smoking
  12. smokewood

    smokewood Smoking Fanatic Group Lead

    Was it for Oak, Apple & Cherry?  it was posted out today so you should have it Wednesday or Thursday, thanks for your order.  Just to let you know I give all the members a 15% discount off all our products, so I will set that up for you and send you a private message with your password, and you will get the discount of further purchases,  It's just my way of helping out the members on the forum.

    I spent 3 good years at Chattenden in the early 80's, but the camp is no longer there anymore.
  13. Hello Robin and Welcome to the Family!  Any thing I can help you with please feel free to PM me.  If I can't help I'll find someone to educate us both.

    [​IMG]   These guys crack me up!  Wade as a teen??  He was born old.  smokewood has only now found out the difference in chili powder?  I'll bet THAT was a big surprise!

    Love you guys!  Sometimes I have tears from laughing so hard.  If I can help, you know how to contact me.

    James!  I'll bring ya the "good stuff" next time I go back to Texas.

    Keep Smokin all!

  14. smokin monkey

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

    Hi Robin, welcome to our "Family" and "Adiction"

    You have got plenty of good people around you for good advice!

    Smokin Monkey �
  15. red robbo 69

    red robbo 69 Fire Starter

    That was me. I saw your site before I joined the forum. Doh! Never mind. Have not smoked with chunks before, only chips. Do you recommend soaking the chunks? Most of the stuff I've read suggests not, but I've read a few that do.
  16. red robbo 69

    red robbo 69 Fire Starter

    Cheers, addiction is the right word I think, I'm getting obssessed
  17. wade

    wade Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    You do not need to soak them first. Get a good layer of briquettes/charcoal in a snake/Minion and place them along the top

  18. Hello.  Glad to have you new folks with us!  Wade has ya covered  No soak,  chips or chunks.  Long explanation so will not go there.  Keeep Smokin!

  19. red robbo 69

    red robbo 69 Fire Starter

    Thanks Wade,

    That's a heck of a lot of chunks on there. I realise that smoke flavour is a subjective thing: some like it very smoky, some less so (i like a fair bit), Bearing that in mind, my next smoke will be a 2.5 kg pork butt using apple wood chunks. I don't intend to foil and I believe that the meat stops absorbing chunks after it hits a certain temp, so any suggestions of how many to use  (I will be using chunks from Smokewood)
  20. smokewood

    smokewood Smoking Fanatic Group Lead

    Soaking chunks, wash your mouth out young man! 

    Like you mentioned earlier, it all depends on how much smoke you prefer,and it also which wood you are using.  As an example, personally I do not like to much Hickory so I only use a couple of chunks.  However I love Oak so I throw a lot more on the coals.  If I am mixing Apple & Oak I will use more Apple than oak as the oak has a stronger flavour, and I do not want to overpower the apple.

    To cut to the chase it's all a matter of personal taste and personal preference.  As Wade mentioned earlier, there is no right way only the wrong way when it goes in the bin. (as my wife occasionally reminds me about the leg of lamb).

    It's a trial and error thing, take notes of temperatures, how many chunks you added etc. and them critique your food at the end.  That way you will have a reference for the next time, and you can make adjustments accordingly.

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