Welcome Primer

Discussion in 'UK Smokers' started by wade, Jan 22, 2016.

  1. wade

    wade Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Hi Simon

    The GMG pellet smokers are good. I have a Davy Crockett and Brian (Kiska) has the DB. They are pretty much fit-and-forget but can really only be used for hot smoking. Some people do not think that they produce sufficient smoke flavour (thy burn the pellets very efficiently) however I have been pleased with the results from my DC. I use my Cookshack FEC-120 more these days though but it works in a very similar way.

    If you go for the DB then you will need to get a separate cold smoker. Other wood/charcoal burning offset smokers can be used for both hot and cold however out of the box they do need regular tending to maintain constant temperature. Many can be fitted with automatic temperature controllers though which will take away most of the need for manual temperature management.

    The size of your cold smoker will really depend on the amount that you are hoping to smoke. I started out cold smoking in my Weber Kettle then moved to an offset and now I have a fridge conversion. It is not rocket science - you just need a way of generating cool smoke and passing it continually over the food for several hours. Some on here have used a cardboard box and a couple of weeks ago Jamie and Jimmy (Channel 4) showed something similar.

    There are a number of different smoke generators. Some which passively burn sawdust (ProQ) and others which burn pellets (AMNPS) and some use an air pump and the venturi effect to burn wood/pellets in a cylinder (Smoke Daddy). I have used all three types and I find the AMNPS gives me the best results when cold smoking.

    Personally I am not a great fan of the Bradley Smoker as it uses proprietary disks to provide the smoke and when you add the optional cold smoking adaptor is works out quite expensive to buy and also to run (everything is relative though). It will, however do both hot and cold smoking and a lot of people do use them.

    Can you give us a little more information about what you are expecting to hot and cold smoke. Frequency and quantity will indicate which solution is the most appropriate for you.


    Last edited: Jan 22, 2016
  2. peter s

    peter s Newbie

    Wade, what is the lowest controllable temp the Cookshack can run at?
  3. Thanks for setting up the new thread.

    Yeah I saw the cardboard box smoker on Jamie and Jimmy's show. Could you not just stick a cold smoke generator like the amps in the bottom of the gmg?

    Frequency will probably be weekends as I work shifts in the week, so that's why I really need something that is almost set and forget as many a time the wife has said "do your ribs for t" but then it's a case of well they take 5-6hrs so you can either stay home and I do them or we go off and do something.
    It would be nice to be able to put say a brisket or butt in before going to bed then tend to it in the morning and have it ready for lunch or put some ribs in early in the morning for lunch and still be able to get on with other chores, diy, gardening, working on the car etc without having to keep my eye on the smoker every hour. I did look a couple of years ago at getting a WSM or ProQ along with an electronic controller (bbq guru I think) but then you are up into the realms of the gmg db prices anyway and they would still need tending to and fuel topping up etc.

    I've done the usual hot smoking of bb ribs, chicken, pork shoulder and salmon on the Weber kettle but I often have trouble maintaining temps, first time I did the beer can chicken it was ready in 45 mins as I put in way too many coals, ribs I seem to have cracked but pork and brisket have not been successful partly as until recently I didn't realise how low and slow they were meant to be cooked.

    Qty wise it's normally for 2-4 of us and a couple of times a year upto 20.

    I've not done any cold smoking yet but hoping that will change once I've done the course at Riverside as I really want to produce my own bacon, Ham, sausage, cheese and fish as I love smoked haddock but just don't seem to find any decent stuff in the shops down thus way and the wife likes mackerel and salmon.

    What pellets do you run your gmg dc and your fec on?

    Another question I have is where do people source their meat from, we have a costco up at Bristol but that's like a 90 mile round trip and I have used them for ribs before and we have a bookers c & c in town.


  4. wade

    wade Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    The FEC-120 will cook and hold at 140 F (60 C). It may go lower than that but I have never tried. 
    peter s likes this.
  5. wade

    wade Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Hi Simon
    You need good air flow through the smoker to ensure that the smoke generator (AMNPS) does not go out and also to prevent excess moisture and tar forming in the chamber and depositing on the food. With a standard offset smoker you can place the smoke generator in the firebox and there will be plenty of air flow across it. With the pellet smoker the air flow is finely controlled by the fan and the pellets in the hopper will effectively form an air barrier. If you empty the hopper you may get sufficient air flow but I have not tried doing that.

    Also when cold smoking you are trying to avoid adding heat into the smoking chamber. By having the generator in the firebox (or in a remote box - e.g. a "mailbox mod") the heat has a chance to dissipate and the smoke to cool before it enters the chamber. By putting the generator inside the smoking chamber the internal temperature around the food will rise. This may not be too much of a problem on cool days and with certain foods, however on warm days and with foods like cheese or butter the chamber could easily get too hot.
    With the pellet smoker it is certainly possible to leave it unattended for the longer smokes. They are not totally infallible though and you would be wise to use an additional thermometer with a low temperature alarm in case you get a cavity form in the pellet hopper during the night and it goes out.

    The WSM and ProQ are certainly something to consider - or even a UDS.
    When it comes to low and slow on the Weber Kettle you need to ignore what they tell you on the Weber courses. By using good quality briquettes in a minion or snake arrangement you can keep the cooking temperature at a steady 110-120 C for 6 or 7 hours with minimum attention. 

    Below are photos from a comparison between Heat Beads and a new coconut briquette they were considering importing into the UK called Nature.

    By keeping tho top vent 3/4 closed and the bottom vent slightly cracked open you can keep the internal temperature very low and stable. Here is the heat profiles taken with my temperature logger for the 6+ hours of the test.

    Please let us know how you get on with the Riverside course. Some of us here have attended the Curing and Smoking course at the School of Artisan Food. It will be good to see how they compare. Don't forget the photos [​IMG]. It will be interesting to see if they show you curing with Nitrite as this was not covered on the Artisan course.
    I usually use Hickory, Oak or Fruit pellets from The American BBQ Company. Sometimes with brisket I will use the Texas Blend pellets which includes Mesquite.
    That differs I think depending on where you are. Price is not always the main factor and you would be well advised to hunt out a local butcher (preferably one that also supplies to your local restaurants) and become friendly with him. That way you will get what wou want rather than what someone else thinks you want. Some have bought meat online (including me) and I think most peoples experiences of doing that have been very disappointing.

    I hope this helps.

    Last edited: Jan 22, 2016
    primer likes this.
  6. Many thanks Wade.

    Given me plenty to think about.

    I'm hoping the Riverside course is good (anniversary present from the wife) as there's a couple more I want to do on butchery and charcuterie.

    I have a couple of the maverick 733 thermometers enroute to me at the moment for monitoring temps.
  7. smokin monkey

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

    Hi Simon, it sounds like you are pretty much sold on a GMG?

    This is a mock up of the cold smoking mod I was on about. I have shown it with a US Mailbox, as that's what they use in the USA, but any metal box will do and flex hose onto the grease out let. You might have to get some sort of adaptor from the round hose to the square grease outlet.

  8. Looks interesting.

    Yeah I'm sort of swaying towards the gmg.

    What pellets are you using on your gmg?

    The wife saw me reading some reviews and said not another bbq, you already have 6 (Inc the tandoor oven) but I did point out it was much better than my other ones and what I would be cooking on it and that it must be at least 2 if not 3 years since I brought one.
  9. smokin monkey

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

    Pretty much the same as Wade, GMG,
    Fruit Wood for Bacon etc
    Gold Blend for general
    Texas Blend for Brisket.

    I have also blitzed them up in a commercial food blender to make dust!
  10. Hi Simon, welcome to the group.
    I use the GMG Fruitwood and Gold Blend pellets for cold smoking, they give an really nice flavour. I haven't been at this too long, but I am starting to get some nice results now.
  11. wade

    wade Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Give her my phone number - she can commiserate with my wife [​IMG]
  12. I've taken the plunge and ordered the GMG Daniel Boone today so roll on the weekend, just need to get hold of some decent meat now.
  13. OOh nice one.
  14. smokin monkey

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

    👍 Don't think you will be dissapointed!!!

    You will need to join the Pellet Smokers Group now.
    Last edited: Jan 25, 2016

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