West Country Newbie

Discussion in 'UK Smokers' started by bigeateruk, Jun 3, 2014.

  1. Hi All, 

    Just joined the forum after getting my smoker in February. Currently have the Brinkmann ECB and am anticipating problems to be honest but will not let that stop me. Have recently made some of the mods suggested - charcoal pan mods and fitting a proper temp gauge this week. Fingers crossed I can become familiar with it and get some level of control over it. 

    Read about not using quick light charcoal so that is one place where I have already gone wrong. Hoping that by using better charcoal (is lumpwood the best?) and with the mods my next smoke off will be more successful. Was wondering does anyone have any success stories with the ECB - I am a glass half full kind of person but this is being tested the more opinions I read. I didn't want to spend hundreds of pounds, one because I don't have it and two don't think i will use it enough to justify that expenditure. 

    Look forward to using the forum and asking questions and getting some sound advice.

    So far I have tried chicken (great flavour), pulled pork, smoked pork tenderloin, sausages and mackerel. All of them tasted good but have had to put the majority in the oven to finish it off so am striving to do a cook from start to finish in the smoker I have in the garden.
  2. I get the impression it is a bit of an art form in comparison to just standard BBQing but the results look amazing. Should say I have already enrolled to the 5 day e-course from Jeff and have all those emails.

    One quick question how do I save this group so I can get back to it easily?
  3. wade

    wade Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Hi BigeaterUK.  Welcome to the group.

    Starting out with a new smoker is always a bit of a learning curve until you have got to know how it performs. Even two smokers of the same model can behave differently. From what you say you are doing the right thing by looking for advice on the forum. Everyone has their own preferred way of preparing BBQ so the advice may differ slightly between posts and in time you will find the best way that works for you. Jeff's course will give you a good grounding and help build confidence.

    A few simple pointers to help get you started
    • Temperature control is very important. Get to know your smoker and how it operates over the cooking time.
    • Fuel is a big factor when it comes to both flavour and temperature management. As you have already found do not use instant light charcoal or briquettes. Charcoal and briquettes are both good sources of fuel however you need to make sure they are good quality. I would recommend sticking to "restaurant grade" charcoal or briquettes designed for use in kettle BBQs. You can get these from many sources but a good one I have found is http://www.wowbbq.co.uk/weber-accessories/charcoal-and-wood. Both Heat Beads briquettes and Weber briquettes and charcoal are good to start off with. Additional flavour can be added by placing seasoned wood chunks on top of the coals or by adding pellets or soaked wood chips. Unless you know that they are good quality I would steer away from store own-brand versions as they are usually designed for use on grill BBQs and can actually work out more expensive as they tend to burn away very quickly.
    • Start off with simpler things - like ribs, pork joint or beer cab chicken. Danny even suggests going back to sausages and chicken legs whilst learning how your smoker handles temperature - which is not a bad idea as any mistakes can always be "fed to the dog".
    • Until you get comfortable with the actual cooking do not be afraid to use shop bought rubs and BBQ sauces - some are very good. You will probably soon want to progress on to making your own though - there are lots of recipes on here.
    • To begin with use the KISS principle as some of the simplest methods can produce the best results.
    • Don't be shy to ask questions, no matter how "stupid" you think they are. With BBQ, no matter how long you have been doing it there is always something new that you can learn from others.
    We also like photos on here. Please share with us how you are getting on.

    Cheers, Wade
    Last edited: Jun 4, 2014
  4. Hi Wade,

    Thanks a lot for you tips. Thinking of doing some dry runs with the smoker just using coal to get used to temperature control and not wasting time and money o the joints. 

    I do have to ask what is the KISS principle?

  5. Hello.  Welcome to the "family".  KISS = Keep It Simple Stupid.  I do prefer the taste of lump wood but Wade says those Australian Heat Beads are the Mutts Nuts so I'll have to give those a try.  Wade has giving you some great advice.  We do get a discount from the link he gave you please see link below.  The only things I might add is to get some sort of bowl and use that as a measure of lump wood charcoal and briquettes count out the briquettes you start with. And the other is keep a BBQ journal.  Write down EVERYTHING you can think of relating to each smoke.  Where the meat came from, outside temperature, brand of charcoal, rub or marinade used and recipes for each recorded in a recipe book, cook chamber temps per hour, it temps per hour ( these 2 can change using the same process but in different weather ), how long the measured charcoal lasted for a particular brand, etc. etc..  If that smoke went great then you can recreate it.  If something was not quite right you can start by changing ONE thing at a time until you get it perfect.  Keep Smokin!

  6. Hello.  As for coming back quickly.  Click on the following link and when you get there click on the "Subscribe" button which is just above and to the left of the first post.  Then you can go to "Edit your Subscriptions" and you will see the link there.  You would then think that if ANYTHING is posted in the Group you would be notified, in reality that does not happen.  But at least you have the link in your subscriptions.  Actually this has bothered me for some time.  Guess I'll have to PM the Admin and see what happens.

  7. wade

    wade Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    The Heat Beads will give you... heat. Lots of it, consistently over a long period of time. I usually use these as a base for the heat and lay seasoned wood blocks, shavings, pellets or dust on top for flavour. As Danny says, lump wood gives you great flavour and I most definitely use it too - but I usually lay it on top of the briquettes.

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