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Q-talk *ON TOPIC ONLY* QUALITY ON TOPIC discussion of Backyard BBQ, grilling, Equipment and just outdoor cookin' in general, hints, tips, tricks & techniques, success, failures... but stay on topic. And watch for that hijacking.


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Unread 08-06-2013, 06:06 PM   #1
Stevenjdowd
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Default UK first time smoker looking for inspiration

Hi all. Based in the UK. Not well known for our BBQ weather to say the least but we've had a few good weekends lately. Always enjoyed a bit of grilling on my cheap stainless grill whenever there's been the option but always been really interested in proper BBQing and Smoking so I've taken some advice from these pages, thrown out the cheap equipment and bought myself a Spring Green OTP + a Maverick therm as that seems to be a popular combo choice for those in the know. Now I have the kit assembled but as yet unused I'm looking for ideas for the novice. No doubt I'll have a tonne of questions so I look forward to sharing knowledge, experiences and a few pics.

Off the bat, as a newbie, I have 3 burning Q's.

1) What tips do you have for a new Q fresh out of the box (I've already marked the 'fully open' bottom vent position!)
2) Any essential mods/additions to make my life easier that you'd have wished someone had shared with you at the outset?
3) What would the Brethren suggest should be a first cook in the world of BBQ and/or Smoking?

Thoughts appreciated. Rgs SD
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Unread 08-06-2013, 06:47 PM   #2
IamMadMan
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Stevenjdowd View Post
Hi all. Based in the UK. Not well known for our BBQ weather to say the least but we've had a few good weekends lately. Always enjoyed a bit of grilling on my cheap stainless grill whenever there's been the option but always been really interested in proper BBQing and Smoking so I've taken some advice from these pages, thrown out the cheap equipment and bought myself a Spring Green OTP + a Maverick therm as that seems to be a popular combo choice for those in the know. Now I have the kit assembled but as yet unused I'm looking for ideas for the novice. No doubt I'll have a tonne of questions so I look forward to sharing knowledge, experiences and a few pics.

Off the bat, as a newbie, I have 3 burning Q's.

1) What tips do you have for a new Q fresh out of the box (I've already marked the 'fully open' bottom vent position!)
2) Any essential mods/additions to make my life easier that you'd have wished someone had shared with you at the outset?
3) What would the Brethren suggest should be a first cook in the world of BBQ and/or Smoking?

Thoughts appreciated. Rgs SD
First, understand there is no cookie cutter method of BBQ. The variances in cookers, fuel, weather, and in the meat itself all adds up in differences in time and how the cooker itself will cook.

I suggest your first cook should be a shoulder roast (I belive that is what it's called in the UK) or what we refer to as a pork butt. It is the butt end of the shoulder and because of the internal and fat, it is very forgiving if mistakes are made on your first attempt.

Lastly if you do not see smoke, don't worry. Good smoke is almost invisible, use your nose, if you smell smoke and it's not over-powering, you are good. If the smoke smells strong and bad, then correct the situation.

Good luck and keep us posted.
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Unread 08-06-2013, 11:12 PM   #3
Haastyle
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I second on the Pork Butt. Put together a rub, slather the butt with plain old yellow mustard and then apply your rub. Just have at it. Best way to learn is read up on a number of different sources for advice, then just dive in. There are several realy good books out there. Even if you are shaky.... just get in there and do it. You'll get roughed up time to time but you will learn a ton that way. Pork butts are the most forgiving and really aren't that hard to make them taste good. Once you get the Q science down, you will make them taste jaw dropping amazing. I can't walk you to that step, that all depends on you and how far you want to jump into this.
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Unread 08-06-2013, 11:19 PM   #4
mikeleonard81
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pork butt or if you want somthing with a shorter cook time try a pork loin. Done in less than 3 hours and a real good smoke flavor. Just watch your temps! Not as forgiving as a shoulder but not hard at all. Cooker temp 275 or under and pull it off when internal temp hits 140. Not much to the seasoning either. Just some oil and hit it with a seasoning salt and you'll be hooked on your new found hobby!
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Unread 08-06-2013, 11:55 PM   #5
NOHENS
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Fatty!!!! Oh yes....FATTY!!!!! Just ask RonL!!!
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Unread 08-07-2013, 02:39 AM   #6
esselle
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Hi Stevenjdowd,
If you can get up to Nottinghamshire this Sunday there is a UKBBQA fundraiser BBQ Masterclass in aid of Help for Heroes and we will be covering everything from the very basics to Michelin Star style BBQ. Let me know if you need more details.
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Unread 08-07-2013, 02:56 AM   #7
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Welcome mate, you will get no end of Inspiration here, the members are a great bunch of people
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Unread 08-07-2013, 05:08 AM   #8
YetiDave
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Another vote for pork butt, but for seasoning I'd recommend nothing other than a good coating of salt and pepper. Keep your first Q simple and then start with the rubs etc. I think the biggest mistake a lot of people make it overcomplicating what is essentially a very simple way of cooking
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Unread 08-07-2013, 06:10 AM   #9
IamMadMan
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I wanted to post this last night, but did not have time to type it all at once. I hope this helps guide you in your first cook.

Purchase a pork butt, usually about an 8 pound average with bone in. Some stores now only sell boneless pork butts which will work as well. Just make sure that if you have the boneless pork butt it is rolled and tied properly.

In most cases there is no need to trim excess fat from the meat as most of the fat is going to render away. For the beginner I would not recommend trimming the meat until he / she cooks a few pork butts and sees how the fat renders down. Once you understand how the fat cap renders down you may trim the fat if so desired. I've been cooking for almost 30 years and I still do not trim the fat.

Liberally apply a coating of your desired rub, cover, and refrigerator overnight. About 1 hour before smoking remove the meat from the refrigerator let sit uncovered for about 30 minutes while you ready your smoker.

About 15 hours before serving time, prepare your charcoal for the smoker by filling the charcoal basket, but leave a small hole in the center of the charcoal to put your hot coals into the center.

Select The Smoking Wood you wish to use; Apple, Oak, Hickory, or other fruit wood, these compliment pork nicely, either alone or in combination with each other. Do not soak any of the wood before using it. Mix 4-5 fist size chunks of wood in with the charcoal in the basket. This single application of smoke wood is all that is necessary for the entire cooking process, and it will produce a nice smokey flavor without being overpowering.

Put a handfull of charcoal into the chimney lighter and ignite them. Once the charcoal is glowing, dump it into the hole in the center of the charcoal basket. Close up the smoker and bring it to a target temperature of 250°.

Apply a little more rub to help firm the outside of the butt and place fat side up into the smoker. If your smoker requires a water pan to help regulate the heat, make sure the water pan is full before putting the pork butt on the cooking grate. Some of us put a foil pan under the butt to catch the drippings in an effort to make cleaning the smoker easier after the cook. Close the cooker and watch the temperature from time to time.

Set the top vent 100% open and leave it that way throughout the entire cooking session. Start with your bottom vent(s) 100% open. When the cooker temperature hits 200°F measured at the cooking grid, set the bottom vent(s) to 25% open. Allow the cooker to come up to 250°. Adjust the bottom vents as necessary to maintain a 240 - 260 temperature range keeping as close to 250° as possible.

In the beginning the temperature will drop and rise 5 to 10 degrees above and below the target temperature as the cooking process levels out. As you get further into the cook and your temperature begins to drop and not respond to airflow correction, you may have to add more charcoal into the basket to complete the cook. If the coals are almost all burned out, use your chimney starter to add some hot coals to the charcoal as well. Follow the steps used above to get the temperature back to your target range.

Cook at 250° to an internal temperature approaching 190°F (11 to 13 hours). The internal temperature or time is not an indicator that the meat is done, but merely a guide to tell you to start checking the bone to see if it wiggles like a loose tooth. If you have a boneless butt then you will use the probe end of a thermometer and insert it into the meat. When the probe enters the meat with no resistance, like going into butter, your pork butt is done. Or you can use a pull test, grab a part of the butt, just a pinch and pull it, if it comes easy, then the meat is ready to come out of the pit.

Remove the pork butt from the smoker and wrap the meat tightly in aluminum foil, then wrap in newspapers or old towels, and hold in an empty cooler for at least 2 hours. The meat will stay too hot to handle for at least 4 hours or longer.

When you are ready to serve, pull meat with cooking forks, your hands, or "Bear Claws". Make sure to mix the pulled pork so everyone gets some of that dark outside meat (Called "BARK") along with the light interior meat and serve with barbecue sauce on the side. The flavor of the meat should stand on it's own and a little sauce on the side should only compliment the flavor, not over-power the flavor of the meat.

Needless to say, there will be some leftovers, wrap them and store them for lunch tomorrow, or use a vacuum sealer to portion the leftovers and freeze them to for a later use. Leftovers when reheated make good sandwiches or pulled pork tacos, or you can add them to your next batch of baked beans. Vacuum packing prevents freezer burn, extends storage life.
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Unread 08-07-2013, 07:09 AM   #10
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Welcome to the Brethren - great place, you'll love it.

I think you mentioned you're cooking on a One Touch Platinum. You'll probably find this thread helpful as far as setting up the kettle for a lengthy cook.
http://www.bbq-brethren.com/forum/sh...d.php?t=129246

have fun Q'ng and good luck!
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Unread 08-07-2013, 08:29 AM   #11
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+1 for pork butt. Probably the most forgiving of meats in smoking.

Rub: Salt. Pepper. Garlic.

The "trick" to mastering the art is to control as many variables as you can before you experiment. If you can keep your cuts of meat in the same weight/size, then you can experiment with cooking times and temperatures. But you can't experiment with temperatures until you know your rig can hold a specified temperature.

In other words, crawl, then walk, then fly. I will rat (snitch, tell, narc) on myself when I say that some of the worst cooks I did were when I tried doing too many things at once, or skip steps.

Learn from our collective mistakes.
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Unread 08-07-2013, 09:48 AM   #12
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Welcome! You'll love it here. Congrats on your cooker purchase- those are great units.
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Unread 08-07-2013, 10:58 AM   #13
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For your first cook pick something you like and keep it simple.
No fancy rubs or injections. S&P only worked well for me.
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Unread 08-07-2013, 11:31 AM   #14
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Dont use the weather as an excuse. I got a mate who bbqs 2-3 times a week
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