Newbie Needs Advice

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Aiden545
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Newbie Needs Advice

Postby Aiden545 » Wed Jun 21, 2017 5:30 am

Hi, I am very new to smoking, I've only used a basic Weber charcoal barbecue before, other than our gas grill which is also Weber.

I live in the UK, and I've noticed that not one single festival, event or party I've been to (even in the summer) seems to do the BBQ the way it's supposed to be done, like the Americans. We just get cheap burgers and sausages if we're lucky.

Using my gas grill (blasphemy, I know) - I got some nice spare ribs from the Butchers and actually managed to make some of the best ribs I've ever had (using a little wood for smoke).

So, now I'm hooked.




I want to start cooking briskets, tri tips, ribs, chicken wings, hogs, steaks, etc. etc.

I actually am interested in doing this as a weekend business, with a reverse flow smoker on a trailer that I can take to events. As someone who is pretty new to this type of stuff (never trained as a chef, or a butcher) how realistic do you think this sort of thing would be?

I have a passion for it, so learning is not an issue for me, although I don't want to chuck a lot of money into something that isn't going to get me anything in return. I will obviously take a year or two to learn the ropes whilst saving up some money to build/buy a proper reverse flow smoker.

Does anyone have ANY advice regarding any of the above?

I know many of you may be American, but please bare in mind that in the UK, whilst our weather is terrible and we don't get as many hot days ideal for barbecues, there really does seem to be a lack of proper PitMasters.

It may be wise to note that although I have very limited experience, this is a dream job for me. I wouldn't be doing this for money.

Thanks in advance,

Kind regards,

A Very Hungry Brit
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Re: Newbie Needs Advice

Postby OldUsedParts » Wed Jun 21, 2017 6:38 am

First of all Howdy and Welcome, Aiden, good to see you joining us in our Love for BBQ/Smoking/Grilling. Make yourself at home and I'm sure that the members here will get your questions answered for you and help you get started in your new ventures. :tup: :salut: :texas:
OUP

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Re: Newbie Needs Advice

Postby Chasdev » Wed Jun 21, 2017 6:47 am

Wow, that question has many potential levels of answers, I'll take a swing at a few..
How do you deal with local/regional/national health and food service safety laws?
How do you deal with transportation of mobile kitchen (remember the unit has to do more than just cook critter bits, you have to refrigerate meat and drinks plus store items like paper plates, spoons, forks, knives etc..)?
How do you find a spot or spots to legally park said mobile kitchen?
Some meats like packer briskets take 12 to 16 hours to cook so must be cooked (or partially cooked) before going mobile, so where ever you do that cooking may come under health and safety laws too.
Can you store at home raw meat in the amounts you will need to be able to buy at wholesale prices in order to keep costs down?
If not in large quantities, you still need proper (read modern and/or fully functional) cold storage and freezer space plus a record keeping system to ensure meat is used in order of purchase so as not to let any sit too long in refrigeration.
Can you buy or build a proper smoker, these are not cheap here so I imagine finding/buying one there may be quite a challenge, plus the different designs and opinions on same are wide and varied over here so choosing which one is itself quite a big deal...but cheap gear is going to offer the same in returns..
How to cook is probably the easiest task, many have and will opine on that subject but I'll offer reading a few hundred past posts here and on other meat burning forums as a starter course.
Cheers!
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Re: Newbie Needs Advice

Postby Aiden545 » Wed Jun 21, 2017 8:34 am

Chasdev wrote:Wow, that question has many potential levels of answers, I'll take a swing at a few..
How do you deal with local/regional/national health and food service safety laws?
How do you deal with transportation of mobile kitchen (remember the unit has to do more than just cook critter bits, you have to refrigerate meat and drinks plus store items like paper plates, spoons, forks, knives etc..)?
How do you find a spot or spots to legally park said mobile kitchen?
Some meats like packer briskets take 12 to 16 hours to cook so must be cooked (or partially cooked) before going mobile, so where ever you do that cooking may come under health and safety laws too.
Can you store at home raw meat in the amounts you will need to be able to buy at wholesale prices in order to keep costs down?
If not in large quantities, you still need proper (read modern and/or fully functional) cold storage and freezer space plus a record keeping system to ensure meat is used in order of purchase so as not to let any sit too long in refrigeration.
Can you buy or build a proper smoker, these are not cheap here so I imagine finding/buying one there may be quite a challenge, plus the different designs and opinions on same are wide and varied over here so choosing which one is itself quite a big deal...but cheap gear is going to offer the same in returns..
How to cook is probably the easiest task, many have and will opine on that subject but I'll offer reading a few hundred past posts here and on other meat burning forums as a starter course.
Cheers!


Hi Chasdev,

First of all, thanks for taking the time to respond!

Laws and legalities are not something I have researched yet (that doesn't sound like fun :D)
I was going to build the smoker on a trailer, I currently own a motorhome and caravan workshop (probably winnebagos to you, but smaller) so I have vans/cars that can tow a trailer and also that will have enough room for fridges and tables etc.
That is something I am also looking into at the moment. There are so many shows and events and festivals in my area that would be perfect. I have been to so many events, looking for something like this and it's only ever pizza places and crap bbq.
I would need to talk to event organisers regarding this I believe, I think I would need to sort out getting to the site early either break of dawn or night before to prep. I can always sleep in the van!
I have a deep freezer, but I know I can get these for quite cheap second hand, and fridges, and I've got room in the house to store these. Worked in supermarkets before so I think a record keeping system would be easy to introduce.
I can source pretty cheap scrap metal which could be useful for building my own smoker. I'll start off small and when I feel confident enough, either build another (bigger) one, or build around it. Plan is to buy a professional one in a few years. Do you think it would be beneficial to build my own so I know what works and what doesn't?

Thanks again for the help, and thanks to the person who sent the first reply, I can see myself spending a lot of time on these forums :D

Just ordered a Brisket and a rack of ribs to test. Will be done on a normal Weber charcoal grill though.

Cheers
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Re: Newbie Needs Advice

Postby Sailor Kenshin » Wed Jun 21, 2017 8:55 am

Aiden545 wrote:Hi, I am very new to smoking, I've only used a basic Weber charcoal barbecue before, other than our gas grill which is also Weber.

I live in the UK, and I've noticed that not one single festival, event or party I've been to (even in the summer) seems to do the BBQ the way it's supposed to be done, like the Americans. We just get cheap burgers and sausages if we're lucky.

Using my gas grill (blasphemy, I know) - I got some nice spare ribs from the Butchers and actually managed to make some of the best ribs I've ever had (using a little wood for smoke).

So, now I'm hooked.




I want to start cooking briskets, tri tips, ribs, chicken wings, hogs, steaks, etc. etc.

I actually am interested in doing this as a weekend business, with a reverse flow smoker on a trailer that I can take to events. As someone who is pretty new to this type of stuff (never trained as a chef, or a butcher) how realistic do you think this sort of thing would be?

I have a passion for it, so learning is not an issue for me, although I don't want to chuck a lot of money into something that isn't going to get me anything in return. I will obviously take a year or two to learn the ropes whilst saving up some money to build/buy a proper reverse flow smoker.

Does anyone have ANY advice regarding any of the above?

I know many of you may be American, but please bare in mind that in the UK, whilst our weather is terrible and we don't get as many hot days ideal for barbecues, there really does seem to be a lack of proper PitMasters.

It may be wise to note that although I have very limited experience, this is a dream job for me. I wouldn't be doing this for money.

Thanks in advance,

Kind regards,

A Very Hungry Brit


Welcome aboard, Aiden!

All we have is a gas rig, a Weber kettle, and an El Cheapo Brinkman. You can do decent ribs on a gas grill (we've done 'em in a pinch) and excellent ribs on a Weber kettle (we just ate some!) or the ECB or similar. Nor does the weather have to be really hot, but wind is your enemy.

Your cuts of meat will be a bit different, too. Brisket will probably be the most difficult to master. We haven't 'nailed' one yet.

Most of the people here know more than I do about other types of rigs and will soon weigh in. Good luck!
Moink!
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Re: Newbie Needs Advice

Postby rockinar » Sat Jun 24, 2017 12:09 am

Get a 22.5" Weber Kettle and watch some YouTube videos on how to cook BBQ on them.
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Re: Newbie Needs Advice

Postby Bbq Chris » Sat Jun 24, 2017 3:46 am

I'm in the same boat as you . Just I'm in South Africa. I can see an opportunity for a weekend business here as well. My only concern is the time it takes to cook meats like brisket. Can't really cook the whole night to serve the next day.

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Re: Newbie Needs Advice

Postby Txdragon » Sat Jun 24, 2017 1:22 pm

Bbq Chris wrote:I'm in the same boat as you . Just I'm in South Africa. I can see an opportunity for a weekend business here as well. My only concern is the time it takes to cook meats like brisket. Can't really cook the whole night to serve the next day.

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Some of the biggest briskets I have cooked have taken no longer than 10 hours to reach perfection. When I was catering, I would allow myself that amount of time for cooking and if I needed to start at midnight or 2 am, so be It! Most large-scale operations, like bbq restaurants, have a pit crew that does the deed so they can start cooking for their lunch service that day EARLY in the morning. Some places keep their pits burning 'round the clock and just clean them out one day of the week.
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Re: Newbie Needs Advice

Postby Txdragon » Sat Jun 24, 2017 2:50 pm

Aiden545 wrote:Hi, I am very new to smoking, I've only used a basic Weber charcoal barbecue before, other than our gas grill which is also Weber.

I live in the UK, and I've noticed that not one single festival, event or party I've been to (even in the summer) seems to do the BBQ the way it's supposed to be done, like the Americans. We just get cheap burgers and sausages if we're lucky.

Using my gas grill (blasphemy, I know) - I got some nice spare ribs from the Butchers and actually managed to make some of the best ribs I've ever had (using a little wood for smoke).

So, now I'm hooked.




I want to start cooking briskets, tri tips, ribs, chicken wings, hogs, steaks, etc. etc.

I actually am interested in doing this as a weekend business, with a reverse flow smoker on a trailer that I can take to events. As someone who is pretty new to this type of stuff (never trained as a chef, or a butcher) how realistic do you think this sort of thing would be?

I have a passion for it, so learning is not an issue for me, although I don't want to chuck a lot of money into something that isn't going to get me anything in return. I will obviously take a year or two to learn the ropes whilst saving up some money to build/buy a proper reverse flow smoker.

Does anyone have ANY advice regarding any of the above?

I know many of you may be American, but please bare in mind that in the UK, whilst our weather is terrible and we don't get as many hot days ideal for barbecues, there really does seem to be a lack of proper PitMasters.

It may be wise to note that although I have very limited experience, this is a dream job for me. I wouldn't be doing this for money.

Thanks in advance,

Kind regards,

A Very Hungry Brit

Welcome aboard! I'll be more than happy to chip in all the advice you want if you're willing to send me some proper breakfast tea!!
Lol!! Ok, I'm kidding (maybe). You don't have to do that! (seriously, consider it).

Ok, to business!!
Imagine how awesome a plate of bangers and mash would be if it was all smoked first.. Can you see the potential?! Some lightly alder cold smoked cod, fried up for fish and chips? You can use some local faves with the American smoke twist. I understand your frustrations with grilling vs bbq; I get the eye twitch whenever somebody says they're having a bbq, then produces burgers and dogs and a freaking hibatchi.. It's almost insulting and is a pet peeve of mine that ranks up there between half a sip left in the milk carton in the fridge and ice cube trays missing cubes.
I have some honest, straightforward advice for you, do not take it personally! True bbq is a passion. You do it because you love it, not because you want to make money doing it; THAT is a bonus. Kinda like buying a used car with a couple hundred in cash stashed away in the glove compartment for "rainy days" they forgot about.. If you think you're going to learn and master a craft that has taken so many legendary pros decades to accomplish, then I'm detecting a level of confidence that is skating the line of arrogance... A true BBQ pitmaster will be able to get down and dirty in ANY weather conditions. Your weather shouldn't be any sort of deterrent... Not looking to chuck a ton of money at it? You're on the wrong side of the pond to begin to imagine that particular notion. A halfway decent reverse flow smoker alone will probably set you back a few thousand off the bat, and you're overseas searching for what we here in the states would pay a couple grand for; a trailer pit. Best of luck on that search! Butchery is super easy to learn, years to master. Anatomical knowledge is paramount, so studying is key! Think of yourself as a type of veterinary surgeon. You'll need to know the popular bbq muscle groups and proper ways to separate and trim them. And remember; consistency is key!

For homework, I will assign this: practice on pork butt. You may know it as pork hand in the U.K. It is cooked much like a brisket is, but much more forgiving than brisket if you mess up, and probably a little easier on the wallet!

Don't forget to ask all the questions you need answered and remember: if you cook, take pics and post them here!!

Cheers!
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Re: Newbie Needs Advice

Postby Papa Tom » Sat Jun 24, 2017 4:15 pm

TXdragon gives good advice. Before you get to your fantasy you have a bit of a learning curve to undergo.
He is right in advising to start with a pork butt (actually the front shoulder) as it is forgiving but also can be splendid.
Pulled pork sandwiches can be the hit of any event look up cooking recipes and try them with Lexington sauce.

Ribs can be quite a challenge to serve at an event in that they require space, skill and attention to cook, resting time before serving, cutting and serving skill but of course they can be spectacular.
It would be nice if you could manage a trip over here to try some of our Q.

Where I live it's kind of in the sticks but until recently one could get to 3 BBQ places without even getting on a highway, still there are probably 5 within 5 miles.
BTW I did what you dream of doing and decided it was too difficult in reality with health regulations, event promoters, weather, cooking all night, serving all day, THEN cleaning up. Don't let this discourage you but do some thorough planning and enter on a small scale well advised. Understand I was retired and did not need the money and found cooking for friends and family is much easier.

BTW if you get a proper smoker you might want to try turkey legs.....
tarde venientibus ossa....
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Re: Newbie Needs Advice

Postby Bbq Chris » Sun Jun 25, 2017 9:17 am

Can large cuts like brisket and pork shoulder be cooked the day before. Chilled and then reheated on the day you are serving or will they dry out?

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Re: Newbie Needs Advice

Postby Txdragon » Sun Jun 25, 2017 10:30 am

Bbq Chris wrote:Can large cuts like brisket and pork shoulder be cooked the day before. Chilled and then reheated on the day you are serving or will they dry out?

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Yes and highly possible. I am not a major pusher of cook and reheat myself. Leftovers are a whole different story, but if you're doing something for an event, I'd advise highly to cook it the day of, giving yourself the proper amount of time to have it fresh for that event. If I couldn't do that, I would personally not volunteer my services. Lol. Keep your cuts whole and reheat with moist heat only. Don't cut until you are ready to serve.
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Re: Newbie Needs Advice

Postby rockinar » Mon Jun 26, 2017 3:45 am

Bbq Chris wrote:I'm in the same boat as you . Just I'm in South Africa. I can see an opportunity for a weekend business here as well. My only concern is the time it takes to cook meats like brisket. Can't really cook the whole night to serve the next day.

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You can cook them a couple hours on a smoker, then finish them in a oven.

A popular chain here in Texas boils (yes boils) them, then finished them in a smoker. Or you can buy a commercial smoker. Or you can just start with chicken and ribs....
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Re: RE: Re: Newbie Needs Advice

Postby woodenvisions » Tue Jun 27, 2017 8:01 pm

[quote="rockinar"][quote="


A popular chain here in Texas boils (yes boils) them, then finished them in a smoker.




:o :o :o :o :o

....Oh boy........... :( :( :( :( :(


Somebody please say it ain't so.....
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Re: RE: Re: Newbie Needs Advice

Postby bobcat1 » Tue Jun 27, 2017 10:06 pm

woodenvisions wrote:
rockinar wrote:[quote="


A popular chain here in Texas boils (yes boils) them, then finished them in a smoker.




:o :o :o :o :o

....Oh boy........... :( :( :( :( :(


Somebody please say it ain't so.....


That'd be nasty tasting. Pure sacrilege. :dont:

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