I haven’t posted anything to my blog for a very long time. My domain had expired and my drive to write anything had disappeared. I have loved barbecue food for a long time but my ignorance meant that I didn’t make the most of what I had. Although I have a large Weber Mastertouch at my disposal – I mistakenly believed that they could only be used for grilling. I think most of the UK public incorrectly hold a similar view. What I really wanted to do was smoke some meat but I couldn’t afford to buy a dedicated smoker. After watching videos of Frankin BBQ on Youtube I was sure that an offset smoker was the way to go. I even tried to build my own filing cabinet smoker but it just didn’t work (despite the popularity of the post) and I gave up. The dream of smoking the all mighty brisket at home was all but guaranteed never to happen.
After many months had passed with no barbecue at all, I had the opportunity to try some of Hangfire Smokehouse‘s Pork Belly ribs at a street food event held in Cardiff. Their pork belly ribs were incredible. Even better than I had expected and my passion for barbecue that had been dormant for such a long time was reignited. Although I had once again become excited about eating good barbecue I still believed that smoking myself was out of the question.
I was encouraged to try smoking for the first time by the inspiring community of people within the Country Wood Smoke Facebook group created by Marcus Bawdon. For a few weeks I just watched in awe at what brilliant barbecue people were able to make on even the most basic of equipment. I realised that my 57cm Weber Mastertouch was more than adequate. With a little advice from members of the Country Wood Smoke group I decided I couldn’t wait any longer.
For my first few cooks I smoked a chicken, pork ribs and lamb ribs. Each of them as delicious as the next. I was sold. This is definitely the way to go. Supermarket burgers, sausages and a corn on the cob at a family barbecue just didn’t cut it anymore.
After only a few cooks on the Weber – I had built enough confidence to decide that I wanted a dedicated smoker. I didn’t necessarily need one but I felt that I could do more with something else. I knew that I couldn’t afford to buy a commercially available smoker so with some more guidance from members of the Country Wood Smoke community I decided to build a UDS (Ugly Drum Smoker). Essentially, it’s a 45 gallon drum bought from eBay and turned into a smoker. This was, as far as I know, the cheapest way to obtain a smoker that will work almost as well as the best. Some of the competition smoking teams use more sophisticated versions of the UDS so I knew it must be decent. I bought the drum and all parts I needed to put it together and within a week or so the smoker was built. It was definitely much easier than I expected it to be and apart from a few scratches I think it looks great. Judge for yourself.
After my first cook on the UDS I was not left disappointed. Pork belly, beef ribs and chicken all came out absolutely delicious. This time I have definitely caught the barbecue bug and it’s here to stay.
If you are currently only eating the ready made ribs and pulled pork from your supermarket or local harvester I highly recommend that you consider using your barbecue to create some truly amazing barbecued food at home. I am certainly no expert when it comes to barbecue but I will hopefully be posting regularly about my journey into smoking and barbecue. This might include reviews, posts describing a recent cook I’ve attempted, recipes you can try if you wish and tips that I’ve picked up along the way.
I hope you enjoy and look out for more posts coming soon.
Please follow the blogs Twitter feed @MunchandTattle
Written by Tomos Newland-Jones @MrNewland66