The Reigniting of my Passion for Barbecue and Smoking.

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


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