Frontier on it's way!

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Frontier on it's way!

Post  Novice on Wed May 07, 2008 9:25 am

After several attempts at making ribs & getting 'mixed' results I am told they need to be smoked. I know no one with a smoker & have never come across this in the Uk, so I've taken the plunge this week & ordered a Proq frontier. (Reading the posts it looks like this is a way of life for you boys, rather than a hobby), so forgive me if I'm on here asking stupid questions. I'm expecting it to arrive today & I can't wait. Ian at Proq has been very helpful in advising me on some extra bits to get going. I think it may be a little while before I get to the stage where I'm posting pics but we all have to start somewhere!

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Re: Frontier on it's way!

Post  gandalf on Wed May 07, 2008 11:21 am

Hi Novice. I only got my frontier a couple of weeks ago and am already cooking some good food. Suggest you start with Chickens and ribs as they are both relatively simple. I did my first ribs last weekend and they come out great! From my experience, one thing I would do before you start cooking is check the lid thermometer is calibrated correctly. Ian provided me with instructions to do this in a post somewhere (in the newbe forum I think).
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Re: Frontier on it's way!

Post  Novice on Wed May 07, 2008 7:22 pm

Ok, it's arrived & built, looks great, the cover hasn't arrived (yet?), is it ok to leave these out in the elements or must it have a cover? If I can leave it out I'll fire it up this weekend, otherwise it's got to live indoors until I get one affraid
Gandalf, thanks for the advise on the thermometer, I read on one of your other posts you have found a good helpful butcher & it looks like we may be local to each other. If he is preparing pork butts & ribs for you it will save me having to explain the cut to my local guy (I travel all over the midlands so it could work out well for me) can you tell me who you use?

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Re: Frontier on it's way!

Post  gandalf on Wed May 07, 2008 9:27 pm

I would think it should be ok outside for a few days, it certainly won't rust in that time. Don't forget you need to season it before cooking on it.

Butchers I have started using is these http://www.thebestof.co.uk/bromsgrove/1043/1/1/the_best_of.aspx

I've only been in there once so far but I found out I know someone that has been going there years. I haven't asked them for a butt yet but they certainly have do slabs of spares (whereas all the supermarkets sell them as seperate ribs! Just right for burning on the grill Very Happy ), also their own home made sausages and home cured bacon and loads of other stuff.

Where in Brum are you?
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Re: Frontier on it's way!

Post  Novice on Wed May 07, 2008 9:57 pm

Thanks for the advice on the butcher, I just sold & moved out of my house in Knowle (in Solihull) a couple of weeks ago, I've moved back to my mothers temporarily (with my wife) as a stop gap before buying another house, so I'm in Hollywood south Birmingham at the moment. It's a bizarre move to make in my 40's but it's helped us out a load, it does mean I've lost my garage & shed storage though, hence the need for a cover.

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Re: Frontier on it's way!

Post  gandalf on Thu May 08, 2008 5:50 am

That's near Whythall right? Butcher is about 15 mins drive from you I would guess.
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Re: Frontier on it's way!

Post  gandalf on Thu May 08, 2008 5:56 am

Just to add (although it's probably obvious) if you do leave the frontier outside then make sure the top vent is closed to avoid water getting inside.
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Re: Frontier on it's way!

Post  Mack on Thu May 08, 2008 9:24 am

Novice wrote:Ok, it's arrived & built, looks great, the cover hasn't arrived (yet?), is it ok to leave these out in the elements or must it have a cover?
Sorry, we must have forgotten to put a cover in, one will be in the post today... it's fine to leave it outside (I'm sure I have a cover for mine somewhere Smile ) let me know if you need anything else.

Ian
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Re: Frontier on it's way!

Post  Novice on Thu May 08, 2008 5:57 pm

Thanks for the advice, i told you i'd bee asking stupid questions. Hey Gandalf, are you overnight smoking or something? you seem to be posting at very odd times, & i can pass that butchers several times a week if need be, so thats very handy.

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Re: Frontier on it's way!

Post  gandalf on Thu May 08, 2008 6:16 pm

I work in Nottingham and go in early to miss the traffic, hence I'm up at 5:30 am!
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Re: Frontier on it's way!

Post  All Weather Griller on Thu May 08, 2008 8:56 pm

Hi Novice,

Glad to hear you are well on your way to a new way of life... Very Happy not sure if you know but there is a BBQ championships taking place in June, http://www.britishbbqchampionships.com/ should be an intersting weekend.

I have to confess I don't have the ProQ I have a WSM but I have found this forum a great source of knowledge and tips, I have recently installed my Pro Q waterpan in my smoker as the Weber model is not quite upto the job.

Although this appears to be a Weber resource I did the first four steps of this www.wiviott.com to cut my teeth on the smoking front. But what recently revolutionised the way I smoke was the purchase of a RediCheck dual probe thermometer. This has to be one of my best buys this year (Waterpan excluded). http://cgi.ebay.co.uk/ET-73-Maverick-WIRELESS-Dual-2-Probe-Smoker-Thermometer_W0QQitemZ300222382512QQihZ020QQcategoryZ43421QQrdZ1QQssPageNameZWD2VQQcmdZViewItemQQ_trksidZp1638Q2em122
Good luck with the Smoking, I'm sure you'll be changing that name soon.
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Re: Frontier on it's way!

Post  Novice on Thu May 08, 2008 9:28 pm

That web site is great for me, an absolute starters guide, I'll use it as my point of reference for my first few cooks, so many thanks. Also great info on the thermometer, Ian at Proq told me about this one & I posted a question to Anvilhead about it earlier this evening. I'm sure I'm going to order one. I appreciate all the advice, Hopefully Sunday will be my first attempt.

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Re: Frontier on it's way!

Post  All Weather Griller on Fri May 09, 2008 6:37 pm

Good luck for Sunday and don't put too much pressure on yourself to perform, once the meats are in the lids "Clincked" your work is done (All bar a bit of fire tendering and water checks, depending on what you cook). Remember the saying "If your're looking you're not cooking".

We do like to see photo's of the inaugral cooks. Anvilhead, Graham and I have a site we devote to the obsession www.ukgrillers.com have a look at the inaugral lightings.

Beerz

Adie


Last edited by All Weather Griller on Fri May 09, 2008 6:50 pm; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : Typo's)
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Re: Frontier on it's way!

Post  Novice on Fri May 09, 2008 9:08 pm

Your web site looks great, (very informative), I have a feeling I'm going to give my wife food poisoning & I'm not sure this will look great on the internet. I can see me getting picked up for attempted murder & the proof will be on the web for the world to see! I think I'm going to try a couple of chickens (yet to decide the recipe). I'll take some pic's, but if we end up eating at the local curry house there is no way I'm going to post them for the world to laugh at me.
It looks like you guy's have quite a team, I think my wife will have to be a guinea pig until I get a bit more confident.
When you seasoned your smoker did you just let it run for a couple of hours then cook on it?

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Re: Frontier on it's way!

Post  All Weather Griller on Sat May 10, 2008 8:44 am

I did the first 3 steps of the Wiviott 5 Step Strategy, and on the first smoke we have a tradition, it can't be lit with out either Graham, Anvilhead or myself present (sometimes all three) but on my "First Fire" it was basically lit as per the photos, we allowed it to get up to cooking temp before putting on any food.

I found a good tip was to fill the water pan with hotwater (unlike on my First Fire which was from the hose), this way it stabilises much quicker as it doesn't need to heat up. I have heard that once you have smoked on it a couple of times the temperature becomes much easier to control as units get "sealed" with the smoke.

That said I have been present on a frontier "First Fire" and it was rock solid for hours. your choice of fuel should influence how well it maintains temp. We have found an excellent source at Makro of all places they are doing Restaurant Grade Charcoal in 12kg Bags for 6.99 the quality is fantastic.

Recently we have been mixing charcoal with some briquettes, charcoal for the smokey flavour - briquettes for stability and longevity (I do roughly 70-30 Lumpwood/briquettes) everyone has their own preference and its what works for you.

One final tip, there is a lot of space in your smoker and all things considered they are'nt especially cheap to run, moreso if you are only cooking a single dish, so what my wife and kids do is plan what they want to eat during the week, and I smoke it so they have smoked meats for sandwiches, salads, etc. It may be me just being tight but its not uncommon for me to do a couple of extra chickens for the week on a Sunday (sometimes they even last long enough for sandwiches and salads:lol: )
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Re: Frontier on it's way!

Post  gandalf on Sat May 10, 2008 9:40 am

May be a really stupid question, but how do you determine the quality of charcoal? Also, what makes it restaurant grade? Will it say restaurant grade on the bag?
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Re: Frontier on it's way!

Post  Dr_KY on Sat May 10, 2008 10:09 am

Just a thought but I think one of the first things you should do is cook that chicken and give it a very basic seasoning with the likes of salt ,pepper, and a little garlic. Reason being is it gives you a baseline on your smokers traits and it's inexpensive. Secondly it will give off a good amount of fat to help season that smoker.
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Re: Frontier on it's way!

Post  Novice on Sat May 10, 2008 10:47 am

There will be three of us, so I've got a couple of chickens, (one for the day & the rest for the week ahead). With my original order I asked for a complete package & Ian at proq was good enough to recommend some coconut husk charcoal & a selection of rubs & sauces etc. I think I may try a basic bbq rub, (maybe apple juice as a baste?) & a simple bbq sauce as at the end part of the cook. I have a selection of woods to pick from for the smoke.
The photos you put on your site have been a real help, it all looks simple but when your trying to work it out without the pic's it can seem a bit daunting. There are some quite interesting demonstrations on youtube.

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Re: Frontier on it's way!

Post  gandalf on Sat May 10, 2008 11:14 am

Novice, in case you haven't pciked this up yet, when doing chickens you want to run with the waterpan dry for at least the last part of the cook. This gets the temperature up and helps crispen the skin otherwise it will be very rubbery.
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Re: Frontier on it's way!

Post  Novice on Sat May 10, 2008 12:14 pm

Thanks for the pointer Gandalf
I can't serve rubbery chicken skin, do you empty the pan, or let it boil away & how long before the end of the cook do you do this?

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Re: Frontier on it's way!

Post  Novice on Sat May 10, 2008 12:19 pm

This is the basic recipe I'm using
http://www.virtualweberbullet.com/chicken2.html
It looks quite basic to start with.

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Re: Frontier on it's way!

Post  gandalf on Sat May 10, 2008 12:40 pm

Last weekend I did chicken ribs together so I emptied the pan when I foiled the ribs which equated to the chickens being in for 2 hours which eqated to a further 1.5-2 hours without water. The skin come out pretty good.
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Re: Frontier on it's way!

Post  Dr_KY on Sat May 10, 2008 1:08 pm

Sounds like a plan.

Give some thought into not using any sauce on one of the birds. I know this sounds like ' not BBQ without sauce' but it will help you to understand the rubs you are using and what flavour your smoke woods are giving off. There is always time for saucing but I would take that step later in the game.


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Re: Frontier on it's way!

Post  All Weather Griller on Sun May 11, 2008 9:36 am

gandalf wrote:May be a really stupid question, but how do you determine the quality of charcoal? Also, what makes it restaurant grade? Will it say restaurant grade on the bag?

Generally the charcoal is bigger in size and burns hotter and longer, unlike the B&Q stuff I have had to resort to using through the winter.

Is does tend to say it on the bag. From what I am lead to believe but don't fully understand is it apparently burns cleaner??? Something to do with pre-burning process. But that could be just codswallop.

Big K do it http://www.bigkproducts.co.uk/restaurants_char.htm, but it needs to bought in bulk however as I mentioned we have found it at Makro.
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Re: Frontier on it's way!

Post  All Weather Griller on Sun May 11, 2008 9:48 am

Good Luck on your "First Fire" novice.

You certainly have the weather. sunny
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