But I can’t afford to BBQ!

At a recent get together organised by Hills Districts Dads, a fellow meat enthusiast commented to me “I would love to get into real bbq… but I just can’t afford it”

This is a common misconception that I’d like to dispell

The beautiful thing about bbq / smoking is that you can do it with almost any gear, if you are willing to experiment. Sure, you could go all out and spend big on a $3000 offset smoker…. but you don’t HAVE to

My first experience with smoking came from making  “smoke bombs” (hickory wood chips wrapped in aluminium foil) and putting this on a gas grill bbq. Since gas grillers are not really designed for smoking, this gave moderate results (too much smoke leaked away from the meat). I tried sealing as many openings as I could to direct the flow of the smoke, which does have an inherant risk due to gas needing to be vented (I wouldn’t suggest covering all openings, this is asking for an explosion!)

Gas smoking

Currently, I am using a second hand Weber Kettle that was picked up off Gumtree. Looking around at various trading sites, there are plenty available as people “upgrade” to huge 4 to 6 burner gas grills. Little do they realise what they are giving up

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This last weekend, I experimented with cooking a pork belly on the Kettle. Partially this was done because my other half LOVES pork belly… mostly this was done because it was marked down to $9 at the supermarket. I love meat but even more, I love a bargain

I read up on different methods for how to cook the belly (I will post an actual instructional when I fully define the steps that worked)… but mostly, the success of this came down to experimenting and a touch of luck

So to break down how much it cost to enjoy the experience of bbq

– $50 Weber Kettle
– $20 charcoal briquettes (which will do dozens of cooks before I empty the bag)
– $20 charcoal chimney starter
– $130 wireless thermometer (Maverick ET-733). This was the most expensive component of my setup, you could do it without this, but it just makes controlling the bbq much simpler and is worth the investment

and a $9 cut of meat

And this was the result

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Some people take it a step further and build their own smokers out of old barrels / hot water systems / beer kegs / filing cabinets (yes… filing cabinets!)

Low and slow bbq has a history steeped in “making the most with what you have”. This attitude of invention and creativity still flows through today

So don’t let “it’s too expensive” stop you from jumping in!

Todd Querruel

About me - I'm a father of two young girls and find my time stretched between work (Manager in the automation industry) and family. Very strong believer in everyone requiring some for of an outlet. Formerly a drummer, currently an ex-drummer but always retaining a love of heavy music

You'll find me posting mainly about my love of barbecue, both grilling and traditional American "low and slow"

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