Mick from Sydney - competent Gasser, now a charcoal fanatic

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Mick from Sydney - competent Gasser, now a charcoal fanatic

Post by Mixin » Tue Oct 29, 2013 7:03 am

Hi guys,

For many years I cooked on a gas BBQ. Friends & family always said how good my BBQs were, and constantly requested them, so I thought I was doing pretty good. About 10 years back, I visited a Portuguese restaurant, where they cooked the skewers over charcoal - similar to Brazillian BBQ, but with different spices. It was awesome. I then started thinking more & more about charcoal (and heat beads).

I remembered my grandmother always saying how nothing beats charcoal. She had a wood-fired plate BBQ, that as kids, my brother & I loved to play with (just like any other kid with fire). I always marvelled at the old cast iron hibachi BBQ from the 60s, but didn't really pay much attention to the Weber kettle (I wish I did now - it was old, real old!). As she got older, she asked me to sort out a gas BBQ for her, "for convenience" - but she was never happy with it, and even with tips from what I would do on my gas BBQ, she still complained that it "was never as good as charcoal"

With those words echoing in my head for nearly 2 decades, and the restaurant experience, I knew I had a mission!

My wife bought be a little Weber GA. I struggled to light the charcoal and keep it going.
It all became too hard, and I gave it away to a friend who had more success (I can't really ask for it back!)

For a few more years, it niggled at me. Why did my grandmother like the Weber kettle & charcoal so much? So I googled for info, and came across a US site talking about Weber kettles. Once I found a video showing a charcoal chimney, it was like a revelation. Then the search was on for a Weber. Ebay was my savior, with a $35 red one popping up. The guy was moving house & didn't want to take it. It was the best $35 I ever spent!

Since then I experimented even more. The cleaning blades on the old weber were rusty, and leaked badly. Not knowing you could get spare parts, I binned it & sought a newer one to replace it. I bid on another ebay special - $20, only to discover it was a compact...(which I've since learnt is a common mistake). I found the compact good for a quick evening BBQ, as the heat is a bit closer to the food grille, and on a dark night, it's easier to see the food with the outside light - so I've kept it for that purpose. Completely hooked, I bought another kettle - full size - converted by an avid DIY-er to accept a rotisserie. The pork & chicken I've done on that have been amazing.

Last year I bought one of the Aldi vertical smokers (and converted it to use charcoal) which works well. I joined up on a US BBQ forum site for ideas on cooks & recipes, but found a bit of disconnect between AU & US. I work for a US company, so I deal with yanks every day, but there's just something about a BBQ in this country that makes it more an Aussie thing.

So a few weeks ago I decided that for Christmas, I wanted a new Weber. Not just any Weber, but the blue one that has been out for a little while. I really wanted a OTG with the ash pan, and also had eyes on the lid holder that the performer has. Noticing the new range has dropped blue, I thought I'd better act fast. So I found a nice blue OTS on runout (great price too) at Masters, and quickly grabbed it. Couldn't get a gold, but I figured I could convert it.

I then googled for info about converting the OTS to OTG, and found this place. I ordered the "bling bits" from the US, and they should be here soon. When I finally "unwrap" my present, I'll post pics up.

While waiting for my membership to activate, I started browsing the threads on here, and took great interest in the Emberpack discussions. Being a regular hgeatbead user for 5+ years, I was interested in finding that "missing bit" in the flavour profile that logic told me could only be charcoal.
I went over last week & saw Chris - bought a back of lump for the weber, and some robot turds for the smoker. Tried out the lump on the very same night, and was mighty impressed. Chris gave me some pointers (well, a lot of pointers, and info that was pure gold) and it's really stepped me up to "the next level" so to speak. I found that missing bit!

I've really come to like this forum - the information is fantastic, it's for real aussies with real bbqs!
I'll post some pics of my recent cooks another time when I've uploaded them off the phone.

I look forward to contributing - without this site I never would have found Emberpack, and I'd still be chasing heat beads.....
Weber Kettle Fanatic....
Main go-to: Blue 57cm OTG
Fire restriction option: Black 57cm M/T butchered with a Weber gas conversion.
GMG DC for the lazy smoky cooks.
Weeknight special: Q200
Problem? What problem?

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Re: Mick from Sydney - competent Gasser, now a charcoal fana

Post by titch » Tue Oct 29, 2013 7:09 am

Welcome to the forum mate, nice to have you here

Captain Cook
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Re: Mick from Sydney - competent Gasser, now a charcoal fana

Post by Captain Cook » Tue Oct 29, 2013 7:35 am

Welcome, good to see Chris helped you out.
Looking forward to your pics


Commander Cody
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Re: Mick from Sydney - competent Gasser, now a charcoal fana

Post by Commander Cody » Tue Oct 29, 2013 9:02 am


stick around and learn us some new skills please... :)

....up in smoke.....that's where my money goes.....

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Re: Mick from Sydney - competent Gasser, now a charcoal fana

Post by Davo » Tue Oct 29, 2013 1:26 pm

Welcome aboard Mick (oh not another one :wink: :lol: )

I too love the weber kettles, they can do pretty much everything you want.

If you get a chance to go to the Orange Grove Markets near Leichhardt & Rozelle on a Saturday Morning, there a guy there (Dave from Emberpak?) who sells the shish kebab type charcoal bbqs that have their own turners and the slots are there just for this purpose...he is the importer and as far as I know, he still has a stall there doing his kebabs every Saturday. he also sells charcoal. Might be worth checking out.

(If this info is wrong or out of date..someone please let me know.)


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Re: Mick from Sydney - competent Gasser, now a charcoal fana

Post by emberpak » Thu Oct 31, 2013 11:27 am

Hi Mick,

It was a pleasure to meet you. Happy to be of service and that you are enjoying our charcoal! :D Look forward to seeing pics of your cook ups.


The charcoal supplier at Orange Grove Markets is not Emberpak. Can't remember who, but I think they are a member on here as well.



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