March 30, 2022

BBQ on a Budget with Tom from BBQ Life


This episode is about not spending a lot to get great bbq. Tom from BBQ Life has a youtube channel, facebook group dedicated to barbecue on a budget. Tom is leading the way with cooking on the Aldi Kamado.

Watch his videos here and check out his Facebook group.

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Transcript

Dan - Host:

Today's episode of the meat & Greet BBQ podcast is brought to you by AOS outdoor kitchens. They are the South's leading outdoor kitchen design and installation specialists Welcome to another episode of the meat & Greet BBQ podcast today we're speaking to Tom pointer from barbecue life who's all about budget barbecue. I can't wait to speak to Tom, but also for us to share some of his knowledge with you. We spoken before about wanting to do barbecue well and great, but hopefully Tom will show us how to do it well, great, and at a reasonable cost. So without much further ado, here's Tom.

Owen - Host:

Tom, welcome to the meat & Greet BBQ podcast. How're you doing today?

Tom - BBQ Life:

Not too bad, fellas. How are you?

Owen - Host:

I'm fantastic. It's it's good to be back recording more, more episodes and talking to barbecue legends like yourself.

Tom - BBQ Life:

It's great to be on. Thank you very much.

Owen - Host:

So I suppose first and foremost, should we introduce yourself, introduce yourself to our listeners? Who are you, Tom.

Tom - BBQ Life:

So my name is Tom. I'm from barbecue life. I started barbecue life back in 2018 fundamentally as a Facebook page with the idea of maybe doing a bit of YouTube. And then YouTube is fundamentally now where I spend most of my time. So we've got 3600 subscribers now on YouTube been running that for about two and a half years specialize in cooking on the avocado. So we're budget barbecue. And the tagline for the channel is work great barbecue doesn't cost a fortune. Because although we can go out and we can be spending an absolute fortune, or maybe not everybody's got a fortune to doing it. So I thought that there's a good niche here for the general family barbecue, the dad that's on a budget that needs to be able to stop at the supermarket and not spend a fortune on his pork shoulder or a brisket from Sainsbury's like I did last year. And be able to get the most out of these books without having to spend an absolute fortune on our meat and on our equipment.

Dan - Host:

I absolutely love it. I absolutely love it. Because when I first started out, I don't have loads and loads of money to spend. There's a reason that one of us has caught like 20 for barbecues and the other person the focus is fundamentally cooking on one. But I found in particular, I was having to spend more and more money what I was learning to get the techniques, right? Because if you've got the technique on then you're much better experimenting with different meats. So I suppose what you're doing is giving people that knowledge through YouTube it was it was like the idea.

Tom - BBQ Life:

Yeah, yeah, that that was a knowledge and a bit of inspiration to be cooking more than just burgers and sausages, which is what we're renowned for in the UK is rubbish barbecue, like a few of the broadsheet newspapers said about last year that Brits can't barbecue and we can barbecue we just don't really know what to do. We're a nation grills who don't barbecue, we open top grill, using rubbish charcoal and frozen burgers that we just obliterate. And I just want to inspire people to cook something a bit better spend a little bit more money on your barbecue so that you've got something with a lid, so you can control your heat and just invest in slightly better meat. It's not costing you an absolute fortune. And just it was the idea was if I could inspire one more person to go outside and something decent outside on a barbecue enough one and where the channel is at now I'm inspiring a few more people and it's just a really nice position to be in.

Owen - Host:

Yeah, I think that's a really kind of good attitude and ethos to have isn't it just it doesn't I suppose ultimately doesn't matter how many followers or listeners if you can just like you said inspire that one person just to take up barbecue and just realize the actual pleasure within it. I suppose for me it's like a mental well being thing. I love being outside and just cooking. It's kind of a bit of me time. And actually I'm really quite excited about this episode because I suppose fundamentally what we do talk about and when you are talking to people around barbecue, you bark bark, you do cost a fair amount of money for the big brands. And you know, people can spend hundreds and hundreds of pounds on a piece of meat, you know, briskets they're not they can you know, you get some certain types. They cost you hundreds of pounds and it was really good for us to reach out. You know, obviously we had the pleasure Meeting you last year at sizzle fest, which was great, great fun. And obviously to chat with you a bit more. And I think it's right for us to actually sit down and talk to you who and your USP about actually, how do we make barbecue affordable for everyone, because I suppose that's the whole point of the social community that we have. And wanting to draw people in, it's about getting as many people involved and money, I suppose shouldn't be a barrier to that.

Tom - BBQ Life:

Yeah, definitely. My key place to me where I get my meat is Morrison's, because they've got the meat counter there. And the blokes that are behind that counter, they're generally sort of retired workers that have had their own shop. And they don't want to be working five, six days a week, running around shop, so they all do a few hours. And they've all got a little bit of knowledge that they don't mind imparting on. So they've got the skills to be cutting, doing all these different cuts, and you can go in there and you can ask them for something specific. And if they can't do it to you, then then they'll let you know when to come back in a few days time. And they'll make sure that they then put you the next animal the right way, so that you've got the right cut you want. Because generically, they just want to get as many cuts out of the meat as possible, so that then you've got as much to sell as possible, but they don't mind actually going in and cutting you some different bits. The key thing that you've got to remember is that a lot of them the meat is English meat. So if you're talking beef, and you want them to go and pack your brisket, the fat content in it isn't anywhere near what it's going to be if you have spent more money on it. So you've got to treat it differently on the grill.

Owen - Host:

Have you found I'm sure within your kind of journey of barbecue and you have gone out and bought more expensive pieces, you know, pieces of meat perhaps for special occasions like we all do, you know, like Christmas is a perfect example where we quite traditionally do that. Have you found that? If you're cooking it correctly, you're still getting the same results. It's not like you're massively compromising on the finished result that the quality of the cooking in the end?

Tom - BBQ Life:

Yeah, definitely own brisket wise. I'll hold my hands up and say I didn't cook my first brisket until the end of last year. Because I wouldn't spend 6070 pound on a commie that then I'll be frightened to mess it up. Because I've got 6070 quid to throw away and it not right. So I did the Sainsbury's point ends. Yeah, they got in part of their tastes a difference range last year. And it's not just that point end, I did have a point ends and the flat. So I was quite impressed with that. I think I'll pay 24 quid, which I thought was a really good idea. Just to try something budget and see how I got on with it. And the media itself was great. But I did mess the cook up. Mainly because I wanted to make sure that I was doing everything properly. And it was my first time of auto using book just paid for because avoid use FOIL. Because again, it keeps the cost down. Why am I spending money on butchers paper when I can be using FOIL. And it just fits that fits my price profile on the way I cook and it fits the way that the channel works where we're trying to make the best out without spending money. But anyway, I got this butchers paper. So when it comes to wrapping, wrap it up and hit the right temperature and I'm going in with my probe and I'm probing it I'm thinking it's still tough as old boots. Why is it tougher sell boots, what have I done wrong. And I'm probing and I'm putting it back in for a little while longer and probing. Put it in for a little while longer. And in the end I'm ratchet, probed it and realized that I've taken it miles too far. And the resistance I was getting was actually from the butchers paper and not from the lady itself. So I now know that I've got to put the probe in and give it a wiggle, but make the hole a bit bigger I said then, and then test the meat properly. So my first brisket became more of a pooled brisket than a sliceable brisket. But it was still good. It still had a nice amount of fat from it, it was still juicy. And it was only me that beat myself up over it. Everybody else in the house said out wonderful it was so you can still get really good results from a cheaper cup. Just take your time and each cut, you've got to look at it individually. You can't. I can't say that I'm going to go and buy that one and I'm definitely going to do a low and slow. I might do a hot and fast version until I've seen the fat content and I've felt it and you can feel whether there's fat throughout the rest of the muscle by by squeezing it if it's dense, so then you know that you've got an idea bit of fat through the middle. If it's really squishy, then you know it's quite lean. And then you're going to have to be cooking it differently. If you're going to be doing low and slow, you need that fat all the way through. If this bit leaner, then you can get away with a hot and fast cook. And then make sure you put some liquid in when you wrap it as well to it raises it towards the end. And that sort of keeps you pretending.

Dan - Host:

I think your point as well, that is perfect and so true. You were beating yourself up, but everyone else was enjoying it happens all the time in barbecue. I did a brisket. Last year, probably around the middle of the year when things just opened up again. And we could have people around. And I wasn't happy with it. I felt like it was too tough. Because it up and served it and everyone there was like this is the best meter I've ever had. I know at least two of them were legitimate because they have gotten me further stuff that I've cooked for them. And it's so easy to have an idea in your head of how you think something should be and how you think people should enjoy it when actually probably produce something that's fantastic anyway, and just beating yourself up.

Tom - BBQ Life:

Yeah, I was stomping around LA bear with a sore head. The missus is looking at me like, What, what's your problem? There's nothing wrong with not right. And I've given myself this expectation, like you said, and I hadn't met that expectation. And I've now learned that, you, I, you shouldn't expect an end result, you know roughly what it needs to be if it's not quite where you need to be. There's the I try and stick by the fact that there's no such thing as bad barbecue. It's just a lesson learned. So unless you absolutely correlate it, and it's inedible, which I have done before. And I know other people that have done it before, and it tends to be when people do dirty states, they get it completely wrong. That first time they're either your steaks too thin, or they've not blown the ash off the top of the charcoal before they put it onto it so gritty when it comes off. Or trying to use briquettes instead a lump so that tends to be the one that people mess up and then beat themselves up for but it's just because you've not followed the process properly.

Owen - Host:

Yeah, I think I can just kind of agree on those points is that some issues you want to become a perfectionist in everything that you do? And I suppose you kind of sometimes you forget the joy that it's brought about actually doing it in the process because of this almost perfection that you're trying to get but like you said I suppose at the at the end of the day if it's everyone that you're cooking for enjoys it and it tastes good and like you said it's edible. It's been a wild thing. Absolutely. I was quite interested to discuss your your actual barbecue and obviously a lot of the videos that you've been doing on your channel is using the Audi Kamado and obviously before you speak to a lot of people in you know they've got other types of commandos so I'm interested to know if you're doing you know barbecue on a budget, what made you choose the LD commodity in the first place? What was what made you settle on that budget barbecue, I suppose.

Tom - BBQ Life:

So when I bought mine I actually bought secondhand, it wasn't brand new. So it'd been purchased by its first owner in 2019 in the spring. And then in the winter of 2020 it was put on Facebook marketplace for free and and 50 quid same as what they were being sold for in the shops supposed to have come with a rotisserie but that didn't work when I actually got it home. And it came with some steel cooking plates from a company called Steel smoking that I do some work with on the channel that a slight halfmoon deflector, a standard metal deflector in case you break your ceramic one and one for like cooking smash workers and things on wood it's quite a good deal because I've looked at these other sets as well when there's 100 pound and I've got my Christmas and birthday money sort of sitting there burning hole in my pocket and I'm like, kind of I've always looked the money goes and kind of loved the idea of it. And then I'll sort of fall in between that and a Weber Summit. And I just finished just so much money and how long am I going to have to save up for before I can have one of these so I saw this barbecue and I automatically went online and started looking at reviews and there's no reviews. There's no information on it. You can't find any sizes. There was nothing online. So I kind of looked it as I'd like to have a golden one. But I can also see a gap in the market for myself and the channel. So that was what kind of sold it was I wanted to get it. And then if it wasn't any good, I could tell people, it wasn't any good. And if it was good, we could run with it, and give out all the information and help people in the future to make an educated decision on whether they want to buy it. So yeah, it was the fact that I wanted a branded one. And I was too frugal to buy one. And this one came up just at the right time as I've got a bit of money in the pocket, and it wasn't too far away. And I just jumped in and full Worst comes to the worst. I'll stick it back on marketplace and I'll flip it back on again. But I love it, it's my my baby 95% of my cooks. But then on there unless I want something very quick, direct book. So close to the charcoal and I'll fire up the Weber or the only thing that I really feel that it cannot eat the Weber on is sort of vortex chicken wings, because you everything on a Kamado to direct cook. Unless you've got your heat deflector in. But the heat deflector is quite small on the Arabic tomato. So you've still got a lot of gaps around the outside, if you've got a big roaring bed of charcoal, there's quite a big area around the outside is still a direct area. So I just if I'm cooking chicken wings on there, I just tend to go direct and you just keep flipping. But I don't think you get as good a flavor and as good as texture on your skin as you do on the web. Or if you're using the vortex

Owen - Host:

how have you found the response? I was looking through your channel before and you've got some you've picked up some traction around especially around the videos for the LD Commando. And I think, you know, come and be exactly which one it was. But then I think he was like three things you love three things you hated. And we're talking 10s and 10s of 1000s of views where people obviously like you said you couldn't find that information when you when you bought it yourself. But obviously there's a clear market for it, as so many people are watching watching that channel, as sorry, watching that video. So are you are you quite surprised at the kind of, I suppose the level of interest in that type of barbecue. And you know, and the reactions that you've, you've gained through your channel of those. So yeah,

Tom - BBQ Life:

initially, it completely blew my mind because I'd been doing the channel for over a year. And my subscribers were trickling out trickling out and I've hit 50 subscribers, I've hit 100 subscribers. And then the dream was all I can hit 500 This will be absolutely amazing. And then I've got the Camaro in the January. And then in the spring of four, I'll put the aduro review video, just as it was being dropped in everybody's email boxes said it was going to be available. And I'll put this video out. Just on a random day to week. I've always put my videos out on a Tuesday. And I think it was a Friday, I found out about it. And I've been able to get this video done and edited and put it out and put it out at midday on a Friday. Six hours later, it got like 3000 views and I was just like absolutely gobsmacked and I'm watching the subscribers tick, tick, tick tick tick up. And it was that kind of sense of our I think I've made it sort of thing yet. So the idea of buying it for the channel was that it would help the channel grow. And it would help people. But I've definitely, I believe have become sort of the go to person on the already commandos of my inbox, email, Facebook, Instagram, there's a message someone else asking a question. Every single day before Christmas. It was it was full of wives. So my husband bought this in the spring. It's told me you're the person knows everything about it. He said he wants such and such where do I buy it? So I just spent weeks just sending links to people's wives. It's gotta buy here, go right there. So yeah, it's definitely worked. And that's why I try and tailor the content around clicking on there, and then a bit of information on there and try and get as much information out as possible the last spring. I know that it was coming out so I'd already got a lot of information ready. And that's what helped push the channel forward even further. So we went from 850 subscribers last spring and it jumps straight through the 1000 mark. And then within another three weeks, we've gone from 1000 to 2000. Well, so gone from a point where I never thought it was going to get there to we've pushed through very quickly that then I met the watch hours. And criteria, which meant I could start putting adverts on the video. And I can start the channel to start funding itself through the ad revenue via YouTube, which some people do get the hump about, I did get a negative comments, people saying, well, you've now got adverts at the beginning and halfway through football, for for two years, I've been funding this channel out of my own pocket. Yeah. Where I've not got a massive amount of surplus money and predominantly around this channel where of my birthday and Christmas money. So I'll just read it out. To make sure that I'd got stuff all we would try and do a video cook where it was going to be dinner, so that it's feeding everybody, and I'm getting a video out of it. So it was nice to hit that, that place where it could start self funding itself. And they just grow in and grow. And he ticks up all the time. And it's 3600 now, and we've got spring dish around the corner where hopefully, our you're going to drop this barbecue again this year. And I've got more content ready or plans. It's not shot yet. But he's planned ready again for this year, to hopefully again, see another big increase. And it's just nice to give, I'm not doing it because I want to earn the money, because the money automatically goes back into the channel. But I just want to give people as much information as they can so that they can make an educated decision because there's all these other barbecues out there that there's hundreds of people using giving you all the information. And there's nobody using this barbecue, to my knowledge other than May.

Dan - Host:

I think like both Owen and I are desperate to talk about this. I'll put my two reasons in straightaway off the bat, I was so close to buying one last year, or knows that I was doing loads of research into commodities and things. And in the end, I settled on the monolith because after speaking to a company I've got quite a lot of money off, which helped that in the fact that the older one was so popular unless you either pre bought it in the week running up to when they were released or you jumped on it straight away, it was gone. So I can understand completely how that's worked out so well for you and why you're the go to because that I mean, I think if they can make enough of them, it would be their top seller throughout the year, that that's how popular that barbecue seems to be whenever it becomes available. And if you're the number one person for people to go to for it, well done, keep doing it, because you're obviously doing something write. Secondly, when it comes to the point of when you hit the point where there's gonna be adverts on there, people need to understand that firstly, that means you can do so much more with the channel. And secondly, it means that you are an authority figure on it, you're not just talking for the sake of talking, you're what I'd like to call an expert, which seemed to be to some people less and less important in this day and age for some reason. But the fact that you've got those adverts on there shows that you're vindicated and what you're doing what you're preaching, more power to you, if it's starting to get to that point, imagine what else you can do, if it's funding itself, that that's what people should be looking for.

Tom - BBQ Life:

Yeah, definitely earn funding itself for that I'm able to put in a little bit by and my end goal is to be able to have a barbecue school here in Kent, and tailor that barbecue school part of it around cooking on on the hourly commodity so that instead of people just watching the videos, they can come and see it being cooked on and they can learn firsthand on what they can do and how they can do it. So it's still very much a pipe dream. Hopefully it can become a lot closer this year. But that's my next goal is to be able to not come off of YouTube I still I love I love my youtube but to be able to do more with it and inspire more people again in a different way to or outside.

Owen - Host:

So Audi if you're listening, hooked on up with a load of commandos who can get a school going so more people can learn. Well, we'll have to we'll have to send them a message when this launches just to to give them the heads up.

Tom - BBQ Life:

I think the amount of emails I've sent that company that same thing and then going directly to the supplier as well and see where we get things from them and they don't want to deal with Somebody that's not a proper business. But yeah, fundamentally, if I can get hold of enough of the barbecues, which as you've just said, getting hold of him is like, like hen's teeth. And then if second hands the whole thing holding their value, so you're getting something that's been used, and you're still selling it at that price. And I've seen once a day that is a year old, and they want still want 50 quid more than they are and they know that you still can't get Miss Tommy.

Dan - Host:

I love the fact that Aldi Kamado, scalpers out there.

Tom - BBQ Life:

I love the fact that a lot of them got stung last year, they were people that were genuine people that were in the queue trying to get hold of stuff. And I had so many emails and comments on YouTube saying that people hadn't been able to get hold of it. And then you look in our marketplace, and someone's going on, I managed to get over three of them. And that brought a knock them out 550 quid. And 550 quid is other commodity, you can go and buy that I haven't got to do all that extra transit. Yeah, and you might get a little bit more with where with the the Audi is quite basic. But on, I've got all sorts of accessories for it. Some have been funded by companies, some have bought myself, I still do 95% of the puts on there are done, just using the deflector that you get out of the box. And without using anything, that's aftermarket, unless it's sort of a steal for cooking on, but you're going to any barbecue that you buy, generally, they don't come with a standard anyway, it's an aftermarket part that you have to buy for doing things like Smash work and stuff like that. And so that's my go to accessory on there. But 95% of everything else is done with what it comes out of box.

Owen - Host:

Now, after all, you know, after everything that you've now done with the LD BBQ is what would you say are kind of the three top tips or, you know, three things to look out for, I don't know the three best bits of the LD and you know, if someone was listening in now, unsure if if like a similar situation to yourself, if they can't, you know, perhaps afford a Kamado Joe or a big green egg or like you said a Web Summit, you know, what three things would you say would sort of tip them over the edge to really go into the multi commodity,

Tom - BBQ Life:

there's one big thing, we would have no three things and that is that you can cook anything that you can cook on all of them. These barbecues that cost twice or three times the amount of money, you can cook any of that on here and get exactly the same result. The only thing is that use a smaller group, right. So your group rate yourself is only I believe it's 15 inches off the top of my head. So some of these other ones that you're spending more money on, you've got a much more bigger surface area, but I've got a family of five. And I can cook for a family of five on there. You can fit a spatchcocked in on there, easy. You can fill it out with with all sorts of things. There's nothing that you can't do on there that you can do on another one, the only you don't get a divide and conquer. So a multi level cooking great and little halfmoon deflectors they don't come a standard, you can buy them off the market for just over 100 pounds. But I'll probably get absolutely shocked by that supply. That's a mess. I don't use mine half as much as I thought I was going to. I either cooked with a full deflector in, or no deflector, and if I do want a safe zone and a Hot Zone, I just bank the coals at one side. And then I've got an indirect songwriter front and a director at the back. So there's nothing that you can't do on there that you can do on a more expensive one, in my opinion.

Owen - Host:

It's pretty conclusive. Yeah, I say that's one reason that's pretty conclusive.

Dan - Host:

So on the cards that I use them online, so it's a 52 centimeter. I mean, there are bigger sizes. I do use the multi level level or the halfmoon deflector, but that's when I'm cooking multiple things from multiple people. Or if I almost want to use one almost more as a as a heating rack rather than one indirect and one direct. So that's more about semantics and what you're doing I 100% agree with you More often than not, you'll be cooking something like ribs, brisket, a spatchcock chicken or a whole chicken. And you don't need those multi levels. If anything, it's just because I want to be playing with stuff I mean, like earlier. So for Christmas, I got an A Christmas or birthday I should say. I got a cast iron plancher halfmoon, one four. So I was doing smash burgers there. And then I had the raised side on the right, which I use just to slightly toast the buns on. And also, if any of the burgers look like they were doing slightly quickly, I want you to, I looked them up there and I was fiddling and faffing about to put them down. Otherwise, I've got no need for it, you don't need it. And that's the difference. Do you need something like that for an extra four or five 600 pounds, or if you're looking at the big big brands, an extra 1000 pound?

Tom - BBQ Life:

Dude, I honestly don't think you know a lot you were just saying them with doing your burgers. I would. Same way I bank my cows at one side. So I tend to start my burgers off indirect. So on the side where I haven't got a cow toast my buns on the side where I've got a cow and then I just flashed my burgers off. I flame grilled at the end or if I'm doing smash burgers everything's done on a big puncher. Anyway I do my toaster bands on there, and smash burgers are done on there altogether anyway.

Owen - Host:

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Owen - Host:

Visit aos kitchens.co.uk actually talk just to talk about burgers I noticed on your channel you're doing a bird was a burger from around the world burgers around the world yes burgers it had so I think I saw a Welsh one in English one.

Tom - BBQ Life:

Indian New Zealand one. Where else if we'd been Korea that's it so far. There's another six planned for this year. Okay to tie in with some a few other ways. The next ones that we've done will be Scotland, which may or may not involve a deep fried Mars bar.

Owen - Host:

I thought you were going to go very standard with haggis but a deep deep fried Mars bar.

Tom - BBQ Life:

That'd be epic. Yeah, I kinda like the idea of it just kind of like squish it down and it kind of oozes over the top. I've seen people put sort of caramel and things that you would make sort of Millionaire Shortbread and stuff I've seen people put out on the top. And it seems to work really well. So I've just got this idea of the fried Mars bar and the finger burgers around the world yet. It's all my Harebrained Schemes, my brain is just running strange barbecue over and over, I've got a peek at for now. And work hate me because it's always on the desk. If I get an idea, I just stop what I'm doing. And I'll write it down. Because if I don't write it down there, it just falls back out the other side of my head and another idea comes in, and so on so forth. So I've just got pages and pages just gibberish of writing stuff down and I go back to afterwards and I've scrolled it so fast off the time, I can't even read what it says anyway.

Owen - Host:

So obviously, we've talked at length about you know, the LD Komodo and the journey that you've taken with your channel and the reason you got it and obviously where you are now. We briefly spoke about the kind of meat side and actually utilizing the supermarkets or the butcher sections within the supermarket and again, you're kind of you know, what about the kind of rest of the I suppose it's probably something we don't necessarily talk about that a lot but you know, the sides and the you know, the veg and those sorts of things. And again, shooting you're kind of keeping that consistency with the cooks that you're doing So, are you are you doing kind of big cooks that are then, you know, creating lots of leftovers? Are you doing cooks that are more kind of just for you and your family for that day or a mixture of both? How do you normally kind of, I suppose keep that budget side in mind.

Tom - BBQ Life:

Leftover wise, yeah, if if we've got leftovers to be honest with the five of us, it tends to get hoovered up to I know, for myself, but I've got a backpack that I was sent over last year by a company so I just backpack stuff, it goes in the freezer, and that tends to become a lunch for work. You know, I break it up into portions and things like that. But we don't tend to get a massive amount of leftovers now. And when I'm cooking for the channel, I tend to do that as kind of a lunch. So if the missus is at work, it's just for myself, or I cook it twice over for myself and for her. So we don't tend to get that many leftovers from cooking on the candle but the dinners themselves, I like to cook, I can cook over. I do because then I'll make sure that I've got a decent lunch for taking to work because so over the top chili, I always go over the top with the amount that I cook, the crock pots absolutely brimmed full of a decider, I've got a few extra potions to take to work and I do like it and pop it out in a microwave after eating it up and you watch everybody's sort of ears prick up their eyes light up. Oh, I smell really nice, who's been cooking that it's just that little one up over everyone that's having the microwave spaghetti bowl and I use from the co op.

Owen - Host:

So one of the things that we like to discuss on the show and something we hold very, very dear on the podcast is I'm sure there's been a few cooks and you mentioned a bit earlier about the brisket. But I'm sure there's perhaps a few videos that you've attempted that may not have actually made the channel also cooks. So Julian kind of celebrate your fails, confession time

Tom - BBQ Life:

fail, so I tend to fail fish. Okay, so I did a macro video a long long time ago. Probably my first fish cook on the barbecue and I'm not a massive fish person but I can push myself to try more because I feel I should eat more of it basically. Anyway, I cooked this macro and I did a simple grilled macro and a macro that's a family recipe that my great uncle you sit on remember at him and I was a child not finished shooting the video and everything and I'll put the fish down on the outside picnic table upstairs to go for a week come back down and the cat come in a garden and both pieces of macro run over normally massive cooking our founder can actually get the weight word

Owen - Host:

please share the video and yeah

Tom - BBQ Life:

and I do say I'll go back and say in a video but the camera off again. So it must have been quite nice. Where I've also cooked trout as a video and I decided that I was going to come back to fly out but I didn't really think about when I needed to turn it over. So cooked it flesh side down to begin with and then picked it up with these tongs to flip it over to go inside banner and just to kind of fill up the slot off and that was quite fun because that's on the video and I left that in is a massive file. And then there's one from sort of the autumn of last year where I tried to burn my shack down. I've got a chimney have charcoal and I've had I've now got rid of it. And it was an Ikea portable barbecue. It had like collapsing legs that you put it in a box and you can take it off and I hadn't quite clicked one of these legs all the way out. So as I kind of Lent in move this full chimney of charcoal but went to grab the handle and this leg folded in and the whole gymnasium just went all over the worktop in the shack or fell into the Weber kettle but the rest of it kind of went over to worktop and it's all Sicilian and bubbling away and stinking but didn't go into full panic mode than the missus come out because she could smell something and understand with a spatula trying to scoop up this chop off off of the

Owen - Host:

offer and tuck it back into the

Tom - BBQ Life:

cowl but I managed to melt a chop involved and burn several holes in the worktop in the floor. Big Hole in the I've got a dustpan are used for collecting the ash out of the commando and can't use that anymore. He's got a nice chalk shaped hole Little dustpan but that is still in there as a little reminder of Don't be stupid be popcorn

Owen - Host:

so as we work surfaces would

Tom - BBQ Life:

yeah they're just standard kitchen worktops that we had extra I think one come out of my house one come out and mother in law house but they would assign worktop anyway luckily. Yeah, so yeah, I just the whole shack everything is reused recycle is built out of pallet slats that I've got from work. So worktops been reclaimed. I've got no problem if I see wooden someone skip, I'll go and say, Can I have that? Because it's only going to go off and be got rid of and if I've got a use for it, then I will win this is that my whole shack. And I'd got felt left over from when I did my shed a little while ago. But all I had to buy was the right length screws and Wood Preserver. I think it cost me 70 quid all in everything else was required.

Owen - Host:

So again, very much keeping in terms of your USP.

Tom - BBQ Life:

Yeah. Sounds frugal on a dime not spending any money.

Owen - Host:

Actually, can I just ask, it's very dangerous to jump in. What about the charcoal? Do you spend the money on the charcoal? Because obviously, you can buy cheap charcoal. But obviously there are more premium charcoals where do you sit on that?

Tom - BBQ Life:

I would say that my charcoals probably mid range I use ever burning charcoal. So I buy four bags at a time. And I think I've got four bags last time for 94 quid, just under 25 pound a bag, when I first started using that chart, I was only 17 pound a bag. So it's kind of mid range, you can spend more, you can spend less, I have used other brands. And I've not been happy with them some big brands that a lot of people use and I just couldn't get on with it. In fact, two big brands that people use that I just can't get on with one, I can't do low and slow with either the temperature runs away, or it goes out. And the other one is just too smoky every time or like I can't stand smoke. So I'm really happy with the consistency that I get out of ever burning charcoal, the flavor from it. And it doesn't smoke everything up when I like.

Owen - Host:

Okay, fair enough. I think that's fair. You

Tom - BBQ Life:

guys watch on YouTube for us? Well,

Dan - Host:

I'm jumping between different brands at the moment. And I'm in two minds at the moment of whether I am trying to find something that's absolutely perfect, or whether I'm trying to find something that's more local and sustainable. That very least hits I want to do, I'm sure there's probably a perfect world where I can find one that is high standard, not over the top expensive that is also local and sustainable. But I haven't found it yet. But I keep what I call treating myself. I mean, I bought some Napoleon, maple wood charcoal, which as you can imagine, wasn't cheap, because it's had to be shipped over from Canada. And I need to find something sustainable to counteract that, obviously. But I loved cooking with the small bag that I had. It got hot, quickly, it maintained temperature. And it gave off this beautiful sweet smell that also imparted into the food without having to add anything else to it. I'm not cooked with anything like it. But I'm similarly have tried. I'm going through trying a lot of different brands out there, the majority of which are through Amazon, which again probably isn't the best place for me to be shopping for the charcoal. But I'm getting through and I'm trying to find what I'm happy with. Also, I'm trying to stay away from briquettes because they're not the best thing at all to be putting through commodities, the amount of actually get through them at all. But I used to use quite a bit of briquettes when I was using the kettle, because I found on a kettle is much better for low and slow. But it's not worth the ash in the aggro because it starts blocking up the vents you're not getting the proper airflow through with the kamado. So I suppose a long story short, I don't have a specific brand at the moment I'm still searching whereas an O N is quite faithful with one or two brands that he uses.

Owen - Host:

I've actually tried to kind of do rotation around three different brands. I tend to buy Weber briquettes base they were the ones that I kind of got on best with around low and slow and they work particularly well on long cook specially I've got a Weber Smokey Mountain. So work quite well. I've got a couple of different I've tried a couple of different types. Big K products. So I've got their vintage chan charcoal. I've also got their premium restaurant grade lumpwood I've tried some glow Baltic. So I've tried some of that. And I've also tried that I had they got in contact with me last year and send some stuff strong and I was quite impressed with was home fire that they're down is something else like CS trading I think it is. But yeah, they normally do like wooden fire lighters things generally for like indoor fires, but they also do a range of lumpwood charcoal. So I tried that which was which is pretty good. And they actually sell it I've just moved house and they sell the huge 12 kilo bags in the garden center, which is two doors down from me so that's actually quite a good thing but yeah, that's kind of what I'm using at the moment. So some of its more premium than than other brands but like

Dan - Host:

in the same vein exactly something happened today which I talked about afterwards. I'll put it up on a real on my Instagram while trying barbecue because it was it something so perfect happened I had to stop what I was doing and running the house to get the phone to take a video of it and go everything I put on here is 100 authentic. I can't believe this is happening but I have to show you it's like a unicorn. Yeah, it was like a unicorn. I've never been able to open a bag of charcoal before in the correct way. You know, pulling the string Yes. So I can't do it. I was opening a bag of charcoal earlier and I know the technique so for anyone listening the technic technique is meant to be put your bag in front of you through really long dangling bit have on your left and the shorter dangly bit have on your right facing away from you fold the corner over and cut it flush to like the bag when it pops up. If you've done it right, the little bit string will flick through or if you're lucky to fix it you can use a key and pull up this loop through so just put it down cut it and as the thing ping back up single bit of strings pops through it's like right inside got my phone sat there was like record and as I hit record I thought if this doesn't work I'm gonna have to have serious conversation about my priorities with myself about having to record myself failing to open a bag but yeah, just got hold of the little bit and pulled and it came off perfectly. And I was like What was that two years of like actually properly photographing, recording like barbecuing 34 years of life that's the first time a bag of charcoal opens correctly. But again, I had to record it because it was authentic and nothing like that has ever happened before otherwise I would have recorded it

Tom - BBQ Life:

yeah, I've given up even try that now just take as soon as a couple of bagging on a string

Owen - Host:

I try it every single time and I cut the string or whatever and I start to pull it it doesn't it starts not it'll get really angry and I try and pull it as tight as I can the strings obviously you know quite tight it doesn't do anything I get stressed and then I just end up doing what you do Tom just got it angry and I'm throwing the charcoal in angry because I've not been able to do the perfect open of a bag every time

Dan - Host:

oh no I would pay to watch that can you record yourself doing that next time I'm put it up to see the Hulk Smash moment of you literally launching charcoal into your Weber so angry at like if

Owen - Host:

I honestly stand in the garden on my own f&m Jeff and myself because I can't open a bloody bag of charcoal is ridiculous.

Dan - Host:

The integrity side you're so right Tom as well. An example. We've spoken about it a little bit before but when I got my monolith delivered, oh, and came over right, right, we're gonna do an unboxing video. This is going to be perfect. After 45 minutes my wife came out said what the hell are you guys doing? And one of the legs on the stand was bent. Yeah. But because of the way that we were doing it. And we were focusing on the thing filming us we were I mean, I was almost in tears. And Owen was in an awkward moment of being angry because the time is wasted out of his day but also laughing at me, too. We couldn't get the soldering thing to work and gave up in the end called the company explained to them they sent sent out one of the stand and it worked fine. But again, we're going to be talking about this because these things do happen. And similarly, you can have a fantastic company as well and they will occasionally put out something that hasn't been caught. But people need to be talking about these things and understanding it and not expecting everything to be rosy See imperfect and on a certain filter look perfect because otherwise when they try and replicate it, they're just going to feel conned or feel like they're failing at things which, at the end of the day, as much as I love the barbecue community on Instagram, the problem with social media is that so many people get false ideas about real life is and it's dangerous to be spreading that

Tom - BBQ Life:

is dangerous for the next generation because they don't know life without social media. All right, we do. We were the birth of social media. Our children, I know my oldest is 1718 this summer. And she's not known life without it and in favor of the younger toad. So the be all and end all with social media and everything looking perfect on there. And the training, get into them. It's not but it's not easy, because that's what older mates think. And not every parent out there is doing that. Showing them that the world isn't perfect.

Dan - Host:

I really hope when you're burning down your shack you're like, come in. This is the real social media that you don't get to see. This is what's happening every beauticians page and space when they've had a ring light that's gone wrong gone up in flames. This is the real reality of life people.

Tom - BBQ Life:

The annoying thing about that was the or hadn't hit record on the camera literally on their one hand to go in on the on the chimney and then to hit record with the other and it went over before I hit record. I wish I had recorded it it would have jumble of just arms all over the place. But I did say in the video that what went wrong and I filmed it afterwards and showed the damage that was done but it would have been better for a perfect wall CINAHL to be able to actually have the footage of it all going over and then not ship it which was a bit strange is normally I'd be effing and jeffing and throwing me toys right out of pram, well, what about that? I just went really calm as a missus come out and she was like, I can't believe you're not screaming shouting. I'm just all I wanted to do was get this charcoal into the kettle before it actually burnt down. And then I spent the next few minutes on my hands and knees trying to find every tiny little piece that might have been on the floor not again random floor the shacks not that far from my house, you got a shack and then we've got a lot of handle pergola and then the house if shit goes up. The pergola goes up on the house comes with it. Everything's gonna go in once we've got make sure everything's extinguished out there.

Owen - Host:

Perhaps you're gonna have to do it again. Just to hit record, so you've got something to show.

Tom - BBQ Life:

No day laughing the pain on bathroom. It's something else I forgot.

Owen - Host:

Should we should we do some barbecue? Bingo?

Unknown:

Yeah, definitely. Yeah,

Owen - Host:

Dan, you want to I'll get the screen up if you want to just quickly run through.

Dan - Host:

Perfect. So every episode we like to say to our guests look, we're going to set your challenge we have picked what 1012 different items that are going to be on a spinning wheel. It's complete roulette. Oh, in hit spacebar and whatever comes up on there you have to cook for us. So what we'd like you to do is once something has been picked, cook it, stick it on your Instagram or tag us and use the hashtag barbecue bingo. And we can see how creative you can get with your barbecue and also it gives you the chance to show how much of an expert it is when it comes to working with something that perhaps you wouldn't normally touch at all. So Owens got the screen up for us to all have a look at there's a few interesting items on there. What jumps out at you for either the right or the wrong reasons straightaway

Tom - BBQ Life:

wrong reasons. Pineapple about do pineapple good I'm happy enough with everything else on there. I think there's no I haven't. I haven't called Nick. I haven't cooked oxtail but it's on my to do list so that's not an issue. I've got no issue with anything cauliflower to It's strange but I've done cauliflower wings indoors or cauliflower bites because they're not wings are like without export. They're kind of branded as get on board with that Varden it's not pineapple or fruit will be alright. So there's also a while put it by an eight year

Owen - Host:

earner. There's also my signature dish by your signature dish. So what would you say? is your signature

Tom - BBQ Life:

is we've kind of covered a little bit before. I'm massively about burgers, but not just a standard cheese and salad. And my first ever YouTube video and then I redid it again last year is pork mints that I put a bit of spice fro. And then I marinate apples in balsamic vinegar. And then put blue cheese and rock it in a brioche bun. And that is if, if we've got some new coming rounds in this gem tends to be what I cook. So I think we'll put that down as the signature dish.

Owen - Host:

Sounds good? I'm not sure if my signature dishes ever come up, you know. So is to the first one. Come on pineapple right let's give it a go

Dan - Host:

just on veggie meal

Tom - BBQ Life:

edge email for that. Yeah,

Owen - Host:

yeah. What's what's the first thing? What's the first thing that comes to mind?

Dan - Host:

Is it pineapple?

Tom - BBQ Life:

Now, first thing that comes to mind is vegetable for heaters. But we can probably push a bit further I did did have a period on the channel where I was trying to do vegetarian or vegan stuff. So I've done things like pulled mushroom bands, we've done a vegetable lasagna was nothing else springs to mind. But there are a few vegetable bits on there. So vegetable meal. Yeah, I'm up for that with a word for that. That's good. Sounds good?

Owen - Host:

Yeah. So if you could just use the when you post it on social media. If you use hashtag barbecue, bingo, that'd be great. And we can we retag that on through our channel is fantastic. I just wanted to kind of, I suppose finally, really, just I know, we've covered quite a lot. But what what would you say is coming up for you in 2020 22? What do we what should we look out for either on the channel or just perhaps seeing you in person? What's what's the next steps for you?

Dan - Host:

Channel wise,

Tom - BBQ Life:

our plan to start putting videos back out in in end of March. I've got 72 videos planned between the beginning of March and the end of September. If all goes well, it's gonna be a massive, massive asks to actually get that done, recorded and edited. So yeah, with the channel, I'm looking to really push this summer. In the future, hopefully a barbecue school. Whether that'll be near future or long future. Only time will tell. Come on out. There are plans. The business plan is maybe a location sorted, we could go to them, but it's just whether we can tie it all together and costings and things as I've already said, I'm pretty frugal, and I don't like spending money. But this is going to involve spending some money. And I've got my show I've got enough in the right place. Yeah. So yeah, Facebook, Instagram, our plan, every video from this year, is going to be put on Facebook and Instagram rather than just dropping a link to trying to get people to move from one platform onto another. So hopefully Facebook and Instagram will move on. And for better inspire more people are putting all of my videos out across them to platforms as well. So yeah, just great. inspire more people that is, is your answer, either whether that's in person or that is over the internet. I think that's a pretty good goal.

Dan - Host:

And final final thing as well. We always say to everyone, look, we've asked you loads of questions. And we always like to say, Look, is there anything that you'd like to ask us or anything that you think is important that's not being talked about at the moment in either community or just barbecuing in general? Now, we've asked questions on the form about things like how we started up what our setups are, what we like to cook with, but is there anything in particular that you think isn't been talked about? Or you want to ask us? I think we've

Tom - BBQ Life:

covered it to be honest, like my main thing is that everything doesn't have to be perfect, and that you can learn just if something goes wrong. Don't cover it up with a filter, put it out there. Learn from it and tell people how you're going to learn from it, what you would do differently, rather than just trying to make it look perfect, straight off the bat. Embrace your failures and help other people from so I think we've already discussed that. literally a minute ago,

Dan - Host:

literally what we wanted our podcast to be about. An example of that is I put a reel on Instagram a few days ago of a steak that I did, I reverse said it and did it on the tomato on my new plancher and I took it far further than I wanted to it was still amazing, but wanted it to be like rare medium rare, and took up the normal temperature I would 49 and then sort of stuck it and said it both sides of the plant like normally would. I was much more like medium to well, because of how much hotter it got. Again, left it in, cut it so people could see how far I took it. I also almost set fire to the tomato, what it didn't quite explain fully on there. But as it has been reverse searing of reverse cooking as it were, and the factor of down onto the deflector plate as I moved it across onto the planchette and it got that much hotter. A flame licked up caught the fact that it got on the deflector plate and again, like here, I think if anything gets to a proper panicky moment, I go very calm. If something's annoying, I get angry at but if it's as like, okay, okay, just close that staff a little bit of oxygen. I know the heats already there anyway, for what I'm doing. That's fine. But it's always interesting when a flame jumps out of a barbecue above your head. Okay, I need to I need to deal with this. But it's that exact thing warts and all. And people need to know that even us who barbecue a lot and talk about it, things go wrong. And that's half the fun, right?

Tom - BBQ Life:

Yeah, definitely. Going on from what you've just said, around barbecues, and the fat soaking into your deflector plates or into the the outer bowl itself can be a massive issue when you take up in terms of add flames around my output bowl, where I've cooked something like pork shoulder, and the stripped down and off the deflector plate and on on to the actual outside of the inside of the outer shell. And then I've gone to cook a hot cook afterwards, a few days later, and when that fat is soaked in there, it's got nowhere to go other than to burn. So it can be dangerous. You've got to make sure that you you if I now do a low and slow book like that high fat content, I'm tend to take the temperature up afterward after taking everything out and just trying to burn all that stuff off before I go for a really hot cup. Because you can get yourself in big trouble, especially if you're on a wooden structure like myself. I don't want flames licking up. Yeah, it's a good point about them deflector plates and how easy they can catch all that.

Owen - Host:

And earlier on you were saying about your Instagram, your Facebook. We actually you haven't actually told our listeners where to find you. So what is your handles? For your Facebook and your Instagram? And also finally, what's your YouTube link?

Tom - BBQ Life:

Oh, Facebook is just barbecue life for the page. I've also got a community on Facebook. So that is barbecue life. Community. Instagram is underscore barbecue dot life. And YouTube is just barbecue life

Owen - Host:

stick. Well, it's been an absolute pleasure having you on the podcast. Tom. I know it's been a little bit delayed. We said we were going to talk to you last year and that got delayed but it was and yeah, we really appreciate you talking about barbecue on a budget and and how you can still create amazing food and I hope we catch you again in the summer and when the festival seasons come back.

Tom - BBQ Life:

Yeah, hopefully it'd be really nice to meet up. I won't be doing sizzle Fest this year because he doesn't fit him at work. There are a few other places that I'm looking to go to when tickets are released. Have you smoking fire? Yeah, I think he's the one I'm looking at maybe want to ask Scott if it goes ahead because they've released tickets but they've not released the tickets for it so I don't know whether they've got issues that but that's where I'm looking to go Yeah, for sure. And then hopefully some more if and why not gonna fit in around work commitments and anything else that's going on?

Owen - Host:

Well, let's stay in touch I'm sure there'll be a few we're looking at smoking five fests which don't know which one yet. Colchester is the ones closest to us. Yeah. We're already at sisal fest. We're potentially looking to me topia, which should be quite good to go to. Yeah, I think there's a few this year which is quite exciting.

Tom - BBQ Life:

It's gonna be good. Yeah.

Owen - Host:

Fantastic. Well, thanks very much for coming on.

Tom - BBQ Life:

Thank you for having Have a great cheers

Owen - Host:

That's it for another episode of the meat & Greet BBQ podcast It was great to have Tom on and really talk to us about how he has managed to inspire lots of people to get out and cook barbecue food without having to spend a fortune and and you know use good quality ingredients at a reasonable cost as ever we want to hear from you. So if there's anything that we're not discussing on the podcast or any questions that you have for us, please get in contact with us through our website meat & Greet BBQ podcast comm EMAIL ME & Greet BBQ podcast@gmail.com through our social media channels at meat & Greet BBQ podcast. If so if you want to support the show, then on our website, there is a little widget down in the left hand corner for buy me a coffee or buys a burger that would any donation would be welcome. And that helps us fund the show and do more and more exciting things for you and content that we can create for you to listen to. And also if you're watching this on YouTube, please like and subscribe. And we're going to be putting out more and more content with all of our guests as well as some cooks that we're going to be doing throughout this year. So if you hit that notification bell you'll be notified every time that we drop a new episode or an a new video. Until next time, keep on grilling Today's episode is brought to you by iOS kitchens, the South's leading outdoor kitchen design and installation specialists

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Bbq life uk

Where great bbq doesn't cost a fortune. The only YouTube channel dedicated to the aldi kamado.