Dec. 14, 2022

The Smokin Elk


This episode we have Elky, BBQ School owner, Thermapen brand ambassador and YouTube sensation. Elky talks about his partnership with Thermapen and how content creation, his BBQ school and his videos are now his main job!

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Transcript

Owen - Host:

Today's episode is brought to you by aos kitchens, the South's leading outdoor kitchen design and installation specialists Welcome to another episode of the meat & Greet BBQ podcast today we have got elke also known as the smoking elk joining us he's talking about all things barbecue from his school, its partnership with brands like Therma pen and his journey into barbecue and where he is now. So without much overdue is Elke. Okay, so hello.

Dan - Host:

Elke thank you so much for coming on talking to us today. If anyone doesn't know you first they've been living under a rock but you know explain who you are how you got into everything.

Elky:

Yeah, sure. Well, thanks for having me on. It's a pleasure to be on this. Who am I so the smoking elk. Elk is my nickname. My actual name is Dan but it my mother calls me that so we've got with elke so little bit of background I guess. Obviously I'm a bit of a barbecue fanatic. I love cooking with fire I love cooking with charcoal probably been seriously into it for six or seven years. You know the normal history of having a barbecue probably for longer than six or seven years you go through the normal kind of 1015 years of having a gas barbecue that cost 100 quid it must sell over the winter gets moldy and replace it with another one the following summer so gone through that cook and the sausages and the burgers and the butchers packs and and I think really kind of got into it probably six or seven years ago but watching things like man versus food scene briskets on there and pull pork and ribs and obviously you know six seven years ago there's no not really any decent barbecue restaurants in the UK literally over harvest don't have some microwave lips or whatever so it's a case of do it yourself either get over there which is going to cost a lot of money or do it yourself so decided to do it myself went down a bit of a rabbit hole and the way I am kind of seven years later a massive cooking addict

Owen - Host:

and I suppose you literally do everything in terms of barbecue now right so you said you started just man versus food scene the brisket is poor pork but there's pretty much nothing you don't do on the barbecue now and

Unknown:

no I mean I think what's something that sums it up nicely is you know when I when I went to tell some people that I cook on the barbecue we ran their sales so you eat barbecue food all year round and no buy for food cooked on the barbecue all year round you know there's a big difference they think because your barbecue all year round and constantly eating hot dogs and burgers and stuff. But you know cooking with fire cooking and barbecues is you know it's not just about doing the classics and if you can do it in the kitchen you can you can cook on a barbecue with the added element of kind of fire smoke charcoal flavor. So yeah, I like to experiment I like a lot of well cuisine or Thai food and all that kind of stuff. So you know and it works brilliantly on barbecue so yeah, and then kitchen you like cook outside

Owen - Host:

so when you were talking about obviously you know 1015 years of replacing the gas barbeque every year as obviously a lot of us do what when you kind of really got into barbecue what what transition did you make from that kind of cheap and cheerful gas barbecue what was the first serious barbecue you got into that was perhaps not gas

Unknown:

so I think probably was gas because you know port Manny from b&q that we're cheap and rubbish and nasty not not saying anything bad about the interview. But I think you know my first serious barbecue purchase really where you actually spend a bit of money was was a web us spirit so again there's a gas cooked on that for a while for you know this this is good I've actually got proper barbecue and then obviously that watch then started watching those shows and start thinking well I need to start learning how to smoke something so whether Smoky Mountain I saw a lot of beginners kind of go with whoever Weber Smokey Mountain have a few friends round for dinner. The main event was going to be some spear can smoked beer can chicken I'm really excited and I've put I've thought that if I can't see lots of dirty grey smoke coming out the top I'm not doing it properly. So it goes with chunk has a good chunk of wood chunk. And yeah, I mean my guests were very polite about it. The chicken came out I was all excited and they all had a bite and said they said you can certainly taste it. It's been smoked I think it was yeah, it tasted a bonfire. So yeah, so the Weber Smokey Mountain, obviously Weber Weber kettle, and then it kind of went on from there. But I think the real turning point for me was getting a Komodo. So as you're probably aware I've worked quite closely with Komodo now but but back in back at the time. I wanted to get ceramic I looked at the Green Dragon come on I'm gonna try decided on the command. And I think just having one of them and once you learn to use it, it's a bit of a game changer for me. Because once you learn how to use it, it makes things easier. It kind of simplified things. And it made you want to click on it more. And the more you wanted to cook, the more adventurous you got, the more you cook, and it kind of spiraled from there. So yeah, a little bit of a mixed bag really.

Dan - Host:

And just looking on your Instagram, as you've said yourself, so many different types of food because you can cook everything on a barbecue. But what are your favorite things to do? Is it to surprise people and show how versatile they are? Or do you have a certain kind of go to that in your own spare time you'd like to cook

Unknown:

I'm a big lover of Thai food. So I'd like to kind of do Thai food on the barbecue and twist on Thai food. So I want to barbecue school and one of the kinds of things that I kind of do a tie theme on one of the classes that the master class so we kind of do Pepco power, which is kind of pork and Thai basil, which is a Stephi dish that shows that you can use pots and pans on the on a barbecue and Stephi but then I do an over the top kind of beef mess around so it's just a normal kind of mess and and curry beef shin sits over the top of the curry taken on not some cherry smoke. And then that all kind of as it's cooking, it kind of drips into the curry. And then you put the cherry smoke beef into the curry and let it finish kind of brazen until it falls apart. So just stuff like that, which is you know, kind of normal food but with a with a smoky twist. And you know, that kind of thing is a crowd pleaser. And then, you know things like schwannomas and everything because that looks good in the article that people come out and say bloody hell have you done that on the barbecue kind of thing. It's stuff that I like to do, because it's all about the social aspects and a bit of theater for me. Yeah, I couldn't agree more.

Dan - Host:

Also, you were the first person when I first started kind of doing barbecue on Instagram and having having a look at things. That was the first proponent for me for cooking to temperature as well. It was something that you were the first person to introduce me to that. And everyone talks about it now because that's what people should do, of course, but thank you for that lesson. But anyone get so much tips just from looking at your Instagram, it must be hard not to give away all of this barbecue school secrets while you're doing it.

Unknown:

I think I'm a bit of a sucker for doing that rarely, because earlier in the year, I'm halfway through the year I was doing classes, and I'm knocking out meals with this with recipes of stuff that I'm cooking on the classes that I think I should really do this once the classes are finished and I'll change the class. But no, I mean touching back on, and you know, using cooking to temperature. For me that was one of the game changes early on. And I don't know why I kind of you know, you discover this stuff when you start to barbecue, but not when you just cook in general. You know, kind of got into the barbecue community, Facebook groups or country with smoke and whatnot. And one of the first things you pick up is you know, get yourself an instant read thermometer. So I've got myself a firmer pen and again this is a game changer because it makes you a better cook. So you're cooking the cooking meat and you're cooking it well. But because you're cooking at that temperature and the funny thing is when you do events and demos and stuff you can use all the high tech barbecues and stuff you know you're commoditized and stuff and your dish out a bit chicken and festering This is how long did you cook that for them? Or you know what barbecue Have you cooked that in that's made that so juicy and you know it's because you cook at the temperature so that's that's one of the kind of first things one of the first game changers for me when you do get into barbecue is how important that is.

Owen - Host:

Actually that's a really good point you know you talked about like the Facebook groups country with smoke and those types on member of a few of them like the Smoky Mountain groups and Weber kettle groups as well as country smoking things and actually still the amount of people every single day that you go on and see a post How long should I cook brisket For how long should I cook and the point is we you shouldn't time it you shouldn't be just cooking until that meat is at that temperature that you need to pull but it is almost the first question isn't that anyone asks How long do I cook this for?

Unknown:

Is Yeah, but I think the main reason for that I think supermarkets could probably do a bit more and food packaging and that kind of stuff because everything you buy in the supermarket you buy chicken or you buy roasted enjoy as always cook it for an hour and a half per kilo or half an hour per kilo whenever plus half an hour and it's you know, where's the science behind that? They're basically going to get you to overcook that product because they don't want you to undercook it. So but you think supermarkets just for stocking some instantly for Mama's start kind of putting up putting on the packaging. Put the times on there by all means, but stick on a packaging. ideal temperature for this should be you know 63 degrees or 73 degrees at all. or whatever it's going to be for that cut of meat. And that's going to help educate people that, you know, turkeys, Turkeys a great example people. People don't like turkey because people eat dried turkeys because whoever's cooking it leaves it in the oven for half an hour or an hour longer than what they need to because they don't want to be Mavis or whatever, or nuns kind of random and without reading it, so we leave it in for another half hour. Or they cut into it and all the deuces Well, and that's why nobody likes turkey at Christmas, because they're not eating properly. They're not eating well cooked turkey.

Dan - Host:

I think it like the fundamental are wrong in how we're taught to cook in so doing cooking at school, I even did like catering as GCSE because I'm food obsessed. And we're always told right? Chicken, you take it over 75? Well, how do we make sure so we're 75? What do you cut it and check, why not use a thermometer, they don't even teach that as the basics in school. So it's like a ground up learning that people need to re educate themselves if they want to get the most out of cooking. But again, barbecue classes and things and learning and research will help people do that.

Unknown:

Yeah, I mean, it's, you know, I obviously run a barbecue school. And it's one of the first things that I teach at the barbecue school. You know, when we do the master classes, most people have no, they use a firmer pen they use needs to meet some moms in the know. But the beginners classes, you know, the couple of accessories that are shown straightaway is a chimney starter, because most of the people that come to the beginners classes are used to cooking on a gas barbecue. And I asked them why they're cooking on gas oil, because it's quicker, I've got time to light charcoal, the shine the chimney style, you show him that it's ready to go in 10 minutes, and they're locked by the hour, that's a game changer. But then your Charmin instantly from ometer. And then when you're cooking the food and this food is coming off, and you know it's cooked to the perfect temperature, you start your favorite pen and a steaks perfectly chicken juicy, they're like, again, that's a game changer. And, and the thing is, you know, FOMO pen segment cost a lot considering we look at the cost of meat. Now, if you're gonna, if you're gonna do something nice for Christmas, you're gonna get Turkey that's 5060 quid, or, sometimes even more, you're gonna get a rib of beef that's 5060 quid for half that price you get for a monitor that's going to last a lifetime and ensure that you're not going to cough up any other. You know, any of your dinners and stuff. And importantly is you're not going to undercook it but almost as importantly for us, obviously, you

Dan - Host:

know, I went to Christmas coming up perfect birthday present or birthday Christmas present for the barbecue in your life, right?

Unknown:

Yeah, I think Sam a panel actually got some deals on where they've recently found a pen to release to move. I think it's midnight blue thermal pen because I celebrate the 30th 30th anniversary. They've been guys that years, which is, which is also crazy. I mean, I've I've been bartending for six or seven years. And I remember my first fomapan And you know, there's a few been a few revisions since then. But we've got 30 years and nearly 40 years as a business, which is mad. But yeah, that I think that doughnuts or Christmas bundles. We've generally tailor the beats on Instagram, one of her books, along with a firmer pen and the coffee guy. I've met both great people, both good big fans of thermal pen as well. So they've got great books we've got, I've got the curry guy coming to the barbecue school next year, actually, which would be good. He's coming down a few days. But ya know, so Chris, ideal Christmas presents. And if somebody gets it on Christmas morning, they're not going to cook up the turkey early.

Owen - Host:

Absolutely. And in terms of quality, I've had my thermal pins. Since 2015. Still works and absolute dream, I think I've actually still got the same battery, believe it or not as in the original. So it just they lost.

Unknown:

I mean, I've got I've got a big queen, one that I use in the kitchen. And my missus uses because I don't really cook in the kitchen. I say I keep it in the kitchen. But if I'm not cooking on the barbecue, I'm not cooking. So my missus has got well indoors about you know, I've had for seven years. I've got one in the barbecue shack that I stupidly left and near some lit charcoal. And it's kind of you I can't open it all the way I kind of get stuck kind of right angled where the Bend has melted and still works a treat. I mean, I've had them left out in the rain and all sorts and they can take it back. And that's for sure.

Owen - Host:

So I also just want to, you've mentioned the school, you barbecue school a couple of times. I mean, that's that's a new venture for you. Right, this is 2022 It launched.

Unknown:

Yeah. So I first had the idea for it. I mean, not the idea for it, you know, there's other people doing barbecue schools, but I first thought, you know, this is something that I want to do back in 2019 Towards the end of 2019. So I was thinking about doing that launch and it kind of in the summer of 2020 My last place, obviously COVID hit, so it didn't happen. And also, I'm not sure whether I was ready for it back then. I'm kind of glad that I waited Till this year, I wasn't quite ready for it, then knowing what to do now compared to two years ago is a big difference. And the venue probably wasn't quite right. Quite not quite big enough in the last place, or missus worried about whether people are going to go and have a pee in the house, you know, this is understandable, especially if people have a couple of drinks and stuff. But people coming in and out. So, you know, for one reason or another, it didn't happen then. And then I think, you know, it all went a bit nuts with COVID, and barbeque weld in the UK seem to just go absolutely mental. So I think, you know, I realized two years, it got to a point where I do really want to do this school. I've had a couple of good years at work, and I commissioned, so sales wise, and I said to the message a couple of years early, let's have a look and see whether there's any houses out there that we can move to that are maybe a bit bigger, and we found somewhere. Why about budget? One price, there's nothing there, looked at the next price, nothing there, look to the next price, still nothing. And then Mises said, why don't we look at the next one up and see if we can put an offer in and we looked and we found this house, and we had a look around it, and it needed a lot of work to him, we said we're never gonna buy another two apart, because our first house was a complete renovation job. But then we walked out into the garden, and the garden was absolutely huge. And as soon as we left the house, we just looked at each other and said, you know, we have to make this happen. So you know, back borrowed and steeled away the savings and then for now, sadly, bought the house in December last year, and then went straight to work to build the barbecue school. And because I know at some point this year, you know, I've been busy doing the barbecue stuff. I've also been busy with work. And I knew this year, it would kind of get to a bit of a tipping point where either really knuckle down and concentrate on the day job, or really make a go with the barbecue world. And I think once the shack was built, we were kind of stood outside, we were filming one day with my with my videographer, we're doing some videos for YouTube, the summer shine, and we had a little our time there as you do. I thought I don't want to go back to the sales job. I don't want to do it anymore. And I literally handed in my notice the next day. While I didn't actually tell it. I didn't actually talk it over with my wife. Because I tried to bring it out in the morning and she taken my little boys swimming. So I just handed in my notice and told her when she come home. She's like, well, if you think we can do it, then then let's do it. So you know, she's been good at golf. She's always supported. She's always supported, you know, my decisions and during the barbecue stuff. So yeah, that was that's kind of it the barbecue school was built. It was ready to go in April funnily enough the first class I did was them a pin team down to support me for the first class because I've done a lot of work for fomapan Anyway, so it's quite a nice for them to kind of be my first class you know, kind of axis one, so to speak, because I quit my job before I even taught a class which I borrowed a lot of money to buy the house by the load money up. Never done a barbecue class and quit my job. So

Owen - Host:

two favors the braving.

Unknown:

Yeah, that's it. Yeah, I'm one of these guys. So you know, I'm very impulsive. If I get an idea I just I just have to do it there and then so I did it and yeah, so far so good. That 18 classes so far this year has gotten the months off in July and August because newborn baby and October November I've had to take that time off for family reasons as well. So to still do 18 classes in the time that I've done a bear in mind you know, we've taken some of the busiest months out of action. We've been going really good yeah so but you know, I'm not one to rest on my laurels and I know next year is kind of the big year to kind of really give it a push but yeah, enjoying it so far.

Owen - Host:

Are you still focus obviously. Again, you mentioned YouTube before that. And again an apology channel and I know that during lockdown you're almost you were doing a kind of video podcast almost Weren't you with into various different guests during lockdown? Are you still continuing to kind of work on your channel or is very much all your efforts now going into into the school

Unknown:

now of actually keeping up the keeping up the social media content? You know, to think to make a success of this you need to have a few different avenues and a few different options. If I'm just teaching a barbecue classes, you know, three times a week or something it's soon gonna get boring, not boring, but because I like doing it but you need a bit of variety I find. So I like to create the content. I like to make YouTube videos I like to do the bills and stuff on Instagram, or work with some fantastic brands firmer pen commando Joe and create kind of monthly content for them. The show that we did was great by the way the lockdown barbecue show because in lockdown, we could email it. Nobody could go anywhere around the world so we can email anybody and come have a chat. They're like yeah, okay, luck. Is that they're not at their restaurants. They've got no other that they've got no SRP. So, you know, I said I said to I think we have fat Siamese guys. If you ever want to chat to any of your heroes just start start a podcast that online shop barbecue show. We're talking to like Steven Lachlan from the bulky Bible. Some of the people that just piles like some of the people we were talking to was ridiculous. We never got to do it now with without the lockdowns. But anyway, so I've gotten off on a tangent. So yeah, content creation is fantastic. I'm always gonna be doing that. I like putting out YouTube videos, educating people that way, the classes and then I also do a lot of events, demos and and festivals and that kind of stuff. So I think next year, I'll be out and about a lot more as well.

Dan - Host:

When do you get time to relax?

Unknown:

Is me relaxing? If I'm out there, if I'm out in the open with a barbecue with some food cooking away, you know, it's not a job to me. Like, there's a saying that if you find if you do something you love for a living, you're never going to work another day in your life. And, and that's so true. Don't get me wrong, it can get tiring. You know we did for Kamado Joe, last year, we did our pub in the park. And we did the opening one, it's four days in a row. So it's Thursday evening. And then Friday, Saturday and Sunday, all kind of double days. So you have people come in at 11 to four and then open to him five to 10 kind of thing. So we will enter and we will get there seven in the morning can omit midnight for three days. And you know, so you're knackered by the end of it. I mean, I think we went to watch. Happy Mondays closing closes on Sunday. And me and Jim only slagging we could barely walk. I stood there and I had to keep that standing from one foot to the other because our aching so much, but absolutely loved every minute of it. And you know, a week later, we said we would have done it again. But funny stories I'm having to park and you're gonna put this out there. So we're assuming we're assuming a find out what really happened. But we saw on the first night, we've always put the pork shoulder on, ready for the next day. So we've got it rested, and we when the first crowd come in, we've got his pork shoulder ready to go. We don't have to do loads of prep for it. So we stopped on, we come back at seven in the morning. And you can smell the port if it's not a port, but in the air smells beautiful. So go to the Komodo and the first thing you check is the temperature of it. Because you set everything up before you want to make sure it still gets the temperature set. Yet perfect lifted the lid up. There's no pop up. It's gone. None of us have a clue when we fought because whoever were next to us. And so we suspected foul play was really suspected sabotage or instead of web Have you nicked our port. But now that I know we haven't had a walk around the festival couldn't see anybody sitting there with Paul who couldn't find anyone seven up pull pork that day. Spoke to security they said that you saw a fox and and take it lift the lids of commandos and just

Owen - Host:

come in animals as foxes.

Unknown:

But that's gone. And it's a mystery to this day. So if anyone out there knows well our pop up, let us

Dan - Host:

know. How would you say that situation?

Unknown:

We just had to we all hung over as well. So we got there a little bit later than what we've thought because we knew there was going to be a port. But we're like, yeah, we get that out first. So then it gives us a bit of time to prep for the rest of the stuff. But because it wasn't there that we we had to just get stuck in there just get loads more food on as quickly as possible.

Dan - Host:

It's inspiring, kind of talking to you on about how you take that leap. I suppose it proves that you don't have you know, the the trappings of the day job, the people kind of feel like they can't take these leaps of faith. But it's exciting to talk to someone who has done that. If someone's thinking about making a similar sort of leap. What sort of advice would you give them?

Unknown:

Go with your gut. I've always been one to kind of, you know, if I get an idea, you know, I'll quickly maybe crunch the numbers and I think I can do it. I'll just do it without kind of dwelling on it too long. Because it was irrelevant too long. And then I might talk myself out of it. And you know, I considered doing it last year. And I went to my employer and said can I go down to the first thing I asked was if I could buy a holiday. And they said they came they came back three months later they did some extensive research about how it works for other companies and stuff. Because they were a good employee and they thought they'd always try to accommodate and they come back and said no, we can't be buying holiday can we better roll it out to the whole company and then it just gets messy. So then last year, it was actually the start of this year that she I asked him to about going down to a four day week. and they were considering it. And then just as we're kind of going to take it a step further, they're going to advertise for sale support person and stuff. I decided then that I couldn't even make it work done for days. So I just had to make the leap. But you know, if if anybody's thinking of doing it, just make sure, first and foremost that you've read and that you can pay your bills, you know, if all else so I worked out three different scenarios, what another I've got coming in what the ideal what I think I could get coming in, and then somewhere in the middle, kind of average because of the content creation for Sam a pen commander, Joe and a few others, you know, that's kind of that's gonna pay the bills, the but then I had on the barbecue school events and demos and stuff, and that makes it comfortable. And then in finance is a bonus. So just makes sure that you can pay your bills basically. And just make sure that you're definitely in a good place for it, you're in the right place for it, because it doesn't dream, you know, you quit your job, and you're now doing barbecue 24/7. But you literally are doing barbecue 24/7, I've quit my job. And I've never been busier. Because literally, with the barbecue school with a lot of admin, there's a lot more there's a lot of emails is a lot of to in foreign. And you're constantly thinking about plans. And so you've got to go from this day job where you switch off at five o'clock can't be bothered until you nine o'clock the next day, to work and for yourself and having to come up with a plan to make sure that the money is coming in, and not just for the next month for the next two months. You need to think ahead for the whole year and make sure that you know, what, what's it gonna look like winter because obviously, you know, what we do is a is very much a seasonal thing, you know, for the general public. So I knew that I've got till September to do my classes, and then it's going to be two off Christmas classes. Happy Days, that's gonna set me free to January, you know, so you just got to think think ahead and think there's a longer winter ahead where it's not going to be as you know, you're not gonna have as much coming in so so just plan just make sure you can do it and and ultimately, make sure you're doing it for the right reason. And you're doing it because you love it and not because you think it looks good. And you think you want a pizza, that kind of thing.

Owen - Host:

I don't don't second think it's an it's an easy choice to make. And cooking barbecue in your back garden for your mates after a couple of beers on a Saturday is different to making a career out of isn't it for sure. You've got to work hard.

Unknown:

Oh, yeah, absolutely. Yeah, I mean, cooking for your mates. I mean, I'll cook more now for content and for for other people. It's kind of nice to get a break and actually cook something for yourself. But you do kind of go from cooking it because you're loving it and it's your dinner, and you're doing that every day to literally cooking it for other people. So it is it is different. It's still just as much fun. Some people say that you can do it too much. You might burn out and stuff. I've not hit that stage yet. Hopefully I won't. But you know, just just it is a different beast. Of course it is. But, you know, if you do it for the right reasons, and you love it then yeah, I haven't regretted it one little bit.

Owen - Host:

So you mentioned obviously, we've obviously mentioned Komodo germ, we've mentioned thermo pen a couple of times that you know you do work for how did those kind of partnerships come up come about for you? Is it

Unknown:

um, so thermal pen was probably my first or third pen and Komodo were probably quite quite early on. I think the thermal pen, you know, the thermal pen are great, you know, as as a business, they will pop a family run business. They just kind of get the barbecue community. They've got a real good community vibe. A lot of community love thermal pen. They always doing giveaways and various other cool stuff. So yeah, as a company, they're great. Like I said, a family run business. They've you know, Jason, Jason Webb is now the managing director who's just taking the reins from his dad. You know, you've got aunties and uncles and cousins working there. I believe his dad started the business like, you know, nearly 40 years ago, and he's in a shed. And then obviously, then now thermal pen. So I think it came about, you know, I did a bit I think I did one campaign for them when they were doing a giveaway. And they said, Could you cook something, and then I'll do this giveaway. And we just kind of started chatting there. And then I'm very much a relationships guy. My last job was in it sales, I was an account manager. So I had kind of five or six key accounts that I've dealt with for years, but relationships were gonna take a long time a few beers. And I'm very much a loyal and you know, relationship kind of guy. So to build relationships is very important for me. So you know, Thurman Penn over the years, we've built a great relationship. And you know, I'm now lucky enough to be a brand ambassador for them create content for them do cool stuff like this. And other cool stuff for them. And a separate commodity jar. I think with commodity Joe. I mean, I bought First one. And all of these companies that I do work with is I genuinely love the product and love the brand. You know, I'm not gonna just if someone says, Hey, how can we Chucky, this grill when you show off for us? You know, it's turned out a fair amount. Cast barbecues, for example, I always advocate for cooking with charcoal cooking with fire. And as you know, this gas barbecue companies that can we send you this, chop it away into gas barbecue, we want you to be a brand ambassador. And it's just, it's just no, because it's not. It's not what it's not who I am. It's not what my audience want to see. And so it's all about building relationships with brands that you love tomato have bought a commodity in the first place. I then bought a big job. And then commodity semi cooking on it a lot. And they started up their brand ambassador program called the fire squad. I was lucky enough to be invited on to that. And again, just built a relationship with them over the years. You know, Ben is the Global Marketing Manager for them, meaning get on great. So it's just, you know, a lot of people ask, Well, how do you get sent stuff? You know, how do I get on a radar on somebody and it's just Just do what you love. You're working with brands, you know, work using brands that you love. And if you're doing a good enough job, they're come to you. And that's what it's all about. It's not you know that they need to find you they need to see you being passionate about their product. And I think that's you know that all the relationships are built. Almost the relationships that are built have come across, you know, started that way.

Owen - Host:

If you've been looking or thinking about an outdoor kitchen, then look no further now EOS

Dan - Host:

outdoor kitchens, they are the self leading outdoor kitchen design and installation specialists.

Owen - Host:

Their extensive showroom is based just outside Bournemouth on the Dorset Hampshire border and as well as numerous in store displays, also features a live outdoor kitchen, where they come every week on Kamado grills, pizza ovens, and all filmed and shown on YouTube.

Dan - Host:

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Owen - Host:

Visit aos kitchens.co.uk Yeah, I think that's, that's a really important point. About that, and sort of integrity of it. I mean, I'm sure you've probably been offered a lot more things than we have. But there has been occasions where they you know, oh, Could you could you talk about this on your podcast, because we don't know who you are. We've never we've never tried your products, we can't just openly go out and talk about them. You know, we need to feel comfortable to talk about those things. And I think what you've just said there was quite right, you can I suppose tell the people that are just in it to try and get free stuff. And the people that are actually in it because they love they love the products they love the brands and they're they just the brand ambassador things probably the last thing they're thinking of they just want to just show how passionate they are about using that that brand and those those products.

Unknown:

Yeah, I mean, I didn't even know getting paid by getting paid to do this kind of stuff that existed you know, when you're cooking on barbecues and stuff. I was I was clicking on the Komodo Joe a long time before he even started putting things on Instagram is only one of my friends. I started taking a couple of pictures and putting them on my personal Facebook. And a couple of friends said Oh, you want to you want to put out on Instagram. Just start putting it on there not not thinking anything of it. And, you know, it just spiraled? And you know, you start working with brands and stuff. But you know, I think early on you maybe get a little bit excited someone offers you a Robin says can you promote this and you're like, Yeah, okay, well, no. But then it gets to a point you kind of need to know your worth. And you need to also know your audience. The last thing you're the last thing your audience want to see is you come across as a bit of an advertising board. You know, if I accepted even half the products that get offered to me, it'd be like all by this by this by this and that's that's not who I am. So that's why I like to have kind of long term relationships and all in their own Kanavan sector so to speak. So they don't overlap so commoditize for example on never going to cook them and I'm a commando because I'm I'm a big commodity tag I walked up and started cooking on Big Green Eggs moving forward. The Big Green Egg and I'm trying to say you know, the big green X better, firmer pen. I've been offered so many other different kind of instantly for monitors and I would say was with some amateur brands. But you know what, why why would I, I'm working with what, you know, what I see is the best company. And again, Rob's you know, there's so many companies doing websites and stuff. And, you know, it's great, I'll always try and support the small companies and you know, buy some apps and fund them and promote them and stuff. But it's got to be conscious of the fact that you just don't want to be every other bit of content you're putting out there is saying, this was the best rub, or this is the best this or whatever, because it's soon gonna get boring. You know, there's, there's a lot of people kind of, you know, copy and paste or doing the same kind of thing. And it's about kind of trying to differentiate, differentiate yourself, and just putting content out there that you want to make. And, you know, that's what people want to see at the end of the day.

Dan - Host:

Also, I think like, you could have much more of a personal relationship that way, if you only work with a select few companies that give you a chance to go and visit them learn more about the actual product and the science behind it kind of have that sort of understanding. And it must be fascinating to be able to go to somewhere like thermal pen and actually look around and have them explain why it's not just like a stick thermometer, this is how it actually works. And surely that also leads back into your cooking skills then too.

Unknown:

Yeah. So again, back on the relationship thing, I was actually invited down to ATI who obviously made the thermal pens, went there last year and had a bit of a tour and just couldn't believe the place really that you know, they've got, there's, there's a few industrial estates all in the same kind of area. And they've got they've got three huge buildings within these industrial states. So they're not just just one building, they've got a 200 employees. And you know, when you think of the thermal pen, you just don't imagine this kind of, I mean, they're massive, you know, they, they're big exporters of their product as well. So it's not, it's a British product, but it goes all over the world, that you've got several works in the US that they're kind of very tightly linked to. But it was fascinating to go there. Yeah, I mean, seeing so many people there seeing the factory, everything was hand built, you know, there's no machines, just knock knock and all this stuff together, every single family pen, and all of their products are handmade. Yeah, they calibrate them all in ice and ice water to make sure that, that that's how accurate they are, every single one gets kind of hand calibrated, you know, in ice and stuff. And some of the machinery they got, I mean, some of it was top secret, they wouldn't tell me what it was. But you know, this is proper precision technology, because they don't just make certain pens, I believe in a big market, there's as well as commercial stuff. So you know, you go to the supermarket, and they're baking their breads and all that kind of stuff. Chances are, they're using eti products. So the thermal pen is a great kind of consumer product, but they've also got this huge kind of commercial business going on as well. So it's nice to go down and see all in action and see how the magic happens and meet some of the people there as well. Because like I said, they're a family run business. And most people they you know, you can tell it's a good company, because you've got people in there that have been there 2530 years. And when you've got when you've got stuff like that, you know, you're pretty confident it's a decent company to work for.

Owen - Host:

So for you elke, what's what's going to be your plans for 2023? If you mentioned school, but what else have you got lined up for next year,

Unknown:

um, school is obviously going to play a very big part. You know, I want to get it to a to a comfortable stage. I mean, ideally, for me, I'd love to get my missus be that be able to come and work for the business as well. She might, she might have other ideas. We will see about that. So you know, building the bunkers go out because you know, this has been good. I wouldn't say it's a success at by any by any stretch yet. Because it's very early stages. It's a new startup business. So get the word out a lot more. Because you know, there's only so there's only so far my Instagram reach is going to take me in terms of getting customers on board. So trying to get a lot more local people to come to the school because that's where your word of mouth is going to come from, to kind of concentrate on that. Getting special guests to come to the party school. So I mentioned earlier got the coffee guy come in for a few days, sold out three days in the space of 24 hours, which was crazy. So trying to get some kind of guest chefs along that aren't necessarily barbecue, but can can translate over to barbecue. Because like I said earlier, it's not all just about barbecue food is any food, just cooking it outdoors. So yeah, the barbecue school carried on making content I want to carry on building my YouTube channel, building the Instagram. And I like to get out and about a lot more. So I'll be doing more events with Komodo next year. Hopefully some more permanent parks and the festival kind of vibe. And maybe another idea is you know get last firm a few different places about doing barbecue classes kind of in Yorkshire or Scotland or places where people it's too far for people to come down to me. Maybe kind of do A little bit of a tour of some barbecue classes, but lots of ideas and maybe start doing some pop ups and stuff as well. Because like I said, I want to keep it varied. So if you're doing a couple of classes a week, you do some content one day, do a pop up and do an event. You know, it's lots of different things that just keep it interesting. Because you don't want to just be doing the same thing over and over, rinse and repeat. So yeah, hopefully, they're just getting out and about a lot more and meeting more people.

Owen - Host:

You're gonna give yourself a day off in that year or?

Unknown:

Yeah, so I've got a role because I think the missus I kind of said to her now I won't be working like every weekend, you know, it's kind of got well, in the busy in the summer, I might have to wait Saturdays, but my little boys nursery on on Tuesdays and Thursdays. So I kind of said, I'm going to work on a Saturday, I'll keep the Thursdays free. So we've kind of still have, we still have the Thursday, then the Sunday. So you know, I've had to, I've given up my pumpy season ticket, because it because we're terrible. I've had a season ticket for 2425 26 years. But you know, it's got to the point, I love doing this, I love doing the barbecue stuff. I can't, I can't go and do two events one in a month on a Saturday evening and expect to get the two popular games as well. And I've got as much as I'd love to throw you out in the three months old now. And you know, it's good to spend time and do family stuff. So now, I do have days off. But it's you know, it's it's just nice. But I also look forward to Mondays as well. The opposite now of how it used to be. I look forward to Monday because we get to go out and barbecue again. Because all weekend and now I can go barbecue on a Monday.

Owen - Host:

People love Mondays, what? It's kind of like flip. So one of the things that we hold dear on the podcast is talking about barbecue fails. And obviously a lot of people learn by failing and correct their mistakes and things. And also a lot of the time, they can be quite funny as well. So obviously, you've put out some fantastic content, but you must have had some failures along the way. Is there anything you'd like to share with us?

Unknown:

Recently, actually, I think I think we call them failures and failures. But they're all lessons. And I always try to help people as well. Because some people say I'm not confident enough to cook a brisket. What happens if I screw up and you're never gonna know until you go and do it. And you're gonna make mistakes, you know, why first flattered. But with a festival of brisket I did was a complete fail. You know, when you see these briskets you got to ask your butcher for a brisket and you get this lean that flat. Cookie, I'll pick it up whiskey. I'm like man versus food now. But the first one I cooked was like a brick. Still like the lot and literally, we're dying on the sofa afterwards. But but then I did a brisket the other day. And I like a few beers. The briskets on the sun came out. And it was a ridiculously warm day for the time of the year. And then the message was sat in the garden. And it's kind of like, we've had a few more beers. And then a few more and the brisket was just after four. And it didn't turn out that great. But you know, there's they're not failures. If all else fails, just stick in the chili. But, you know, and I found myself all the time. You know, I started my classes I if when we're doing the filming days, I'll constantly reach over by myself since my hairs are whenever I say that the cameras rolling all day on a filming day. And I'll have a whole section of being real with me sounds like Michael Jackson. But ya know, we all make mistakes. I still make them now, of course, because we're all still learning. There's always going to be mistakes along the way. Just learn from it and put it into practice next time.

Owen - Host:

Yeah, yeah, great. I couldn't agree more. Is there is there anything else that we haven't spoken about yet? Or any kind of questions or anything that you wanted to kind of bring up about? I don't know, the barbecue scene you personally in your journey and barbecue. But is there anything else you'd like to talk about?

Unknown:

I think we've covered quite a bit. I mean, the barbecue scene, you know, if if anybody's watching this, and they're just starting to get into barbecue and stuff. The barbecue scene is coming on leaps and bounds in the UK. And it's I think, you know, so I like to get across and you know, a lot of people, myself included, you know, you get into barbecue and you start watching the YouTube videos and you see the briskets like the American style brisket, USDA briskets and everybody wants to replicate it. So people are buying imported briskets you know they're buying Ozzy grain fed briskets because grain fed has to be better because of the marbling. Hello, there buying USDA briskets that have come in over all these air miles over from the US. But we've got, you know, and the general message you seem to get on the Facebook groups is which briskets terrible, you know, if you're going to cook a brisket, make sure you get a good one important from America. And it's the wrong message to put across. Because, yes, a lot of brisket you're gonna buy in America over here is going to be no good. It's good enough to maybe do pop most wherever you can smoke it and embrace it. But it'll be fine to have a good quality Butcher. And, you know, class, we've got some of the best beef in the world. While why are we importing it from America and stuff, just to try and copy what the Americans do adapt to what we've got. And you know that you can get some fantastic results from grass fed brisket, Allah to cut mine method called hot and fast. So you could get a high temperature quicker, because it's got less fat in it in cricket for 15 hours, because it's got less fat and less marbling, it's more likely to dry out, you could get hot and fast, you still get fantastic results. And the flavor of grass fed over grain fed is second to none, I'll take it any day. So I think yeah, message is, stop buying imported meat, you know, just just work with what we've got, because we've got some of the best produce them is to just adapt. It doesn't have to be an all American style. You know, just just just use what we've got use your imagination, and just put your own spin on it.

Owen - Host:

Do you know what that's we've spoken to Genevieve Taylor, who echoed exactly what you said she was, you know, we released her episode in the summer as like a little summer special. When this goes out, there'll be an upcoming episode with Jax meet Shaq, and we've got a butcher down in Kansas. Again, everyone's replicating the same message, which is a good thing in the barbecue scene that we're all advocates of using British beef and the quality of our British beef and not having to worry about importing. But also, like you said, the air miles the environmental impact of importing that breed. So it's really good that yourself, you're an advocate of that, but actually, all of all of these people within the UK barbecue scene seem to be you know, replicating that that message that actually British beef is the quality beef that you need.

Unknown:

I think it's an important message. Yeah, because I mean, you kind of sandwich with someone on pictures in Uruguay and pecan do and you know, Argentinian s and Brazilian that. They're all that sounds fancy. You know, I get older. So you're gone. For Kanye. It's a top ramp, you know, we've got it here we've got beautiful grass fed with Kanye here. And just, it's just about you know, and not every butcher, you know, some people are gonna get bit despondent, they're gonna go to their local butcher, and a lot of butchers now, you know, but pets is a dying trade, which is a shame, butchery and a lot of pictures, they just haven't got the capacity to bring in whole carcasses and butcher it to spec. So they buy in the kind of, you know, the pylons, or the subprime was or whatever. So you get, you're gonna go in there, you're gonna ask for something specific that you've seen in America, whatever, they're just gonna say they can't do it. And you know, you might get a bit despondent, but do a little bit of research. There's some fantastic producers out there some fantastic pictures out there. It's about finding, finding a good one. And once you've got, you know, a lot of them are going to deliver, it's not, you know, it doesn't have to be a local butcher, my local butcher is, hopefully none of you are watching. But there's a couple that kind of, you know, they're, they're loving the shop window there, put some rosemary to attack them with the lamb legs and stuff and make it look fancy. So it looks like it's a nice, expensive butcher. But reality, it's the same meat, you know, you're buying from the supermarkets and stuff. So just do a bit of research. I'd rather buy, admittedly, I bought a light, it still has a bit of travel to do. But I'd much rather buy it from Cornwall and come overnight and buy it from the states and their orders, air miles and stuff in the States. You know, we're doing our own farmers and injustice by by cooking important.

Dan - Host:

I think as well. Another great tip for anyone who's looking for a local butcher that they can trust is first thing to look for is if they appear to be cutting the meat properly on site, buying in whole cows or half cows and actually cutting them because so many places will order stuff in frozen and just sell them if you can go in somewhere and you can see a huge sore in the back. You know that at least they're doing the basics, then talk to them about what they can actually give you. And something I'd love to ask you as well. We've talked a lot about hot and fast method for brisket in the past, but no one's actually kind of talked about how someone would go about doing that. If you're a beginner, all they see is low and slow. And that's the first thing you get if you're kind of YouTubing What should people try and do if they want to do hot fast brisket.

Unknown:

So I'm not sure where I've learned the method. But I've seen somebody say Oh, you want to try cooking your brisket this way. And you know having done my fair share of overnight cooks, pre children, of course. I've been out there with the head torch on and on. ELO and you know, having sleepless nights with your alarm going off every hour. So you can go and check on it or your alarm going off tweeting going back to brisket, or your temperature alarms going off all the time. You know, I've done my time doing those fun too many, you know, so when somebody said, I was told that you could do briskets in six or seven hours, that's, I want to try that. And it turns out, it works perfectly for grass fed briskets. I buy mine from a place called Philip Warren, which is they've got their own farms. And if I think these are land owned farms, they use kind of local trusted farmers. And they actually supply smokestack. So smokestack, obviously, popular barbecue restaurant in London, it was good enough for smokestack who is literally one of the best barbecue restaurants in the UK, then, you know, it's good enough for anybody else. So yeah, hot fast. So you can't get your brisket and trim up as normal. Instead of cooking it at two to five, which again, just seems to be a magic number that's come across from the States, everything has to be cooked at two to five as long as Yeah, cook it at 300 degrees. So 300 Fahrenheit 150 Celsius, probably takes about three or four hours to build a nice bark on there. Once you've got good bark, back it up. And then you can even crank the temperature up to 350, which about 170 175 Celsius. And until it's finished, it takes about six hours. I normally start probing the brisket. You know, after about five or six hours, once my firmer pen tells me it's kind of 93 degrees. I know it's nearly there, that's the time I want to keep a close eye on it. And then I kind of go by feel. So you kind of you've probably been and if you can kind of hold it above it and then just drop it. And it kind of just goes all the way through to the bottom with pretty much no, no resistance then Is there are there abouts. So not it's really reads on was not which briskets grass fed was probably come off about 9899 degrees. So it's, it's quite a it's quite a high temperature. But they can take it and you know, they come off nice and they come off nice and juicy, nice and moist. But the key to it is quickly in six hours, we'll give it a good rest as well. So at least a couple of hours rest. But if you've cooked it in six hours you get up in the morning, you do your brisket in the morning, always aim to have it finished two or three hours before you're ready to serve it. Because then you can just keep it wrapped up in Taos in a cool box. And I've had them in a cool box keep for seven, eight hours before. So get up at seven in the morning. Stick your brisket on by a by foot you know by four o'clock you're tucking into it happy days rather than having a sleepless night and

Dan - Host:

yeah, yeah, I mean, I've experimented.

Unknown:

Yeah, I mean, that's the thing. Like I said, there's no better way of learning than just getting stuck in. You can read as many books. I mean, next to me now I've got probably about 70 Barbecue books and stuff. You ever flick FFO you see so it catches your eye, you give it a try. And then they kind of just sit there gathering dust, YouTube videos, you know a lot of this, a lot of the stuff you gotta watch on YouTube is American. So, you know, again, people watch that and they see the briskets and they wonder why they're not replicating it because we're copying what they're doing. There's no better way to learn and just putting in the hours just getting stuck in or having to smoke it out. Barbecue spilled

Owen - Host:

funnily enough, I was just about to say, where can people come and see me to it?

Unknown:

Yeah, so the barbecue school just outside of Portsmouth. So what in the south coast is political power plane? Is that my house touched earlier I've got a huge garden so I've kind of built this 72 square meter shack at the end of it. That the missus of well chuffed about when we were measuring it all out and stuff, you know, it's gonna it's gonna take over the garden, but no, it doesn't. But it's a great it's a great space, especially when the sun shining, you know, I've got beer fridge in there, there's you know, the the barbecue classes that normally limited to 12 people. So you know, it's a good number. People come along, they eat a lot, they learn a lot, or hopefully they learn a lot from our limited my limited knowledge. They learn a lot they drink, we have a laugh or two and put everyone at ease trying to get one talking to each other. Like I said, my background sales so I'd like to think we're quite good at kind of getting people kind of integrated and, and, you know, the reviews I've had so far have been about the fact that they felt so at ease. They felt like they've gone to a barbecue and friends. They've met these new friends and stuff. So it's been well received. Hopefully carry on that way. I've been delighted with how it's gone so far. So yeah, is to hit next year for

Owen - Host:

great. Well, it's been absolutely fantastic having having you on the podcast, okay. And just quickly again, tell people where they can find you on social duty. Up, etc.

Unknown:

Yeah, so obviously on Instagram under the smoking elk, and the same with YouTube, just Google the smokin elk, and there's loads of videos on there. A lot of if you're into commando Joker kind of stuff. It's a lot of Komodo videos on there, but also some fire clips and stuff. So YouTube, Instagram, I am on tick tock tick tock keep up the cool kids. I haven't figured that out yet. But yeah, they're just started smoking out all my websites smoking.com where you'll see dates available for classes. There's not many on there at the minute. So the end of January, I'll probably release the first lot of classes for next year. So hopefully, I'll see you guys or anybody watching on one of them.

Dan - Host:

That's great. Thank you so much for your time as well.

Unknown:

Yeah, nice one. Thanks for having me.

Dan - Host:

Cheers. Thanks. Okay. That's it for another episode of the meat & Greet BBQ podcast thank you so much to the smoke elk or elke for taking the time to speak to us today talking to us about his own journey, his barbecue school, and also thermal pen. It's been fantastic learning more about all of those things. Christmas on the way why not have a look at some of those different thermal pen bundles for the barbecue barbecue in your life. So you can find more about us looking at our website, you can Google meat & Greet BBQ podcast that'll bring you straight to us. Also through our Instagram, our Facebook, we've got a YouTube channel that we'd love to see you on and occasionally, like elke said with the cool kids we're on Tik Tok as well so keep an eye out for that. We also have a shop that we have various various different affiliate programs and things on and also you can buy some merch so it'd be great if you get the chance to go on there. It supports the podcast and we could put anything that comes through that back into getting you the best guests and until next time, keep on grilling today's episode of the meat & Greet BBQ podcast is brought to you by iOS outdoor kitchens. They are the South's leading outdoor kitchen design and installation specialists