"How do you cook 25 racks of ribs in one go, consistently? It's the problem I had when I was setting up. It was killing me. Properly driving me mad. But then it clicked. My stepfather-in-law, an engineer who's always tinkering with stuff, used to do barbecues in the back garden with a really old filing cabinet. I couldn't believe it hadn't occurred to me sooner. That's all I needed. A filing cabinet.
"I'm massively into recycling so I got an old one with thick gauge steel from an office sale, shot-blasted it to get all the enamel off. Then I sprayed it with high heat paint, cut the draws out, threw £500 worth of stainless steel grills in and bingo.
"I smoke and cook the ribs for up to 6 hours. I can't do any more than 25 in one go otherwise the heat doesn't circulate in the cabinet. There's a temperature difference in there, so I rotate the ribs around every hour. The coals are in the bottom so that's my hottest spot. That's where my tax returns go.
"We use 100% free range pork baby back ribs. It took me months to find the right ribs. Locally sourced. All our packaging is biodegradable and all our meat is high welfare. And no, you can't have my recipe.
"I'm on my third filing cabinet. Two come on the road with me and one stays at home to cook for guests. The sauce is high in sugar so it hits the heat and caramelises like mad, making cleaning is an utter nightmare. There's so many nooks and crannies on these things. It takes an ungodly amount of oven cleaner and a jet wash to blast everything off. Worth it though. So, so worth it."
(The Hungry Toad will be at Digbeth Dining Club this Friday, Oct 4, from 5.30pm at Sp*tlight. A pint of ribs costs £6)