"Q" ... or not "Q" ???

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wheregreggeats.com
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2006/08/07 19:58:26 (permalink)

"Q" ... or not "Q" ???

I went to Ash Creek Saloon in Fairfield, Connecticut:
http://www.ashcreeksaloon.com/fairfield/default.asp

Ribs were very well, if not perfectly, cooked ... tasty ... they are called BBQ on the menu ... the only problem is there is ABSOLUTLY NO firewood out back.

The ribs had a fleck of smoke taste, and as I say they were good ... but what can be the explanation ???

Can you spoof 'Q ???

And, no, I didn't ask them about the no wood thing.



#1

30 Replies Related Threads

    EdSails
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    RE: "Q" ... or not "Q" ??? 2006/08/07 20:17:36 (permalink)
    No big surprise.....passing it off means nothing to the majority of people who think the taste and "Q" only come from the sauce. My guess would be made in the oven or a rotisserie. As you said, good----but not real.
    #2
    John A
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    RE: "Q" ... or not "Q" ??? 2006/08/08 06:57:10 (permalink)

    My guess would be a rotisserie. The local sams does ribs in a rotisserie, they're not bad but without the sauce would be pretty bland.

    John
    #3
    V960
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    RE: "Q" ... or not "Q" ??? 2006/08/08 08:26:42 (permalink)
    I'm sure it was tasty but it was bbq. I went to the web site and looked at the menu. One listing is for Carolina Smoked Beef Brisket, I've never seen brisket in a bbq place in North or South Carolina. It's a Texas thing.
    #4
    doggydaddy
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    RE: "Q" ... or not "Q" ??? 2006/08/08 08:27:30 (permalink)
    quote:
    Originally posted by EdSails

    No big surprise.....passing it off means nothing to the majority of people who think the taste and "Q" only come from the sauce. My guess would be made in the oven or a rotisserie. As you said, good----but not real.


    I'll second that statement. I bet that at -best- they were seared on a grill and then put in a roasting pan. Not every kitchen has a rotisserie, so pregrilling them will allow for a primal crust much in the way one does a pot roast. Put them in a roasting pan and steam away till soft.

    There are food service sized containers of Liquid Smoke, premade BBQ sauce and a variety of rubs. Trust me, they are used frequently.

    Ash Creek is a popular place in the area, so I guess that they went into some effort to make them good. Some places barely try. I have had experiences where the pulled pork came out of a bag. We mixed it with BBQ sauce and onions. We served it topped with cheddar cheese, which just never seemed right.

    Recently I worked for an Egyptian chef who did mock Italian with a couple of American favorites. He was a joke and falls into the topic category of bad bosses. Danish pork ribs were on the menu.
    They were put into a roasting pan without any seasoning and steamed away. When we got an order, we would put on (Open?) Pitt's BBQ sauce, probably the worst stuff I have ever tasted. You can find that brand on the Dollar Saver's aisle in the supermarket.

    So sure, BBQ can be spoofed. Probably the best example is at a place which has an advertisement saying..."I want my babyback, babyback, babyback...."

    mark
    #5
    dreamzpainter
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    RE: "Q" ... or not "Q" ??? 2006/08/08 09:17:40 (permalink)
    Kind of like the ribs Alton Brown did on his show where he wrapped them into a foil packet and cooked in the oven. A.B. admitted that while they where very good they were not "Q"
    #6
    wheregreggeats.com
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    RE: "Q" ... or not "Q" ??? 2006/08/08 11:01:02 (permalink)
    quote:
    Originally posted by dreamzpainter

    Kind of like the ribs Alton Brown did on his show where he wrapped them into a foil packet and cooked in the oven. A.B. admitted that while they where very good they were not "Q"

    Exactly.

    For all I know, the place smokes their meat someplace else nearby.

    As I said it was very good, the lack of wood or smoke seems to betray the credibility of the word "BBQ" on the menu.
    #7
    roadrash
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    RE: "Q" ... or not "Q" ??? 2006/08/08 12:31:51 (permalink)
    I know of a place in TX that smokes their ribs in one location, then actually has their employees hand carry them to the restaurant (space is quite limited in the restaurant), sooooooooooooo....it can be done. Also, do you necessarily have to cook over wood and not gas for BBQ? Can't you cook over gas with a smoker box?
    #8
    the grillman
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    RE: "Q" ... or not "Q" ??? 2006/08/08 12:41:35 (permalink)
    quote:
    Originally posted by V960

    I'm sure it was tasty but it was bbq. I went to the web site and looked at the menu. One listing is for Carolina Smoked Beef Brisket, I've never seen brisket in a bbq place in North or South Carolina. It's a Texas thing.


    I'll second that thought. Carolina folks don't do brisket, or beef, for that matter. Also, anyplace that has calimari and a roasted beet salad on the menu wouldn't probably be pure barbecue.

    I'm sure it was edible, however. I've never really had BAD barbecue...it's just that some is a lot better than others...
    #9
    MilwFoodlovers
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    RE: "Q" ... or not "Q" ??? 2006/08/08 13:01:29 (permalink)
    I ate at a place that had "real" BBQ as a part of their much larger menu. When I queried, they said they used a CookShack. The owner said he loved Q but his rather upscale neighborhood wouldn't support a stand alone Q restaurant so this was his compromise.
    #10
    prisonchef
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    RE: "Q" ... or not "Q" ??? 2006/08/08 16:32:15 (permalink)
    just based off of their menu and their location my thinking is they are most likely using a small southern pride, ole hickory, holstein or perhaps a cookshack sm150 or 250 model.
    the reason for my thinking behind this idea is as follows;
    1- many localities are outright banning new stickburning pits or allowing them with scrubbers installed to reduce discharge of particulate matter.
    2- with a menu as varied as what is shown even a cookshack 150 model should be able to keep up with the load required.
    3- as i remember from hearing my parents up north talk natural gas is still cheaper than electricity so my vote would most likely go for the holstein or ole hickory or southern pride.
    all of the above units can turn out "q" as good or better than an open pit. like everything else and open pits are included in this statement "it's the cook---not the cooker"
    throw in government regulations and kiss the old stick burners good bye.
    jack
    ps. i jockey every week the following units-- southern pride 500 and 1500 pound models, cookshack SM150 (2 of those) and an FEC100.
    pps. the lack of an outdoor wood pile sure confirms my thoughts. the big prides in a week will go thru about 500 pounds of wood, the sm150s would go thru about 5 pounds each and an fec100 would go thru 100 pounds of pellets (oak/pecan blend please)
    pps. wheregregeats- man now you got me thinking since from one of your posts you were unhappy with the amount of smoke in the meat. that changes everything. now my money bet is they are using the sm150. i ran into all kinds of undersmoking problems but thankfully a guy with a 260 pit in north carolina got me pointed in the right direction. sounds like this operator has fallen into the "set it and forget it mindset". for electrics to do a really good job you have to rethink everything you ever learned on an pit and one of those things is to ignore the manufacturers advice of 4 ounces of wood per load or there abouts. while they are capable of doing a great job the learning curve is about 6 months of note taking and constant refinement of technique. if you do that then you can acheive a great product right down to the blessed smoke ring!!!!!
    #11
    wheregreggeats.com
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    RE: "Q" ... or not "Q" ??? 2006/08/08 16:56:37 (permalink)
    quote:
    Originally posted by stlouisguy


    I'm sure it was edible, however. I've never really had BAD barbecue...it's just that some is a lot better than others...


    I had the honor of being an actual judge at the Houston Rodeo BBQ Cookoff at the Astrodome for a few years.

    And I can tell you there is such a thing as bad BBQ, beleive it or not, some entries tasted like the pit.

    Another example: My earliest efforts when I got my Texas pit.
    #12
    wheregreggeats.com
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    RE: "Q" ... or not "Q" ??? 2006/08/08 17:02:36 (permalink)
    prisonchef ...

    I detected at least some smoke flavor. The ribs and the sauce worked well together so it was hard to discern for sure and I will certainly be back.

    The answer may very well be some sort of a indoor chip or pellet system. I guess I'll have to ask when I go back.

    #13
    prisonchef
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    RE: "Q" ... or not "Q" ??? 2006/08/08 19:52:05 (permalink)
    wheregreggeats,
    please do so. i just have a strange feeling that he is using a cookshack and has fallen under the spell of the "set it forget it mode". like i said i can get my electrics to match the pellet smoker and the prides but it took several months to do. i just hate to see a guy not experiment and find out what these units are capable of. i got my head handed to me in a basket on another forum for giving a guy some advice and a long time poster hit me hard and said i was making them too complicated. course this guy was not;
    1- doing it professionally
    2- trying to get his smoke flavor where it needed to be for the posters clientel.
    it burnt me up and i noted the same. almost got banned from that forum since he is a poster from the days the forum was founded but told the truth and the truth is for an electric to match a stickburner you really have to burn the midnight oil but it can be done.
    3- i really don't think he has a fec pellet muncher. those are so close to stickburners that the learning curve is a few days not months and they just do not have the undersmoking problems i encountered for my customer base that the electric did.
    but i really would like to know just out of professional curiousity.
    jack
    #14
    RibRater
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    RE: "Q" ... or not "Q" ??? 2006/08/08 22:11:00 (permalink)
    hey jack...can you expand on that info about wood in your cookshack?


    "i ran into all kinds of undersmoking problems but thankfully a guy with a 260 pit in north carolina got me pointed in the right direction. sounds like this operator has fallen into the "set it and forget it mindset". for electrics to do a really good job you have to rethink everything you ever learned on an pit and one of those things is to ignore the manufacturers advice of 4 ounces of wood per load or there abouts."


    this is what I'm interested in.

    larry
    #15
    prisonchef
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    RE: "Q" ... or not "Q" ??? 2006/08/08 23:07:51 (permalink)
    larry,
    sure i will be happy to but with this provisoe or however you spell that. my n.c. friend likes to use wood and for the sake of making my life ez in the rig i prefer to use the pellets for the fec but have really started using the smoke stixs.
    gist of it is this;
    the amounts listed by the manufacturer are middle of the road or less. and if those recommendations are followed than the smoke taste isn't there for my customers nor the smoke ring that i demand on my product. to get around both of these problems load your woodbox to the max. keep your heat setting in the 215f area since you will get a temp spike of 250-275f. to ensure a good smoke ring put your meat in frozen. after meat surface hits between 145 to 165f you will not get a ring formation based off of which ever university studies you look at but you will lay down a nice tasting smoke layer on the meat. cooking time remains the same as you will hit a crossover point at the 6 to 8 hour mark into the smoke and that temp will match the temp on a non-frozen piece of meat (these are the the things i was speaking of with the electric learning curve). the use of a piece of charcoal briquet recommended by some for smoke ring formation never worked for me and in my opinion was just wishful thinking. in my case,and this is commercially speaking, to match the product coming out of my pellet munching fec100 i add 8 ounces of bbqers delight pellets the same as the fec uses. i also change those out at the 4 and 8 hour marks. after that i just let it run. these are the techniques that got my head handed to me along with noting that an acceptable chicken skin could be acheived by removing the subcutaneous moisture which formed steam and no i aint giving that one up!!!! but a hint is rub with kosher salt, let sit, wash off and dry fast. past that you are on your own. if you are at all familiar with the commercial series 150.250 than moisture and bark formation is your next problem. easiest way arund this is to get your smoke evacuator as close to the outlet as you can. this will draw a negitive pressure thru the unit and take out moisture (gee there's another hint on crispy chicken skin) this will be a matter of trial adn error and will depend mostly upon your local weather so back to the learning curve and note taking.
    this is just a small overview. but by using these techniques we were able to take 2nd place at the supertailgate mania contest when the superbowl was here in jacksonville area. everyone else had fryers but we buried hooters and a number of highly ranked resturants in our area much to their chagrin.
    hope i answered your question, really hot, tired and not so sure i am thinking in a logical manner.
    jack
    ps. darn the pellets are 2/3rds oak to 1/3rd pecan. on the smokestixs (these are just pellets on steroids) i use the same ratio.
    and before any smart rump asks no i do not use mortons tenderquick or sodium nitrate or nitrite or potassium nitrates or nitrites to get a ring. those are tricks that the comp cooks use(and lord knows i have very little respect for most of them. i am excepting myron mixon and jacks old south from that one for sure along with a select namelsss few others)











    #16
    Porky Pine Kate
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    RE: "Q" ... or not "Q" ??? 2006/08/09 01:48:28 (permalink)


    I am in cognito. Found you PrisonChef! Interesting topic. Always interesting and informative to hear your posts, no matter where they are!

    Glad to see you back in the saddle!

    PPK
    #17
    bassrocker4u2
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    RE: "Q" ... or not "Q" ??? 2006/08/09 07:52:07 (permalink)
    i had a long posting, but lost it, when my p-word went in wrong. i am dislexic, and it takes me forever to type....
    anyway, you can get almost anything, from a food supply company, already cooked, like bbq. that is my guess....its already done, and the hint of smoke you tasted, is from the broiler, where they reheat.
    i looked at the site, and no pics of the kitchen, anywhere. ak yourself this... if you had a smoker, wouldnt you put up a pic of it on your site???? of course, and we all do that already...unless.....hhmmmmm
    gotcha!
    very interesting menu. outrageous prices. ilooked at the entire menu, and did not come up with anything i would order. maybe the ribs, but not without the smoker pics..
    i was scared off, by the attempt to do a philly cheese steak!
    word of advice to all......
    if you arent in philly, dont mess with the cheese steak!
    call it anything you want....roast beef sandwich/sub. steak n cheese sand. but dont use the philly name, without amarosa bakery.
    it should be against the law!
    #18
    RibRater
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    RE: "Q" ... or not "Q" ??? 2006/08/09 17:25:15 (permalink)
    thanks jack..thats a good headstart for me. i've been looking for a way to replace my smoker when I'm not able to use it...to lazy, to busy, to drunk..whatever.

    i purchased a CS (smokette) to play with to see if I like it enough to buy a bigger one when I move. Seasoned it yesterday and just started the first smoke..

    8.25 lb picnic washed and naked
    3.5 oz's of apple wood

    CS set to 200
    remote set to 192

    might need to crank that temp up a bit in the morning.

    taking copious notes.


    i generally foil my butts at around 160 and back on until 190+ but I think I'm going to skip that on this run...i view this as a trial and will probably keep running these tests for a few months until I understand exactly how to produce the results I like. i'm pretty impressed with the CS..very sturdy piece of equipment.

    Do you see any potential trouble spots above? (btw, i realize this isnt the cs forum. i read a lot over there but since you posted I thought I could grab a little quick, uncluttered advice)

    thanks jack..appreciate the feedback!




    #19
    John A
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    RE: "Q" ... or not "Q" ??? 2006/08/09 18:19:20 (permalink)
    quote:
    Originally posted by MilwFoodlovers

    I ate at a place that had "real" BBQ as a part of their much larger menu. When I queried, they said they used a CookShack. The owner said he loved Q but his rather upscale neighborhood wouldn't support a stand alone Q restaurant so this was his compromise.


    MFL, no offense intended.

    A lot of BBQ restaurants/caterers use electric Cookshacks (Jack, where are you when I need you? LOL) and turn out real BBQ. Not to mention the Cookshack pellet burners that are doing very well in competitions. Jack is right about the set it and forget mentality, that’s a Cookshack selling point. This is only a guess; I think most restaurants that use them do so for of the ease of operation, while turning out very good BBQ, for untrained personnel that are not capable of exploring the smokers full potential.

    John


    #20
    doggydaddy
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    RE: "Q" ... or not "Q" ??? 2006/08/09 19:10:00 (permalink)


    I'm not convinced about their Q. You can get a smoky flavor by pre-grilling them. Does the pulled pork have any crust/burnt ends? Does the meat have some color from its smoking process? Smoke flavor can be duplicated. I have said this before, but here is a thought...

    Why is there no mention of their BBQ technique? Most any place will proudly say that their meats are prepared in a certain manner using, oh let's say hickory, oak, mesquite or even charcoal. It is possible that they use charcoal and store it inside somewhere. I'm sure that on your next visit that the general manager will gladly answer your questions and maybe let you get a peek at their smoker.

    I'm dubious....and I am,

    mark
    #21
    MilwFoodlovers
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    RE: "Q" ... or not "Q" ??? 2006/08/10 06:50:34 (permalink)
    JohnA, no offense taken. I didn't mean to imply that a Cookshack didn't turn out real Q, only that the restaurant didn't have a large pile of wood out back. My ribs were made well but marred by a bland sauce.
    #22
    John A
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    RE: "Q" ... or not "Q" ??? 2006/08/10 07:11:47 (permalink)
    quote:
    Originally posted by MilwFoodlovers

    JohnA, no offense taken. I didn't mean to imply that a Cookshack didn't turn out real Q, only that the restaurant didn't have a large pile of wood out back. My ribs were made well but marred by a bland sauce.


    I know what you mean about the sauce. When I do ribs I let them stand on their own with several sauces are on the side.

    John
    #23
    prisonchef
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    RE: "Q" ... or not "Q" ??? 2006/08/10 16:04:27 (permalink)
    heck with larry,john a,bassrocker and porky pine kate here we could start our own pro's section for electric bbq right here!!!!!!!!
    opps almost forgot dr of bbq he's another electric guy too!!!!
    ok going down the list here goes:
    larry---
    for sure you are on the right track. the amount of wood (and more importatently) the type looks great to me.
    myself i would not "crutch" the thing. so you are on the beam there too.
    what you may find though is your bark might be a little soft since the electrics hold moisture. an ez way around that is to just add small amounts of plain old granulated sugar to your rub until your bark is where you like it. another trick is to cook them fat side down towards the heating element on the lowest shelf. those changes helped my bark a lot.
    the nice thing is that you are starting with a small cs and then moving up so your learning curve will be way easier than mine was (and i liked to have pulled my hair out till zeb stepped in). i wouldn't trade my 150's for anything and the funny part is i looked down my nose for so long at peg's 150 that i am ashamed to admit it. now i use them more than fec100. and when we needed more cooking capacity we got another 150 and not an fec.
    john a.--------
    right here brother!!!!!!! ain't going no where and it sure is good to see you!!!! peg is getting operated on tomorrow so our catering end of things will be closed for 3 weeks but i do have a few custom meat orders in hand so i can do them alone no problem plus i'm still working 4 days a week at the bbq joint. still trying to raise the funds for our own place but all kidding aside if i had the cash money right now i would buy bassrockers. but you know me-if it ain't cash on the barrelhead it ain't getting done.
    doggydaddy----opps mean mark--
    you are bringing up a great point especially considering the bark. and i know everyone here is proud of their smokers no matter the make and model and that is another interesting point that you made.
    milwfoodlovers----
    hey nice to met you. there are not many guys that are interested enough in asking an owner what type of smoker he has. myself i love serving your kind of customer. for me it is really nice to talk anything about "q" and to be honest i am very proud of my smokers and what each one is capable of and the feedback i get has been increditbly (cant spel gud) helpful. my biggest brisket critic is a little old lady who has the ability to describe exactly what she likes and doesn't like about my brisket. by listening to jean we have gone from 4 ounces (yep ounces) of brisket sales in four hours to over 25 pounds in the same time period and in this heat. she is my best sales person and even though she doesn't get a cut on price she always gets a big old doggy bag when she leaves and i never once asked her to help us she just goes along munching a brisket sandwich and telling people how good it is. from my side of the counter i feel customers like you and jean and mark are great and i just wish that there were more of you out there.
    jack
    #24
    doggydaddy
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    RE: "Q" ... or not "Q" ??? 2006/08/13 06:46:03 (permalink)
    ====doggydaddy----opps mean mark--
    you are bringing up a great point especially considering the bark. and i know everyone here is proud of their smokers no matter the make and model and that is another interesting point that you made...
    ...from my side of the counter i feel customers like you and jean and mark are great and i just wish that there were more of you out there.===

    prisonchef,

    Aw shucks, thanks for the compliment. I'll go to your place and talk to you for so long that it would distract you from serving customers.
    That is unless you really are a prison chef. Then I would hope that my lawyer would prevent me from having an extended stay where I would be eating at your dining room.
    Great monniker.

    mark

    #25
    Raine
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    RE: "Q" ... or not "Q" ??? 2006/08/13 21:11:48 (permalink)
    There are at least 2 NC bbq joints that have brisket on the menu.

    Smokehouse in Charlotte
    EB's Bar-B-Que in Indina Trail.

    One note: currently EB's is not serving brisket, due to the selection of briskets available lately.
    EB's may be the only bbq joint in NC with award winning briskets.
    #26
    Jimeats
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    RE: "Q" ... or not "Q" ??? 2006/08/14 05:40:48 (permalink)
    quote:
    Originally posted by MilwFoodlovers

    I ate at a place that had "real" BBQ as a part of their much larger menu. When I queried, they said they used a CookShack. The owner said he loved Q but his rather upscale neighborhood wouldn't support a stand alone Q restaurant so this was his compromise.
    I can understand the neiborhoods fellings on this. Can't be having all those good old boys show up here in American made pick-up trucks, dressed in jeans flannel shirts John Deer ball caps and eating with their fingers. Neiborhood is going to hell in a hand basket. Screw Em! Chow Jim
    #27
    wheregreggeats.com
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    RE: "Q" ... or not "Q" ??? 2006/08/14 07:14:35 (permalink)
    Well, back to the Ash Creek Saloon ... I asked and the answer is they get their ribs smoked from their provider.

    The person I spoke to didn't know the particulars -- normally that would scare me off, but, I'd already had them before and enjoyed them. Had them twice this weekend (and remember, I'm picky) ... no matter what, they pull it off really well.
    #28
    HollyDolly
    Double Chili Cheeseburger
    • Total Posts : 1074
    • Joined: 2006/01/18 16:52:00
    • Location: Schertz, TX
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    RE: "Q" ... or not "Q" ??? 2006/08/16 12:55:38 (permalink)
    That was kind of what I thought.They have them smoked in one place,and then bring them to the restaraunt. That would explain things.
    The restaraunt someone mentioned in Texas might be Bill Millers BBQ in San Antonio which is a local chain.Harmon's in Cibolo has a pit and stacks of wood and do their ribs and brisket on site.
    Texans do brisket alot because beef has always plentiful here.I think in the deep south Pork was more abundant and was perhasp easier to preserve and keep.So that's why it's so poppular.
    #29
    bassrocker4u2
    Double Cheeseburger
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    • Joined: 2003/11/12 07:59:00
    • Location: new holland, PA
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    RE: "Q" ... or not "Q" ??? 2006/08/20 09:51:28 (permalink)
    well, looking back at all the postings, and the guesses. there was on person, who guessed that the bq was brought in already smoked... that was bassrocker.. wait a minute...thats me.... toot toot!! i was right!
    yeehaw!
    #30
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