What makes a great BBQ experience?

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bobwatts
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2012/09/23 12:43:06 (permalink)

What makes a great BBQ experience?

I am in mobile food service - mostly weekend warrior stuff. For the last two years I have been using a wood fired oven to cook and serve pizza. Last week, I sold my oven in anticipation of soon being able to move into a fixed location. Until that happens, I will be serving BBQ.
 
My pizza was always an opportunity to give customers a unique and wonderful culinary experience. They loved it and were never slow about letting me know. As I transition - temporary or otherwise - into BBQ, I want to be able to provide that same culinary experience. My question to you, a great community of individuals with great ideas is this:
 
What makes a great BBQ experience? What menu items? What tastes? What makes you say, "Wow!" in BBQ, in either a mobile environment or in a fixed location?
 
Thanks in advance!
#1

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    kevincad
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    Re:What makes a great BBQ experience? 2012/09/23 13:33:35 (permalink)
    bobwatts

    I am in mobile food service - mostly weekend warrior stuff. For the last two years I have been using a wood fired oven to cook and serve pizza. Last week, I sold my oven in anticipation of soon being able to move into a fixed location. Until that happens, I will be serving BBQ.

    My pizza was always an opportunity to give customers a unique and wonderful culinary experience. They loved it and were never slow about letting me know. As I transition - temporary or otherwise - into BBQ, I want to be able to provide that same culinary experience. My question to you, a great community of individuals with great ideas is this:

    What makes a great BBQ experience? What menu items? What tastes? What makes you say, "Wow!" in BBQ, in either a mobile environment or in a fixed location?

    Thanks in advance!

    I've competed on the que trail, but that's different really than what a diner wants his or her dining experience to be, but for what it's worth, I'll give my 2 cents! As for the bbq itself, be it ribs or pulled pork, it needs to be always low and slow and fully smoked until it has a nice thick smoke ring. As for sides, classic is best in my opinion. A great Brunswick stew always gets attention, as does mac and cheese, beans, and slaw. Others that work is green beans with some smoked pork in with them, and some naner puddin!! Oh, beans, if canned, you must fix them up, perhaps again, some bits of pulled pork, etc. I know of a bbq place that had pretty good que but their beans tasted like Bush's baked beans right from the can, and people that were regulars there never ate them! For some reason que and blues go great together so pipe in some cool blues!!
    #2
    Sundancer7
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    Re:What makes a great BBQ experience? 2012/09/23 15:17:16 (permalink)
    I hate dry BBQ and those who do it that way makes pork taste just like oven dry roasted pork.  I like it moist and just barely pink.  I was at a smoker not too long ago and they cut all the fat off.  I think they thought that fat is not for public consumption?  I was at a BBQ place in Austin and they ask you if you wanted your brisket wet or dry.  I always got wet and they were not talking about sauce.
     
    My personal taste is moist BBQ, sweet spicy sauce on the side.  I hate dry ribs period.
     
    Paul E. smith
    Knoxville TN
    #3
    chewingthefat
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    Re:What makes a great BBQ experience? 2012/09/23 17:38:55 (permalink)
    Learn your great spice combinations for the various items you will carry, learn the chemistry of proper smoking, as in internal temps. Make a number of sauces that make people want to buy them in quantity, don't sell anything that has turned to crap due to overcooking or reheating. Make it taste the way you want it to taste when you go into some BBQ you've never been to before. Don't cut corners. Don't do it for the money, do it for the pride, the money will always follow food you are really proud to serve. Once you've gotton the Ballet down to perfection, don't change a thing!
    #4
    mr chips
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    Re:What makes a great BBQ experience? 2012/09/23 20:32:25 (permalink)
    I know this is snarky but good tasting barbecue is my only criterion.
     
    #5
    mar52
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    Re:What makes a great BBQ experience? 2012/09/23 20:58:23 (permalink)
    Consistency.
     
    If I leave your place leaving a stack of naked bones you've done your job once.
     
    If I come back and don't have the same experience I move on.
     
    I like ribs, brisket and tri-tip that isn't fatty.  I do not like meats or ribs that are like jerky where I have to rip the meat with my teeth.  I don't want it fall off the bone, either.
     
    Boil your ribs and you're done.
     
    As for sauce, I like a sweet, smokey sauce with a little kick.  Sauce isn't the deal breaker for me, though as I like all types of bbq sauce.
    #6
    ayersian
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    Re:What makes a great BBQ experience? 2012/09/23 22:04:26 (permalink)
    Pick one style and stick with it.  Places that attempt 2-3 styles (Carolina, Kansas City, Memphis, Texas, et al.) end up doing none of them well, and the quality suffers.  The meat should be the focus, and the sides should be decent, as long as you limit them to a handful done right.    Chris
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    Glenn1234
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    Re:What makes a great BBQ experience? 2012/09/23 22:31:51 (permalink)
     
    To me, BBQ is not about the sauce at at all.  BBQ is the smoked meat.   If a place says,  "It's all about the sauce", as some actually advertise, that to me says the focus isn't on the BBQ meat, and I wonder if it might be lacking there.    Good BBQ can stand alone without sauce, or with just a little vinegar/pepper sauce  to marinate it (not cover it or soak it).    Sauce shouldn't be the focus.   
    To me the ideal BBQ is Eastern Caroline marinated in a little vinegar / pepper, but not covered in it.  I don't add extra, and I like it best when only a little is used during the smoking, so the true smokey meat flavor comes through.      I prefer Hickory smoke. 
     
    Best luck.
     
    Glenn
     
     
     
     
    post edited by Glenn1234 - 2012/09/23 22:36:52
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    Hepcat
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    Re:What makes a great BBQ experience? 2012/09/27 14:12:03 (permalink)
    ayersian
    Pick one style and stick with it. Places that attempt 2-3 styles (Carolina, Kansas City, Memphis, Texas, et al.) end up doing none of them well, and the quality suffers. The meat should be the focus, and the sides should be decent, as long as you limit them to a handful done right. Chris

     
    Glenn1234 

    To me, BBQ is not about the sauce at at all.  BBQ is the smoked meat.   If a place says,  "It's all about the sauce", as some actually advertise, that to me says the focus isn't on the BBQ meat, and I wonder if it might be lacking there.    Good BBQ can stand alone without sauce, or with just a little vinegar/pepper sauce  to marinate it (not cover it or soak it).    Sauce shouldn't be the focus.   
    ...so the true smokey meat flavor comes through.      I prefer Hickory smoke. 

     
    Absolutely! I agree!

    post edited by Hepcat - 2012/09/27 14:13:10
    #9
    ancilj1
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    Re:What makes a great BBQ experience? 2012/09/27 18:16:09 (permalink)
    1. Preferably it is in a building that has never been painted.
    2. You must smell smoke when you enter.
    3. Original sauce
    4. Sandwich never served on anything but waxed paper
    5. The restaurant must sell nothing but BBQ. No hamburgers, catfish, etc.
    6. Has picnic tables to eat on.
    8. Sauce for sell in bottles from landfill.
    9. Sweet ice tea
    #10
    MellowRoast
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    Re:What makes a great BBQ experience? 2012/09/30 15:18:19 (permalink)
    While I do enjoy certain types of sauces, I look for barbecue that is so good, adding a sauce would be as intrusive as pouring A-1 over a perfect filet.   Such barbecue is out there, but sadly, it's the exception rather than the rule.  
     
    I don't enjoy meat that has been so heavily smoked, I'm burping hickory or other woods the rest of the day.  I shouldn't feel like I'm eating lumber.
     
    I tire of the sameness in sides and desserts from place to place.  I look for items that are HOMEMADE and either distinctively flavored or unique to that establishment.
     
    Atmosphere doesn't have to resemble Ruth's Chris, but it's refreshing to find a place that doesn't look like the set of Hee Haw.
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
     
    #11
    love2bake
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    Re:What makes a great BBQ experience? 2012/10/01 22:39:40 (permalink)
    Don't think the sides aren't important!  People care about the flavor and quality of their sides, so please don't skimp on this.
     
    I agree with those who've said it's not about the sauce.  You want good sauce(s) available, but if the meat is good, I don't bother with a sauce--it just covers up all the hard work that was put into the meat.
     
    My favorites are Carolina BBQ, Memphis dry rub ribs, and some delicately smoked pork I got in Perry, FL.  I've not been to the hot spots in TX, though.  They're definitely on my list.
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    MellowRoast
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    Re:What makes a great BBQ experience? 2012/10/02 08:58:58 (permalink)
    A chef who spends about 15 or 20 minutes prepping & cooking a fine steak will balk at someone requesting sauce or ketchup, yet a pitmaster will spend a day or more on ribs, butt, brisket, or whole pig, and then bury it in sauce.   I can't make sense of it.
    post edited by MellowRoast - 2012/10/02 09:46:30
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    brisketboy
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    Re:What makes a great BBQ experience? 2012/10/02 10:15:26 (permalink)
    I eat a lot of BBQ and to my tastes I like moist brisket with a nice smoke ring, very crusty bark and I never need sauce. Ribs should not be fall-off-the-bone as is the mantra of so many people, there should be some resistance as you take a bite. I like the sausage that comes out of Elgin or Luling. It should be a mixture of beef and pork and not too course and very spicy but not overpowering. I am pretty indifferent to the sides but I do like good beans.
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    Glenn1234
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    Re:What makes a great BBQ experience? 2012/10/02 12:39:34 (permalink)
    MellowRoast

    A chef who spends about 15 or 20 minutes prepping & cooking a fine steak will balk at someone requesting sauce or ketchup, yet a pitmaster will spend a day or more on ribs, butt, brisket, or whole pig, and then bury it in sauce.   I can't make sense of it.
      

    Completely agree with you! 
     
     
    Glenn
     
     
    #15
    brisketboy
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    Re:What makes a great BBQ experience? 2012/10/02 13:34:34 (permalink)
    I watch a lot of BBQ shows and IMHO the pitmasters that slather sauce on their meat are only giving the customer what they want. There are establishments down here that don't even have it on the table while others will offer it to you on the side. My supervisor now retired was a native Texan and he would fly off the handle if anyone asked for sauce with their Q. I agree with the comment above. In fact I get annoyed when my wife puts ketchup AND mustard on a Hebrew National hot dog.
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    Michael Hoffman
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    Re:What makes a great BBQ experience? 2012/10/02 13:48:24 (permalink)
    Catsup on a hot dog?
    #17
    brisketboy
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    Re:What makes a great BBQ experience? 2012/10/02 13:57:53 (permalink)
    She's from Detroit!
    #18
    Michigander
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    Re:What makes a great BBQ experience? 2012/10/04 10:11:38 (permalink)
    Sorry, but that's not a Detroit thing. The closest thing to Ketchup on a hot dog around here is Detroit style coney sauce, which is kind of red. Maybe your wife is making some desperate attempt to recreate the Laffayette/American coney experience as best as she can. This I can totally understand.
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    Twinwillow
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    Re:What makes a great BBQ experience? 2012/10/04 12:44:24 (permalink)
    brisketboy

    I eat a lot of BBQ and to my tastes I like moist brisket with a nice smoke ring, very crusty bark and I never need sauce. Ribs should not be fall-off-the-bone as is the mantra of so many people, there should be some resistance as you take a bite. I like the sausage that comes out of Elgin or Luling. It should be a mixture of beef and pork and not too course and very spicy but not overpowering. I am pretty indifferent to the sides but I do like good beans.

     
    My thoughts exactly! I couldn't of said it better. Btw, I love the beans at Smitty's in Lockhart.
    post edited by Twinwillow - 2012/10/04 12:46:13
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    Michael Hoffman
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    Re:What makes a great BBQ experience? 2012/10/04 12:47:34 (permalink)
    Great barbeque.
    #21
    Liberty
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    Re:What makes a great BBQ experience? 2012/10/06 21:04:23 (permalink)
    1
    . Preferably it is in a building that has never been painted.
    2. You must smell smoke when you enter.
    3. Original sauce
    4. Sandwich never served on anything but waxed paper
    5. The restaurant must sell nothing but BBQ. No hamburgers, catfish, etc.
    6. Has picnic tables to eat on.
    8. Sauce for sell in bottles from landfill.
    9. Sweet ice tea

     
    THIS!!!!
    #22
    partyallnight
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    Re:What makes a great BBQ experience? 2012/11/01 08:27:23 (permalink)
    Well for me .. i am a 100% texas bbq lover. For me sauces can be good at times but primarily i like Shredded Beef Brisket from Classic Foods Tx. It can go along with beer or some sodas. We do a BarBeeQue every month where all friends and family get together and have good time.
    #23
    chewingthefat
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    Re:What makes a great BBQ experience? 2012/11/01 11:43:39 (permalink)
    My great BBQ experiences are standing room only!
    #24
    3fan4evr
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    Re:What makes a great BBQ experience? 2012/11/09 03:25:32 (permalink)
    Lexington # 1 (Monk's).....'nuff said :)
    #25
    mcguirejohnr
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    Re:What makes a great BBQ experience? 2012/11/09 11:08:57 (permalink)
    I want my BBQ cut fresh to order (ribs, turkey, sausage, brisket).  A giant heap of pre-sliced brisket is a huge downer for me as it is always dry and tough when pre-sliced.  I also prefer the brisket to be sliced thick.
    #26
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