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 When BBQ isn't Roadfood

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Scorereader

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When BBQ isn't Roadfood Mon, 04/30/12 12:26 PM (permalink)
Ok, maybe these food shows ARE ruining roadfood tradition. I voted that all the attention is good, but what about BBQ places opening that are more white linen than brown paper?
 
I get it, smoked flavor is good. Nay, it's great! So I guess it stands to reason that high end restaurants are coming on board, hiring pit masters, then shaving the delicate meat to put into delicate meals, presented in stunning fashion. I do, I really get it. It's smart. It does extend classical food prep to include the pit cooked meat...but, the name "Fatty 'Cue" - seems to infer the traditional pithouse, brown paper table covering, bbq beans and slow cooked greens, rather than this place.
 
So, is Fatty 'Cue "roadfood?" I dunno. How about "Smoke Restaurant" in Dallas with it's signature appetizer of duck foie gras and chicken liver pate with "ham jelly" topped with smoked red onion marmalade? Or Woodshed Smokehouse, with red piquillo peppers stuffed with smoked brisket served in a beef-bone broth sprinkled with cotija cheese? It certainly is a different direction than Chubby's, Dinosaur Bar-be-cue, Lexington #1, and the pit house movement.
 
on washingtonpost.com comment board, jhtlag1 wrote: "...It's just wrong, like paying a lot for blue jeans." And that was most positive comment.
 
Or perhaps, instead of the question of whether it's"roadfood," better to first ask, "is this still BBQ?"
 
 
#1
    Michael Hoffman

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    Re:When BBQ isn't Roadfood Mon, 04/30/12 12:40 PM (permalink)
    I don't know. Foie Gras and Chicken Liver Pate with Smoked Red Onion Marmalade & Grilled Buttermilk Dill Toast works for me.
     
    #2
      Scorereader

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      Re:When BBQ isn't Roadfood Mon, 04/30/12 12:52 PM (permalink)
      well, I never said it wasn't good food.
       
      #3
        Michael Hoffman

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        Re:When BBQ isn't Roadfood Mon, 04/30/12 12:55 PM (permalink)

         
        #4
          kevincad

          • Total Posts: 399
          • Joined: 1/23/2008
          • Location: Snellville, GA
          Re:When BBQ isn't Roadfood Mon, 04/30/12 1:31 PM (permalink)
          Scorereader


          Ok, maybe these food shows ARE ruining roadfood tradition. I voted that all the attention is good, but what about BBQ places opening that are more white linen than brown paper?

          I get it, smoked flavor is good. Nay, it's great! So I guess it stands to reason that high end restaurants are coming on board, hiring pit masters, then shaving the delicate meat to put into delicate meals, presented in stunning fashion. I do, I really get it. It's smart. It does extend classical food prep to include the pit cooked meat...but, the name "Fatty 'Cue" - seems to infer the traditional pithouse, brown paper table covering, bbq beans and slow cooked greens, rather than this place.

          So, is Fatty 'Cue "roadfood?" I dunno. How about "Smoke Restaurant" in Dallas with it's signature appetizer of duck foie gras and chicken liver pate with "ham jelly" topped with smoked red onion marmalade? Or Woodshed Smokehouse, with red piquillo peppers stuffed with smoked brisket served in a beef-bone broth sprinkled with cotija cheese? It certainly is a different direction than Chubby's, Dinosaur Bar-be-cue, Lexington #1, and the pit house movement.

          on washingtonpost.com comment board, jhtlag1 wrote: "...It's just wrong, like paying a lot for blue jeans." And that was most positive comment.

          Or perhaps, instead of the question of whether it's"roadfood," better to first ask, "is this still BBQ?"


           
          Far from being Que, it's down right blasphemous!
           
           
          #5
            6star

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            • Location: West Peoria, IL
            Re:When BBQ isn't Roadfood Mon, 04/30/12 1:40 PM (permalink)
            I would say you would have to still call it BBQ, since it is a wood-smoked meat, just as the Kobe-beef burgers topped with truffles and foie gras costing $175 are still called burgers. 
             
            But Roadfood, it certainly is not!  Roadfood is defined by the restaurant (mom and pop), not by the menu, and the super expensive la-ti-da restaurants run by well-known chefs featured on TV shows are about as far from real Roadfood as you can get.
             
            #6
              BuddyRoadhouse

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              Re:When BBQ isn't Roadfood Mon, 04/30/12 2:15 PM (permalink)
              There are numerous high-end restaurants reviewed right here on this site and included in the Roadfood books.
              Peter Luger's in Brooklyn, Harry Caray's here in Chicago, anda  whole slew of higher priced "la-ti-da" (I always thought it was "la-di-da"...oh well, I guess we can start a separate thread to argue over that one) places in NOLA.
               
              Quoting from this site's definition of Roadfood:
              "Roadfood is almost (bold and underline mine) always informal and inexpensive; and the best Roadfood restaurants are colorful places enjoyed by locals (and savvy travelers) for their character as well as their menu."
               
              My interpretation of that definition is that Roadfood worthiness is defined by the soul of the restaurant in question.  Price and plate presentation don't enter into it.
               
              Buddy
               
              #7
                Bruce Bilmes and Susan Boyle

                • Total Posts: 1350
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                Re:When BBQ isn't Roadfood Mon, 04/30/12 2:52 PM (permalink)
                The thing about steak houses is, you tend to get what you pay for. You won't find top-quality beef at bargain prices, and the cost of the meal reflects the cost of the ingredients.
                 
                BBQ is different. I enjoy the occasional BBQ meal in NYC-type places, but you are paying for real estate, not ingredients. Since a NYC BBQ place has to charge so much, they are forced to fancy the food up some to justify the cost to urban dwellers. The result can be good food but it's just not the same, at least not for me. I'd much rather go to L C's in KC or McClard's in Hot Springs.
                 
                #8
                  Scorereader

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                  Re:When BBQ isn't Roadfood Mon, 04/30/12 3:49 PM (permalink)
                  I should point out, though, Bruce or Susan, that two of the restaurants I mentioned in my post are located in Texas (of all place), who are also doing that "NYC-type" thing as you describe it.
                   
                  In many ways, I think calling a restaurant "BBQ" or "cue" or "smoke" and then featuring fois gras pate is disingenuous --an attempt to try to coy the public into thinking it's getting something it isn't. It's not BBQ. Sure, the meat has been prepared by low and slow, but the meat isn't the feature, the presentation is. In a true BBQ joint, the meat is it. There are sides, but the meat isn't dolled up into haute cuisine.
                   
                  Not that there's anything wrong with haute cuisine. But, IMO, smoked quail is hardly "barbecue" - even though it's a commonly hunted animal in Texas. Whether the meat is smoked or oven cooked, cailles en sarchophage is cailles en sarchophage.
                   
                  On the other hand, these "la-di-da" chefs, as described earlier, are helping to legitimize the art of the pitmaster, as the meat is tranformed by Chef La-Di-Da from finger food to dinner food, from messy to dressy, from bib to jacket,....well, you get the point.
                   
                  What I find interesting, is when you combine this concept of making higher end food out of "commoner" ingredients, or just making higher end food, with some of the places we see on Diner, Drive-In's and Dives, we start to see a changing landscape in everyday restaurants. More and more, the everyday restauranteur is committed to very fanciful plating, out of the ordinary ingredients, and pushes technique in the kitchen. This new-diner offering stands in stark contrast to the old greasy spoon, trucker diner presentation. A good example, is the new local family diner on 8th Street, in SE DC. The street is commonly known as Barrack's Row - because it sits along the tradition-laden Marine Barracks. Ted's Bulletin has managed to elevate the twinkie and pop-tart, and of course, there's the adult milkshakes, not suitable for young ones. It truly is family friendly, and is my 3 year old son's favorite restauant...he calls it "The B" because out front is simply a large letter B on the facade. Yes, even roadfood is getting fancy. So, maybe the "fancification" of BBQ is just the next logical evolution?
                   
                  Of course, I started this thread in an attempt to get others to read an article I found interesting on the Wash Post website, and to spark conversation aong fellow foodies, so I'm glad we're getting a variety of angles on this.
                   
                  <message edited by Scorereader on Mon, 04/30/12 3:56 PM>
                   
                  #9
                    3 Olives

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                    • Location: Charlotte, NC
                    Re:When BBQ isn't Roadfood Mon, 04/30/12 7:11 PM (permalink)
                    BBQ in NC is pulled pork, beans, slaw, a roll or bread, tea, and a bag of chips for 7.00 - 8.50.
                     
                    #10
                      Large Man

                      • Total Posts: 75
                      • Joined: 11/17/2008
                      • Location: Athens, GA
                      Re:When BBQ isn't Roadfood Mon, 04/30/12 9:09 PM (permalink)
                      If there is not smoke pouring from the building, it ain't Q and ain't roadfood!
                       
                       
                      #11
                        Foodbme

                        • Total Posts: 9552
                        • Joined: 9/1/2006
                        • Location: Gilbert, AZ
                        Re:When BBQ isn't Roadfood Tue, 05/1/12 4:53 AM (permalink)
                        What isn't kosher is putting some meat in a stovetop smoker with  a teaspoon of chips, closing the lid and 1/2 hour later calling it smoked meat! That just ain't right, right there!
                         
                        #12
                          Phildelmar

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                          Re:When BBQ isn't Roadfood Tue, 05/1/12 10:24 AM (permalink)
                          Agreed
                           
                          #13
                            Hepcat

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                            Re:When BBQ isn't Roadfood Mon, 11/12/12 12:53 PM (permalink)
                            6star


                            I would say you would have to still call it BBQ, since it is a wood-smoked meat, just as the Kobe-beef burgers topped with truffles and foie gras costing $175 are still called burgers. 

                            But Roadfood, it certainly is not!  Roadfood is defined by the restaurant (mom and pop), not by the menu, and the super expensive la-ti-da restaurants run by well-known chefs featured on TV shows are about as far from real Roadfood as you can get.

                            I agree. if the price point is too high, it isn't Roadfood.
                             
                             
                             
                             
                            #14
                              FriedClamFanatic

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                              Re:When BBQ isn't Roadfood Mon, 11/12/12 2:14 PM (permalink)
                              LOL....if it tastes good it's ok.......but yes, maybe not "Roadfood" in the typical use of the word.  I can get fried clams with a white table linen and a nice wine pairing, but if I'm in Roadfood mode (99.9% of the time), I prefer a wooden table outside, maybe a bottle of beer (sometimes purloined), a view of the water and even a few pesky seagulls just waiting for me to try and run for an extra napkin
                               
                              #15
                                chewingthefat

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                                Re:When BBQ isn't Roadfood Mon, 11/12/12 5:45 PM (permalink)
                                Looks like I need to get to work on a perfect pulled pork foam with a fusion of Rib marrow! LOL! I believe it will be a fad! If not, I could care less, what I'm doing here, has been and always  will be done in the traditional style, with traditional cuts and qualities of Meat and vegitables, in a traditional setting IMHO!
                                 
                                #16
                                  tiki

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                                  Re:When BBQ isn't Roadfood Mon, 11/12/12 6:35 PM (permalink)
                                  there IS a difference between "Smoked" foods and BBQ--ie,lox may be smoked--but it aint BBQ---and and i LOVE cold smoked pork chop which are cold smoke and "Grilled" to finish--but--they aint BBQ! i would eat most of what these folks are selling--and enjoy it immensly--but--It aint BBQ.:)
                                   
                                   
                                  #17
                                    Davydd

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                                    Re:When BBQ isn't Roadfood Mon, 11/12/12 6:58 PM (permalink)
                                    I have no opinion on this since I am guilty of last having BBQ at Famous Dave's. So I yield to the esteemed gentleman from Rhode Island for the definitive opinion on Roadfood if he ventures into this thread.
                                     
                                    #18
                                      EdSails

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                                      Re:When BBQ isn't Roadfood Wed, 03/20/13 2:42 PM (permalink)
                                      Scorereader,
                                      Great topic. My last two BBQ meals were at the Brick Pit in Mobile, AL (with the esteemed Glee Club) and Joel's BBQ in Flatonia, TX. Great BBQ----absolutely. I do think it would be great, though, to find a pit master who thinks out of the box, smoking a few items that are not normally smoked. I have seen places smoke jalapeños, but I wonder what else a creative pitmaster might come up with. Like Tiki said, not all smoked foods are BBQ. On the other hand, a nicely smoked prime rib, served on a white linen tablecloth, might still be BBQ. 
                                      As far as presentation, I think that's the toughest part of the discussion. Lucille's Smokehouse BBQ, a chain of very good, upscale BBQ houses, does a nice presentation. I don't see anything wrong with that. And making a nice presentation out of pulled pork, smoked quail or even a smoked pork belly seems OK to me. 
                                       
                                      #19
                                        Heartbreaksoup

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                                        • Location: Atlanta, GA
                                        Re:When BBQ isn't Roadfood Wed, 03/20/13 3:49 PM (permalink)
                                        Oooh.  I had forgotten that the dearly missed Jot Em Down BBQ in Athens used to do barbecue quail.  That was very interesting.  By no means my favorite, but I loved that they sold it.
                                         
                                        #20
                                          mar52

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                                          • Location: Marina del Rey, CA
                                          Re:When BBQ isn't Roadfood Wed, 03/20/13 4:10 PM (permalink)
                                          Different opinion here. 
                                           
                                          If I have to drive to the only place in existence that serves red piquillo peppers stuffed with smoked brisket served in a beef-bone broth sprinkled with cotija cheese, then that is a destination restaurant making it Roadfood to me.
                                           
                                          #21
                                            ann peeples

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                                            Re:When BBQ isn't Roadfood Wed, 03/20/13 4:11 PM (permalink)
                                            Ed, I must agree. I dont think I have ever had anything smoked prior to Brick Pit( in Milwaukee bbq is pretty much grilled directly or indirectly)but I think lots of food would be fantastic smoked. Besides the obvious, seafood comes to mind.....
                                             
                                            #22
                                              EdSails

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                                              Re:When BBQ isn't Roadfood Wed, 03/20/13 5:33 PM (permalink)
                                              Ann,
                                               I do smoked shrimp in my cameron smoker a lot. You have never had as moist and tasty shrimp as the large ones (the under 12 size) that have been smoked. 
                                               
                                              #23
                                                ann peeples

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                                                Re:When BBQ isn't Roadfood Thu, 03/21/13 1:03 PM (permalink)
                                                Yum, Ed!
                                                 
                                                 
                                                #24
                                                  mayor al

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                                                  Re:When BBQ isn't Roadfood Thu, 06/13/13 10:10 AM (permalink)
                                                  Good Topic... The semantics and definitions get twisted a bit sometimes, but IN GENERAL, I tend to agree with the purists on what is or isn't RF & BBQ !  I bend the rules at times. We have found Famous Dave's to be a chain that we can enjoy...It is close by and inexpensive as well as 'fair' in quality. It is not the Moonlite BBQ which is 100 miles away and requires a bit of planning if we are to go there. I am more comfortable in a 'casual' location, but the White-table-cloth places should not be shunned for appearing 'better'. 

                                                     Non traditional foods...What about the Cornish Hens at Cozy Corner BBQ in Memphis, or the Spaghetti, also in Memphis?
                                                  <message edited by mayor al on Thu, 06/13/13 10:12 AM>
                                                   
                                                  #25
                                                    billyboy

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                                                    Re:When BBQ isn't Roadfood Thu, 06/13/13 11:56 AM (permalink)
                                                    For me, if the focus is geared more towards the chef, presentation, who designed the space, menus, waitstaff's outfits (a LOT of this happens in NYC) then I tend to not think of a place as BBQ or Roadfood but perhaps being influenced by those forces.  Depending on the place I'd probably give it a try but it's unlikely that I would include it in a Trip Report or submit it as a review for Roadfood.  
                                                     
                                                    Like The Mayor said, definitions can get twisted a bit sometimes.  BBQ is a term that means so many things to so many different people.  Oftentimes it is usually defined by what we grew up eating and what we are accustomed to.  I've never believed that there is one "true" form of BBQ but rather that there are many waiting to be tasted for the first time.  I've never set foot in Texas or Tennessee and while I have been to Kansas City, I have never tried burnt ends there.  I've been to both of the Carolinas but never had BBQ there.  And yes, I will be having my head examined shortly!  Lots of great BBQ in California (Santa Maria style tri-tip), Central NY (BBQ sandwiches) and the Southern Tier of NY (Cornell BBQ chicken).  I'm sure there are other regions and pockets across the U.S. that have a rich history and tradition of their own style of BBQ.  I hope to one day try them all.
                                                     
                                                    #26
                                                      Michael Hoffman

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                                                      Re:When BBQ isn't Roadfood Thu, 06/13/13 12:01 PM (permalink)
                                                      Growing up in Connecticut I thought barbeque was what some people did outside with hot dogs and hamburgers. It wasn't till I got to Texas while in the Air Force that I found out otherwise.
                                                       
                                                      #27
                                                        ann peeples

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                                                        Re:When BBQ isn't Roadfood Thu, 06/13/13 12:03 PM (permalink)
                                                        Al, I like Famous Dave's rib tips. I like some of their sauces, which as you know they provide on the table. Nothing, in my experience, compares to what I enjoyed in Mobile at the Brick Pit. I ordered the ribs without sauce just to taste( sauce on the side).Best ribs ever. MikeS. and I compared sauces-both were excellent. We do, however, have a place in Milwaukee that I am sure you and Janet would love-Speed Queen bbq.
                                                         
                                                        #28
                                                          billyboy

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                                                          • Location: New York City, NY
                                                          Re:When BBQ isn't Roadfood Thu, 06/13/13 12:12 PM (permalink)
                                                          MH, insert or change a couple of key words and the ENTIRE meaning is changed. 
                                                           
                                                          "Hey, let's go over to Mr. Hofffman's.  He's having a backyard barbecue."
                                                           
                                                          "I'm dyin' for some barbecue.  Let's drive to Oklahoma Joe's."
                                                           
                                                          Having "a barbecue" is so ingrained in our society that it is a legitimate phrase and everyone who grew up having barbecues and going to barbecues knows exactly what it means.  Though I'm sure even that phrase means something different depending on the region.  In the "barbecue belts" I imagine that would mean smoked meats but in the Northeast where I grew up no one would expect smoked meats but it would be a pleasant surprise.
                                                           
                                                          #29
                                                            Michael Hoffman

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                                                            Re:When BBQ isn't Roadfood Thu, 06/13/13 1:33 PM (permalink)
                                                            Well, I remember that in Texas you'd barbeque something and in the south you'd eat it. In Connecticut you'd cook something outside on it.
                                                             
                                                            #30
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