Tag Archives: smoking

Low & Slow On The Fifth

It’s Friday and so time for Foodie Friday Fun.  However, it’s also one of those weird days which follow a holiday and precede a weekend.  Most folks I know aren’t working – they’re by the pool or at the beach and cooking is something that happens outdoors – on a grill or in a smoker.  Because I’m as lazy as the next guy continuing to celebrate our nation’s birth, I thought I’d repost a food piece centered around another summer holiday.  It was called “Low And Slow” and was written way back in May of 2008.  I think it’s relevant – hopefully you do as well.  Enjoy the weekend and see you Monday.

English: Image of a propane smoker in use. Dia...

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

This weekend is sees the celebration of the Memorial Day holiday here is the US. Traditionally, this weekend marks the start of Summer (OK, maybe that’s July 4th but I love Summer, so…) and that means it’s time to fire up the smoker. While one can achieve great BBQ on everything from a Weber kettle to rigs costing thousands, my preferred weapon of choice is the Bandera, which used to be made by The New Braunfels Company.

We had a bunch of folks over to enjoy ribs, smoked turkey, beer can chicken, the odd bit of smoked bratwurst (I couldn’t find a Hebrew National baloney to smoke which, as an aside, is the closest thing I know of to meat candy when spiced and smoked). The thing they all were wondering about was why does good “Q” take so long. Those of you with a love of smoked meat know that “low and slow is the way to go” and that getting the temperature in the smoker above 225 F is a formula for shoe leather.

Which, of course, got me thinking about how many people seem to do business today. Just as one cannot make BBQ in the microwave, fixing problems via the proverbial microwave for a quick fix is, in my mind, not getting you where you need to go. Now, some folks insist on cooking ribs for 8 hours; I think I’ve proven you can have damn good results in 3.5 – 4. However, I am talking about using the right tools, taking the right amount of time, and, if you can, using the guidance of someone who has been there before (I ruined a lot of racks and quite a few briskets in my day until I got it figured out).

There is a Slow food Movement of which you may be aware and I love what they have to say. However, sometimes you’re late for work and DO need to toast that Pop-Tart (eeew) and go. Sometimes problems won’t wait. But I think many operations would be a lot better off if they made the quick fix the exception rather than the rule.

And now I’m off to enjoy some leftovers!

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Filed under food, Thinking Aloud

Dreamland

One of the things in which I fancy myself an expert of sorts is barbecue.  It’s hard to get right and very easy to get wrong.  I’ve been to a lot of the great BBQ places around the USA and one of the best is the legendary Dreamland.  “That’s nice, Keith” you say “but what the hell does that have to do with business?”  Elementary, dear Watsons.

Dreamland, until it expanded, had two outlets and one thing one the menu – ribs and white bread.  In fact, that’s still all they have on the menu at the original pit in Tuscaloosa. The business lesson is easy – do one thing very very well before you try and do others.  Big Daddy may have missed some folks who wanted pulled pork or a hot link but he based their entire business on one thing and one thing only: ribs.  And they do them phenomenally well.

Doesn’t it comfort you to know that someplace has been in business with a single product for a long time?   If you only had one product, could you stay in business?  Is there a single thing you do that’s good enough to carry the entire operation?  Too often, the “shotgun approach” of just blasting away, hoping to hit something beats out the carefully aimed rifle.  I prefer the Dreamland approach – building your reputation based on a single superior product and then adding on (as they’ve done in their other outlets).  It’s much easier to maintain organizational focus this way as well.

And now, I need a rib!

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Filed under food, Helpful Hints, Thinking Aloud

Low and Slow

This weekend is sees the celebration of the Memorial Day holiday here is the US. Traditionally, this weekend marks the start of Summer (OK, maybe that’s July 4th but I love Summer, so…) and that means it’s time to fire up the smoker. While one can achieve great BBQ on everything from a Weber kettle to rigs costing thousands, my preferred weapon of choice is the Bandera, which used to be made by The New Braunfels Company.

We had a bunch of folks over to enjoy ribs, smoked turkey, beer can chicken, the odd bit of smoked bratwurst (I couldn’t find a Hebrew National baloney to smoke which, as an aside, is the closest thing I know of to meat candy when spiced and smoked). The thing they all were wondering about was why does good “Q” take so long. Those of you with a love of smoked meat know that “low and slow is the way to go” and that getting the temperature in the smoker above 225 F is a formula for shoe leather.

Which, of course, got me thinking about how many people seem to do business today. Just as one cannot make BBQ in the microwave, fixing problems via the proverbial microwave for a quick fix is, in my mind, not getting you where you need to go. Now, some folks insist on cooking ribs for 8 hours; I think I’ve proven you can have damn good results in 3.5 – 4. However, I am talking about using the right tools, taking the right amount of time, and, if you can, using the guidance of someone who has been there before (I ruined a lot of racks and quite a few briskets in my day until I got it figured out).

There is a Slow food Movement of which you may be aware and I love what they have to say. However, sometimes you’re late for work and DO need to toast that Pop-Tart and go (eeew). Sometimes problems won’t wait. But I think many operations would be a lot better off if they made the quick fix the exception rather than the rule.

And now I’m off to enjoy some leftovers!

Leave a comment

Filed under food, Uncategorized