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Not Because They Are Easy

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    Not Because They Are Easy

    "We do these things not because they are easy, but because they are hard."

    Our culture is big on convenience. In the U.S. we spend over $256 billion a year on tasteless "food" that sickens and kills us largely because we can obtain that food with minimal effort. Fast food is the logical end of the idea that everything, taste, nutrition, etc. is worth sacrificing on the altar of convenience. Barbecue is, in many ways, the antithesis of that idea. Everything, time, money, sleep, is worth sacrificing on the altar of taste.

    But I wonder, sometimes, is it really just about the food? It seems that barbecue nuts judge not just the food itself but the process by which that food was produced and we do so at least partially on the basis of the difficulty of that process. Charcoal people look down on gas grillers, lump users look down on the briquette crowd, and wood burners look down upon us all. In competitive diving a diver's score is a function of both their execution and the "degree of difficulty" of that particular dive. Does barbecue work the same way? Is a brisket produced from hours of carefully tending the wood fire in an offset thought to be better than a brisket cooked in an electric smoker in part because the former method is more difficult than the latter?

    To be clear I'm not saying that there is anything wrong with any of this. If part of your enjoyment of grilling is that it is more difficult to grill food that it is to use ovens, stoves, etc. that's just how you roll. Who is to judge why anyone enjoys doing the things they do? But I think it behooves us to be honest about why we do what we do if only for the peace of mind of those long-suffering partners and spouses who have to put up with our strange obsession.

    What do people think? How much of this is about food and how much about the challenge of a difficult cooking process?
    Last edited by gilbertpilz; September 28, 2020, 05:30 AM.

    #2
    I think it's a bit of both.
    I find once I've "conquered" a particular way of cooking something or on a particular thing then I'm keen to try another way (recipe/technique) and use a different other thing (implement.)
    Makes for some different, interesting and exciting times.

    Comment


    • bbqLuv
      bbqLuv commented
      Editing a comment
      creative BBQ, Yep. you got it. Two Thumbs UP!

    #3
    For me it's simple. Whatever it takes to get the end result I want.

    Comment


      #4
      At first, with me at least, it was about the process. As I get older though, it has become more about the food. I still enjoy the process, but I use all the modern conveniences now like fans and temp monitoring paraphernalia and pellet grills, the vortex and the SNS; those make the process much easier than it used to be. Back when got my first WSM, I was all about the challenge of setting the temps right at 225, fruit woods vs mesquite or hickory, lump vs briquets. Lost a lot of sleep on overnight cooks. Now it is more like let her run as close to my desired temp as possible (when I remove the party q fan - the fan nails the temps), use whatever wood I have on hand, and KBB charcoal most of the time lol. And the results are just as good (or better) than when I stressed over the process.

      If I win the lottery though, that will change as soon as I pick up a KBQ or a quality stick burner; those force you to pay more attention to the process.

      Of course, a lot of my improvements are a result of being here on AR. These guys make everything easier.

      Comment


      • bbqLuv
        bbqLuv commented
        Editing a comment
        Enjoy the process, but in the end it is the end product. BBQ.

      #5
      Quality and Effort are separate issues.

      "Does barbecue work the same way? Is a brisket produced from hours of carefully tending the wood fire in an offset thought to be better than a brisket cooked in an electric smoker in part because the former method is more difficult than the latter?

      The proof is in the brisket. Good BBQ from a pellet smoker is no different than good BBQ from an offset smoker. They are both equally as good.

      However, it is definitely harder to manage an offset than a pellet smoker. And as stated above, there may be no difference in the quality of the product, but I would have a tendency to respect greater the effort of one who manages and coaxes a fire to maintain temps during a cook rather than the one who plugs in a cord and dials a temp.

      Comment


      • bbqLuv
        bbqLuv commented
        Editing a comment
        well said

      • rickgregory
        rickgregory commented
        Editing a comment
        "The proof is in the brisket. Good BBQ from a pellet smoker is no different than good BBQ from an offset smoker. They are both equally as good."

        But is that actually true? Everything I read says pellet grills produce lighter smoke... so they're not the same and to some that might mean not as good.

      • bbqLuv
        bbqLuv commented
        Editing a comment
        Yes for the most part pellet grills produce less smoke flavor. Only a rule of thumb. New tread in pellet grill is the Super Smoke mode.

      #6
      Wait a minuet. Sure we joke with each other but I find that we all get along and help each other with whatever cooker we are using. Nobody looks down on anybody just because they are using a "beginner" type cooker. We all started one way or the other. I for example haven't moved much beyond a Weber kettle in the 40+ years of grilling / smoking. Welcome to the Pit!

      Comment


      • HawkerXP
        HawkerXP commented
        Editing a comment
        I see what you're asking...its all of the above plus just another way to hang outside with a cold one.

      #7
      I think it’s pretty simple: either the food tastes good, or it doesn’t.

      That’s all there is. We might take pleasure in the path, but the path is not the goal; the meal is.

      Comment


        #8
        Pellet grill, BBQ made easy, I totally understand.

        Comment


          #9
          I'm 60 years old and I am just now discovering the world of low & slow. Except for a campfire that had The Macallan as its greatest influence, I have never tended a fire.
          At this stage of my life, I have other interests I want to pursue - that's why I bought a Yoder Pellet. I enjoy the prep and getting up early to make sure the cook will finish by a specific time. I'll enjoy the smoke and a game of croquet with the neighbors, then a cigar and another glass of The Macallan while sitting next to my Yoder - but I am not a fire master.

          I want dang good 'que that fits into my realm of pursuits and enjoyment. That's why I'm joining Amazing Ribs - a great resource no matter what level of difficulty you enjoy.

          Cheers!

          Comment


            #10
            Interesting thread.
            I absolutely love the journey to get to the end.
            Meaning I love the process— smoking/ cooking the meat. Than enjoying the fruits of my labor.

            It’s all a process we love. Otherwise we wouldn’t be here.

            Comment


            • Mr. Bones
              Mr. Bones commented
              Editing a comment
              I also embrace th process...
              Not advocatin fer any style of cooker, though I do have personal preferences.
              ^^^My Brother's Absolutely Right. ^^^

              Why Else Would We Be Here???

            • hoovarmin
              hoovarmin commented
              Editing a comment
              I am in love with the process, too.

            #11
            As long as you treat the food right and don’t under or over cook it, it will be good. The process depends on the desired end result and the schedule/tending required for the situation.

            Comment


              #12
              This sums it up for me: “I want dang good 'que that fits into my realm of pursuits and enjoyment. That's why I'm joining Amazing Ribs - a great resource no matter what level of difficulty you enjoy.”
              There are plenty of BBQ snobs out there who would say stick burners are the only true ‘Q. Some day when I am retired I will have time to tend a fire for 16 hours now is not that time. I want to make the best food I can with the most effective and efficient tools I can.

              Comment


                #13
                Whomever it is that thinks they have THE answer, please tell me what the standardized definition of "good" or "best" is.

                Comment


                  #14
                  Every single answer typed here is correct. The journey, the destination, the failures and success. It started with Cavemen, first for survival then improvement. Then desire to do more and more.
                  I went from a 55 gallon drum to a gas vertical back to a charcoal vertical. All in a desire to do/be better. The drive comes from family and friends asking what's next and when. Their smile makes my smile. It's like winning at anything else.
                  5 years ago I would never have grilled/smoked vegetables. Two months ago brownies or pineapple deserts. The more I see and read the more I want to try. Thank you to all who add here and all those before us, to all that carry the flame, may they burn forever.

                  Comment


                    #15
                    As I grow older the way I smoke has evolved. At first it was a WSM, a lawn chair and a beer, I watched that little temp gauge like a hawk. Then Maverick temp probes and a remote readout changed the game. I could sit anywhere around the house and have a beer. A kamado showed up next, still used the Maverick, but didn't have to shut down to refuel anymore. Now Smobot has changed the game again. I can set anywhere I want in Texas, have a beer, and tell you my pit and food temps plus adjust the pit temp if needed. I used to walk to the post office, now I drive, same principle here.

                    Comment

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