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Old 09-26-2013, 09:29 PM   #32
somebody shut me the fark up.

gtr's Avatar
Join Date: 10-16-10
Location: Culver City, CA

Originally Posted by landarc View Post
I think documentation it over-rated, there, I said it again.

I see more and more of the new guys talking about documentation and not getting the results they want. Learn to feel your way through BBQ. You WILL end up a better cook.

For years, baking escaped me, especially pie crusts. And I had a great resource, Grandpa Sahara, my uncles dad, who learned to bake from a pastry chef while locked away in a WW2 concentration camp. When he returned, he ran a successful breakfast counter in Fresno for 25 years. And it was his pie. I finally got a chance to bake with him and noticed he was running the flour through his hands. I asked what he was doing. He said:

"you cannot learn to bake from recipes, nor will you ever be a good baker if you assume everything will always be the same. I am feeling the moisture in the flour, from this, I will know how much water to add, learn from the recipe, but, feel what you are doing"...

...and so we cooked, pies crust, cookies even bread, and he rarely measure, feeling the dough along the way, I learned a lot about using my hands, and my eyes, even my ears, to cook. When I asked him some years later, just before he died, why everyone else said you must follow recipes he said:

"people have to be shown how to cook, not everyone wants to learn that way, they want it to be easy, so they buy books, and follow recipes and believe, because the experts tell them so, that this is how you do it. But, if the air is humid, the recipe changes, if the mountain is high, the recipe changes, if it is summer, the recipe changes, you will never be a good cook, until you learn to cook, not read"

So, keep cooking, and pay attention to how it feels, looks and sounds.
Bing-farking-go right there. I've been (hopefully) developing my instincts and intuition so that I will be able to cook anywhere under any circumstances without worry.

Don't get me wrong - gadgets can be fun and I will definitely geek out on an involved recipe from time to time, but my go to approach is "season it, smoke it 'till it's tender and then eat it" hopefully while relying mainly on my senses to tell me what the fire, conditions etc. are like for cooking. IMO the best thing to be looking at while cooking is the food and the cooker as opposed to devices and pieces of paper. I've been let down by devices, be they pit temp controllers or therms, so I don't like to count on them.

I'm pretty sure my approach, a lot of which is informed by my laziness, may keep me from getting the best possible result at times, but overall I have fun and like the food so I'm basically happy about the whole deal. If it isn't fun, I'm not gonna do it.
50" Klose BYC, Spitjack XB85, 22.5 WSM, Backwoods Chubby, UDS, WRK, 26" & 22.5" Weber Kettles, Jumbo Joe, WGA, WSJ/MUDS, Jumbo Old Smokey, a piece of expanded metal I throw over the fire pit sometimes, Stealthy Black & Vol Orange Thermapens
Displaced East Tennesseean
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Former outlaw MOINK baller, now IMBAS Certified, but still lookin' over my shoulder.
"Relax, it's only BBQ." - Bigmista, 2013
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