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Q-talk *ON TOPIC ONLY* QUALITY ON TOPIC discussion of Backyard BBQ, grilling, Equipment and just outdoor cookin' in general, hints, tips, tricks & techniques, success, failures... but stay on topic. And watch for that hijacking.


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Unread 12-08-2013, 05:45 AM   #526
Neil
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bartkowiakj View Post
Where at in SW Michigan? Would like to be one of your first customers if I am around.
Take 31 south to Holland then take I-196 south to Benton Harbor. I-94 west to exit 30 turn left off the ramp onto Napier Ave. Go east on Napier a couple miles to the U.S.31 bypass and take that south to Niles exit 3 (U.S. 12) follow 12 east towards Sturgis and the Q shack will be on your right. Or you can just google or mapquest it!! About a two hour drive for you.
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Unread 12-08-2013, 03:01 PM   #527
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So thankful the wife and kids let me sleep in today. I didn't end up waking up until about 1 this afternoon. It was glorious.

Otherwise, it was a bit of a surreal night. You can dream about what it will be like all you want, but until it actually happens, you have no idea. Seeing a packed dining room, slinging food at a furious pace, and hearing the dining room full of laughter and people having a good time is hard to describe.

It was a good test for us though in terms of food quality, processes, and identifying weaknesses. The crew did outstanding. No real communication issues and the food came out quickly and accurately.

One of the things we wanted to focus on was getting true opinions from people. So, everyone got a comment card when they came in and they could fill it out anonymously. About 70% of guests did fill one out, so that was very helpful. The card had a 1-5 scale for a few key categories, and then had a space for written comments. Almost every card had 4s and 5s, and the written comments were about 95% positive, mostly praising the brisket, burnt ends, and the homemade pickles of all things.

And since we had quite a bit of food left over, we wrapped it up and gave it to the salvation army in town who have a big lunch every Monday for the homeless. They said our food will probably make over 100 meals, so that's a nice bonus.

But the key lessons learned and improvements to be made:

1. Mac and cheese was too dry. I knew this going in. It dried out after sitting in the steam table. Will have to tweak the recipe.

2. Butcher paper on the trays was too big. Again, something I sort of knew, but wasn't sure if it was worth taking the time to cut them down. Now we'll cut them smaller.

3. Older guests want coffee. Guess I'll need to get a coffee maker.

4. Everyone absolutely loved the three sauces. Many picked the spicy as their favorite, yet a number of people wanted an even spicier sauce. Looks like I may be coming up with a 4th sauce.

5. Background music.

6. Cup lids. Apparently, I bought the wrong lids for the cups. They don't fit very tightly and pop off easily. Oops.

The home runs:

1. Food quality. Not a single complaint on the food other than someone who came right at the very end and said the ribs were a bit cold and dry. But without the warming cabinet hooked up, that was unavoidable.

2. Brisket, brisket, brisket! I had a hunch this was going to be a hit since it's very difficult to find around here, and I wasn't disappointed. Almost everyone came up to me and said it was the best brisket they've ever had and was so incredibly tender and moist they wished I could just sell whole smoked briskets for them to take home for dinner. Same with burnt ends. A lot of people, even those who have never had them before, said it was probably one of their favorite things.

3. Pickles. Who knew something as simple as my homemade pickle chips would be such a hit? I was just using them as a garnish and putting a few on each tray, but half the comment cards mentioned how amazing the pickles were.

4. Outstanding sides. Corn bread/cake ;) was an obvious hit. Lots of comments about the potato salad being the best ever. And I was a bit worried about the slaw because I don't make a thick, creamy, mayo slaw that's common here, but instead it's got much more vinegar in it. Surprisingly, 80% positive on the slaw saying it had great flavor and was something different that paired well with the meat.

5. Overall comments were very positive and supportive. Everybody was saying they can't wait to come back and commented on how they would otherwise have to drive a hundred miles to find comparable BBQ. Many other locals said I shouldn't be surprised if we have a line out the door when we officially open.

All in all, it was a great night. We learned more about what we're doing right and what needs to be improved, and found out that with the very supportive community, we're in a prime position to do amazing things. I can't wait to see what the future brings.

Here are a few pics from the evening.













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Unread 12-08-2013, 03:04 PM   #528
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Awesome to hear the feedback was overwhelmingly positive! If I'm ever in the area, I hope I can make it by.
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Unread 12-08-2013, 03:06 PM   #529
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That is just great to hear all went so well for you last night!

I'm sure looking forward to trying your fare and meeting you.

Congrats brother
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Unread 12-08-2013, 03:13 PM   #530
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Great news!

Share that pickle recipe? Please......
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Unread 12-08-2013, 03:43 PM   #531
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Glad to hear things went smoothly, for the most part. How are you doing your mac and cheese? Maybe I can help.
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Unread 12-08-2013, 04:14 PM   #532
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Way cool man, look at the smiles on folks' faces!
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Unread 12-08-2013, 04:22 PM   #533
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The importance of good pickles is over-looked by many. But, have you ever had a great hamburger that has crappy pickles? I think too little emphasis is placed on things like that. Sounds like a great time, and surely, there is nothing quite as special as that sound of slop happy hog...I mean happy customers.

Are those pre-cut sheets of butcher paper? They are pretty large, I guess I didn't notice the size in your previous post
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Unread 12-08-2013, 04:24 PM   #534
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This thread is so awesome! Congrats so far.
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Unread 12-08-2013, 04:41 PM   #535
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pyle's BBQ View Post
Glad to hear things went smoothly, for the most part. How are you doing your mac and cheese? Maybe I can help.
Thanks, I may pick your brain later. The recipe had to change anyway because I've used a cheese soup for the base for years, but unfortunately I can't get it in bulk. My food guy searched for weeks and came up empty. So it's back to the drawing board for that recipe.

Quote:
Originally Posted by landarc View Post
The importance of good pickles is over-looked by many. But, have you ever had a great hamburger that has crappy pickles? I think too little emphasis is placed on things like that. Sounds like a great time, and surely, there is nothing quite as special as that sound of slop happy hog...I mean happy customers.

Are those pre-cut sheets of butcher paper? They are pretty large, I guess I didn't notice the size in your previous post
Yeah, pre-cut sheets. Impossible to find pre-cut brown butcher paper in any variety of sizes. I think I can get away with just cutting the sheets in half, but I'll need to check that when I go in tomorrow to see.
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Unread 12-08-2013, 04:44 PM   #536
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Originally Posted by RevZiLLa View Post
Great news!

Share that pickle recipe? Please......
I guess I could share one of my secrets. I'll find it and post it later.
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Unread 12-08-2013, 05:06 PM   #537
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Congrats !!

Question though.... I see you have the mac & cheese, potato salad served right on the butcher paper...

Are you considering serving in paper boats, styrofoam or plastic cups for sides like that ?
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Unread 12-08-2013, 05:09 PM   #538
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Let it be known......pickles, slaw, mac-n-cheese and all bbq sides are the rivets, nuts and bolts of a great bbq experience.
Do not underestimate the importance of having sides that compliment YOUR product.
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Unread 12-08-2013, 05:16 PM   #539
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thats great!!

congrats

on the butcher paper sheets, Uline sells it in different sizes, but I only see white if that interests you

http://www.uline.com/BL_1956/Butcher-Paper
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Unread 12-08-2013, 05:18 PM   #540
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MilitantSquatter View Post
Congrats !!

Question though.... I see you have the mac & cheese, potato salad served right on the butcher paper...

Are you considering serving in paper boats, styrofoam or plastic cups for sides like that ?
Yeah, we have cups and boats for sides, but didn't want to waste them for this since people were typically just getting a smaller sample size.
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