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Catering, Food Handling and Awareness *OnTopic* Forum to educate us on safe food handling. Not specifically for Catering or competition but overall health and keeping our families safe too.


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Unread 07-29-2013, 08:20 PM   #1
aHughJassDude
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Question How to Get Consistency in Flavor

I don't know if I'm the only one, but I've visited a few barbecue restaurants and I've found that the most disappointing thing about them is the lack of consistency between the quality of the meal one time and another. Why is consistency in barbecue so difficult? It is just poor management?
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Unread 07-29-2013, 09:27 PM   #2
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This is one of the biggest concerns for all restaurants, not just BBQ. And there are a variety of things that can affect consistency. From the various cooks that are working to the source of the food being used. There are always variables in play that can change the end product.

With BBQ, one of the added issues is pit management. Even the best cooks can have bad days when it comes to the fire, temp control, etc. Obviously, experience helps even that out over time, but bad cooks can and do happen.

And then there's just poor management. You get food reps hounding you all the time about why you should switch to their product and how they can get you something for 20 cents cheaper, and some people will just see dollar signs and switch to another product without fully realizing how it's changed the end result. Or they hire the wrong people and then on the owner's day off these idiots don't give a damn about maintaining standards and you get food served that shouldn't be, etc.

It's just a tough industry and even the smallest things can affect the end product, and when people don't get the same quality twice, it's not often they come back.
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Unread 07-29-2013, 10:05 PM   #3
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One of the reasons it is so difficult to find good BBQ in restaurants, is that the very nature of BBQ is variable. And if you have one person, using one piece of equipment, you can get consistency, but, you cannot cook enough meat to really make a good profit. There are ways to try and combat that, but, it ends up being that you have to make some concessions to your BBQ.

A lot of places have their rubs made for them, this adds consistency, but, the recipe is not exactly like making it fresh each time. Same goes for sauce.

Burning wood is irregular, and getting it consistent, both from morning to night, and summer to winter, is extremely challenging. This is one of the reasons you see a lot of gas or electric smokers, they are, by nature, more consistent. Then you can use pellets for smoke flavor, again, far more consistent.

All restaurants fight for consistency, and it is hard to maintain, no matter what. You end up having to rely on suppliers a whole lot. It is truly difficult.
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Unread 07-29-2013, 10:25 PM   #4
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I've chased that .05 cents cheaper a pound and kick myself every time! It breaks your heart to tend after a stick burner for hours and not have excellent Q after all that work. Now, I go to the same supplier for shoulders even if it is .15 cents a pound more.
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Unread 07-30-2013, 10:53 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by marubozo View Post
This is one of the biggest concerns for all restaurants, not just BBQ. And there are a variety of things that can affect consistency. From the various cooks that are working to the source of the food being used. There are always variables in play that can change the end product.

With BBQ, one of the added issues is pit management. Even the best cooks can have bad days when it comes to the fire, temp control, etc. Obviously, experience helps even that out over time, but bad cooks can and do happen.

And then there's just poor management. You get food reps hounding you all the time about why you should switch to their product and how they can get you something for 20 cents cheaper, and some people will just see dollar signs and switch to another product without fully realizing how it's changed the end result. Or they hire the wrong people and then on the owner's day off these idiots don't give a damn about maintaining standards and you get food served that shouldn't be, etc.

It's just a tough industry and even the smallest things can affect the end product, and when people don't get the same quality twice, it's not often they come back.
The change in seasons is probably the one factor that I never considered. It does throw a wrench in the consistency without you really being able to control it at all. I get what you mean too about consistency being the most difficult thing to achieve. Probably the most expensive too. Thanks for all the info!
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