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View Full Version : Great BBQ is it the machine or the mind


Rubmybutt
11-27-2011, 11:52 AM
I was just doin a little thinkin about the time I've been here and how much you've all taught me. I've moved up in BBQ equipment quality, I think, and I just had to ask this question.

Is a person with much knowledge able to cook on almost nothing and end up with award winning eats or if your equipped with really good cookers can a person of minimal background pull ahead of the pack?

How does the Brethren feel about this? And now back to the news! :thumb:

woodbutcher1
11-27-2011, 11:56 AM
As with so many other things,i do not think it is the equipment. It is the person tending it. jmo.

Hoss
11-27-2011, 11:56 AM
A good cook can turn out good eats using any equipment and or supplies on hand.

SmokeOCD
11-27-2011, 12:09 PM
I can hammer in nails with a rock, use a butter knife to turn screws - but nothing beats having the right tools. The right equipment makes it more enjoyable for the chef and allows the chef to display his talents better. But all you need is a pile of sticks in the back yard, light most of them - put the food on the others and cook away.

colonel00
11-27-2011, 12:16 PM
As a wise man once said, "A good craftsman never blames his tools"

With that said, I do have to echo SmokeOCD in the fact that better tools do make it easier.

tortaboy
11-27-2011, 12:25 PM
Great Thread. I've been wondering the same things.

All things equal, the mind wins out.

But the right toys DEFINITELY make a huge difference.

BBQ Bandit
11-27-2011, 12:30 PM
There's a saying... "Its the cook, not the cooker"

Altho as a mechanic in my days... its nice to have the right tool for the right job.

Skidder
11-27-2011, 12:31 PM
Like it's been said a million times "It ain't the cooker it's the cook". Real bbq back in the day was cooked in the ground so take it from there. This is where the word pit came from. Check out the book Smokestack Lightning.

landarc
11-27-2011, 12:45 PM
I can and have cooked under abysmal conditions and turned out great food, I can and have cooked in glorious conditions and turned out great food, I have also screwed up my share under the same conditions. The tools are great, but, if you don't know how to build a house, the best hammer and saw in the world will not tell you how.

At the end of the day, the best cook is the one who knows how to pair flavors, control and manage both heat and time, organize his operation and make the food look good. He understands that we eat with all five senses and knows how to trigger them all.

Great tools can make an average cooker better, a Guru or Stoker makes heat control more automatic and easier to understand, commercial rubs give you flavor profiles, insulated cookers allow you to walk away for a bit, but, they do not make the biggest difference. It really comes down to the cook and how he uses the tools.

viper1
11-27-2011, 12:47 PM
Got to agree! It is the cook and his knowledge! I started with wood, then charcoal and back to wood, then gas and now electric. I've been ridiculed, laughed at and agreeded with. But never heard any one complain about the food. Getting older I love the convienance of electric. When I was younger the wood and charcoal really was nice but required a lot of attention. Which meant we could all sit around and drink cold ones and talk. Nothing beats that. I never tried a pellet but have to figure its a little easier then wood. If I was to do competitions Id probably go back to wood. But These days Im happy. It's not about whats bigger and better. Its a passion for the food and fellow ship as I see it. So like they say "smoke them if you got them" and be happy!

TIMMAY
11-27-2011, 01:00 PM
A good BBQ cook should be able to adapt and overcome with just about anything he has on hand. Having a cooker that you know and being able to plan for its quirks ahead of time goes a long way to minimize the *adversity* from time to time.

Through the course of my year here I have had to learn a new cooker while cooking for more than just myself on several occasions, to include piecing together working parts in a kettle with a missing grill grate. A couple examples for your viewing pleasure...

http://i32.photobucket.com/albums/d41/gixxer01/Mcguyver1.jpg

http://i32.photobucket.com/albums/d41/gixxer01/Prawn.jpg

http://i32.photobucket.com/albums/d41/gixxer01/offset1.jpg

http://i32.photobucket.com/albums/d41/gixxer01/smokinandsmokin.jpg

Skidder
11-27-2011, 01:12 PM
My go to saying has always been" bbq isn't rocket science but there is a right and wrong way to do it" and to me it all boils down to temperature control. Shoot you can have all the rubs,marinades and sauces you want but if your product hasn't been cooked correctly then.........you know the rest.

smokingj
11-27-2011, 01:17 PM
Ask yourself this. Did they have these fancy schmancy cookers and gadgets back in the day?
It's not the equipment but the skill of the cook. One that can improvise with what they have on hand. After all, look at Barbacoa (mexican BBQ) if cooked in a traditional way it's nothing more than a hole in the ground with seasoned meat wrapped in banana leaves and cooked over hot rocks/coals which is covered in the same way as a New England clam bake or a Hawaiian Luau.
I keep saying over and over:
Know your pit, know your fire and know your meat. Master those and you'll be fine.

Skidder
11-27-2011, 01:37 PM
Some of the best ribs I've ever eaten have been grilled over open fire with absolutely no seasonings at all not even salt. This man knows his pit and his meat. He does have a great sauce but the meat doesn't need it. He gets just the right char on his ribs and he does it consistently.

BigBobBQ
11-27-2011, 03:20 PM
as everyone above has stated it is all about the cook, I agree good tools make it easier but if you do not know how to use the tools you won't cook anything.

Sledneck
11-27-2011, 03:23 PM
I think it's the cooker these days and many won't admit it. When is th last time any of you dug a hole in the ground?

Ole Man Dan
11-27-2011, 04:12 PM
There's a saying... "Its the cook, not the cooker"
Altho as a mechanic in my days... its nice to have the right tool for the right job.

I agree that it's the guy in the greasy apron (The Cook) and not the
Frat.boy, jock, who has a new Egg, that will have the best 'Q'.
(nothing against Frat boys,or Jocks... just saying the guy with the experience will likely have the best food)
Now days, the guy with the experience may also have the good equipment.

Skidder
11-27-2011, 04:16 PM
Sledneck you are so wrong. You can have the best cooker in the world(which is the best who knows) and if you don't know how to cook well............

smokingj
11-27-2011, 04:31 PM
I think it's the cooker these days and many won't admit it. When is th last time any of you dug a hole in the ground?

I do at times. You won't find no guru, stoker, thermapen, etc in or near my pits. But then again I learned from someone 30 years ago how to 'que who had been doing it himself since he was a kid basically in Alabama. You are right that most 'new' folks to 'queing rely to much on the gadgets though. Take em away and and a lot of folks would be lost.

smokingj
11-27-2011, 04:34 PM
Sledneck you are so wrong. You can have the best cooker in the world(which is the best who knows) and if you don't know how to cook well............

Exactly. You can spend thousands of dollars on a tool set to work on a car, but if you don't understand the mechanics of how a car runs and all it's components, those tools don't mean chit then.

bam
11-27-2011, 04:57 PM
My dad would say having the right tool will make the job easy. That being said I have made good bbq on a ecb would have a lot easier on a Jambo.

Skidder
11-27-2011, 05:05 PM
Not if you don't understand how to use that $8000 Jambo

Q-Dat
11-27-2011, 05:09 PM
You could take away Johnny Trigg's Jambo, or Mike Wozniak's Peoria Cooker, or Mike Davis's Big Custom Yoder, and give them $40 Old Smokeys and they would find a way to produce something very close to the same product.

Sledneck
11-27-2011, 05:09 PM
Ok, put yourself behind the wheel of a buggati veyron. Stick Tony Stewart behind the wheel of a pinto. Who wins?

Rubmybutt
11-27-2011, 05:17 PM
A good BBQ cook should be able to adapt and overcome with just about anything he has on hand. Having a cooker that you know and being able to plan for its quirks ahead of time goes a long way to minimize the *adversity* from time to time.

Through the course of my year here I have had to learn a new cooker while cooking for more than just myself on several occasions, to include piecing together working parts in a kettle with a missing grill grate. A couple examples for your viewing pleasure...

http://i32.photobucket.com/albums/d41/gixxer01/Mcguyver1.jpg

http://i32.photobucket.com/albums/d41/gixxer01/Prawn.jpg

http://i32.photobucket.com/albums/d41/gixxer01/offset1.jpg

http://i32.photobucket.com/albums/d41/gixxer01/smokinandsmokin.jpg

WOW I had no idea what this post would generate but that being said I opened my doors and you all came in and I thank you for that. TIMMAY thank you from all of us what you do and holy crap where did you get those prawns? :becky: We don't have cows that big! :becky:

I think that a mix of both is what makes the drink so tasty! So carry on I love to hear the input from all, thank you. :thumb:

Mark

smokingj
11-27-2011, 05:25 PM
well plenty of folks have won comps with just a UDS, even the Grand Champion of the Royal in 2005. But I guess some folks need to have a Jag, Mercedes, $100,000 yacht, etc. in order to feel important or whatever the case may be.

sandiegobbq
11-27-2011, 05:26 PM
Knowledge and experience trumps machinery every time.

buccaneer
11-27-2011, 05:44 PM
Ok, put yourself behind the wheel of a buggati veyron. Stick Tony Stewart behind the wheel of a pinto. Who wins?
Sledneck, this is the perfect analogy!
I hate to tell you this bro, but Tony Stewart rips us a new one.
95% of us would crash the veyron, and if we didn't, we would struggle so much trying to master it he would have finished his coffee before we got over the line.:redface:
Greatest pleasure comes from being outback somewhere and having people say in wonder "I cannot BELIEVE I am eating food like this HERE"
Principles and a heat source is all you need if you know what you are doing.:thumb:

SmokeOCD
11-27-2011, 05:48 PM
Ok, put yourself behind the wheel of a buggati veyron. Stick Tony Stewart behind the wheel of a pinto. Who wins?

Oh man, bad one. Pretty sure I would win. I'm sure you have read a thing or two about the car http://www.bugatti.com/en/veyron-16.4/technology.html... vs a PINTO?!?!? I win. :bow: (Pinto's best model '76 was 103hp; vs 1,001)

I understand the point trying to be made, but the car will help me overcome the Pinto and the super driver.

Maybe you take Eddie Van Halen's guitar and equipment VS him on a $150 fender.

NorthwestBBQ
11-27-2011, 05:51 PM
Ok, put yourself behind the wheel of a buggati veyron. Stick Tony Stewart behind the wheel of a pinto. Who wins?

I do, because Tony will think he's stuck in reverse. The Buggati is much faster than the Ford. :boxing:

buccaneer
11-27-2011, 05:54 PM
Oh man, bad one. Pretty sure I would win. I'm sure you have read a thing or two about the car http://www.bugatti.com/en/veyron-16.4/technology.html... vs a PINTO?!?!? I win. :bow:

I understand the point trying to be made, but the car will help me overcome the Pinto and the super driver.

Maybe you take Eddie Van Halen's guitar and equipment VS him on a $150 fender.
Only in a straight line, dude, unless you already have skills...and then the point is not won.
Love the guitar comparison!:thumb:

smokingj
11-27-2011, 06:23 PM
Well ask yourself this. Would you rather eat bbq from some old man whose been bbq'ing in drums for the past 50 years or from someone with less knowledge and a high priced digitized pit.
I'll take that old man's 'q any day of the week.

Skidder
11-27-2011, 06:28 PM
Agreed

Capozzoli
11-27-2011, 07:17 PM
How bout one of those little crappy el cheapo offsets? Doesnt really matter how good of a cook you are, the Q is gonna suck, or at least its not gonna be as good as with a good smoker. Right?

Unless you are assuming that the cook can rebuild it to make it work and hit consistent temps.

Great topic! Lovin the analogies.

TIMMAY
11-27-2011, 07:26 PM
Mark, we got those prawns at the supermarket downtown. Heh, those suckers were almost 10 inches long! Maybe more, I dont remember. It went well with the Kobe beef slices we also prepared that day...

Q-Dat
11-27-2011, 07:35 PM
You could take away Johnny Trigg's Jambo, or Mike Wozniak's Peoria Cooker, or Mike Davis's Big Custom Yoder, and give them $40 Old Smokeys and they would find a way to produce something very close to the same product.

Despite this earlier comment by myself, I don't totally disagree with Brother Sledneck. I do believe that there are bound to have been a few GC's taken by teams that would not know what to do with ordinary equipment.

TIMMAY
11-27-2011, 07:38 PM
Cappozoli, I wouldn't say that all food coming off of an el cheapo offset will be bad. I got some very nice ribs off of that el cheapo that I posted a pic of. What helped me was knowing about the hot spot. I had to shuffle slabs through the course of the cook so they would cook evenly, but the ribs came out nice. And the only mod I did was wrapping foil around the exhaust stack in the inside to bring the smoke level down to the grate.

SmokeOCD
11-27-2011, 07:59 PM
Hey, I got a good one.
IRON CHEF vs IRON CHEF AMERICA

I've seen the Japanese chefs improvise smokers and do all kinds of stuff; contrasting with ICA - they have a device that does everything but wipe your hiney. I would give the "skills" to the Japanese chefs. Oh and ICA puts $3000/lb truffles on everything. :tsk:

buccaneer
11-27-2011, 08:07 PM
It's been a fun discussion tho.
Ironically Veyrons are prone to crashing into cheap cars, corrolla's...and Texan lakes:laugh:

I think we have logically wandered into the arena of 'cooking definition'.
Weigh something, put it into specialized equipment, set timer and temp...you get food.
That's not what I think off as cooking skills at all.
That's just me maybe.

Boshizzle
11-27-2011, 08:27 PM
If you had the exact paints, brushes, canvas, lighting, time and model could you reproduce the Mona Lisa?

It's the cook not the gear.

Capozzoli
11-27-2011, 10:46 PM
Cappozoli, I wouldn't say that all food coming off of an el cheapo offset will be bad. I got some very nice ribs off of that el cheapo that I posted a pic of. What helped me was knowing about the hot spot. I had to shuffle slabs through the course of the cook so they would cook evenly, but the ribs came out nice. And the only mod I did was wrapping foil around the exhaust stack in the inside to bring the smoke level down to the grate.

Yeah you are right. If you saw my BBQ area you would see that I make do with very little.

I turned out some pretty good Q using a hot plate a pie tin and a cardboard box. (true story)

Just don't try making a brisket on the el-cheapo. At least not the one I have. :rolleyes:

Phrasty
11-27-2011, 11:30 PM
I was lazy... didn't read the entire post but I'll say this... "Equipment gives you an edge... but at the end of the day you either got it or you don't..."

TIMMAY
11-28-2011, 12:14 AM
I turned out some pretty good Q using a hot plate a pie tin and a cardboard box. (true story)


Watch a little Alton Brown lately?:becky:

Rubmybutt
11-28-2011, 11:27 AM
I was lazy... didn't read the entire post but I'll say this... "Equipment gives you an edge... but at the end of the day you either got it or you don't..."

After all said and done I agree, but Bugatti just came out with the Super Sport! 1200HP and 267MPH! I here Ford is not happy. :boxing:

DevineSwine
11-28-2011, 11:49 AM
This is a really good post!!! all i have to say is that i use to cook ribs on a Weber 18.5. 3 slabs not trimmed and i worked my ass of to get 6 out 10 ribs. Now i have a uds with two racks cook 8 St.Louis style and barely look at um for 4.5 hrs and nail 9outta 10 ribs all day long.....Just sayin.

DevineSwine
11-28-2011, 11:50 AM
After all said and done I agree, but Bugatti just came out with the Super Sport! 1200HP and 267MPH! I here Ford is not happy. :boxing:
Just wait till ya see the 2013 Pinto's

Lake Dogs
11-28-2011, 12:43 PM
Cook. Tools help, but a lousy cook or one who doesnt know what to do and when to do it can take a great top-of-the-line smoker and produce far below-average results.

I RGC'd and only 0.02 points from GCing a competition a while back with nothing more than a small brinkmann stillwater and 2 weber 22's against all kinds of very nice and very expensive set-ups... Matter of fact, I think the DAL guy had probably $20,000 in his smokers on that trailer.

landarc
11-28-2011, 12:47 PM
Hance, you should have bet pink slips with that guy :-D

Lake Dogs
11-28-2011, 12:53 PM
Hindsight. It was very intimidating, frankly. However, I never gave up, and I worked my *** off. Even at the start I'd have bet money I'd be in the bottom 1/3rd. I learned paint, shine, $$$$$, size, etc. dont cook. Cooks cook.

The_Kapn
11-28-2011, 12:59 PM
I have a bit of a different twist on the subject.
I think (know) that a stable, predictable cooker shortens the learning curve.
I first started on a Smokin Pit cheapo stick burner that belonged to my neighbor.
Spent most of my time, energy, and (my few) brain cells trying to put out quality smoke at reasonably stable temps. Never had any of those things left to work on the recipies and such for the meat.
Was getting nowhere.

Bought a Bandera and moded the heck out of it.
Now I was less concerned with the cooker and started working on my recipies and processes.

Then added a WSM and managing the pit took on less of a role and I could focus even more on the meat.

Then, moved to FEC and Traeger.
Quality went way up because I could get repeatable temps and smoke. My quality improved because I could focus on the meat, not the cooker.

If you have suffered through all of my words, the bottom line is that I can now go back to the Bandera or WSM and produce quality product.
Skills have even been used on friend's Langs and Jambo's.

Bottom line to me is--it is the cook, not the cooker.
But, ya gotta be able to cook to start with and then the smoker becomes a minor part of the equation.
You must know your cooker and be the master of it, no matter what it is.

FWIW.

TIM

btcg
11-28-2011, 04:02 PM
Guys,

I want to relate this.

I was once a professional musician. When I got my first "good" guitar (a red Fender Mustang), it made a HUGE difference in my play.

Am pretty well-off now, but never seemed to have enough until I was in my 30's to afford a nice acoustic guitar. Had a friend who bought a nice Guild, and when I played it, I found that I could do things on it that I could not do on my Yamaha acoustic.

I happened into this music store In Canton, MI that was going out of business, and they had the very same model Guild my buddy had bought, but it was a floor model, meaning it had been played by everyone who came into the store.

BUT: it was half-priced. So I grabbed it.

My son is playing it these days (I gave it to him), but it was some of the best money I ever spent.

My Backwood's Chubby was a deja-vu moment as to the Guild: the wife's quote:

"Your food was great, but nothing like this."

The truth? Better equipment, better result.

Oh, these day, the best axe in the house is my Martin Veteran's model (search if you'd like to see the pics). I posted pics of it once. It's a dream.

BUT: if I couldn't already play, it might be useless.

Don't know if this helps, or no.

J'ville Grill
11-28-2011, 06:07 PM
You've got to have the right technique to use the tool. So I'd have to say it's definately the cook.

buccaneer
11-28-2011, 06:20 PM
Guys,

I want to relate this.

I was once a professional musician. When I got my first "good" guitar (a red Fender Mustang), it made a HUGE difference in my play.

Am pretty well-off now, but never seemed to have enough until I was in my 30's to afford a nice acoustic guitar. Had a friend who bought a nice Guild, and when I played it, I found that I could do things on it that I could not do on my Yamaha acoustic.

I happened into this music store In Canton, MI that was going out of business, and they had the very same model Guild my buddy had bought, but it was a floor model, meaning it had been played by everyone who came into the store.

BUT: it was half-priced. So I grabbed it.

My son is playing it these days (I gave it to him), but it was some of the best money I ever spent.

My Backwood's Chubby was a deja-vu moment as to the Guild: the wife's quote:

"Your food was great, but nothing like this."

The truth? Better equipment, better result.

Oh, these day, the best axe in the house is my Martin Veteran's model (search if you'd like to see the pics). I posted pics of it once. It's a dream.

BUT: if I couldn't already play, it might be useless.

Don't know if this helps, or no.
From the musical point my take on it is this.
If you have developed the skills then it is a given that you will do better with improved equipment.
If you gave ...Mark Knopfler a low end guitar would he play like cr@p or would he bang out great tunes?
What we are asked is; if you gave a stradivarius to say....me...and I can't play, or even to someone without developed kills...are you saying that with the Strad we will make acceptable music?
Coz, brothers, I WILL make your ears bleed.:laugh::laugh:

Capozzoli
11-28-2011, 06:20 PM
Watch a little Alton Brown lately?:becky:

I do love Alton Brown but it was long before his show the last time I did ribs in a box. My Uncle actually taught me that trick. In the box for a few hours then finish on the grill. Works like a charm.

Alton does salmon, I think. i'm surprised he only did the hot smoked fish. With two card board boxes and a length of flexible dryer exhaust tube you can cold smoke salmon. Works well in the winter time. Or did he do that too, cant remember.

Ill agree its the cook, but a good cook with good gear stands a good chance of doing better then a good cook with crappy gear. I cant get around that.

btcg
11-29-2011, 08:26 AM
From the musical point my take on it is this.
If you have developed the skills then it is a given that you will do better with improved equipment.
If you gave ...Mark Knopfler a low end guitar would he play like cr@p or would he bang out great tunes?
What we are asked is; if you gave a stradivarius to say....me...and I can't play, or even to someone without developed kills...are you saying that with the Strad we will make acceptable music?
Coz, brothers, I WILL make your ears bleed.:laugh::laugh:

We have Washburn acoustic that I keep as an extra for when someone comes by and wants to jam. It cost about $700.00, and people who play it love it. But next to the Guild and my Martin, it's a spank-plank.

I pick it up once in a while, and when I play Neil Young's "On the Way Home" (4-Way Street style), the fast upper chord progression (G,D,C,D[standard]) sometimes isn't as pronounced and clean as I like. Never an issue on the Guild or martin, though.

My Weber 22.5 kettle makes a wonderful brisket. But if I seasoned and cooked it the same on my Backwoods and placed the finished food side by side, you'd taste a little difference: the food the Backwood's produces tastes better. Maybe only 10 to 15% better, but noticable.

So, I think the answer is: better smoker, better results, even if not dramatically better.

OH: you'll know when you're getting better on the fiddle when you're done practicing, and they complain that you've stopped ("Why did you stop playing? I was enjoying that").

Rubmybutt
11-29-2011, 10:23 AM
We have Washburn acoustic that I keep as an extra for when someone comes by and wants to jam. It cost about $700.00, and people who play it love it. But next to the Guild and my Martin, it's a spank-plank.

I pick it up once in a while, and when I play Neil Young's "On the Way Home" (4-Way Street style), the fast upper chord progression (G,D,C,D[standard]) sometimes isn't as pronounced and clean as I like. Never an issue on the Guild or martin, though.

My Weber 22.5 kettle makes a wonderful brisket. But if I seasoned and cooked it the same on my Backwoods and placed the finished food side by side, you'd taste a little difference: the food the Backwood's produces tastes better. Maybe only 10 to 15% better, but noticable.

So, I think the answer is: better smoker, better results, even if not dramatically better.

OH: you'll know when you're getting better on the fiddle when you're done practicing, and they complain that you've stopped ("Why did you stop playing? I was enjoying that").

DITTO:

This is where I am at also, I started on a spank plank:becky: (never heard it said that way before hehe) I had this NB offset thats got more air holes in it than my brothers roof and I cooked with oak wood, the whole cook and who am I to kid it tasted like crap. Then I moved up to a Cookshack electric, first thing, less wood, better taste. Now with my new Backwoods holy moly there's just no compairison. The food just taste better, granted I have learned volumes of great info here and that will never change.

Bottom line, if you feed the cooker well, well your going to have good food but a better cooker will always help you along! :thumb:

JD McGee
11-29-2011, 10:40 AM
No brainer...you need a person or someone with a "mind" to operate the "machine"...therefore...

landarc
11-29-2011, 12:36 PM
Then again, I was at a comp and this guy rolls up, pulls a Chargriller COS out of the box, is assembling it, cooks the best ribs I have ever had, his brisket was terrific as well. The tool sucked, it leaked smoke from everywhere, and he cooked some outstanding street-style BBQ that I loved. Amongst the best non-competition style ribs I have ever had.

buccaneer
11-29-2011, 04:30 PM
We have Washburn acoustic that I keep as an extra for when someone comes by and wants to jam. It cost about $700.00, and people who play it love it. But next to the Guild and my Martin, it's a spank-plank.

I pick it up once in a while, and when I play Neil Young's "On the Way Home" (4-Way Street style), the fast upper chord progression (G,D,C,D[standard]) sometimes isn't as pronounced and clean as I like. Never an issue on the Guild or martin, though.

My Weber 22.5 kettle makes a wonderful brisket. But if I seasoned and cooked it the same on my Backwoods and placed the finished food side by side, you'd taste a little difference: the food the Backwood's produces tastes better. Maybe only 10 to 15% better, but noticable.

So, I think the answer is: better smoker, better results, even if not dramatically better.

OH: you'll know when you're getting better on the fiddle when you're done practicing, and they complain that you've stopped ("Why did you stop playing? I was enjoying that").
I still think you are not addressing the point brother, in your example YOU are cooking on the improved equipment.= no point addressed.It's a given.:nono:
On the guitars, we all know you just want to talk about the amazing guitars you have!:-P:laugh:
and we can't blame you.:icon_bugeyed

Lake Dogs
11-29-2011, 05:53 PM
I'm fairly certain that 99.99999% of people would prefer to hear Eric Clapton play a $200 Fender than me playing whatever the worlds finest guitar is. I promise.

Surely Eric will play and sound much better on awesome equipment, but it IS the player, not the instrument. It's the cook, not the cooking equipment. Awesome equipment in the hands of a goofus (ala. me with a guitar) will surely result in crap.

btcg
11-29-2011, 08:41 PM
I still think you are not addressing the point brother, in your example YOU are cooking on the improved equipment.= no point addressed.It's a given.:nono:
On the guitars, we all know you just want to talk about the amazing guitars you have!:-P:laugh:
and we can't blame you.:icon_bugeyed

Answering this from my upstairs laptop:

Trust me, if I wanted to brag, I might mention my contemporary Moog synthesizer (Little Phatty & 5 Moogerfoogers), my 1957 Les Paul (Reissue, but I agree with Steve Miller: it's better than the original), my artic white strat (Taco strat [made in mexico] but still sweet), my black & white Telecaster (made in America), my Music Man bass (designer is a brethren here), my 62 Epiphone hollow body bass, I could continue, but you get the idea.

BUT, you're wrong. It's not a given. It's the question asked on the thread.

AND... there is NOTHING like a backwoods, IMHO.

Wifey wants to know what I want for Xmas... was thinking of a vintage fridge, or a Rickenbacker. Maybe I need another Backwoods?

NAH... goin with the Rickenbacker.

btcg
11-29-2011, 08:46 PM
DITTO:

This is where I am at also, I started on a spank plank:becky: (never heard it said that way before hehe) I had this NB offset thats got more air holes in it than my brothers roof and I cooked with oak wood, the whole cook and who am I to kid it tasted like crap. Then I moved up to a Cookshack electric, first thing, less wood, better taste. Now with my new Backwoods holy moly there's just no compairison. The food just taste better, granted I have learned volumes of great info here and that will never change.

Bottom line, if you feed the cooker well, well your going to have good food but a better cooker will always help you along! :thumb:

Spank-plank... musician's term. Keep it to yerself. ;)

landarc
11-29-2011, 08:52 PM
Bill, vintage fridge, with new guts

btcg
11-29-2011, 08:58 PM
Bill, vintage fridge, with new guts

Had my eye on a few 1950's fridges, but the wife thinks they're too inefficient, and will run up our electric bill. But I found a few sweet ones on Ebay (thanks to NorthwestBBQ).

Kinda torn.

to keep the peace, leanin toward the Rickenbacker:

http://www.musiciansfriend.com/guitars/rickenbacker-360-electric-guitar

But then again:

http://www.ebay.com/itm/VINTAGE-WESTINGHOUSE-REFRIGERATOR-/260899564292?pt=LH_DefaultDomain_0&hash=item3cbed36b04

Maybe I can swing both? (evil laugh)

Q-Dat
11-29-2011, 10:10 PM
Great cooks are great cooks and they produce good food no matter what.

However, I believe that if you take someone who has never made BBQ in their life, and give them an FEC, a pork butt, a decent rub, a bottle of Sweet Baby Ray's and some basic instructions, that they will probably turn out something pretty good.

Give the same person a Char-Broil Silver Smoker, and say you are on your own, and the end result will most likely not be pretty.

Give Johnny Trigg that Silver Smoker and he will still make good Q, he will just have to work harder at it than he normally would with the Jambo.

btcg
11-30-2011, 07:18 AM
Great cooks are great cooks and they produce good food no matter what.

However, I believe that if you take someone who has never made BBQ in their life, and give them an FEC, a pork butt, a decent rub, a bottle of Sweet Baby Ray's and some basic instructions, that they will probably turn out something pretty good.

Give the same person a Char-Broil Silver Smoker, and say you are on your own, and the end result will most likely not be pretty.

Give Johnny Trigg that Silver Smoker and he will still make good Q, he will just have to work harder at it than he normally would with the Jambo.


Okay,

At the risk of raising the ire of Jorge (sorry Jorge... gotta be honest), me and others who took Johnny's class several months ago, weren't all that impressed. His food and Rod's (Rod Gray) food: just okay. The seasonings he uses? All commercial stuff.

Myron's class, on the other hand, taught me how to make my own injections and sauces.

As a general rule: a good cook can produce on limited equipment.

But good equipment added to this mix improves your game 10-30%.

HMMM... maybe I do need another Backwoods?

Rubmybutt
11-30-2011, 09:01 AM
There is some talk in the air up here that I might be hooking up with a certian party to retail Backwoods! I have only spent a short amount of time with my Party but I dearly love it and think that others in this area will to if I give them the chance to touch and taste.

If you had this opportunity would you move on it? :thumb:

btcg
11-30-2011, 10:03 AM
There is some talk in the air up here that I might be hooking up with a certian party to retail Backwoods! I have only spent a short amount of time with my Party but I dearly love it and think that others in this area will to if I give them the chance to touch and taste.

If you had this opportunity would you move on it? :thumb:

Go for it! Anything worthwhile is worth doing a little work for.

JD McGee
11-30-2011, 10:39 AM
Seriously??? You folks really believe a machine can be the deciding factor...put your guitar on top of your smoker and see what happens without YOU...lol! Give me a break!

Kenny Rogers
11-30-2011, 10:52 AM
http://i32.photobucket.com/albums/d41/gixxer01/offset1.jpg



My FIRST comp ever, took place in Cheney earlier this year, with a SWEET smoker identacle to the one above. It was my first smoker, and the only one I had ever used for many years prior. I cooked one category only, Brisket, and ended up placing second. I fully believe that the only difference in the equipment is convenience. The most important factor is tecnique. That being said, it's difficult to maintain temps on the above cooker in 20 degree weather... I LOVE my BGE for being able to cook in less than desirable conditions!

tish
11-30-2011, 10:57 AM
I'm fairly certain that 99.99999% of people would prefer to hear Eric Clapton play a $200 Fender than me playing whatever the worlds finest guitar is. I promise.

Surely Eric will play and sound much better on awesome equipment, but it IS the player, not the instrument. It's the cook, not the cooking equipment. Awesome equipment in the hands of a goofus (ala. me with a guitar) will surely result in crap.

Ouch! Take it easy, guys! You're scaring the daylights outta me here! Reading all this stuff is making me think I might as well not even bother to try learning this stuff 'cause I don't have a snowball's chance in hell of turning out anything decent or even edible. :cry:

timzcardz
11-30-2011, 11:05 AM
Great BBQ is it the machine or the mind?


It is the mind of the man that minds the machine.

.

Lake Dogs
11-30-2011, 11:13 AM
Ouch! Take it easy, guys! You're scaring the daylights outta me here! Reading all this stuff is making me think I might as well not even bother to try learning this stuff 'cause I don't have a snowball's chance in hell of turning out anything decent or even edible. :cry:


Noooo, not at all. Everyone has to start. Everyone was a rookie. I've actually thrown away 55# of meat one time. That's a story long posted here...

Start with a butt (bone in, about 9#). They're tough to fubar (although I've done it on more than one occasion).

Also, when taking advice/suggestions I suggest that you ask someone who values the same end product as you do and has had experiences (good and bad) producing that product. There are folks here who value/like really dark crusty bark, and there are folks here who like/value soft spicy bark. There are folks here who like a little meat with their smoke, and there are folks who like their meat to have as little smoke as possible...

And of course there are our moderators, who are all just fubar'd...
<not than any one of them is watching>

tish
11-30-2011, 11:17 AM
So, ok... what's a fubar? :twitch:

Kenny Rogers
11-30-2011, 11:21 AM
So, ok... what's a fubar? :twitch:

Farked Up Beyond All Recognition

btcg
11-30-2011, 11:28 AM
Seriously??? You folks really believe a machine can be the deciding factor...put your guitar on top of your smoker and see what happens without YOU...lol! Give me a break!

Not getting you.

A 10 to 30 percent improvement isn't worth doing? It won't make a difference?

From what I've heard, you're a pretty darn good cook. Seems to me that you'd want to improve any aspect you could.

btcg
11-30-2011, 11:36 AM
Farked Up Beyond All Recognition

In the service biz, the "R" is repair.

Bourbon Barrel BBQ
11-30-2011, 12:00 PM
well plenty of folks have won comps with just a UDS, even the Grand Champion of the Royal in 2005. But I guess some folks need to have a Jag, Mercedes, $100,000 yacht, etc. in order to feel important or whatever the case may be.

Or like to sleep.

JD McGee
11-30-2011, 12:04 PM
Not getting you.

A 10 to 30 percent improvement isn't worth doing? It won't make a difference?

From what I've heard, you're a pretty darn good cook. Seems to me that you'd want to improve any aspect you could.
Lol...where would the percentage of improvement come from? The smoke...the fuel...the meat...the sauce...the spice...or the person eating the bbq? All are weilded by the person operating the machine except the person eating your que...and THAT is totally subjective. I seek improvements in our flavor profiles...not the machine...:o)

btcg
11-30-2011, 12:13 PM
Or like to sleep.

I don't think anyone is saying that good equipment will turn a poor cook into a good cook... but if you could make a change that improved your product by even 5%... why wouldn't you do it?

That slight improvement might be all it would take to tip a situation in your favor.

To me, acknowledging and implementing something that makes you better, even if only marginally, is a sign of strenght, not weakness.

And especially so, in a comp. If I'm in any kinda comp, I want every edge I can get, and I'd wager most feel like I do.

btcg
11-30-2011, 12:18 PM
Lol...where would the percentage of improvement come from? The smoke...the fuel...the meat...the sauce...the spice...or the person eating the bbq? All are weilded by the person operating the machine except the person eating your que...and THAT is totally subjective. I seek improvements in our flavor profiles...not the machine...:o)

How about the taste of your food. That's my reference.

All other things being equal, better equipment that makes you even 5% better tasting food is worthwhile, at least to me.

JD McGee
11-30-2011, 01:10 PM
How about the taste of your food. That's my reference.

All other things being equal, better equipment that makes you even 5% better tasting food is worthwhile, at least to me.
Again...the taste of the food is subjective to the person eating it...the improvements would come from the mind creating the flavor profile...not the machine. I have had my arse handed to me by folks using the cheapest gear out there...then again...I have been fortunate enough to return the arse whoopin' to folks using the high end machines...

Mister Bob
11-30-2011, 01:24 PM
In my opinion, as long as you can control temperature, humidity, and smoke level in your pit, a piece of meat doesn't know if it's in a UDS or a Jambo. Granted, some pits are so leaky or poorly designed that you can't control those factors, and so will not produce the highest level of results, and if that's the case, an upgrade will help. But to think that a high end cooker will automatically improve your BBQ, might be wishful thinking. Your money might be better spent on higher quality meats and/or spices, or maybe a cooking class or two.

On any given Sunday, the best BBQ might come out of a UDS, or an EGG, or a WSM, or a Jambo, or a homemade pit that looks like something out of a Frankenstein movie. So to answer the original question, I believe great BBQ comes from the mind (and hands) of the pitmaster.

kihrer
11-30-2011, 01:41 PM
Let me ask it this way... Take Joe Average BBQ cook who's turning out a 160 average on brisket using an SnP. He doesn't change his recipe but buys a Backwoods or a Stumps. Does his average go up? If a baker bakes two loafs of bread - one in a GE and the other in a Thermador is the one from the Thermador better?

To add to the mental aspect, what if the cook is more confident with his Backwoods or Thermador, does that give him a mental edge that might improve his score?

Just curious.

viper1
11-30-2011, 02:19 PM
I've been in skilled trades for almost 40 years. Heard that its the tools not the person for ever it seems. Well trained a lot of guys and to tell the truth never seen one able to earn his wages till 8-10I years worth of training. And that's with a lot of testing before hiring to get the best and smartest. A tool usually never improves you work. It usually makes the job a little easier and faster. But hardly ever better. Skill and experience is the bottom line and only comes with time. No matter how smart you think you are.

viper1
11-30-2011, 02:54 PM
Only a couple of things I can think off the top of my head. Meat would be one of the biggest. Top quality meat always makes a difference,grind your own spices from fresh stuff. Buy pids an d things to control heat. Watch it temps closely. Have good proven recipes and do them enough to always get it right. Oh yes if you need help get it. Either by pals or taking caress on what needs improved. Stupid is not trying to get better. Asking is always a good thing.

btcg
11-30-2011, 05:29 PM
Let me ask it this way... Take Joe Average BBQ cook who's turning out a 160 average on brisket using an SnP. He doesn't change his recipe but buys a Backwoods or a Stumps. Does his average go up? If a baker bakes two loafs of bread - one in a GE and the other in a Thermador is the one from the Thermador better?

To add to the mental aspect, what if the cook is more confident with his Backwoods or Thermador, does that give him a mental edge that might improve his score?

Just curious.



Alton Brown answered this in his show "Right on Q" recently, when he placed his meat into his oven:


"Why even do this? Because it's an enclosed, moist environment, and trust me, the pros do it all of the time."


As good as my Weber kettle is, my Backwoods is far superior to it, as it's an insulated smoker, and it's much moister and more efficient environment.

landarc
11-30-2011, 05:30 PM
Let me ask it this way... Take Joe Average BBQ cook who's turning out a 160 average on brisket using an SnP. He doesn't change his recipe but buys a Backwoods or a Stumps. Does his average go up? If a baker bakes two loafs of bread - one in a GE and the other in a Thermador is the one from the Thermador better?

To add to the mental aspect, what if the cook is more confident with his Backwoods or Thermador, does that give him a mental edge that might improve his score?

Just curious.
I don't think the example of the 160 brisket gets to it, as the brisket might be getting 160's becaue it tastes bad, the cooker won't fix that. It might be getting 160's becaue it is just average across all scores, that suggests the cook needs more skill, then again, maybe it was just tough, that might suggest a better cooker could have helped. Then again, a better cook might have gotten better results just because he is better. There is no one solution.

A better cooker is like a rising sea, it will lift all boats, any of us will be better if the cooker we change to allows us better control, better smoke, better timing etc...what will differentiate will still be the skill of the cooker.

btcg
11-30-2011, 05:40 PM
I don't think the example of the 160 brisket gets to it, as the brisket might be getting 160's becaue it tastes bad, the cooker won't fix that. It might be getting 160's becaue it is just average across all scores, that suggests the cook needs more skill, then again, maybe it was just tough, that might suggest a better cooker could have helped. Then again, a better cook might have gotten better results just because he is better. There is no one solution.

A better cooker is like a rising sea, it will lift all boats, any of us will be better if the cooker we change to allows us better control, better smoke, better timing etc...what will differentiate will still be the skill of the cooker.

My wife put it this way, after my first BWS brisket:

"Your food was really good with the Weber... but nothing like this"

Same recipe, but as you say, a rising tide lifts all boats.

landarc
11-30-2011, 05:51 PM
Bill, as I see it, if your brisket was good already, then the BWS maybe made it better, or maybe just allowed you a little more control than the Weber. But, you started out making good brisket. It didn't make you a better cook, it maybe allowed your skill to shine a little more.

btcg
11-30-2011, 06:06 PM
Bill, as I see it, if your brisket was good already, then the BWS maybe made it better, or maybe just allowed you a little more control than the Weber. But, you started out making good brisket. It didn't make you a better cook, it maybe allowed your skill to shine a little more.

Bob,

Those here making the same point I have, have conceded this from the onset:

You've gotta know what you're doing.

In the 2 years I've been here, you've seen the briskets I've produced: I posted pics of a number of them.

And of course, the main dog in that fight is there because I've been cooking for over 40 years, and have been trained by 2 World Champions.


What I'm saying is, I could go to RD tomorrow and get a packet of 2, season them both the same (injection & rub), cook one in the Weber, and the other in the Chubby, and after you tasted them both, you'd prefer the one cooked in the Chubby.

landarc
11-30-2011, 06:13 PM
That could be true Bill, I will take your word for that. I have maintained for a long time that certain meats cook in certain ways in each type of smoker or cooker. I happen to really prefer ribs cooked in a offset, I prefer brisket cooked over direct fire etc...but that doesn't mean that a given cooker might be better for a given style or technique.

I guess as I see the question it is whether spending money to learn to cook is more or less valuable than buying a great cooker.

btcg
11-30-2011, 06:33 PM
That could be true Bill, I will take your word for that. I have maintained for a long time that certain meats cook in certain ways in each type of smoker or cooker. I happen to really prefer ribs cooked in a offset, I prefer brisket cooked over direct fire etc...but that doesn't mean that a given cooker might be better for a given style or technique.

I guess as I see the question it is whether spending money to learn to cook is more or less valuable than buying a great cooker.

Bob,

Cooking is a never-ending road... even for the likes of Myron Mixon. It's like doing laundry: you're never really done. There's always something else to learn.

As to your last question, what's better, a cooking class, or better equipment, they're not synonymous, IMO.

I did both.

I always said this: training by Myron will make anyone 30% better. That day he worked whole hog was one of the most amazing days of my life.

And, there's nothing like a good, insulated, vault type smoker.

You're a great cook: I say you deserve both!

Q-Dat
11-30-2011, 06:42 PM
The guitar analogy is fun, but I think a better one would be golf clubs.

Take the #1 golfer I have no idea who that is so I will say that its Tiger Mickelson.

Tiger Mickelson is the best golfer out there. All of the other guys are great too, he's just a little better. Well he decides that he is going switch to using some 40 year old clubs that he bought at the Salvation Army for $8.37. Some of them are aluminum, and some are fiberglass, and some of them are even from the same set!

Using these clubs, will Tiger Mickelson still win against the Pros that are still using the state of the art clubs?

btcg
11-30-2011, 06:50 PM
The guitar analogy is fun, but I think a better one would be golf clubs.

Take the #1 golfer I have no idea who that is so I will say that its Tiger Mickelson.

Tiger Mickelson is the best golfer out there. All of the other guys are great too, he's just a little better. Well he decides that he is going switch to using some 40 year old clubs that he bought at the Salvation Army for $8.37. Some of them are aluminum, and some are fiberglass, and some of them are even from the same set!

Using these clubs, will Tiger Mickelson still win against the Pros that are still using the state of the art clubs?

Most likely, he won't win.

Interestingly enough, when my dad passed away in 2007, I inherited his set of 1970's Titleists.

This year, I added a Titleist Scotty Cameron putter and 3 Titleist Vokey wedges.

The putter is far superior to the original, and the wedges beat any of the original clubs.

In this case, I don't think we can compare. There have been real breakthroughs in clubs, of late.

Q-Dat
11-30-2011, 09:12 PM
Most likely, he won't win.

Interestingly enough, when my dad passed away in 2007, I inherited his set of 1970's Titleists.

This year, I added a Titleist Scotty Cameron putter and 3 Titleist Vokey wedges.

The putter is far superior to the original, and the wedges beat any of the original clubs.

In this case, I don't think we can compare. There have been real breakthroughs in clubs, of late.

Haha I'll take your word on all of that! I know about as much about golf clubs as I do about Nuclear Physics.

SmokeOCD
11-30-2011, 09:22 PM
Haha I'll take your word on all of that! I know about as much about golf clubs as I do about Nuclear Physics.

Happy Gilmore would win! With a shovel, a pool cue, and a hockey stick.

Capozzoli
11-30-2011, 10:07 PM
^Funny

NorthwestBBQ
11-30-2011, 10:25 PM
Here's how I see it:

You could have the best motion picture camera in the world but you will not win an academy award with it. It's great to have state of the art gear but without the talent behind it you have a youtube video.

Chef Jim
11-30-2011, 10:40 PM
Having not read this whole thread, I'll go with the knowledge over the equipment every time. It's easy to let equipment do the work for you but what about the meat and what you can do to it.

Q-Dat
11-30-2011, 11:03 PM
Here's how I see it:

You could have the best motion picture camera in the world but you will not win an academy award with it. It's great to have state of the art gear but without the talent behind it you have a youtube video.

I don't disagree with this at all. If you have no skill the equipment won't help.

But what I am saying is that it is very possible in competition(and I would bet that it has happened) for a "very good" cook to edge out a "great" cook because he has better equipment to work with.

But if the skill levels of the two are miles apart, then NO equipment, rub, injection, or sauce is going to vault the sorry cook to a victory over a great one.

btcg
12-01-2011, 07:54 AM
I don't disagree with this at all. If you have no skill the equipment won't help.

But what I am saying is that it is very possible in competition(and I would bet that it has happened) for a "very good" cook to edge out a "great" cook because he has better equipment to work with.

But if the skill levels of the two are miles apart, then NO equipment, rub, injection, or sauce is going to vault the sorry cook to a victory over a great one.

Great post!

In discussing this, I had a breakthrough, logic-wise.

Here's the answer:

If we take "1" cook and have him/her create 2 identical briskets, we take the "superior skill" argument out of it.

Why? In this experiment, he's competing against himself = a wash

We then take the 2 identical briskets, and cook one in my Weber, and one in my Backwoods.

The result will always be the same: the brisket cooked in the Backwoods will always taste better.

Why? It's a highly efficient moist, insulated cooker.

So, there you have it.

btcg
12-01-2011, 07:59 AM
Here's how I see it:

You could have the best motion picture camera in the world but you will not win an academy award with it. It's great to have state of the art gear but without the talent behind it you have a youtube video.

True bro.

But take yourself with your rig, then substitue that professional equipment with the elcheapo Kodak I have, and the quality of your pics will drop dramatically.

BUT: if you use the Kodak, then hand it to me to take a few, you'll kick my arse everytime. Such is your skill.

Mister Bob
12-01-2011, 08:18 AM
Great BBQ is it the machine or the mind

I just had to ask this question...Is a person with much knowledge able to cook on almost nothing and end up with award winning eats or if your equipped with really good cookers can a person of minimal background pull ahead of the pack?



Let's look at the original question here. Can a person of minimal background pull ahead of the pack?

I'll continue the golf analogy:

You could give me the best set of golf clubs on the market and I will still not 'pull ahead' of a pack of even mediocre golfers, because I have minimal golf skills On a scale of 1 to 10, let's say I'm a 2. Will a great set of clubs improve my game? Maybe to a 3, but not enough to win any contests. It would take practice, practice, practice and more practice for that, and then better clubs would help.

I think it's like that in BBQ. The better your skills, the better you can make use of the better equipment.

So, the answer to the thread's title is BOTH with the mind (skills) being more of a factor than equipment.
The answer to the question, in my opinion is NO

Myron cooking on concrete blocks with an old screen door for a grate, will still out cook my brother-in-law no matter what equipment he's using.

btcg
12-01-2011, 08:19 AM
Haha I'll take your word on all of that! I know about as much about golf clubs as I do about Nuclear Physics.

Titleist is a smart company. When Vokey first came up with his unique design, he got a pro to use it. Before long, it was the talk of the tour.

Titleist stepped in and bought him and his shop, and now the Vokey wedge is unique to Titleist:

http://www.vokey.com/

In addition, the hybrid and pure titanium drivers are vastly superior to my original Titleist, and even later, Hogan drivers. Ain't even close.

We have a guy here who could shed some light on this, as he's one of the best machinist/programmers in the world: NorthwestBBQ.

Michael works with titanium everyday (he's one of Boeing's best), and he also builds and sells custom guitars. You guys might not know this, because he's modest. But I'm proud of my bro.

And, that's what is so cool about this site: JD, for instance, and his team won team of the year in the Portland/Washington area KCBS equivilent (can't think of the name right now), and I see that Chef Jim has his cookbook published and up for sale.

This site rocks with all of the individual knowledge we have in our members, truly the best in the world at what they do.

Lake Dogs
12-01-2011, 08:34 AM
Great post!

In discussing this, I had a breakthrough, logic-wise.

Here's the answer:

If we take "1" cook and have him/her create 2 identical briskets, we take the "superior skill" argument out of it.

Why? In this experiment, he's competing against himself = a wash

We then take the 2 identical briskets, and cook one in my Weber, and one in my Backwoods.

The result will always be the same: the brisket cooked in the Backwoods will always taste better.

Why? It's a highly efficient moist, insulated cooker.

So, there you have it.

You've proven beyond a shadow of a doubt that better smokers (everything else being equal) produce better results (and may be worth the money).

I 100% agree. But that's not the question that the original poster was asking. :shocked:

To Q-Dats question of: could a good cook beat out a great cook with better equipment?

Yes, no, depends on the day. Great cooks have off days just like everyone else. Good cooks have off days. If the good cook beat out the great cook on that day did it have anything to do with the smokers they were using? I for one doubt it, but I'm sure it has happened a time or two in the past... There are too many other factors that go along with it.

A better question to ask is: How good is the cook who beats out many great cooks who are cooking on great/superior equipment?

:doh:

btcg
12-01-2011, 08:55 AM
Let's look at the original question here. Can a person of minimal background pull ahead of the pack?

I'll continue the golf analogy:

You could give me the best set of golf clubs on the market and I will still not 'pull ahead' of a pack of even mediocre golfers, because I have minimal golf skills On a scale of 1 to 10, let's say I'm a 2. Will a great set of clubs improve my game? Maybe to a 3, but not enough to win any contests. It would take practice, practice, practice and more practice for that, and then better clubs would help.

I think it's like that in BBQ. The better your skills, the better you can make use of the better equipment.

So, the answer to the thread's title is BOTH with the mind (skills) being more of a factor than equipment.
The answer to the question, in my opinion is NO

Myron cooking on concrete blocks with an old screen door for a grate, will still out cook my brother-in-law no matter what equipment he's using.

Quick aside, Seen your custom (pics, anyways: it's beautiful), and you've got a BGE and a srumps, in addition?

Wow... just wow./

btcg
12-01-2011, 08:57 AM
You've proven beyond a shadow of a doubt that better smokers (everything else being equal) produce better results (and may be worth the money).

I 100% agree. But that's not the question that the original poster was asking. :shocked:

To Q-Dats question of: could a good cook beat out a great cook with better equipment?

Yes, no, depends on the day. Great cooks have off days just like everyone else. Good cooks have off days. If the good cook beat out the great cook on that day did it have anything to do with the smokers they were using? I for one doubt it, but I'm sure it has happened a time or two in the past... There are too many other factors that go along with it.

A better question to ask is: How good is the cook who beats out many great cooks who are cooking on great/superior equipment?

:doh:

Yeah, got off the beaten path. I apologize.

NorthwestBBQ
12-01-2011, 09:23 AM
Yeah, got off the beaten path. I apologize.

What's new? :heh:

Texas Turtle
12-01-2011, 09:52 AM
I recently sold my Silver Smoker in the church garage sale and purchased a thousand dollar smoker (that I haven't even been able to try out because of the weather). I made some really good brisket, ribs, chicken, etc on that little pit after the mods I found described on this site, but I made some really lousy stuff during the learning process. I had a friend that won several local comps with a homemade trailer pit that was strictly "set and forget". He loaded that thing with a dozen briskets and never looked at it for 10 -11 hours. The brisket was always great and he said "the Lord makes the meat, the pit does the cooking, and all I do is start the fire and let it work". The right tools make things much easier but the operator has to be at least minimally competent.

kihrer
12-01-2011, 09:56 AM
Let's look at the original question here. Can a person of minimal background pull ahead of the pack?

I'll continue the golf analogy:

You could give me the best set of golf clubs on the market and I will still not 'pull ahead' of a pack of even mediocre golfers, because I have minimal golf skills On a scale of 1 to 10, let's say I'm a 2. Will a great set of clubs improve my game? Maybe to a 3, but not enough to win any contests. It would take practice, practice, practice and more practice for that, and then

Ah, another nuance! I would contend that if you golf at a 2 and then get the best clubs available then you would not go up but would actually fall to a 1 or zero. Good golf clubs are extremely difficult to use for a poor golfer as they are not forgiving at all. Might a poor cook perform worse on a good smoker???

Brizz
12-01-2011, 10:03 AM
These analogies are exhausting! Anybody can come up with one to support their original intuition. Someone needs to answer the bell, grab some video gear and create a youtube video to answer this age old question. Premise: One team armed with 20 years of experience gets a sub-$300 smoker (chosen randomly), another team with only 2 years experience gets a $3,000 smoker. Both teams get 4 trail cooks using KCBS rules and times. On the 5th day they get judged. Who's up for the challenge?

Wasn't there talk of a Brethren "conference" a few month ago? We could shoot this there!

Lake Dogs
12-01-2011, 10:12 AM
> Might a poor cook perform worse on a good smoker???

Sure he/she could. Even working/using a good smoker requires some practice. I recall the first time I'd used my Lang 84. I'd just come off an RGC appearance with top 5 calls in all 4 events. I had the audacity/stupidity to compete on it having only done a seasoning burn... Guess what. There's a convection effect type of thing going on with some reverse flow smokers. They cook faster at the same temperatures than my other offset smoker did. Long story short, most everything was over-cooked. I have no idea how we were able to slice the brisket... We were WAY down in the bottom 1/3rd of competitors and darn lucky to not end up DAL. My point is ANYONE, good, bad, ugly can perform worse with a much better smoker.

kihrer
12-01-2011, 10:15 AM
These analogies are exhausting! Anybody can come up with one to support their original intuition. Someone needs to answer the bell, grab some video gear and create a youtube video to answer this age old question. Premise: One team armed with 20 years of experience gets a sub-$300 smoker (chosen randomly), another team with only 2 years experience gets a $3,000 smoker. Both teams get 4 trail cooks using KCBS rules and times. On the 5th day they get judged. Who's up for the challenge?

Wasn't there talk of a Brethren "conference" a few month ago? We could shoot this there!

Greta idea. Might I suggest an ECB for the lower end instead of a $300 smoker. We all know that a $300 weber can win championships.

Lake Dogs
12-01-2011, 10:18 AM
These analogies are exhausting! Anybody can come up with one to support their original intuition. Someone needs to answer the bell, grab some video gear and create a youtube video to answer this age old question. Premise: One team armed with 20 years of experience gets a sub-$300 smoker (chosen randomly), another team with only 2 years experience gets a $3,000 smoker. Both teams get 4 trail cooks using KCBS rules and times. On the 5th day they get judged. Who's up for the challenge?

Wasn't there talk of a Brethren "conference" a few month ago? We could shoot this there!

Humbly, there are plenty of teams with only 2 years experience that are FANTASTIC cooks and can compete against the 20 year vets any day of the week...

Take a newby; a complete rookie, hand him/her that nice Stumps smoker and give Myron 3 Brinkmann Smoke-N-Pits. While you'll have to endure a LOT of barating (spelling) from Myron, I'll bet $1,000 crisp right now Myron will win by a LARGE margin. Or Pete and Melissa from Yazoo's, or Scottie, or . . . I'll bet money these folks will kick the ever-lovin' **** out of that rookie. Shoot, blind fold 'em. I'll still put money on 'em.


Although, this does bring to mind BBQ PitMasters season 1. That kid was apparently a fairly accomplished chef too. He failed.

landarc
12-01-2011, 10:28 AM
On the other hand, all this can someone beat another person stuff, I was at a comp a while back and one of the more experiences and respected guys was up, walking around and quite agitated, this was at 6am, his brisket had miraculously finished 7 hours before turn in. Somehow, in his insulated, guru'd smoker, the brisket had just gotten done too soon. He finished poorly. At the end of the day, yes, I would love a Spicewine, doesn't mean I give up my kettle.

gtr
12-01-2011, 10:30 AM
Maybe this weekend I'll let my 8 & 10 year old sons have at the Klose & I'll cook something on the Old Smokey and see how that goes.

landarc
12-01-2011, 10:53 AM
Maybe this weekend I'll let my 8 & 10 year old sons have at the Klose & I'll cook something on the Old Smokey and see how that goes.
What if they beat you?

Lake Dogs
12-01-2011, 10:55 AM
My money is on Mayzie!

gtr
12-01-2011, 10:56 AM
What if they beat you?

My money is on Mayzie!

I knew I was pitching a softball there. :doh:

I'll just add that as leaky and inefficient as that Old Smokey thing is, I kinda like it. I did feel pretty good when I did a couple racks of spares in it for the first cook a couple months ago and they turned out really good - actually better than the first ribs I did in the Klose - a couple of years makes a big difference. :thumb:.
So I guess that means I'm coming down on "it's the cook that makes a difference" side. Obviously there are tons of variables, but at a very basic level if you can cook, you can cook no matter what, and if you can't, you can't no matter what.

Brizz
12-01-2011, 11:34 AM
Humbly, there are plenty of teams with only 2 years experience that are FANTASTIC cooks and can compete against the 20 year vets any day of the week...

Take a newby; a complete rookie, hand him/her that nice Stumps smoker and give Myron 3 Brinkmann Smoke-N-Pits. While you'll have to endure a LOT of barating (spelling) from Myron, I'll bet $1,000 crisp right now Myron will win by a LARGE margin. Or Pete and Melissa from Yazoo's, or Scottie, or . . . I'll bet money these folks will kick the ever-lovin' **** out of that rookie. Shoot, blind fold 'em. I'll still put money on 'em.


Although, this does bring to mind BBQ PitMasters season 1. That kid was apparently a fairly accomplished chef too. He failed.

To be fair, the OP said "minimal background." You're right though, 2 years on my part is a little much and rookie is too little. How about 1 year? An average backyard hobbyist would maybe average 2 cooks a month for 7-8 months, smoking various meats, giving him 4 trials with each KCBS meat prior to our contest. Thoughts?

Greta idea. Might I suggest an ECB for the lower end instead of a $300 smoker. We all know that a $300 weber can win championships.

Great point. However I was thinking $300 total so if Competitor A wanted a cheapy offset and a kettle for chicken he has a $300 budget. Can you do a full KCBS comp on one 18.5" WSM?

kihrer
12-01-2011, 12:01 PM
To be fair, the OP said "minimal background." You're right though, 2 years on my part is a little much and rookie is too little. How about 1 year? An average backyard hobbyist would maybe average 2 cooks a month for 7-8 months, smoking various meats, giving him 4 trials with each KCBS meat prior to our contest. Thoughts?



Great point. However I was thinking $300 total so if Competitor A wanted a cheapy offset and a kettle for chicken he has a $300 budget. Can you do a full KCBS comp on one 18.5" WSM?

Gotcha. I don't think it would be feasible to do four comp meats on an 18.5. They could on an SnP and to up their chances they could cook chicken on a Kettle. They could buy all that for $300.

btcg
12-01-2011, 12:36 PM
On the other hand, all this can someone beat another person stuff, I was at a comp a while back and one of the more experiences and respected guys was up, walking around and quite agitated, this was at 6am, his brisket had miraculously finished 7 hours before turn in. Somehow, in his insulated, guru'd smoker, the brisket had just gotten done too soon. He finished poorly. At the end of the day, yes, I would love a Spicewine, doesn't mean I give up my kettle.

I related this once:

At Trigg's class, we all headed to the alley behind the restaurant after a lecture. Johhny and Rod'sJambo's were there, as were their campers, and it was time to put the meat on.

The entire morning, Johnny had made comments to the class about a man who was sitting in the center of the room at the front table, telling us all what an expert he was at all things that had to do with comps and BBQ'ing in general.

In the alley, the man happened to be next to Boshizzle and I, and we were discussing smoking woods. I mentioned that I had recently quit using hickory, opting instead for fruitwoods, because my wife disliked hickory, as it's a heavier flavor than fruitwoods, namely peach, which I was using quite a bit at that time.

The expert said "Hickory is stronger than fruitwoods? I never heard that before."

I thought he was joshing me. I thought that to be pretty much common knowledge.

But the next day, he walked up to me an said: "I mentioned what you said to some of my friends here, and they say you're right about hickory."

I thought to myself "This guy is an expert?"

In his defense, maybe he's never used hickory. But as a comp guy, you'd think that he would have known something that basic.

So, there's a wide, gray area as to what constitues an expert, if you ask me.

We had this other guy a table over who one of the girls at our table was treating like he was Gordon Ramsey. I asked why, and she said the guy had won a couple GC's. In the alley, we was treating everyone around him like a noob, until he started bragging about his smoker. Turns out, he uses a pellet pooper.

He says to me "you ought to get one."

Me: "I just got a new smoker for Xmas, and it's pretty good. Don't think I need a new one, and shouldn't for quite a while."

That's when he let it slip that he used a pellet pooper. And he just continued to be obnoxious. He said something really nasty to another guy who was sitting right by him.

Kinda p'd me off, so I said:

"Hey, maybe you could work your way up to a Bradley?"

Put the boy away. He was rather quiet after that.

I don't think comp cookers are any different than any other cooker. You can line 20 of em up, and 6 or 7 might really know their stuff, while the rest had limited knowledge... the same ratio you'd find out of serious cooks who only cook for themselves and their families at their own homes.

landarc
12-01-2011, 01:25 PM
Brizz, you can do an entire comp on a UDS, add a kettle in there and you can produce some very good competition meats for under $300. You won't sleep much, but, more than a stickburner and you might even do quite well.

By the way, I think a new cooker, even one with just a few cooks under their belt might do just fine under most circumstances. Lots of first timers call or even place at competitions, they hit the zone and it all works. Where an experienced cooker separates themselves is when things are going south, when things just aren't right and you need to get something out there.

It is a lot like cooking in a restaurant versus cooking from recipes, anyone can follow instructions and turn out decent food. Add in a time line, people's expectations, limited room etc...now you need to cook. I recently did a cook for a friends 50th birthday. Adding to the problem was that the gourmet kitchen I was assured of had a stove that was jetted wrong and could barely boil water, a grill that the elements were burned out and the expectations that I am some kind of kitchen wizard, plus my friend telling me she had never had a really special birthday. Pressure much? This is where cooking for 35 years makes a difference, when the fancy equipment is not there. Could I have done a better job in a better kitchen, sure, could someone with 1 year of cooking experience have turned out the food on time, on expectation etc...I would bet no.

tish
12-01-2011, 01:30 PM
So, landarc, what I want to know is how did the birthday dinner come out? Was the birthday girl pleased?:twitch:

landarc
12-01-2011, 02:01 PM
Yes. Menu:

Ribeyes slow grilled :tsk: then butter poached (rare/medium rare) cause the stupid stove could only reach poaching temperature, served with slow grilled balsamic, fresh thyme and rosemary marinated portobellos and onions sauteed in white wine butter sauce with fresh herbs.

Broccolini steamed in a white wine/lemon broth then served with reduction of same and mounted with Oregon sweet butter. Sal gris finished.

Slow grilled asparagus marinated in olive oil, balsamic vinegar, garlic and fresh rosemary, Sal gris on the finish

fresh salad that thankfully did not require slow grilling

Macaroni and Cheese, made with organic smoked gouda, emmenthaler and cheddar, rice pasta, finished with whole grain croutons soaked in olive oil and butter

And she said it was fantastic and everything she had hoped for. So, I win and stupid stove and grill lost.

tish
12-01-2011, 02:15 PM
Sounds amazing! Glad you were triumphant! :whoo:

Lake Dogs
12-01-2011, 02:39 PM
^^^ flirting?

Lake Dogs
12-01-2011, 02:46 PM
To be fair, the OP said "minimal background." You're right though, 2 years on my part is a little much and rookie is too little. How about 1 year? An average backyard hobbyist would maybe average 2 cooks a month for 7-8 months, smoking various meats, giving him 4 trials with each KCBS meat prior to our contest. Thoughts?



As long as he/she's not finished in the top 25% in a competition. Sure.

Take someone with some knowledge but with limited success...


Give 'em a darned good smoker. Then get someone who's having very good success competing and has for a while. How about Rub? He's from Florida; he should know how to work with crap equipment! <FLORIDA JOKE>

Rubmybutt
12-01-2011, 05:35 PM
These analogies are exhausting! Anybody can come up with one to support their original intuition. Someone needs to answer the bell, grab some video gear and create a youtube video to answer this age old question. Premise: One team armed with 20 years of experience gets a sub-$300 smoker (chosen randomly), another team with only 2 years experience gets a $3,000 smoker. Both teams get 4 trail cooks using KCBS rules and times. On the 5th day they get judged. Who's up for the challenge?

Wasn't there talk of a Brethren "conference" a few month ago? We could shoot this there!

I have an idea, since I started this post if interested I will host the event. I'm dead center in the middle of the ol USA, on an acreage and I think I have the room?

What do you think? Like I said when I started this post I am rookie, but I don't know if I want to be rookie in contest just rookie site provider:becky:. What does everyone think? :thumb:

Boshizzle
12-01-2011, 05:59 PM
To be fair, the OP said "minimal background." You're right though, 2 years on my part is a little much and rookie is too little. How about 1 year? An average backyard hobbyist would maybe average 2 cooks a month for 7-8 months, smoking various meats, giving him 4 trials with each KCBS meat prior to our contest. Thoughts?



Great point. However I was thinking $300 total so if Competitor A wanted a cheapy offset and a kettle for chicken he has a $300 budget. Can you do a full KCBS comp on one 18.5" WSM?

Heck yeah, an 18.5" WSM is plenty especially if you have a couple of good coolers or a Cambro handy.

However, I think a stick burner has an edge overall. But, if everyone has an 18" WSM I think it can still be done and the best cook in the bunch will win.

Flavor Gangster
12-01-2011, 06:03 PM
A good BBQ cook should be able to adapt and overcome with just about anything he has on hand. Having a cooker that you know and being able to plan for its quirks ahead of time goes a long way to minimize the *adversity* from time to time.

Through the course of my year here I have had to learn a new cooker while cooking for more than just myself on several occasions, to include piecing together working parts in a kettle with a missing grill grate. A couple examples for your viewing pleasure...

http://i32.photobucket.com/albums/d41/gixxer01/Mcguyver1.jpg

http://i32.photobucket.com/albums/d41/gixxer01/Prawn.jpg

http://i32.photobucket.com/albums/d41/gixxer01/offset1.jpg

http://i32.photobucket.com/albums/d41/gixxer01/smokinandsmokin.jpg
THATS A COOKER. NICE AND BIG TOO. vERY COOL.

kihrer
12-01-2011, 08:25 PM
Maybe the experienced cook should have to dig a pit and do it caveman style:becky:

btcg
12-02-2011, 07:54 AM
I have an idea, since I started this post if interested I will host the event. I'm dead center in the middle of the ol USA, on an acreage and I think I have the room?

What do you think? Like I said when I started this post I am rookie, but I don't know if I want to be rookie in contest just rookie site provider:becky:. What does everyone think? :thumb:


Should I PM you with my address, so you'll know where to send my plane ticket and hotel reservation info? I think that if you provide $25 a day meal money, that should suffice.

btcg
12-02-2011, 07:56 AM
THATS A COOKER. NICE AND BIG TOO. vERY COOL.

Love that last smoker, but I think you need a good cover for it. It's deserving of that.

sitnfat
12-02-2011, 11:18 AM
This was my 2nd year to cook I have a old home made smoker named Lena she is a 250 gallon propane tank dang sure ain't anything to look at. I was cooking on her in Bentonville the guys from Iowa next to me were talking about how clean she was burning, Johnny was telling people it's the newest model Jambo! No visible smoke at all, I stared down the row of Jambos an Mike with his Yoder I don think it's the equipment it's the cook I know my smoker. That being said I have ordered a new Stumps Jr to help improve in the Consistancy of meat tenderness and moisture.