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thunter
08-13-2013, 04:26 PM
I have seen a lot of threads that give a big thumbs down for several BBQ restaurants like Famous Dave's. I was wondering what you all might think the common denominator might be in their average to poor quality BBQ. Could it be those industrial smokers? Do the Southern Pride style smokers turn out quality BBQ like a giant stick burner does? Just curious to hear what y'all think about those big restaurant smokers.

BB-Kuhn
08-13-2013, 04:37 PM
My opinion is that we Brethren are mostly made up of backyard cooking and competition cooking...
This is a huge factor because:

1 - When we do this, we are in the perfect situation to OBSESS over our cook. We commit to looking after our 2 or 3 slabs for hours without really doing much else for that time.

2 - We have "our" recipe. Rubs, brines, injections, sauces - we use the one we have found to prefer the best and even make something exactly to our taste desires - restaurants dont have your secret recipe you prefer.

While we are obsessing about foil, glaze, mop, etc, that restaurant just served 200 people on a lunch rush. There is no way they can obsess to our level while serving the masses.

Whenever you set up a restaurant, you have to develop cooking methods that are efficient, easy to replicate accurately by a list of different people and using recipes (rubs/sauces) that are simple, cost efficient and universally acceptable in flavor.

That is a HUGE set of obstacles to overcome to compete with our backyard or competition plate.

I don't expect any restaurant to beat my stuff I obsess over, but I do appreciate the ones that are decent.

Arlin_MacRae
08-13-2013, 04:38 PM
^^^^
Well said

John Bowen
08-13-2013, 04:59 PM
What I have always wondered is how BBQ resturants keep the BBQ warm without drying out.

marubozo
08-13-2013, 05:04 PM
What I have always wondered is how BBQ resturants keep the BBQ warm without drying out.

There are holding ovens out there that can be set to maintain very specific temperature and humidity levels which help keep food hot and moist.

I personally have a Winston CVAP. Not cheap, but it's actually amazing how well they work.

Wyley
08-13-2013, 05:05 PM
This will answer some or your questions.

http://nashvillecitypaper.com/content/city-news/bbq-roundtable-five-nashvilles-best-pitmasters-talk-meat-sauce-smoke-and-style

neuyawk
08-13-2013, 05:06 PM
The main issue with places like Famous Dave's is that they use electric smokers. Now electrics are fine but the issue is that you have staff who may or may not remember to fill that little chip box with wood. Unlike say a stick burner, you can't "forget" to put wood in whereas it's pretty easy to do especially when there's like a bazillion things to do in a restaurant setting.

The other issue is that your "pitmaster" might be some dude who really could not care about BBQ. Now the owner might care. But again instill the owner's passion into the staff is very very hard. There are many cooks at BBQ joints who will just as soon work at Olive Garden's if the pay is 1.50 more per hour.

caseydog
08-13-2013, 05:19 PM
I think it is the pitmaster and the people close to that person -- the people who mind the meat on the pits. They have to know what they are doing, and more than that, have to care about what they are doing.

Cooking good food, of any kind, is not a job -- it is a profession. If you think it is a job, you won't cook good food. If you consider it your profession, you will do what you need to do to do it right.

IMO, it really doesn't matter whether you are cooking gourmet French food, Pizza, or BBQ, if you consider yourself a professional cook or chef, you will want to cook whatever you cook, the best way it can possibly be cooked. The equipment is just your tools. You want good tools, for sure, but you will find a way to make good food with whatever tools you have.

CD

SimondsBBQ
08-13-2013, 05:35 PM
100% Neuyawk. It's hard for a Restaurant to mass produce something consistently. For an owner it should be a profession. For the cooks it's a job. Many of them don't care too much.

Big Mike
08-13-2013, 05:43 PM
A Southern Pride or Ole Hickory will put out good bbq. In a restaurant, it is the person doing the cooking that makes the difference.

You will hear people say that you can't put out competition quality bbq in a restaurant. I disagree. You may not inject, marinade, etc., but you can still put out top quality bbq. It all comes down to the person cooking the meat and whether they care about what they are doing or not. Like caseydog said, it is hard to find that person today that cares and takes pride in what they are putting out.

nycbbq
08-13-2013, 05:53 PM
The main issue with places like Famous Dave's is that they use electric smokers. Now electrics are fine but the issue is that you have staff who may or may not remember to fill that little chip box with wood. Unlike say a stick burner, you can't "forget" to put wood in whereas it's pretty easy to do especially when there's like a bazillion things to do in a restaurant setting.

The other issue is that your "pitmaster" might be some dude who really could not care about BBQ. Now the owner might care. But again instill the owner's passion into the staff is very very hard. There are many cooks at BBQ joints who will just as soon work at Olive Garden's if the pay is 1.50 more per hour.

Even the Famous Dave's on 42nd St Times Square has a gas assist stick burner!

GoolsbyMD
08-13-2013, 05:55 PM
It's all about the love of the bbq! I agree with a lot of what was said above about cranking out ribs and sandwiches etc in an efficient manner.

Bludawg
08-13-2013, 05:57 PM
The biggest issues for me at least is over cooked ribs and bland (Wheres the Smoke) other meats. There is a Common thing and that is a SP pits. I like my food cooked with wood not gas and yes there is a difference in taste & texture. I realize that the food must appeal to the masses most of which drown the stuff in sauce because as we all know the secret is in the sauce( Liquid smoke). I can tell with in 15 sec if I am going to have a Good experience or a Jump back in the truck and haul butt out of there, the smell. If I can smell the aroma of Sweet blue in the parking lot I will go in. If the air inside smells like bbq and wood smoke chances are it will be ok. any one who has been to Smitty's knows what I'm taking about.

coastal
08-13-2013, 06:03 PM
Basically what khun said. I always think back to the bobby flay throwdown show on stuff like this. Flay would take a restaurant item favorite selling between 5 and 15 $ and pump 50 to 100 $ into making a better version.. then act as if he was better.

Restaurants have to make a profit while cleaning, cooking, heating etc.. many people a day. With that said there is better places to go than others..

IamMadMan
08-13-2013, 07:33 PM
A Southern Pride or Ole Hickory will put out good bbq. In a restaurant, it is the person doing the cooking that makes the difference.

You will hear people say that you can't put out competition quality bbq in a restaurant. I disagree. You may not inject, marinade, etc., but you can still put out top quality bbq. It all comes down to the person cooking the meat and whether they care about what they are doing or not. Like caseydog said, it is hard to find that person today that cares and takes pride in what they are putting out.

^+1 I agree it is the pitmaster that make good BBQ, not the cooker...

But I disagree about competition quality BBQ in a restaurant. You can find outstanding quality BBQ in some restaurants, but competition BBQ is geared toward a specific taste and texture that is still open to personal tastes and opinions. Also when I was competing, the grade of the competition meats were vastly superior to what is considered restaurant meat and the price differences are vast between the two products..

Blanton
08-13-2013, 11:37 PM
I think one of the issue is that they have to try to hold for some time. I hate seeing a place pull a rack out of the holding box and cut the Saran Wrap off. I don't know how FD holds them, but I believe they hit the grill after being held. I like that little bit of char and defiently firms them back up

early mornin' smokin'
08-14-2013, 08:49 AM
if a restaurant is cooking with a southern pride or ole hickory, it's a propane blast chamber where you throw in the occasional log, easy to forget to add more. A lot of the higher end que joints will use pits by JR oyler, open pits, the list goes on. I'm not a fan of meat cooked in a southern pride gasser. It comes down to the pitmaster making sure there's a steady stream of logs going in the smoker. A southern pride will run all day at 225, even without wood. but it's just humid propane heat. That's half the problem. And an electric smoker with a little smoker tray will never produce decent que.

stephan
08-14-2013, 08:58 AM
For BBQ joints by me, having a wood smoker causes all kinds of problems with the neighbors and the local government a few have put in some very expensive systems to clean up the the exhaust on the way out of the smoker.

early mornin' smokin'
08-14-2013, 09:11 AM
lake grove? where's there even any bbq around there???? didn't famous daves close?

bananablack
08-14-2013, 09:15 AM
restaurants are in the business to make money...They follow several practices...1. cooking for the masses, literally tailoring the food to an acceptable taste range for most customers, 2. keeping costs down and profibility up. 3. efficiency

luke duke
08-14-2013, 09:53 AM
A Southern Pride or Ole Hickory will put out good bbq.

Define "good."

stephan
08-14-2013, 12:00 PM
FD is still going strong and there are a few BBQ joints in Bayshore, Patchouge and Commack

early mornin' smokin'
08-14-2013, 12:03 PM
any of them cooking on decent smokers? I know a bunch of JR Oylers just went on sale locally. Smokin al's cooks on electric cookshacks if i'm not mistaken, bobbique has a southern pride and i'm not familiar with the guy in commack. I do know none of them turn out anything decent bbq wise, but it's long island so most don't even have a clue.

stephan
08-14-2013, 12:18 PM
I try to keep it in perspective they have to sell a product that people in general will like. I dont think any of those mentioned are great but they are ok, and people seem to like it. But then again look at Mcdonalds or Burger king, so much for the masses opinion on hamburgers

Texas Turtle
08-14-2013, 12:33 PM
My local Q emporium has a huge Oyler rotisserie pit which is fired entirely with locally sourced pecan logs. It has a computerized controller sort of like a hyperthyroid Guru. They fire it up at 4:00 PM and it cooks all night at 225 loaded with up to 50 briskets. They come out coal black so they trim the bark before slicing. It's good but not great IMHO. They cook their ribs, sausage and chicken over Kingsford-fired horizontal smokers that are about 20 feet long. They have four of those. Everything they cook is over wood/charcoal fires. Their sausage smokehouse is natural gas fired with a fan-forced smoker module. It is also computerized. They make around 1000 links of fresh smoked sausage per week. The sausage is the best thing in the house. They do a pretty good job considering the volume they do and having ot please the "average" taste.