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Q-talk *ON TOPIC ONLY* QUALITY ON TOPIC discussion of Backyard BBQ, grilling, equipment and outdoor cookin' . ** Other cooking techniques are welcomed for when your cookin' in the kitchen. Post your hints, tips, tricks & techniques, success, failures, but stay on topic and watch for that hijacking.

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Old 11-27-2011, 11:52 AM   #1
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Default Great BBQ is it the machine or the mind

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?

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Old 11-27-2011, 11:56 AM   #2
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As with so many other things,i do not think it is the equipment. It is the person tending it. jmo.
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Old 11-27-2011, 11:56 AM   #3
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A good cook can turn out good eats using any equipment and or supplies on hand.
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Old 11-27-2011, 12:09 PM   #4
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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.
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Old 11-27-2011, 12:16 PM   #5
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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.
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Old 11-27-2011, 12:25 PM   #6
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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.
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Old 11-27-2011, 12:30 PM   #7
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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.
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Old 11-27-2011, 12:31 PM   #8
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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.
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Old 11-27-2011, 12:45 PM   #9
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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.
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Old 11-27-2011, 12:47 PM   #10
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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!
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Old 11-27-2011, 01:00 PM   #11
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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...

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Old 11-27-2011, 01:12 PM   #12
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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 know the rest.
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Old 11-27-2011, 01:17 PM   #13
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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.
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Old 11-27-2011, 01:37 PM   #14
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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.
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Old 11-27-2011, 03:20 PM   #15
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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.
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