P.S. Wherever you end up eating Q in Texas, give us a little report. No pressure .
The variables that can affect results are numerous. Obviously, this is true with anything. Because this type of food takes a relatively long time, consistency (or lack of) can have dramatic impacts on the finished product.
I’ve never been to Austin but Franklin has a reputation for consistency.Through his PBS series, Franklin explains and points out how he practices the basic principles of the scientific method. He makes his observations and examples seem so easy and straightforward. But amateurs actually having the discipline to practice it can be wobbly. Processes that need to be monitored for multiple hours takes a certain amount of discipline. Weekend BBQ warriors with an ice chest full of beer puts Vegas odds against the results.
Franklin tries to experiment with the variables, but only changing one variable while keeping all others consistent. He will work that variable in several ways over multiple sessions, noting the differences and moving on from there to the next on, working that variable in different ways, and so on. Whether it’s the meat from different sources/seasons, type of wood (and mix of woods at different stages), amount of air (predicated on ambient heat, humidity, etc.), type/size of smoker, and the list goes on.
So, for Franklin to get to this point was very methodical, strenuous and time-consuming. But the results apparently speak for themselves.
Detailed and insightful and interesting… that’s you. Ima’ have to read that again!
I think Franklin is the exception and most BBQ spots can be inconsistent. That’s even true for spots like those in Lockhart. All the BBQ places that I’ve frequented often have had some days that are better than others. If a place is sublime 3/4 of the time and mediocre 1/4 of the time, I kind of accept that. It’s the only cuisine where I’ve come to accept that level of inconsistency.
Good point. We would rip apart any other type of restaurant with consistency problems. Me not being a huge BBQ lover (especially long smoking) I have to admit to tearing Bludsoe’s apart at times. Although, after trying Maple Block I don’t think I’m completely wrong. Anyway, I will have to re-evaluate how I judge BBQ places, based on the criteria you lovers use. There is one problem, if it’s the first time a person tries a place and it’s an off day, they won’t have a favorable opinion and might not go back. For instance, if it weren’t for this thread I would never eat MB’s chicken again. But based on the general opinion I realize I probably had an off batch. To keep it on the Bludsoe’s topic - except for the salt issue - I’ve never had a bad piece of chicken there.
This is an interesting thread. I’m learning a lot.
Okay, read it again.
I’ve watched Franklin’s show and others, and did a little charcoal/wood BBQ experimenting of my own last summer. I figured because I’m an experienced home cook and have southern influence I could get it down pretty easily. Wrong. It takes a certain personality - not just cooking skill - to become really good at BBQ. I am not known for my patience and although I’m a really good multi-tasker and problem solver I don’t have the patience for detail. These two things are key. After a little experimenting I managed to do a pretty decent slab of ribs, and now have a great BBQ chicken recipe and cook procedure. But I didn’t love doing it.
I was actually surprised, blown away and a little envious about how many Food Talkers turned in phenomenal home BBQ during July DOTM. Some of these posters I never see on the Home Cooking threads. But they have the right tempermant, personality and maybe even IQ to develop the skill set for becoming a pitmaster.
No problem – I’ll report. Here’s one from the last time I was in Texas, in 2008:
I doubt much has changed.
I’m with you @TheCookie. I remember the argument – and being baffled by the claim. I find it difficult to believe even Aaron Franklin doesn’t have a bad day once in a while (though I’m sure his rep for consistency is well deserved).
Meat looks good but Bludos B&Q sides look so much better…I’m really starting to think the B&Q sides (and their alcohol license) represents B&Q’s competitive advantage.
Good report! You’re a true BBQ lover. Thanks!
Yes Bludsoe’s sides are solid.
There was a hole in our MB bag and the potato salad and mac & cheese ended up on the sidewalk to be found the next day. We didn’t eat them and received a credit. Probably why I didn’t think to say anything about the chicken. But the greens and coleslaw were intact and very good. I like that the slaw comes undressed and you have a choice between 2 tasty dressings.
They’ll die fat and happy…
Hah… I took it as a joke. You know? A slam on Bludsoe’s stale bread. Maybe not.
The Compton location gives a whole load of “supermarket” white bread with the party tray. This is the white bread that you could compress a whole loaf into the size of a baseball. I know it’s traditional, and we did try being traditional the first couple of times, but it just didn’t work for anyone. So happy fat ducks at the pond.
This should probably go in the “food confession” thread. But when we were kids we would tear off pieces of Wonder Bread, roll them into doughy little balls and eat them. TMI?
I had a sad childhood. My mom wouldn’t let us eat Wonder Bread. She claimed it was unhealthy and made us eat wheat and anything else considered as more healthy alternatives in general. Gah - this is confessions of the stomach, isn’t it?
My mom eventually became that mom too.
We had dinner last night at B&Q. Parking was pretty easy on La Brea - we got there a little after 6PM - the place was getting packed. I’m guessing the hot weather got people thinking of 'que. We had about a 30-minute wait.
This place has a great bar, especially for a BBQ joint. But if you don’t drink alcohol, one may think it’s not a concern. Still, my daughter ordered a sweet tea and a “hibiscus” agua fresca - both being versions that were better than most others. Just a warning though - the hibiscus is the real deal and the depth and tartness of it may be closer to wine. This I think is intentional. When I eat BBQ, the wine of choice for me tend to be Syrahs or petite Syrahs - heftier on the red flavors and tannins. I personally enjoy these flavors with BBQ and I like that the flavors of wines with more skin in the game can hold up to the solid flavors of BBQ.
While waiting, we ordered a couple of canned brews from Fort Point in SFO - an IPA and a red ale - the IPA was more restrained on IBUs (my preference) than so many of the CA bitter bombs that are the rule now, yet still full of nice aromas and flavors. I didn’t try the red ale but my wife really liked it - 16 IBUs which is her favored range - and she said it was full flavored and just a little (beer) sweet like a red ale should be.
I finished my beer before we were called up, so my attention turned to the bar again. Their old fashioned cocktails are superb, as they age the mix in small kegs.
But they also age mezcal in pinot noir barrels as well. This mezcal can be served straight up, on the rocks, or in cocktails as well. I opted for the mezcal in a girly looking drink that I don’t even recall the name of. But it contained that mezcal, chartreuse, house made grapefruit bitters, something else, and garnished with grapefruit peel.
This cocktail is like a flyweight MMA fighter wearing a tutu. It may not seem threatening, but respect it or it will kick your ass. I sipped this over a 10 minute period (really enjoyed the complexity), wasn’t taken back by any alcohol vapors - probably the chartreuse, bitters and grapefruit peel laying cover - but damned if I wasn’t a little drunk. It’s not like I take pride in being able to down a lot of booze, but I was surprised at how much I felt this drink without really noticing much alcohol in it. Anyway…
We ordered more than three could finish - intentionally - because who doesn’t want BBQ leftovers? Two items where supply and demand are off - pulled pork and the short ribs - had just run out JUST BEFORE our order went into the kitchen. ~6:45-7PM. I’m not much of a pulled pork fan, but I do really like B&Q’s version. I’ve never tried their short rib, so this was the bigger loss for me - was really looking forward to it.
We ordered more drinks - Alagash white ale on tap for SWMBO, a syrah of unknown origin for me. Sorry to have forgotten the pix - I was pretty toasty from that last cocktail.
We got the rib tips, brisket, pork ribs, chicken and hot links. All were really good, nothing was dry - even the chicken.
The rib tips were exceptional. Big, juicy flavorful chunks of porcine perfection. Texas-style charsiu courtesy of The Golden State.
The brisket has never failed us from this location - it full-flavored, smokey and moist - and this was the lean cut.
My family still prefers the ribs (and the 'que in general) from Bludso’s/B&Q - they’re fine by my book, but I still prefer Maple Block’s pork ribs, especially when they offer the less conventional rib cuts.
The hot links are pretty spicy - f-in’ spicy to most - my daughter is the one who loves hot links and ordered these, but she could only finish half before signaling SOS - yours truly to the rescue!
The sides at B&Q are really solid versions of BBQ cuisine. I honestly don’t know which I like better between the meat and the sides. We ordered potato salad, BBQ beans, greens and some cornbread. My wife got some regular and spicy BBQ sauces - almost never use the stuff - but their sauces are good.
B&Q’s potato salad is well prepared but could use more flavor a la OG Bludso’s style. Still, for me it kinda subs in as white rice to eat with the meats.
The BBQ beans are really flavorful. There BBQ sauce really excels here, as do the chunks of pork. Sit me down with just these beans and a bowl of rice and I’m done.
The greens are exceptional as well. The pot liquor is so flavorful - one could enjoy it like soup. Alternating bites of the greens with the brisket is heaven.
I mentioned that I rarely use BBQ sauces while eating 'que. One condiment I would recommend is the jalapeño vinegar in bottles on the table. It goes so well with the fatty cuts of meat and the chicken. My wife likes it so much that she sprinkled it all over the leftover meats.
As everyone knows, Nicole Rucker makes a fair amount of the desserts for B&Q. Chocolate chess pie, lime pie, banana pudding, and peach crumble a la mode were among the choices (I think ice cream and pie a la mode as well).
It’s April,folks - not July or August - who the Hell offers peaches in F-in’ spring? Would someone as respected as Nicole or the guys at The Golden State have such nerve to commit foodie heresy?
My wife wants the peach crumble a la mode. I give her the look, and say what I mentioned above about seasonality. She still wants the peach. I squint at her like she’s crazy. I ask the waiter (really nice guy) what he’d recommend - “The peach crumble a la mode with sweet potato brown sugar ice cream from Scoops.”
Although I lose the argument, I win because I relinquished dessert choice to my wife “who is always right,” AND I was able to enjoy a summer dessert that tasted like summer in the Spring time. I didn’t ask, but if I had to guess, these peaches were probably canned by Nicole or an associate last summer. Great stuff.
Bludso’s Bar & Que continues too be an excellent barbeque experience. This marriage between Kevin Bludso and The Golden State has been a blessing for the area north of the 10. Heck, north of the 105. I can only hope that this alliance between the two has Mr. Bludso setting his goals higher for his new place. It would be great not lonely for him, but for Compton as well. Keeping my fingers crossed that the new place does everyone proud. Until then, B&Q is more than worthy on its own.