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Q-talk *ON TOPIC ONLY* QUALITY ON TOPIC discussion of Backyard BBQ, grilling, Equipment and just outdoor cookin' in general, hints, tips, tricks & techniques, success, failures... but stay on topic. And watch for that hijacking.


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Unread 07-16-2013, 07:46 AM   #31
smokeisgood
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This is not to criticize anyone using electronics, because I am looking at getting a Cyber Q setup myself, but I really fail to see any difference in having a sealed cooker with electronically controlled airflow to control the temperature is any different that an electric smoker or even an oven. It's fair, because everyone has that choice, but it really should probably be a different category. And really and truly, if the sanctioning bodies are going to allow electronically controlled boxes to feed fuel and regulate temperature, why do they disallow electric smokers and propane?
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Unread 07-16-2013, 07:51 AM   #32
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I'll pile on here. When I first started watching Pitmaster's, I would laugh every time a competitor would say, "I'm going to set my pit for 275...".

A big part about what **I** enjoy about Q'n is tending the fire while socializing with my friends.

I have entered a few small local comps. The first one I entered, the team next to us used a programmable propane-fired smoker. They came out, set it up, and went to a hotel for the night. Not one person stayed on their plot. We stayed up all night BS'ing with other teams. The propane guys won first place, but I bet I had more fun.

To each there own.

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Unread 07-16-2013, 07:54 AM   #33
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cheapbeer View Post
why dont you find an old woodburning oven and tell her that you will be getting rid of the modern kitchen stove so she can cook on the same level that great grandmothers did............
That's a pretty cheap shot but since this is a friendly forum I'm going to pretend you forgot to put in the smiley face and walk away from this.
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Unread 07-16-2013, 07:58 AM   #34
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Quote:
Originally Posted by smokeisgood View Post
This is not to criticize anyone using electronics, because I am looking at getting a Cyber Q setup myself, but I really fail to see any difference in having a sealed cooker with electronically controlled airflow to control the temperature is any different that an electric smoker or even an oven. It's fair, because everyone has that choice, but it really should probably be a different category. And really and truly, if the sanctioning bodies are going to allow electronically controlled boxes to feed fuel and regulate temperature, why do they disallow electric smokers and propane?
I think you and Oldbill might be on to something. There should be a different category. Because at the end of the day, fire management is part of the process of making good BBQ. If electronics are doing that for you, you're not competing on an even playing field.

I do feel these gadgets and gizmos have there place, especially if your are catering or doing backyard cooking, but if the goal of a competition is to see who can make the best BBQ, and fire control is part of making BBQ, we all should be on a level playing field.
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Unread 07-16-2013, 08:29 AM   #35
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The use of electronic controls on smokers is about as contentious as the use of foil, fat cap up or down or using galvanized metals

As I read through this thread I noticed a couple of things that always come up and always bug me. Yes, I use a pellet smoker, and I have a fan controller for my Backwoods. BUT... a lot of folks seem to assume that just because folks use these devices or types of smokers that means that they don't know how to cook without it. That's a generalization, and most generalizations are generally wrong. Most guys who have chosen to use a pellet smoker or add a fan controller to their existing smoker have cooked on other smokers in the past and are comfortable with those methods. I've cooked on just about every kind of smoker out there and have done the 2AM shift feeding sticks into an offset. I chose to use a pellet smoker because I like the result and I need my beauty sleep . That doesn't make me any less of a pitmaster.

Second. at least one post questioned why pellet smokers and fan controllers are allowed in competitions but gas and electric smokers aren't. One common misconception is that pellet smokers, in particular, don't burn wood. That is simply not the case. The fire and heat source in a pellet smoker is 100% wood. Gas and electric smokers use either gas or an electric heating element as their heat source and wood for smoke. This has been debated for competition use quite a bit and the determination was that pellet smokers use a wood fire and are no different in that aspect than any other wood burning smoker (I'm lumping charcoal into that category).

Finally, I like Oldbill's suggestion of a competition where no electronically assisted pits are allowed. In fact, this has been done. There was a comp on the east coast last season that followed this concept, and the Chicago Rib Classic in September has taken this approach.

And the other side of the topic, there was also a couple of comps a couple of years back in Iowa where gas smokers were allowed. We competed in LPQue2 and, interestingly enough, the winner was a propane fueled Old Hickory, but the majority of the top 10 were wood fired.

One final note... Don't bash your fellow Brethren because of their choice of cooker. I see this a lot in these threads. Folks come in and disparage others because they made a different choice of cooker. That's not how we do things around here. Discuss the merits of your choice, but realize that it is exactly that. a choice. It doesn't make the other guy any less of a cook.

OK... Off of my soapbox. This has been a good discussion.
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Unread 07-16-2013, 08:55 AM   #36
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Quote:
Originally Posted by va_connoisseur View Post
I think you and Oldbill might be on to something. There should be a different category. Because at the end of the day, fire management is part of the process of making good BBQ. If electronics are doing that for you, you're not competing on an even playing field.

I do feel these gadgets and gizmos have there place, especially if your are catering or doing backyard cooking, but if the goal of a competition is to see who can make the best BBQ, and fire control is part of making BBQ, we all should be on a level playing field.
Exactly Right!!! If there were tougher requirements as to what kind of "tools" you could use in competition, then you would see some of the winning teams out there suddenly become pretty average. I remember in season 1 of Pitmasters Leann Whippin and Woodchicks BBQ was competing and Leann was horrified to find that a Guru fan wouldn't work on one of her Eggs! Well instead of sucking it up and running the cooker manually, she got on the phone and woke up her Guru rep. during the wee hours of the morning to come out and fix the problem, (which turned out to be a loose connection) so that she could continue! In another episode Leann was using a big electric rotisserie cooker and when the maintenance guys had to cut the power to do a repair on a transformer or something Leann freaked out because her rotisserie would stop turning! I'm not attacking Leann but competitors in general who rely on their gadgets and electric toys to cook for them, it's as if they aren't even capable of cooking without mechanical help! So let's just take away the use of all of the electric machinery and then we'll see who's left standing at the end of the day! It might be surprising!!!
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Unread 07-16-2013, 08:56 AM   #37
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How I would've handled it.

"Honey that is a great question to which I do not know the answer, how about a couple red beers with lime and a tad of olive juice while we ponder?"


Wives, lives and questions go better with beer.
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Unread 07-16-2013, 08:57 AM   #38
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Ron makes some really good points. Another thing I would like to mention is regional cooking traditions. We all come from various regions and the choice of cooker often has ties to those influences. We have all kinds of brethren here. Some were taught by close friends or relatives and carry on some old school traditions. Others here are self taught and use many sources of information from all over the place to learn how to cook. I am a died in the wool, Weber kettle/ WSM cook. The reason for this I think, is that I am from the upper Midwest and I grew up seeing kettles all over the place. I learned to cook on what was around and when I had something outstanding at a party as a young man, I would ask questions and try to figure out how the cook did what they did. For instance I remember a guy who would smoke turkeys with a peanut oil injection on Weber kettles in the late 70's. That was some pretty cutting edge stuff at the time. I asked all kinds of questions and figured it out. I still very fondly remember his birds as some of the best stuff to ever come off a cooker. I have heard many great stories about Southern traditions like brick pits and whole hog cooks from Brethren on this site. There are also folks who learned to cook with totally modern/ internet related sources because they wanted to make good ribs or something but had no experience in their youth. They are free agents who aren't tied to BBQ history and might try anything to cook well. This is not a bad thing. We all have different starting points and influences.

I think the competition stuff veers from the roots of BBQ because it is a modern competition. Lance Armstrong was mentioned earlier. Would a modern bikerider have a chance in a race with an old Schwinn? Would they have a chance without legal/illegal supplements? Any competition with equipment is going to have boundaries and rules pushed to the limit and sometimes crossed. That being said, It would be cool to see a comp with 20 teams and 20 stock cookers without gadgets.
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Unread 07-16-2013, 09:00 AM   #39
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Quote:
Originally Posted by oldbill View Post
Exactly Right!!! If there were tougher requirements as to what kind of "tools" you could use in competition, then you would see some of the winning teams out there suddenly become pretty average. I remember in season 1 of Pitmasters Leann Whippin and Woodchicks BBQ was competing and Leann was horrified to find that a Guru fan wouldn't work on one of her Eggs! Well instead of sucking it up and running the cooker manually, she got on the phone and woke up her Guru rep. during the wee hours of the morning to come out and fix the problem, (which turned out to be a loose connection) so that she could continue! In another episode Leann was using a big electric rotisserie cooker and when the maintenance guys had to cut the power to do a repair on a transformer or something Leann freaked out because her rotisserie would stop turning! I'm not attacking Leann but competitors in general who rely on their gadgets and electric toys to cook for them, it's as if they aren't even capable of cooking without mechanical help! So let's just take away the use of all of the electric machinery and then we'll see who's left standing at the end of the day! It might be surprising!!!
Yeah, but Leann sure is easy on the eyes....
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Unread 07-16-2013, 09:37 AM   #40
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Well here's my 2 cents... I had a choice to go with the stick burner or gravity fed smoker... decided to go with the stick burner because I wanted to learn to manage a fire for long periods of time and I got a great deal on a Lang 60 deluxe!! Now if I was going to do competition bbq I would go with the gravity fed smoker because there are lots more things to do then just watch the fire. I have learned a lot about bbq and managing a fire using a stick burner throughout the year. I have learned a lot about weather and bbq and it's been challenging and fun at the same time. So I don't think one style smoker is better than another I think it all matters on personal prefenece.
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Unread 07-16-2013, 10:42 AM   #41
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Well here's my 2 cents... I had a choice to go with the stick burner or gravity fed smoker... decided to go with the stick burner because I wanted to learn to manage a fire for long periods of time and I got a great deal on a Lang 60 deluxe!! Now if I was going to do competition bbq I would go with the gravity fed smoker because there are lots more things to do then just watch the fire. I have learned a lot about bbq and managing a fire using a stick burner throughout the year. I have learned a lot about weather and bbq and it's been challenging and fun at the same time. So I don't think one style smoker is better than another I think it all matters on personal prefenece.
Points well taken! You however, with the experience that you've gained now have the ability to cook under adverse circumstances and if the power goes out you and your Lang 60 will still be chugging along while the others grind to a halt! It's a little off topic but I often wonder what would happen if we ended up in a "Revolution" (the TV show) scenario? When the electric ranges in the houses won't work, refrigeration is out and the Gurus wont blow, guys like us with the stick burners will suddenly be the most popular and most in demand guys around! People would have to go back to cooking with fire and smoke curing meats to preserve them and you my friend would be the new "rock star" in your neighborhood. You would not only be cooking and curing meats for your friends and neighbors but you would also be the one that would teach them how to do it for themselves! Sadly enough, many of those people would be the guys that used to compete with multi thousand dollar rigs that run on electric power, who would suddenly find themselves stuck with large, expensive paper weights! ....This is all just stuff that I think about after having too many beers and too much time on my hands!
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Unread 07-16-2013, 10:55 AM   #42
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Originally Posted by marubozo View Post
The cooker doesn't matter. It's all about how much brown sugar, honey, butter, and other crap you can pack into the foil pouch while it steams to perfection.
If the cooker does not matter, then electric smokers should be allowed. The BBQ competition circuit has chosen to allow advanced technology to come into the hobby. Does it take the fire management skill out of it? Absolutely. I would appreciate temperature controls on my smoker at home or if I ran a restaurant. I agree with the girl friend (or daughter, the OP was not clear), I would prefer that competitions not allow automatic temperature control devices, but I don't compete and I am just a spectator.
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Unread 07-16-2013, 11:04 AM   #43
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The cooker doesn't matter. It's all about how much brown sugar, honey, butter, and other crap you can pack into the foil pouch while it steams to perfection.
LOL! Dude that really should be on a bumper sticker or something! I could definitely see that on an apron or T shirt! Classic!
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Unread 07-16-2013, 11:18 AM   #44
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Ribs, brisket , chicken, pork, steaks and burgers.

I have 7 different brands of charcoal, + pecan,hickory and mezkeet.

It really does not vary to much from six meats and 10 fuel choices.

HOWEVER-I have 14 brands of beer in my beer fridge. So to me, if it tastes good and goes with beer, electric-gas-coal-wood-pooper-etcetc just don't oversmoke or undercook the meat.

Heat source does not matter as much to me as malted barley, hops and grain.
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Unread 07-16-2013, 11:19 AM   #45
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I use a Superior Smoker with a guru now in competitions, not because I don’t know how to run an offset, but for the simplicity. There are so many things going on at a competition that I’d rather focus on than throwing logs on my pit. That said, I might buy another Jambo tomorrow who knows. I used a Jambo Junior for almost a year and loved it, they produce a great product but it does require more effort\time and fire management. I wouldn’t panic at all if I lost power to my guru. The Superior will run just fine without it. I used it for over a year before I purchased a guru. I’ve cooked on Langs, Bubba Grills, Backwoods, WSMs and Eggs and never used a guru on any of them. I think it comes down to personal preference. With little kids running around I don’t usually have 8-9 hours to sit out by my pit. I’m usually multitasking, cutting grass, running to the store, running behind kids or whatever trying to get other things done. I can do all that while my guru keeps my pit temp dead on.
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