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  Opening in December - Smoque BBQ
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  • Post #361 - February 19th, 2008, 10:42 am
    Post #361 - February 19th, 2008, 10:42 am Post #361 - February 19th, 2008, 10:42 am
    Discussing nearby restaurants is entirely appropriate, in my opinion. Suppose I am considering driving, say, 30 minutes to restaurant A or 30 minutes in a different direction to restaurant B. I've heard great things about restaurant A, but I know there a good chance there will be an hour and a half wait or they'll run out of food, etc. Knowing that there are great back-up options near restaurant A is precisely the information I'd like to know before making a decision to go to A or B.
  • Post #362 - February 19th, 2008, 10:52 am
    Post #362 - February 19th, 2008, 10:52 am Post #362 - February 19th, 2008, 10:52 am
    I'm no moderator, but I'd strongly suggest that if anyone is really interested in further discussion about whether it is approporiate to include information about nearby restaurants, they start a thread about it in site chat. Include the information, don't include the information - whatever. But I don't think this is the place to discuss whetehr or not including the information is a good idea. Sorry for my contributions to the irrelevance.
  • Post #363 - February 19th, 2008, 11:03 am
    Post #363 - February 19th, 2008, 11:03 am Post #363 - February 19th, 2008, 11:03 am
    I have paid a couple of visits to Smoque, and think their bbq is some of the better in town. I have never had the issue of them running out of product, although I have heard tale of this happeing on here. With kids we go out for lunch or early dinner, so this has not been an issue. The ribs are good, I have had the baby back, as well as St. Louis ribs(although I prefer the Honey 1 spare rib to Smoques), and both are good. I also like how Smoque has brisket. Decent sides but since I am a novice meat smoker myself its all about the pork, and beef.
  • Post #364 - February 19th, 2008, 12:54 pm
    Post #364 - February 19th, 2008, 12:54 pm Post #364 - February 19th, 2008, 12:54 pm
    I've never been to Smoque and I know just about nothing about BBQ (other than the fact that it involves meat, and I like meat), so I have no dog in this hunt. But a hypothetical question...

    It seems as though Smoque is running at full capacity. It also seems that Smoque is pretty well thought of by some people that definitely know more than me about BBQ.

    So, is it a more desirable outcome for the food to be 75%-80% as good as it is know, but for all food to be available at all times? Also, for those who know about BBQ, is that really the kind of trade-off that the restaurant would be facing?

    I would think, at least for the typical LTH member, that the answer is "no". But, I'm curious to hear the thoughts of others.
    -Josh

    I've started blogging about the Stuff I Eat
  • Post #365 - February 19th, 2008, 2:03 pm
    Post #365 - February 19th, 2008, 2:03 pm Post #365 - February 19th, 2008, 2:03 pm
    Sacrificing quality for quantity is not the issue or an option. The only way for Smoque to turn out more meat, more frequently, is to pull the existing batch from the smoker before it is done. So, if for instance it takes 18 hours (not necessarily, just an arbitrary number that sounds good) to properly smoke Brisket or Pork Shoulder, they would possibly yank it out at the 12 hour point and put a new batch in there, thus increasing production over a fixed period of time.

    The problem then is that the meat which should sit in the smoker for 18 hours is undercooked by 6 hours. There are ways to cheat that problem by finishing the meat in a conventional oven at low temp. But you still need the space to put in a conventional oven big enough to hold all the meat you just pulled out of the smoker. Which you don't have. The space, I mean.

    There is no solution short of expanding and installing more smoking facilities. Besides, as has been iterated here by more than one party, running out of 'Que is a regular occurrence at some of the most respected long standing names in the biz, throughout the country.

    That's just the way it is. Cope. Or don't. More 'Que for me.

    Buddy
  • Post #366 - February 19th, 2008, 2:16 pm
    Post #366 - February 19th, 2008, 2:16 pm Post #366 - February 19th, 2008, 2:16 pm
    jesteinf wrote:So, is it a more desirable outcome for the food to be 75%-80% as good as it is know, but for all food to be available at all times?

    Joke, right?
    One minute to Wapner.
    Raymond Babbitt

    Low & Slow
  • Post #367 - February 19th, 2008, 2:26 pm
    Post #367 - February 19th, 2008, 2:26 pm Post #367 - February 19th, 2008, 2:26 pm
    I went to Smoque last Sunday for carry out. When I got there, the line was to the door and there was a sign in the window saying they were out of ribs, but the St. Louis ribs would be ready at 6:30 and the Baby Backs would be done at 5:30. Since I wasn't there for ribs, It didn't matter to me, but I thought that it was a nice touch to have the times posted on the door so you could make an informed choice as far as leaving, waiting, coming back later, or getting something else before you got in line. As it turned out, I arrived at the cash register just as the baby backs were coming out of the smoker, so I added a half slab to my order.

    The brisket and pulled pork were very good, and the ribs were better than I remembered. I'm sure being hot off the smoker might have had something to do with that.
    Steve Z.

    “Only the pure in heart can make a good soup.”
    ― Ludwig van Beethoven
  • Post #368 - February 19th, 2008, 2:41 pm
    Post #368 - February 19th, 2008, 2:41 pm Post #368 - February 19th, 2008, 2:41 pm
    Sounds like they need to raise their prices.
    i used to milk cows
  • Post #369 - February 19th, 2008, 3:27 pm
    Post #369 - February 19th, 2008, 3:27 pm Post #369 - February 19th, 2008, 3:27 pm
    I finally got to Smoque a couple of weeks ago for an early dinner on a Saturday night, maybe 4pm. By the time we got there, the line was out the door. Since it was early, they still had most everything except regular brisket, I believe. But they clearly were slammed.

    Barry, who I have met socially a couple of times, complained upon seeing me that I had to choose this night, this time, to show up. I smiled and shrugged.

    We ordered, found a table, retrieved our food and ate. The baby backs were very good, the chopped brisket and St. Louis ribs quite good (we did discuss why the baby backs had a whole lot more smoke flavor that time than the St Louis, but no one, including Barry, could explain that - the baby backs had been held a bit longer but apparently treated lovingly???).

    The pulled pork did little for me, but as I have written before, pulled pork is something I rarely like that much - it almost always seems mushy and less flavorful to me, so take my criticism as general and not really specific to Smoque.

    While waiting for the order, I hung around up by the kitchen and watched them work, and they were smoking in every sense. Watching them work was the high point of the meal, even if the food was very good. Beautifully choreographed, every move had a purpose, everyone was working as hard as they could. I was impressed by what they were turning out in that tiny space. If I were there I would either hurt myself or one of my coworkers or both.

    Good meal, good price, fun show, but it was awfully crowded and by the time we left I do believe they were out of half the menu.

    Yes, I think the guys at Smoque would say, a place can be too successful. I imagine an eight hour shift there on the weekend is grueling, non-stop work these days, and I know they would like to be able to double the amount of meat they can smoke, but they do not have the space for that capacity.

    Sure, I would go back, but not on a weekend.

    Followed that up with a relaxing visit to the Violet Hour, so I got two places I really wanted to visit out of the way that night. We opened that place up and enjoyed a few relaxing quaffs before turning our stools over to those much more hip than us. :wink:
    d
    Feeling (south) loopy
  • Post #370 - February 19th, 2008, 4:15 pm
    Post #370 - February 19th, 2008, 4:15 pm Post #370 - February 19th, 2008, 4:15 pm
    G Wiv wrote:
    jesteinf wrote:So, is it a more desirable outcome for the food to be 75%-80% as good as it is know, but for all food to be available at all times?

    Joke, right?


    I hope so. I'm just trying to understand what some folks are getting at.
    -Josh

    I've started blogging about the Stuff I Eat
  • Post #371 - February 19th, 2008, 4:38 pm
    Post #371 - February 19th, 2008, 4:38 pm Post #371 - February 19th, 2008, 4:38 pm
    jesteinf wrote:I hope so. I'm just trying to understand what some folks are getting at.

    There's a danger I might be replying out of turn, since "some folks" might not mean me, but on the chance that it does, reducing Smoque's goodness by 25% in order to make supply meet demand is not on my wish list.
  • Post #372 - February 19th, 2008, 7:00 pm
    Post #372 - February 19th, 2008, 7:00 pm Post #372 - February 19th, 2008, 7:00 pm
    BuddyRoadhouse wrote:Sacrificing quality for quantity is not the issue or an option. The only way for Smoque to turn out more meat, more frequently, is to pull the existing batch from the smoker before it is done. So, if for instance it takes 18 hours (not necessarily, just an arbitrary number that sounds good) to properly smoke Brisket or Pork Shoulder, they would possibly yank it out at the 12 hour point and put a new batch in there, thus increasing production over a fixed period of time.

    The problem then is that the meat which should sit in the smoker for 18 hours is undercooked by 6 hours. There are ways to cheat that problem by finishing the meat in a conventional oven at low temp. But you still need the space to put in a conventional oven big enough to hold all the meat you just pulled out of the smoker. Which you don't have. The space, I mean.

    There is no solution short of expanding and installing more smoking facilities. Besides, as has been iterated here by more than one party, running out of 'Que is a regular occurrence at some of the most respected long standing names in the biz, throughout the country.

    That's just the way it is. Cope. Or don't. More 'Que for me.

    Buddy


    Why not nuke the Q as it's ordered! :shock:
    Why does man kill? He kills for food. And not only food: frequently there must be a beverage.
    Woody Allen
  • Post #373 - February 19th, 2008, 7:07 pm
    Post #373 - February 19th, 2008, 7:07 pm Post #373 - February 19th, 2008, 7:07 pm
    BuddyRoadhouse wrote:There is no solution short of expanding and installing more smoking facilities. Besides, as has been iterated here by more than one party, running out of 'Que is a regular occurrence at some of the most respected long standing names in the biz, throughout the country.

    That's just the way it is. Cope. Or don't. More 'Que for me.

    Buddy


    See, that seems perfectly reasonable to me. I've just been having trouble understanding all the complaining about Smoque running out of food. From what little I know about BBQ, this just seems to be a fact of life you need to deal with if you want the really top notch stuff.
    -Josh

    I've started blogging about the Stuff I Eat
  • Post #374 - February 19th, 2008, 7:18 pm
    Post #374 - February 19th, 2008, 7:18 pm Post #374 - February 19th, 2008, 7:18 pm
    jesteinf wrote:I've just been having trouble understanding all the complaining about Smoque running out of food.

    Again, apologies in advance if I'm misinterpreting, but...all what complaining?
  • Post #375 - February 19th, 2008, 7:24 pm
    Post #375 - February 19th, 2008, 7:24 pm Post #375 - February 19th, 2008, 7:24 pm
    riddlemay wrote:
    jesteinf wrote:I've just been having trouble understanding all the complaining about Smoque running out of food.

    Again, apologies in advance if I'm misinterpreting, but...all what complaining?


    Just seems like every so often, there's a little bit of noise about people going to Smoque and them being out of food. Some people have more of a problem with it than others. I just wanted to ask some questions, nothing more.
    -Josh

    I've started blogging about the Stuff I Eat
  • Post #376 - February 19th, 2008, 7:32 pm
    Post #376 - February 19th, 2008, 7:32 pm Post #376 - February 19th, 2008, 7:32 pm
    Never mind.
  • Post #377 - February 20th, 2008, 12:40 pm
    Post #377 - February 20th, 2008, 12:40 pm Post #377 - February 20th, 2008, 12:40 pm
    i think that some people are misusing the word "complaining"

    Riddlemay - you may not be complaining but you have stated that

    1. you want to try the food
    2. (for some unknown reason) you feel compelled only to try it when their supply can meet their demand 100% of the time.

    Some people are just trying to point out that it's ridiculous because

    1. they are operating a full capacity - what else do you want them to do?
    2. that really shouldn't have any bearing on whether or not you try it out - their number is 773-545-7427.

    I have it saved in my phone book, and i've saved myself a couple of trips by simply calling ahead. It's really that easy.

    Now go try it.
  • Post #378 - February 20th, 2008, 12:51 pm
    Post #378 - February 20th, 2008, 12:51 pm Post #378 - February 20th, 2008, 12:51 pm
    LTH,

    Seems about time to start a new Smoque thread, this one seems to have strayed far (far) off track.

    Regards,
    Gary
    One minute to Wapner.
    Raymond Babbitt

    Low & Slow
  • Post #379 - February 20th, 2008, 12:52 pm
    Post #379 - February 20th, 2008, 12:52 pm Post #379 - February 20th, 2008, 12:52 pm
    you can't always get what you want....

    They make a good product and they do it by having respect for their craft. Why should they raise their prices? Why should they compromise their quality for demand?

    Go earlier...

    I like smoque and I will always be willing to wait out of respect for craft, if you must have fast food then you deserve it!
  • Post #380 - February 20th, 2008, 3:51 pm
    Post #380 - February 20th, 2008, 3:51 pm Post #380 - February 20th, 2008, 3:51 pm
    djenks wrote:Riddlemay - you may not be complaining but you have stated that

    1. you want to try the food
    2. (for some unknown reason) you feel compelled only to try it when their supply can meet their demand 100% of the time.

    Some people are just trying to point out that it's ridiculous because

    1. they are operating a full capacity - what else do you want them to do?

    Well, since Gary hasn't locked the thread yet...

    On point 2 above, when you say "100% of the time," you make it sound as if Smoque's supply and demand intersect like 98% of the time and that I'm being unreasonable to wish for that final 2%. In fact, going from reports on LTH, it seems that supply meets demand at Smoque quite a bit less than 98% of the time. Whether this is the inevitable result of making BBQ the way Smoque makes it--and I'm more than willing to believe it is--it's still valid to consider it a problem, if that's where one's priorities are. Barry Sorkin himself considers it a problem, or he wouldn't be looking to expand.

    On your second point 1 above, when you ask "what else do you want them to do?," the answer is: nothing! I've tried to make it clear several times over that I don't want Smoque to do one thing different than what it's doing! I don't know how I can make that clearer, but obviously I haven't made it clear enough, so I'm saying it one more time. Smoque should go on being Smoque. One of these days I may try it anyway.
  • Post #381 - February 20th, 2008, 4:20 pm
    Post #381 - February 20th, 2008, 4:20 pm Post #381 - February 20th, 2008, 4:20 pm
    i've got a question... can i order the carolina sauce with the brisket and ribs, or is that sauce just used for the pulled pork? i haven't been to smoque yet and would like to know if this is possible before i go and place my order.
  • Post #382 - February 20th, 2008, 4:37 pm
    Post #382 - February 20th, 2008, 4:37 pm Post #382 - February 20th, 2008, 4:37 pm
    riddlemay wrote:Well, since Gary hasn't locked the thread yet...

    I was really hoping you would get the hint without us going to extremes.

    Guess not
    One minute to Wapner.
    Raymond Babbitt

    Low & Slow
  • Post #383 - February 20th, 2008, 4:39 pm
    Post #383 - February 20th, 2008, 4:39 pm Post #383 - February 20th, 2008, 4:39 pm
    MBK wrote:i've got a question... can i order the carolina sauce with the brisket and ribs, or is that sauce just used for the pulled pork? i haven't been to smoque yet and would like to know if this is possible before i go and place my order.


    Yes. They are very accommodating and will be happy to give you whatever sauce you want. I always order sauce on the side (which is a rule of thumb for any BBQ place) and that way you can use as little (or as much, I suppose) as you want.
    Steve Z.

    “Only the pure in heart can make a good soup.”
    ― Ludwig van Beethoven
  • Post #384 - February 20th, 2008, 4:45 pm
    Post #384 - February 20th, 2008, 4:45 pm Post #384 - February 20th, 2008, 4:45 pm
    stevez wrote:
    MBK wrote:i've got a question... can i order the carolina sauce with the brisket and ribs, or is that sauce just used for the pulled pork? i haven't been to smoque yet and would like to know if this is possible before i go and place my order.


    Yes. They are very accommodating and will be happy to give you whatever sauce you want. I always order sauce on the side (which is a rule of thumb for any BBQ place) and that way you can use as little (or as much, I suppose) as you want.


    thanks steve, i will order the sauce on the side per your recommendation
  • Post #385 - February 20th, 2008, 7:28 pm
    Post #385 - February 20th, 2008, 7:28 pm Post #385 - February 20th, 2008, 7:28 pm
    riddlemay wrote:Whether this is the inevitable result of making BBQ the way Smoque makes it--and I'm more than willing to believe it is--it's still valid to consider it a problem, if that's where one's priorities are. Barry Sorkin himself considers it a problem, or he wouldn't be looking to expand.

    This is a function of most, higher-quality bbq places, not just Smoque. Throughout North Carolina -- where the cooking methods are quite different than Smoque's -- we encountered places that ran out of stuff late in the day. I've also been to Honey 1 late in the day and found that they'd run out of some items, too -- and they use yet another cooking method.

    I also disagree with the presumption that this is a problem simply because it's being addressed by Barry, Mike and crew. The fact that Smoque has, at times, more business than it can handle, seems to me to be more of an opportunity than anything else. Knowledgeable, experienced customers understand that 86'd items are an unfortunate but inevitable part of making and serving good food. And for the uninitiated, it's not really that hard a concept to grasp. Happily, the upside to a place occasionally running out is that it means you're not going to be served food that's been held over from the previous day and re-heated.

    Gaining additional revenue is certainly something that, I believe, an astute business owner should always explore. But prospective expansion plans hardly constitute an admission of a problem. In fact, it's far more like an understanding that things are going exceedingly well.

    I believe that Smoque has examined their 1-location capacity issues and addressed them as fully as they can. They're conscientious guys and want to make people happy, so they didn't just ignore them. But at the end of the day, some issues just come with the territory. Now that they've been doing this a while, they understand that. The same can be said for many Chicagoans who now, thanks to Smoque, have an appreciation for -- and understanding of -- BBQ that they didn't have before Smoque opened.

    What comes next for Smoque, if anything, is more likely to create its own set of new, unanticipated problems, than change anything at store #1. And I can almost bet that if Smoque opened a second store and took that location to its capacity, they'd hardly see that as a problem, either. In fact, that's what business owners refer to as success. It's the primary reason to get into the game in the first place.

    =R=
    Gardening is a bloodsport --Meghan Kleeman

    Why don't you take these profiteroles and put them up your shi'-ta-holes? --Jemaine & Bret

    There's a horse loose in a hospital --JM

    That don't impress me much --Shania Twain
  • Post #386 - February 20th, 2008, 9:45 pm
    Post #386 - February 20th, 2008, 9:45 pm Post #386 - February 20th, 2008, 9:45 pm
    I agree with your analysis, Ronnie. "Problem" is only the right word in the sense of the phrase "high-class problem"--a problem resulting from too much success. That's a lot better than the other kind.

    My understanding from what's been posted here is that Smoque doesn't just intend to open another location, but to expand the current one somehow, including adding another smoker there. This, I think, is a recognition on the owners' part that, whether you want to use the word "problem" or not, they have a "situation" that is suboptimal and worthy of addressing.
  • Post #387 - February 20th, 2008, 9:56 pm
    Post #387 - February 20th, 2008, 9:56 pm Post #387 - February 20th, 2008, 9:56 pm
    riddlemay wrote:I agree with your analysis, Ronnie. "Problem" is only the right word in the sense of the phrase "high-class problem"--a problem resulting from too much success. That's a lot better than the other kind.

    My understanding from what's been posted here is that Smoque doesn't just intend to open another location, but to expand the current one somehow, including adding another smoker there. This, I think, is a recognition on the owners' part that, whether you want to use the word "problem" or not, they have a "situation" that is suboptimal and worthy of addressing.

    Yeah, for me, the word "problem" has the connotation of being related to customer dissatisfaction and requiring immediate attention. I most certainly didn't mean to put words in your mouth. In my mind, I think they're way past that point anyway, and again, I know they've done quite a bit of exploration when it comes to increasing capacity because they really do care about their customers.

    Admittedly, if they do have a problem, it is one of the "high class" variety, which relates to their overall growth and not really to the immediate success or failure of their business.

    =R=
    Gardening is a bloodsport --Meghan Kleeman

    Why don't you take these profiteroles and put them up your shi'-ta-holes? --Jemaine & Bret

    There's a horse loose in a hospital --JM

    That don't impress me much --Shania Twain
  • Post #388 - February 20th, 2008, 9:57 pm
    Post #388 - February 20th, 2008, 9:57 pm Post #388 - February 20th, 2008, 9:57 pm
    riddlemay wrote:I agree with your analysis, Ronnie.

    Please see
    One minute to Wapner.
    Raymond Babbitt

    Low & Slow

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