Thursday, April 4, 2013

How honest/unbiased are you when reviewing BBQ?

How honest are you when we react to the BBQ you eat? How unbiased are you when you sit down to take your first bite? Do you ranks/score/comment SOLELY on the taste of the food you eat, or do you allow things you have read and/or heard to influence your judgment? If you have read and heard ad nauseum about how amazing/terrible a place is, is there really any chance that your own opinion on the place will be much different? Are you blindfolded, with no idea where you are eating? Do you have 10 slices of brisket from 10 different joints in front of you, with no idea which slice is which joint's? Do you let the service affect what you say about the food? If you really like the food but don't like the proprietor, are you less complimentary of the food? If the food is pedestrian but you really like the proprietor, are you more complimentary of the food? How about this...if a place whose BBQ you don't care for served you a slice of meat from a place you love, unbeknownst to you, would you like that slice as much? And if a place you love served a slice from a place you don't love, would you dislike that slice as much? What I'm getting at is how much do you let other people -- things you read, things you hear, etc -- influence what you think about the food you eat? Would your personal Top 10 List be the same if you ate the food from "anonymous" joints? How truly honest are you when reviewing meals?


Don O. said...

Too many questions for one day, Drew. :) However, it is good stuff to think about. If I hear and read continuous bad reviews about a place, I just avoid it. I have had a lot of BBQ, both as a judge in IBCA and KCBS contests (blind judging) and in restaurants. Good Q is good Q whether you know where it comes from or not. Once you have tried the best, everything else is relative to that and you find yourself looking for that flavor and texture. The more BBQ you eat, the more your reference changes.

This might be a challenge you could take up. Acquire samples from 10 top joints then do a blind taste test. I think the really good stuff holds up even after being frozen. I have a freezer full of Franklin and Black's brisket and Kreuz sausage that proves it night after night.

I do enjoy the big sample fests like Texas Monthly and the recent Houston fest. That's a great way to try a bunch of spots in one go. Maybe you could arrange a blind test at one of those events. My idea so I want to be one of the blind judges. :)

Drew Thornley said...

Great thoughts, Don!