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Gourmet Barbeque, My Personal Favorite!

Aug 17, 2007
Lest anyone misunderstand the intent of this article, let me say up front that I, in no way, am knocking the men and women who comprise the fine dining industry. I am not casting aspersions on the food, quality of food, quantity of food and character of anything served at a gourmet restaurant. There is definitely a place for fine food dining in this country!

Barbeque however, is one of the great delicacies of the south, no matter whether its chicken, pork ribs, beef brisket or pork chops. My personal favorite, barbequed pork ribs are rarely, if ever, found on the menu of fine dining restaurants. That omission is an indication of how this great food item is discriminated against by gourmet restaurants.

Maybe the barbequed rib has just not climbed its way to the top of modern culinary society yet. My thoughts are that it is just too good to be placed on the same menu as a "Pan Seared French Cut Pork Loin Chop served with baby new potatoes and a cheery medley of spring greens."

Imagine opening the menu at any stuffed shirt restaurant where the dinner meals start at $50.00 per person and reading down:

"Tonight's house specialty is Honey and Soy Glazed Sea Bass, garnished with tiny sprigs of rosemary. Sides are delightful broccoli crowns steamed with basil and tarragon. A creamy garlic mashed potato with fresh clipped chives round out the meal. Our wine cellar is excellent"

Just below this you might find other offerings to temp your pallet such as:
Macadamia Nut-Crusted Mahi Mahi with Tropical Fruit.
Rack of Ellensburg Lamb with Pinot Noir-Thyme Sauce.

Somewhere near the bottom of the menu you should see in proud bold, block lettering: "Hickory Smoked Rack of Ribs! Slow cooked in a hickory smoker for 3 -4 hours, these pork ribs will fall off the bone as you lick the barbeque sauce from your fingers. Hand rubbed into the meat we feature an assortment of spices: garlic salt, salt, pepper, oregano, chili pepper, cayenne pepper, and onion pepper. While the meat is cooking in the smoking chamber it is kissed with our own secret red sauce."

This sounds a little uppity for the good old barbequed rib doesn't it? Ribs, chicken and the like have been relegated to the kitchens of Ma and Pa diners and rib houses that specialize in barbeque. Most of these restaurants are packed with faithful customers most of the time; especially on the weekends. Barbeque aficionados are a loyal crowd. When they find a place they like, they keep coming back for more!

Why then is barbeque not highlighted on the menus of the finest gourmet restaurants in America? Portions! That's the key. In most places of fine dining, the portions of any one thing are ridiculously small. On the other hand when you leave a barbeque joint you're holding your belly because you're stuffed. No small amounts of food here!

Why then do they have portion control at fine dining joints? I think the gourmet food people stumbled onto something a long time ago that the barbeque business has yet to realize. The entrees and appetizers at most of these places are quite expensive. Add that fact that most of the meals featured are weird! They're not usually something that we would prepare at home, so frankly, no one knows how each item is really supposed to taste.

Then, because gourmet restaurants blatantly keep their prices at extortion levels, we feel that whatever they feed us is wonderful because it costs so much! It simply has to be good! Most of us would have to carry our lunch to work for a month in order to pay for one night out with Chef Pierre. That being the case the meals must be wonderful regardless of what our tummies are telling us.

That's it in a nutshell. Serve very small portions, make it so that no one knows if it's good or bad, make it expensive and put the knives and forks in the correct positions. It can then be called gourmet.

Even though in the south every red blooded American male thinks he can cook the best barbeque in the world, we still enjoy going out to eat someone else's cooking and enjoy the ambience of knotty pine paneling and vinyl table cloths that would enhance any dining experience. Maybe it would make a difference if there was a maitre d' to seat us as we entered the establishment.
About the Author
Bob Alexander is well experienced in outdoor cooking, fishing and leisure living. Bob is also the author and owner of this article. Visit his sites at:
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