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View Full Version : Winter Haven Cook Off - Saturday


chad
02-10-2005, 10:00 PM
FBA is sanctioning a cook off Saturday, Feb 12, at Winter Haven. I'm going over to see if they need another judge. If not I'll just hang for a few hours and schmooze.

It's at 2400 Havendale in Winter Haven. The "charity" is the Boys & Girls Club.

I'm planning on getting there between 8:30 and 9:00 in time for the judge's meeting. This is an inaugural event and I'm hoping they get a good showing.

I'll have my Brethren hat on. :D

parrothead
02-11-2005, 10:32 AM
Hope they can use ya Dave. If not, should still be fun walking around. Maybe a team will adopt you for the day.

chad
02-13-2005, 07:45 PM
Jack's Old South - Grand Champion
Woodhouse Grill - Reserve
HomeBBQ.com -3rd

No surpises here - the top 10 looked good with Smarr, Swamp Water Boys, etc. all in the hunt.

I judged the backyard division (hey, somebody has to do it!) - and had some monumentally BAD BBQ. Don't get me wrong, there was some decent food, too, but too many backyard teams try to emulate the "pros" and screw up - they ought to do the food they know and love and turn it in.

I saw boiled ribs and a boiled pork butt - nasty! I even wise-cracked to the table captain asking if I had to take a rib - they smelled boiled. :twisted: The boiled pork but was grey and NASTY.

The chicken didn't distinguish itself but only one needed to be spit out! One team did boneless skinless breast - real pale presentation and DRY - seasoning was good but they overcooked it. A couple of teams submitted legs and thighs in the same box. It was OK but just looked a bit strange in the box.

The ribs were the biggest disappointment - none that were edible were tender and the tender ones just pure-D sucked.

Since it was backyard they are allowed to do pork loin and one team did - it was pretty good. Moist with good flavor. Sliced about a 1/2 inch thick - just a bit salty - but otherwise pretty good. It got decent scores around the table.

A couple of brisket were close - a bit dry and one had a ketchup based sauce (?) - one would have been excellent if he'd just left the lousy sauce off of it - nice bark, tender moist, etc. Guess he didn't taste the sauce or had had too much "fun" the night before!

I'm not trying to be harsh but this was the most disappointing time I've had judging. I'll judge backyard again - I'm not so vain as to think it's beneath me to judge it. I'm just encouraging anyone that is doing the backyard division to cook like you do at home - don't change because it's a competition - your're being judged with your peers - seperate table and set of judges. Oh yeah, we got all entreies from every team so we had a LOT of food to judge!

Oh yeah, in case anyone is going to test the waters by doing the backyard division (some only do chicken and ribs - this contest let them do all four) talk to the pro teams - I guarantee they'll help you out with presentation tips, timing, etc. Honest! :D
Maybe I'm being too picky but it's because I haven't cooked in a few weeks! Come on Mobile :D

The_Kapn
02-13-2005, 07:54 PM
Come on Mobile
18 days and a "wake up"--but who is counting :lol:

Looks like Home BBQ has lost the edge for the moment--bet they find it quick!
Woodhouse is on a roll!

Maybe we need to do up a traveling "Backyard BBQ" training class like some guys do for a living. Sounds like an "unmet need" to me :lol:

Great Report!
TIM

parrothead
02-13-2005, 08:24 PM
anyone that is doing the backyard division to cook like you do at home

Unfortunately, that is probably the way that they cook at home.

The_Kapn
02-13-2005, 08:34 PM
Come on Mobile
18 days and a "wake up"--but who is counting :lol:

Looks like Home BBQ has lost the edge for the moment--bet they find it quick!
Woodhouse is on a roll!

Maybe we need to do up a traveling "Backyard BBQ" training class like some guys do for a living. Sounds like an "unmet need" to me :lol:

Great Report!
TIM

JohnMcD348
02-13-2005, 09:14 PM
Myself and a couple of friends went to the cook off this weekend and I have to say, we were not impressed. I know that this was the first event there, so there are some kinks that have to be worked out. But, I got there at 1100 and there was nobdy there selling anything, most siad the food wouldn't be ready until after 1200 and some things not until 200pm. We found one tent that had some cold pulled pork with greens and beans that I gave my pig bucks to and left after we ate it. It wasn't the best, wasn't the worst either. This was only my second BBQ contest I'd ever been to, Pig Fest was my first. I wonder if the contest didn't allow for an early setup the day prior or if the contestants had trouble getting up to temp due to the cold weather that came through that night? Anyway, I hope they do better next year, if they do it again.

JTMcD.

chad
02-14-2005, 06:49 AM
Most teams won't be vending until later - they don't have time. A lot of vended food is NOT cooked on-site - it's brought in. Temps had an influence on a lot of teams - I got to Winter Haven about 8:30 and did a walk-around.

Some events have concession people come in - but they do the snowcones and that kind of stuff. Some do a variation on grilled stuff - some events you must compete to vend and some let anyone pay to vend (Plant City is like that - snowcones, funnel cakes, etc. :D

After about noon a lot of teams start selling the "left overs" from the competition stuff. Others, like Buttrub.com bring enough staff that they start vending earlier. Prices vary but tend to be around $1.50-$2 for a rib and about $4 or so for a pulled pork sandwich. Chicken and brisket are hard to find unless you schmooze and beg a bit! :mrgreen:

To get the stuff that actually is entered you need to schmooze :D Find a team that seems friendly and hand around and watch. Stay out of the way during the turn-in windows but if you ask questions and look hungry you'll often get to taste whatever just went to the judges.

The other option is get judge's training and start judging! :D At FBA and most KCBS events find the judging area (no, you can't observe!) and shortly after the last (brisket) turn-in the judges are released. Find one that looks like he/she won't bite your head off and start asking questions. Often they (we) go out to the teams for a taste of what they sent in (it's blind judging so we don't know who's food we judged) and see how they felt the event went for them.

This is when you can look at the cookers and ask questions. The beers are opened and most teams will talk while they cleanup.

homebbq
02-21-2005, 08:59 PM
Maybe we lost the edge for now Tim, but we will see. There are alot of contests left.

John, I'm sorry you were disappointed... But David is right.

Many of the teams (like myself), don't vend. We just don't have the staff to do it. Alot of your larger competitions bring in BBQ vendors (some of those are competitiors), and they have the equipment and help to vend. Usually I just vend my rubs, but I never have turned down anyone that schmoozed for a sample. Next contest, look me up..

The_Kapn
02-21-2005, 09:13 PM
Maybe we lost the edge for now Tim, but we will see. There are alot of contests left.
Kevin--the whole quote was:

Looks like Home BBQ has lost the edge for the moment--bet they find it quick!

You and Clara will get it going-- :lol: :lol:
That is what I said.

With the quality of competetion among the top 3 or 4 teams in FBA--a fraction of a point makes all the difference in the top teams on any day.
An errant judge or so does not help. Since FBA counts all scores--???
If I remember correctly (and I can look it up later)--you got "bit" at Sebring in one or more meats.

Just wish we could compete on the same level with the same consitancy as you do :oops:

TIM

homebbq
02-21-2005, 09:30 PM
Your right, I got bit on brisket in Sebring. It was actually some of the better brisket I have cooked. But thats the way it goes. Somewhere in the next few contests, it will be my turn to get the right tables (I hope, fingers crossed, knocking on wood).

You know what? I really had a problem with consitency until I threw away some of the gadgets.
My eyes, my hands, a clock, and an instant read thermometer were my keys to consistency. The probes, and remote probes, were thrown in the trash can.

The_Kapn
02-21-2005, 10:23 PM
Your right, I got bit on brisket in Sebring. It was actually some of the better brisket I have cooked. But thats the way it goes. Somewhere in the next few contests, it will be my turn to get the right tables (I hope, fingers crossed, knocking on wood).

You know what? I really had a problem with consitency until I threw away some of the gadgets.
My eyes, my hands, a clock, and an instant read thermometer were my keys to consistency. The probes, and remote probes, were thrown in the trash can.
I remember your brisket score vividly from Sebring. All 9.5's and 10's and then some YAHOO thought it was a 6.5 or so (barely edible)--I can go back and verify that. But--just WRONG! The low score needs to be tossed as in KCBS. That is humans scoring and anyone can have a bad day. But, too much money on the line here!

I just wish the rest of us (especially DF and I) were there with you on the tme and temps approach :oops:
Till we figure out the winning ticket and get consistant, we gotta use the crutches.
Also, there will come a day when we have a "real" cooker. For now, we are patching together the best we can afford.
The probes and the technology are a godsend to help a new "cooker" go from "HUM and OK" to some fine Que. :lol:
We do not live by the technology, just use it to flatten the learning curve.
That is why you will see so much emphasis on "meat temps" here in the forum.
Just our way of keeping track of what is going on inside the cooker,
Plus, we don't have Clara to mind the fires while we sleep (inside joke here) :lol: :lol: :lol:
TIM

tommykendall
02-21-2005, 10:32 PM
The probes, and remote probes, were thrown in the trash can.


Take heed Mary. I still stick with my oven thermometer and single manual probe.

homebbq
02-22-2005, 07:04 AM
There is nothing wrong with using those as guides, until you get to a point that you know what to look for. The problem with them (probes) is they will slide above 170, unless you have one that uses a thermocoupler. And, the only one I know that does is a BBQ Guru. A good friend of mine called one of them not sure which company, and complained that at 190 - 200 degrees, 3 of them read different temps. All they said to him was, they aren't designed for that high temp cooking. That the degree of accuracy goes down after 170, and your not supposed to cook meat higher than that anyway :?

I just went back to what I knew before these gadgets came out. I had a dial instant read that had a calibration nut on the back, and an oven thermometer which I used once in awhile to keep the outside thermometer on the pit honest.

If you can use them to a point to get yourself to where you can trust your instincts, then ween yourself off of them. You will be much better off in the long run. Just my 02 cents..

And on the scoring, I agree with you 100%, I think the low score should be thrown out also. But we all are dealing with the same problem. The key there is to try to get solid, and consistent on all 4 categories. Odds are you will have something that you thought wasn't so good fall on a high scoring table.

chad
02-22-2005, 08:50 AM
I read recently that, allegedly, Nu-Temp told a customer that their probes are not accurate above 170. I don't own one so I can't really say.

I do use other electronic thermometers and have used them to calibrate ovens up to about 250 - I was double checking with analog oven thermometers and they agreed w/i about 5 degrees. Maybe I just got lucky.

homebbq
02-22-2005, 08:55 AM
Which ones were you using Dave? Were they using a thermocouple or thermosister?