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View Full Version : Help! Turn in box opinions


Disconnect
08-08-2011, 09:59 AM
Looking for some advice on these practice boxes. (Real advice, however harsh. Make me cry, tell me why I should give up and go back to microwaving hotpockets :becky:)

Minor caveats: the chicken pieces are not the same size (we only did 10 so I picked the best of the bundle) and the ribs are pretty badly S shaped (not going back to whole foods..)

We did these to finish out a full-schedule practice "competition", and my wife put the greens together at the end of her night shift on the cookers.
(All thumbs linked to larger images, but I can put huge ones up if these are too small.)
Parsley box:
http://link.sigkill.net/bbq/thumbs/Box1.jpg (http://link.sigkill.net/bbq/Box1.jpg)

Chicken - one before saucing. (Seems like most judges require sauce, although I'd love to go back to the unsauced recipes we had :sad:)
http://link.sigkill.net/bbq/thumbs/Box2.jpg (http://link.sigkill.net/bbq/Box2.jpg)

Chicken box (bottom right is undersized, should have put it somewhere else in the box :doh:)
http://link.sigkill.net/bbq/thumbs/Box3.jpg (http://link.sigkill.net/bbq/Box3.jpg)

Closeup of chicken box:
http://link.sigkill.net/bbq/thumbs/Box4.jpg (http://link.sigkill.net/bbq/Box4.jpg)

Chicken box - this is another good reason not to put the small piece there..
http://link.sigkill.net/bbq/thumbs/Box5.jpg (http://link.sigkill.net/bbq/Box5.jpg)

Pork box: The chunks on the bottom need to be better/more even, and there is sauce (I swear!) but it needs to be thicker I think..
http://link.sigkill.net/bbq/thumbs/Box7.jpg (http://link.sigkill.net/bbq/Box7.jpg)

Closeup:
http://link.sigkill.net/bbq/thumbs/Box8.jpg (http://link.sigkill.net/bbq/Box8.jpg)

Curly Lettuce box:
http://link.sigkill.net/bbq/thumbs/Box6.jpg (http://link.sigkill.net/bbq/Box6.jpg)

Ribs box on lettuce:
http://link.sigkill.net/bbq/thumbs/Box9.jpg (http://link.sigkill.net/bbq/Box9.jpg)

So.. how bad are we gonna do? :)

Bigmista
08-08-2011, 10:12 AM
Put your two smallest pieces of chicken in the back. Always put your best up front.

Pork box is chaotic. No rhyme or reason. And long strings never do well because they are chewy.

Try to get as many ribs as possible from the same rack. If you can't get 6, do two rows of four from different rack.

Lake Dogs
08-08-2011, 10:59 AM
^^^ agree with Mista.

9 chickens perhaps in that box vs. just 6. Also, for appearance sake, perhaps a little more towards a reddish hue.

Pork IMHO needs more pork in the box. You can get away with the long strings IF it's really easily pulled and not chewy. However, as you sliced the other pieces, they probably were a little chewy.

Rib box also is chaotic...

Funtimebbq
08-08-2011, 11:57 AM
I'm not a big fan of parsley, especially when it sticks to the meat. How many heads of curly lettuce did you need to complete that box?

Thanks, Benny

Disconnect
08-08-2011, 12:18 PM
Thanks for the critique and advice :) We need all the help we can get before the competition.

Re pulled pork: We cooked 2 butts - slices/chunks off one, pulled off the other (the chunks were a bit dry on the pulled one, and the pulled was mushy on the chunks one..) I was thinking the long strands looked more impressive due to difficulty.. but if it makes the judges think its going to be tough (even if its not) thats not good..

The cuts on the ribs weren't even (between the bones and the guy with the knife :wave:..) is that what you mean by chaotic? Or should I get all 6 in a single line, with one turned up to show the meat?

I can make the chicken redder/browner :) Any tips on size? Nuggets (eg the bottom right) are right out, but otherwise I'm not sure whether to go with big ones (back left) or medium..

I thought the pork was organized.. (still needs other work - more pork, thicker sauce, etc) Top-left pulled, right side bark, bottom chunks. What would you suggest to make it less random looking? I'm not understanding something.

Oh, and it took 2 entire heads to make the curly lettuce box. That's why we only have one box :) But I -really- like the way it came out. Next chicken box will be done that way too.

Lake Dogs
08-08-2011, 01:47 PM
Thanks for the critique and advice :) We need all the help we can get before the competition.

Re pulled pork: We cooked 2 butts - slices/chunks off one, pulled off the other (the chunks were a bit dry on the pulled one, and the pulled was mushy on the chunks one..) I was thinking the long strands looked more impressive due to difficulty.. but if it makes the judges think its going to be tough (even if its not) thats not good..

The cuts on the ribs weren't even (between the bones and the guy with the knife :wave:..) is that what you mean by chaotic? Or should I get all 6 in a single line, with one turned up to show the meat?

I can make the chicken redder/browner :) Any tips on size? Nuggets (eg the bottom right) are right out, but otherwise I'm not sure whether to go with big ones (back left) or medium..

I thought the pork was organized.. (still needs other work - more pork, thicker sauce, etc) Top-left pulled, right side bark, bottom chunks. What would you suggest to make it less random looking? I'm not understanding something.

Oh, and it took 2 entire heads to make the curly lettuce box. That's why we only have one box :) But I -really- like the way it came out. Next chicken box will be done that way too.

First, every sanctioning body is a little different, then frankly regions of the country are different.

Size of chicken isn't so much a thing as try to get them reasonably consistent in size and then fill (within reason) the box. In the case pictured above I think you probably could've fit 9 pieces in there without crowding. Also, the more meat in the box the longer it stays warm... Perfectly sculpted (to the point of almost looking like Christmas balls) were all in vogue a few years ago. I'm not certain they're still all the rage; they never did send that "hey, I want to EAT that" signal to me...

As for the chaotic nature of the ribs, sometimes if it pulls back at different lengths it can give that affect. Other times it's because you used ribs from different racks. In general, the cleaner the lines the better the appearance...

In the deep south pulled pork is more the norm and slices aren't seen often. Mind you; regionality & all... For the pulled pieces, if they're roughly about the size of your thumb you'll do well. They're able to squeeze them for tenderness, pick the pieces up easily and bite them easily. I thought you had a pretty nice balance of bark to no bark. More than anything else I'd add more pork. As said earlier, more meat also means more heat retention. The more the pieces are apart, the cooler they tend to be. For most of us, that's not optimal.

Ryan Chester
08-08-2011, 01:58 PM
In addition to what has been said, I am not crazy about the color. I have found that a red/mahogany colored sauce scores better than brown.

Disconnect
08-08-2011, 09:06 PM
This one is for MD (Smokin on the Bay in Sept) if that makes a difference.

We'll be reworking the chicken and ribs this weekend if the weather holds. (Gonna stop by the MD BBQ Bash Fri/Sat, then practice Sunday.)

Thanks :) This was very helpful - I've got some work to do, but I'm more confident that we are gonna be on the same page as the judges (or at least in the same book..)