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View Full Version : Inedible Chicken Score, Still Got 8th, Learning Experience


fnbish
08-29-2011, 08:15 PM
Looking for some feedback if anyone else has had something like this happen to them and also just sharing a learning experience.

At this last weekends competition (which I gave general details in another post) we tried a new chicken recipe that we had been practicing for a while. Nothing earth shattering. Scraping skins, cooking in margarine bath foiled, finishing on the smoker with sauce. We had awesome bite through skin and the flavor was much better than what we had done in the past.

So here are our scores

999, 988, 788, 888, 887, and........wait for it.............922. Booyah!!

We had what I would assume is the normal what the hell (though we didn't say hell) reaction. Then found the comment card with the note saying "red juice, undercooked". After our what the hell reaction and cursing the bbq gods we had to swallow our pride and say ok what could we have done wrong?

This is what we came up with.........we cooked 14 chicken thighs, all trimmed to as similar size/shape that we could get. After the hour in the margarine bath at 250, then another hour on the smoker with sauce we took them off after a few probed 165-170. Then we probed about 7 more and all came up in the same range and very clear juices. Then we picked the 6 best looking and stuck them in the box. So the only thing I can think of is some how 1 piece that we didn't probe was undercooked. But that is also hard to believe because we ate the other 8 pieces immediately after chicken turn in and they were all 100% done and delicious. So 1 out of 14 that ended up in the box was underdone.........

But the thing that blew our minds is that while different pieces of meat absolutely cook differently, how could it happen to such small pieces of meat no more than 1 ounce different per each piece. 2 identical weight butts can have an hour or more variation of cook time, but has anyone ever seen this with chicken thighs??

We thought there was no way and that the judge had made a horrible mistake or didn't know what they were seeing. I literally took the KCBS judging class the week before and learned about the only way you get an inedible chicken score is if it is bleeding/red juices. I want to be very clear I am no judging expert, but can't get my mind around how 1 piece didn't get fully cooked. We were specifically told in the judging class though that we shouldn't confuse the blood vessels that can rupture near the bone with red juices. I'm sure you all have seen them that looks like blood stains on the bone even though the chicken is cooked properly. That is the only thing I can come up with on how they could have been mistaken and then there is nothing we could have done.

The bottom line is we are still a little mad, though we will get over ourselves. We realize we didn't see what the judge saw when he picked up the piece of chicken and I'm assuming they opened with their hands and red liquid ran out. Even if the judge was wrong we have to learn from this. So you will be assured that every piece of chicken from now on will be probed before it goes into the box.

Oh and we still got 8th in chicken :-P.


http://i1083.photobucket.com/albums/j395/fnbish69/Pigs%20n%20Peaches/2011-08-27_11-54-40_585.jpg

One of the 8 pieces we ate.
http://i1083.photobucket.com/albums/j395/fnbish69/Pigs%20n%20Peaches/2011-08-27_11-59-11_421.jpg

Jeff_in_KC
08-29-2011, 08:29 PM
Could have been a judge that doesn't understand the redness that smoke gives chicken. The table captain should have caught that and questioned him. Maybe he did. As for the blood vessel near the bone, remove it when you are trimming your chicken. I get all of them I can and never have a problem. I find it difficult, if not impossible to believe you had a single piece not finished when the rest were at the temps you listed.

jbrink01
08-29-2011, 08:34 PM
Happened to me 3 weeks ago. 5th in chicken, 4th OA with a 922 in chicken. I met the judge by happenstance the following week (turns out he was a friend). It was the vein next to the bone that I missed when trimming.

fnbish
08-29-2011, 08:41 PM
Could have been a judge that doesn't understand the redness that smoke gives chicken. The table captain should have caught that and questioned him. Maybe he did. As for the blood vessel near the bone, remove it when you are trimming your chicken. I get all of them I can and never have a problem. I find it difficult, if not impossible to believe you had a single piece not finished when the rest were at the temps you listed.

Thanks for that trimming tip. I hadn't though about removing it since if still cooked properly, the judges should known the difference. At least that is what we were taught in the judging class. But why even give them the chance to have to make that judgement. That tip is definitely noted and we won't give them that change again.

fnbish
08-29-2011, 08:42 PM
Happened to me 3 weeks ago. 5th in chicken, 4th OA with a 922 in chicken. I met the judge by happenstance the following week (turns out he was a friend). It was the vein next to the bone that I missed when trimming.

So I'm not the only one :-P. I'll be doing some extra trimming now.

Sawdustguy
08-30-2011, 07:01 AM
Is it me or is at least once every other week we have a judges bitch thread. Is everyone so thin skinned, that they don't realize these things happen. Does nobody realize that judges are people not machines and that you will get some very good ones and occasionally get one that will make you scratch your head. It's all part of the game. We all think we should all get 9's for every mark, but come on people, this is reality, not a dream. I guess I am just tired of hearing the judges getting the brunt of every bad score someone gets.

Jeff_in_KC
08-30-2011, 08:07 AM
Guy, I agree with you but seriously... in this case, all 7's, 8's and 9's and then one judge with a 922? This judge should have had a discussion with the reps and maybe he or she did. It seems beyond belief that one thigh was bloody when everything else temped 165 and above. It may have appeared that way and that's why I recommended that this person trim the blood vessel out from along the bone to help alleviate some of that. I just think I'd want more proof than the comment card from the judge. I'd want to know that someone verified that this was the case by dabbing a white napkin on the alleged bloody thigh. If I was this person, I would have had a visit with the rep after awards to see if he or she was aware of the score and make sure they verified it was bloody.

boogiesnap
08-30-2011, 08:13 AM
i debone. :becky:

1 less variable.

congrats on 8th! :thumb:

SeriousQue
08-30-2011, 08:28 AM
I agree ^^^^^^ DEBONE

fnbish
08-30-2011, 08:29 AM
Is it me or is at least once every other week we have a judges bitch thread. Is everyone so thin skinned, that they don't realize these things happen. Does nobody realize that judges are people not machines and that you will get some very good ones and occasionally get one that will make you scratch your head. It's all part of the game. We all think we should all get 9's for every mark, but come on people, this is reality, not a dream. I guess I am just tired of hearing the judges getting the brunt of every bad score someone gets.

Easy there. I think you missed a big part of my post. It was a long rant, but I tried to be polite and give the benefit of the doubt and said even if the judge was right or wrong that I still needed to learn. And also since I am still learning I wanted feedback. Which I got in the form of a few guys telling me to watch the veins and trim them. So I'm going to take that feedback to heart. There are greater tragedies in the world I know, but i'm knew and was genuinely trying to get some help from the brethren here which I said in my post. Sorry if I came off like a douchebag. Didn't mean to. I even just took the judging class specifically to know what the judges go through and to learn that process so I definitely respect that. I apologize for my rookieness.

ssbbqguy
08-30-2011, 08:46 AM
I agree totally with trimming, not forgetting the veins,but there may be another factor. A few years back we had red juices in trays more than normal. The questions were answered by the producers that they were harvesting birds at a younger age, with less bone development. Younger bones, more porus, and would leach out into the box. Looks like blood ,but have been told it's more like marrow juice for lack of a better term. The problem seems to solve itself from cooking at a higher temp. Since ramping up finishing temps., I actually forgot about it. Sorry to hear about your score and agree it's less likely to be blood but other red juice is more probable. Still sucks. Try cooking at a higher temp and test. Hope that helps. Steve.

fnbish
08-30-2011, 09:17 AM
I agree totally with trimming, not forgetting the veins,but there may be another factor. A few years back we had red juices in trays more than normal. The questions were answered by the producers that they were harvesting birds at a younger age, with less bone development. Younger bones, more porus, and would leach out into the box. Looks like blood ,but have been told it's more like marrow juice for lack of a better term. The problem seems to solve itself from cooking at a higher temp. Since ramping up finishing temps., I actually forgot about it. Sorry to hear about your score and agree it's less likely to be blood but other red juice is more probable. Still sucks. Try cooking at a higher temp and test. Hope that helps. Steve.

Thanks for that info. We wanted to cook more in the 275-300 range on the WSM, but for some reason it wouldn't get up there during the short period of cooking chicken. This didn't ruin our fun at all. Got 3rd in ribs and 2nd in pork :-P. Just wanted to learn what I can do to prevent it in the future. You all are a great help.

Ford
08-30-2011, 09:27 AM
I cook my chicken in a pan. When it hits about 155 it gets covered. Now I temp multiple pieces at that point and have seen 10-15 degree temp swings in the 10 pieces in the pan. When it's uncovered there can sometimes still be 10 degree differences but at 185 it's not a big deal.

So to answer your question "can one piece cook differently?" it certainly can. If you are only cooking to 165 I would temp each piece before turning it in.

atvalaska
08-30-2011, 10:53 AM
At 165-170 your chick was more than done, imo. Take your fillet knife an cut a thin line along the bone on the chic bottem.....heat will fine its way there and "brown up' that red/blood line...u could always hollow out the bone and let the heat flow thur....don't :laugh: ,it is work but it works.........lol

Sawdustguy
08-30-2011, 01:57 PM
Thanks for that info. We wanted to cook more in the 275-300 range on the WSM, but for some reason it wouldn't get up there during the short period of cooking chicken. This didn't ruin our fun at all. Got 3rd in ribs and 2nd in pork :-P. Just wanted to learn what I can do to prevent it in the future. You all are a great help.

I am not sore at you and with getting a 922 you really do have a gripe. I guess I really just got up on the wrong side of the bed and am a real grump today. I apologize and my rant was uncalled for.

Sledneck
08-30-2011, 01:57 PM
With all the money we drop a 922 should merit a visit from the rep to my site the piece of meat in question.

jbrink01
08-30-2011, 02:09 PM
With all the money we drop a 922 should merit a visit from the rep to my site the piece of meat in question.

That was suggested, by my wife, at the cooks meeting (Pacific) after my 922 (Taylorville). In a rather arrogant and dismissive fashion the rep at Pacific MO (you can look him up) advised her that he would NOT be visiting if it happened again. I've never liked that arrogant *****, but that's just me.

Sledneck
08-30-2011, 02:13 PM
Reps have no problem coming out to our sites with a dq box..........

Gadragonfly
08-30-2011, 02:18 PM
From another post you made it appears you had entered the backyard event at Kennesaw. The BY judges are a mix of certified judges and "celebrity" judges. That might explain the problem.

Sent from my DROID2 GLOBAL using Tapatalk

jbrink01
08-30-2011, 02:23 PM
Reps have no problem coming out to our sites with a dq box..........

Amen buddy! I have spent $12000+ this year on contests. We kinda deserve it IMHO.....

fnbish
08-30-2011, 03:14 PM
From another post you made it appears you had entered the backyard event at Kennesaw. The BY judges are a mix of certified judges and "celebrity" judges. That might explain the problem.

Sent from my DROID2 GLOBAL using Tapatalk

Maybe, though I remember at the judges meeting or sometime they said they had all certified.

boogiesnap
08-30-2011, 03:16 PM
From another post you made it appears you had entered the backyard event at Kennesaw. The BY judges are a mix of certified judges and "celebrity" judges. That might explain the problem.

Sent from my DROID2 GLOBAL using Tapatalk

if that's the case then REPS should've been watching and reacting even MORE.

it's not the judges responsability, it's the REPS.

fnbish
08-30-2011, 03:17 PM
I am not sore at you and with getting a 922 you really do have a gripe. I guess I really just got up on the wrong side of the bed and am a real grump today. I apologize and my rant was uncalled for.

No problem. Tone is hard to infer and I hope I didn't come off wrong either with my first rant. Tried to be nice without name calling or anything too childish :-P. Just trying to figure it all out especially since I'm still new.

Contracted Cookers
08-30-2011, 04:08 PM
we got a comment card in lee summit MO. said chicken is raw score 9.5.5 how is that possible

Crash
08-31-2011, 02:48 AM
I could have very well written this same post 11 months ago. At the Queen Creek, AZ event in 2010 we got these chicken scores: 887 867 787 999 888 and then.... 822. Finished 16/37 in chicken that day.

Apparently there was quite the discussion at the judging table regarding undercooked chicken between one judge and the TC. Rep was brought over and they did the whole napkin test thing trying like hell to get the judge to sample and score. The judge would have none of it and refused to taste the entry.

Before we turned in, we selected the 6 best of our 16 thighs and temped each one on both sides of the bone in the middle of the meat. All 6 temped out at 170-175 (overcooked, but safe IMO). Our team ate the rest before and during turn-in and we noticed no undercooked thighs at all.

Of course, I'd like to think it was a rogue judge and in some ways it may have been. But the true back story is that we had been practicing with injecting a homemade, orangish/red phosphate liquid concoction and chose that competition to debut it at. Using cherry wood also made the meat somewhat pink tinged on the outside layers as well.

One month later we decided to do the same exact thing (same recipe, same injection, same wood, same temps....everything) at the Starr Pass Tucson, AZ event and took 3rd out of 32 in chicken.

Sometimes you just hit a bad judge and usually they are the ones really looking hard to find some way to score down or DQ. Then again, sometimes we just turn in bad entries....it does happen.

I say dont change a thing.

fnbish
08-31-2011, 06:00 PM
I could have very well written this same post 11 months ago. At the Queen Creek, AZ event in 2010 we got these chicken scores: 887 867 787 999 888 and then.... 822. Finished 16/37 in chicken that day.

Apparently there was quite the discussion at the judging table regarding undercooked chicken between one judge and the TC. Rep was brought over and they did the whole napkin test thing trying like hell to get the judge to sample and score. The judge would have none of it and refused to taste the entry.

Before we turned in, we selected the 6 best of our 16 thighs and temped each one on both sides of the bone in the middle of the meat. All 6 temped out at 170-175 (overcooked, but safe IMO). Our team ate the rest before and during turn-in and we noticed no undercooked thighs at all.

Of course, I'd like to think it was a rogue judge and in some ways it may have been. But the true back story is that we had been practicing with injecting a homemade, orangish/red phosphate liquid concoction and chose that competition to debut it at. Using cherry wood also made the meat somewhat pink tinged on the outside layers as well.

One month later we decided to do the same exact thing (same recipe, same injection, same wood, same temps....everything) at the Starr Pass Tucson, AZ event and took 3rd out of 32 in chicken.

Sometimes you just hit a bad judge and usually they are the ones really looking hard to find some way to score down or DQ. Then again, sometimes we just turn in bad entries....it does happen.

I say dont change a thing.

Thanks for sharing. Yeah I guess it really comes down to sometimes that stuff happens and when it does you'll be a little ticked, but keep on with it since being a sour arse forever doesn't get you anywhere :-P. We had a great time and did well in 2 other categories. Looking forward to our next one.

2Fat
09-01-2011, 09:12 AM
judged a contest last weekend where that happend with one chicken entry at our table--my sample was falling off the bone and one next to me turned the towel pink--it can happen---and it suck when it does

QansasjayhawQ
09-01-2011, 03:58 PM
Whenever a chicken entry has been found to be underdone when I'm judging, the reps have insisted on the paper towel test. If the juices run clear, it's done. If they see blood . . . and it needs to be obviously blood . . . they take the paper towel out to the competitor with the bad news.

Then . . . remember that your lowest score gets thrown out.
http://www.kcbs.us/pdf/2011_Rules_and_Regulations_12-10-2010.pdf
Judging Procedure 7,

So . . . that's why you can do relatively well in the end with a judge scoring low. The rules at least make an effort at addressing just such a situation.

Now that you've been certified, I can tell you as a judge and a cook, you should judge at least 10 contests to really get a good idea of what your target is.

I hope this helps -

2Fat
09-01-2011, 04:05 PM
Sometimes you just hit a bad judge and usually they are the ones really looking hard to find some way to score down or DQ.

from what I know a judge cannot DQ an entry--that has to be a reps decision iirc

QansasjayhawQ
09-01-2011, 04:13 PM
we got a comment card in lee summit MO. said chicken is raw score 9.5.5 how is that possible
It's possible because a 9.5.5 score would pass the table captain's cursory overview . . . and I don't believe that the comment cards are paired up with the score cards, although the judge is supposed to record the scores given on the comment card.
"Raw" chicken should be scored a 2 (inedible). Maybe the judge meant that it was under cooked. That would make far more sense.

(Nice job scoring a 9 on appearance, by the way.)

MattG
09-03-2011, 03:38 PM
Maybe, though I remember at the judges meeting or sometime they said they had all certified.


Supposedly all of the judges were KCBS certified even the Backyard.

Crash
09-04-2011, 03:36 AM
from what I know a judge cannot DQ an entry--that has to be a reps decision iirc

I think you're absolutely correct. My bad. :-D

Crash
09-04-2011, 03:42 AM
I can add this though....our comment card stated "Juices ran red, afraid to taste". So maybe some judges are disecting the chicken before they taste/bite into it.

Who knows.

jbrink01
09-04-2011, 06:47 AM
[QUOTE=Crash;1775946]I can add this though....our comment card stated "Juices ran red, afraid to taste". So maybe some judges are disecting the chicken before they taste. Farking judges.....:boxing: