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View Full Version : 1st competition in the lower 48. Need your help


bearnakedbbq
09-13-2011, 11:44 PM
So I entered my 1st lower 48 event and I didnít do as well as I wished. Guess it wasn't bad for my 3rd comp, but I was hoping for better, but expected worse. Most of it was my fault so I understand the results. Best finish was 13th on Pork butt and overall I was 33 out of 67. Chicken 54th, Brisket 22nd and ribs 52nd.

I had all kinds of issues on top of the ridiculous heat!

I had grill issues. I checked my briskets/butts after the first 6 hours and noticed that one of the grills was reading 270, but the actual grill temp was around 200, so both my Berkshire Pork butt and my Australian Kobe brisket were only up to 100. glad I had another set on the other grill. I should have taken a reading on both sides of the grill. I put two sets of chicken on and when I went to check on them, the left side chicken where already at 195 and the right side at 135. I cooked the other set to 172 +/- and placed them in the turn-in box. Desided I had better taste the ones that didn't make it into the box. They were not tender at all, so I turned in the over cooked ones.

When I went to plate my brisket I had the left side of the first two pieces tear on me. I went to replace them with the two more slices from the back, but they were long. This leads into my first question.


Question #1. If your slices are two large for the box, what do you do? Trim to fit or put them in there with a slight curve?

Question #2. What is the internal temperature you are looking for on thighs? 170 or 180? Juices where clear, so maybe I just had some tough chicken. Also I thought I read somewhere the judges for this event where not Certifed Judges, so I didn't trim my chicken down like I normally do. I do like so many others and put 9 small (doesn't look like) chicken thighs in a box. thought it would throw off the judges seeing small humingbird size thighs.

Here are my photoís. tell me what you think, please. I really need to improve on my turn in boxes. As you can see all I do is the parsley boxes. I am not happy with my results. I have been taking three pieces and twisting them together to help keep them from coming up when the food is taken out. Another team this weekend showed me a trick and what they do is put lettuce down first, add the parsley then push down on the top. I guess the parsley stems will bend up under the lettuce so they wonít come up with the food.

I really like the looks of the lettuce one, but donít know how to do it, but will be trying it this weekend. Question #3. Anyone want to help a brother out on turn-in boxes?

RangerJ
09-14-2011, 07:43 AM
With regards to #1. I trim prior to cooking, so this is not an issue for me. However, if it was and the sanctioning body had no rule against it, I would trim to fit.

#2 - 165 here and I've had to pull a bit earlier as well due to poor time management but no DQ's to date.

I don't think I would ever change how I cook or what I plan to turn in based on the amount of certified or non certified judges. I've got a game plan that I try not to deviate from at every cook off. This kicks off the night prior when I trim my meat.

It took me awhile to learn this or any organizational approach and while I'm still in search for that top 1 or 2 overall finish, my scores and earnings have increased.

#3 - Anything and everything I wanted to learn about with regards to boxes, I found through the search feature here. I'm not "qualified" enough to critique another man's turn ins, but other than tightening up the parsley some, I would say your turn in boxes are on the right track. This includes the chicken as I only use 6 thighs as well.

Good luck!

bignburlyman
09-14-2011, 08:30 AM
Overall I think your boxes look really good. I think the rib box looks excellent, probably would get a score of 9 from me. You mention not trimming the chicken like usual, I believe a little more uniform trim would have helped. I would probably score chicken box maybe 7, probably 8 at the table. I like the brisket box, but the slices look (maybe just the picture) really dry. I would probably score a 7 based on if it was dry looking. I also like the looks of the pork box, but again the chunks look a little dry. I like the amount of bark you have. I would score a solid 8, but if it wasn't dry it would be a 9.

What were your actual apperance scores if you don't mind me asking. Based on what I see, and what problems you indicated you had with cooking, it seems that the apperance was not what hurt, but taste and tenderness. I would reccommend not changing the appearance that much but solve the problems with the smoker temperature.

jberry
09-14-2011, 09:22 AM
Troy,
I had a good time hanging with you last weekend, except for that Friday night dinner... Sorry about the grill acting funky. I brought it home and didn't touch til last night. Plugged it back in, set temp to 350 and it hit it on the nose according to the dome and an oven thermometer. Cooked some beef ribs and it held it's temp just fine so I'm at a loss as to what it's problem was. I'll try a long cook this weekend with a brisket and let you know.

Jon

Lake Dogs
09-14-2011, 09:30 AM
Overall I think your boxes look really good. I think the rib box looks excellent, probably would get a score of 9 from me. You mention not trimming the chicken like usual, I believe a little more uniform trim would have helped. I would probably score chicken box maybe 7, probably 8 at the table. I like the brisket box, but the slices look (maybe just the picture) really dry. I would probably score a 7 based on if it was dry looking. I also like the looks of the pork box, but again the chunks look a little dry. I like the amount of bark you have. I would score a solid 8, but if it wasn't dry it would be a 9.

What were your actual appearance scores if you don't mind me asking. Based on what I see, and what problems you indicated you had with cooking, it seems that the appearance was not what hurt, but taste and tenderness. I would recommend not changing the appearance that much but solve the problems with the smoker temperature.

I pretty much agree with David down-the-line. The chicken box needs the most work. I for one appreciate chicken looking like chicken, but the sauce on them is a bit splotchy and the some have grill marks, others not. Not terrible but needs work. The brisket arrangement is nice. Perhaps add a little moisture (and shine) by brushing them with a little au-jus. The pork does look very appetizing; not sure if I can tell 8 or 9 from the pic.

bearnakedbbq
09-14-2011, 09:35 AM
Troy,
I had a good time hanging with you last weekend, except for that Friday night dinner... Sorry about the grill acting funky. I brought it home and didn't touch til last night. Plugged it back in, set temp to 350 and it hit it on the nose according to the dome and an oven thermometer. Cooked some beef ribs and it held it's temp just fine so I'm at a loss as to what it's problem was. I'll try a long cook this weekend with a brisket and let you know.

Jon

I do believe the grill got bumped sometime on Saturday after I left at 2pm. I checked them both out in the morning and everything was fine. If the heat deflector or drip tray is off you will experience what happened to me. Understand my area was a pathway to the tables, until JD put up the tape. Lesson learned. Next time I will recheck right before cooking.

Enjoyed the trip and am already looking forward to next year. Maybe you would like to join me next year.

Take care

Troy

JD McGee
09-14-2011, 10:37 AM
Hey Troy...just a tip...hot-n-fast is good for everything except ribs...lol! Sorry for your issues brother...I thought your pork was dead on. As far as judging...all were CBJ's...but they are still judges and tastes are always sujective. Hope to see you down here more often!
Cheers,
JD

atvalaska
09-14-2011, 03:27 PM
What is the internal temperature you are looking for on thighs? 170 or 180?..........way to hot....i double probe all pits/ sensors...been down that "broke temp probe road" before and placing a had on the pit to get "the feel" don't hurt.

fnbish
09-14-2011, 04:11 PM
Temp issues can really throw meat texture off if you are behind and have to raise temp to catch up or vise versa. I'm a rookie too but as for appearance I really like your ribs and pork. For pork we do the money muscle in the middle with chunks on the sides and have done well with that. The chicken is something we have worked hard on for appearance and try to get all pieces trimmed as similar as possible. There seems to be a few dark spots on the chicken skin. Thanks for sharing.

swamprb
09-14-2011, 11:02 PM
Where did you get Australian Kobe brisket and why? That box looks drier than a fish fart rolled in sand!
Pre trim your flat to box size.

Overall your boxes look good, its a garnish competition right?

Kobe and Berkshire don't guarantee you high scores.

I came by your camp a few times and you were never there, and it looked like it was being used as shortcut to somewhere, I did see the Caution tape later, sorry about the pit problems. Just cook like you do at home and cook good Q, its too easy to get caught up with all the Comp BS.

We were in the RV lot and there were a lot of first timers there and I sampled the Perfect Score 200 Chicken and the 2nd Place Chicken and was underwhelmed, the 6th Place Chicken was muffin panned! So there may have been 100% CBJ's in attendance but how much experience was there? The comment cards don't match the scores-take a look at the scores of the top teams in the PNWBA and a lot of them took big hits on their money meats. I feel great so many new teams were getting calls!

Keep at it!

Smokin' Ty's food stylist and Klose pit bitch!

mobow
09-15-2011, 08:09 AM
i think your ribs and pork look awful good. iwould trim the chicken up some and get some moisture on your brisket. good luck to you at the royal. if i feel like a 10 mile hick i'll come by to say hi. just kidding about the 10 miles. i'm in space 301. it is proably only 7 or 8 miles from you. lol. keith

bearnakedbbq
09-15-2011, 02:18 PM
Ok, so the brisket looks dry, but I guarantee it was not. So what can I put on this to make it look less dry without changing the taste. Same goes for my pork. I sauced the bark, but not the meat.

I just went to bbq critic and did notice all the brisket boxes had applied sauce. I don't like it this way, but if the judges want it then I need to be doing it also.

So what should I use?

mobow
09-15-2011, 04:05 PM
sauce on the brisket is not needed. i just rub a little pan drippings on mine. keith

Big Mike
09-15-2011, 08:24 PM
I agree with everyone, there really isn't much wrong. I don't notice anything really wrong with the parsley in any of your boxes. I usually make it so mine is level with the opening of the box but that is just me.

Your ribs look good, so I'm assuming the issue was a taste or tenderness issue.

Your brisket length is fine in my opinion. If it was any longer than that though I would trim it to fit the box. I normally don't need to trim after it is cooked, but on occasion I have had to. As a matter of fact, my last comp I had to trim the slices to fit the box and ended up with 5th place. So, don't be afraid to trim if you have to. If the brisket is a bit dry, do like some others have mentioned and glaze your slices with some of the juice from the brisket or use a very very light brushing of sauce.

The pork looks a bit dry as others said. Again either use some pork juice to moisten it up or a light coating of sauce.

I like that your thighs look like thighs and not meatballs. I normally put six in a box similar to the way your box is. In my opinion the bottom left and middle right thighs are your two best ones in the box. You want the color on all of them to be as close to the same as possible. On your top left piece it looks like you either trimmed too much skin away or it tore. When trimming try not to trim off too much skin. You want the skin to drape completely over the sides but not bunch at the bottom like a curtain that is hung a bit too low does.

Hope this helps a bit. All in all though it does not look bad. 33rd out of 67 is not bad, especially for your 3rd comp.

bigdogphin
09-15-2011, 08:59 PM
I agree your brisket looks dry. You kind of had a tough spot out in the middle like that but you managed to save your pork. You cooked on borrowed equipment and sometimes that can be tough. Hope to see you again next year and good luck at the Royal.

CBQ
09-16-2011, 03:35 PM
Ok, so the brisket looks dry, but I guarantee it was not. So what can I put on this to make it look less dry without changing the taste. Same goes for my pork. I sauced the bark, but not the meat.

I just went to bbq critic and did notice all the brisket boxes had applied sauce. I don't like it this way, but if the judges want it then I need to be doing it also.

So what should I use?

Appearance doesn't count as much as taste and tenderness, but it does impact how the judge anticipates the product might taste. Make it look moist. Dip it in some drippings, or even a spritz with water will improve appearance. For KCBS, you want some sauce on the pork. It should not be swimming in sauce, but a little will help.

You have some nice looking pieces of chicken there, but some look better than others. They should have the same finish on them. All grill marks, or no grill marks, but not some with and some without. The back row looked less appealing to me. A lot has made in this forum about getting all the chicken to look exactly the same, hence the muffin pan chicken, chicken pillows, lollipops, etc. I think it's ok for it to look like chicken, if they look all about the same.