View Full Version : Critique and Criticism Please!
10-02-2011, 08:33 PM
We are trying to get ready for our first competition and we wanted to get some critique on these boxes. We are going with a sliced money muscle instead of chopped pork....and we only cooked 6 chicken thighs so we had to include the ones with broken skin, but other than that, how did we do?
P.S. If anyone can help with photos, I'd be appreciative. I tried all of the posting options, with no luck
10-02-2011, 08:36 PM
I'm not seeing any pics.
You might get more constructive criticism in the competition forum.
10-02-2011, 08:38 PM
I don't think the pictures loaded right. Unless your turn in boxes are a black squares :-P. Though I will say for pork you should add some chunks along with the money muscle.
10-02-2011, 08:42 PM
I'm moving this to competition.
Where are the photos that you are trying to post? if they are on your computer then either upload them to Photobucket or Picasa Web Albums or a similar photo hosting site and follow the instructions in the Techie section of the forum, or use the Manage Attachments feature of the advanced posting forum here. PM me if you need more.
10-02-2011, 08:46 PM
10-02-2011, 08:47 PM
Thanks Ron L. I didn't know if it was Q-talk or Competition material. And I figured we have you guys for a reason :)
10-02-2011, 09:05 PM
There are the pics :-D. I'm not the most experienced by far, but have gotten some good critiques here as well. Others may have better advice than this, but........
The chicken looks a little dark, but sometimes the lighting of a picture can throw it off a little. Also the bottom middle and bottom right pieces seem to have some areas where they are a different color than the rest of the chicken. The trimming/size looks good to me. You might want to rotate the pieces 90 degrees so they are sitting sideways instead of longways.
Your pork looks really good. I would say sauce everything in there. Also the bottom left chunk looks to have some fat on it. The reason I mention it is specifically because I got a comment card that I left some fat on my pork. I inspect every piece carefully now before it goes in the box. Really look juicy and good bark color on that bottom row.
Ribs have a very nice color and I would like to eat them right now. Watch the cuts though as it seems you have some pulls/tears on the edges of a few. On the bottom 2 there is a little smudging of the sauce.
Also overall I think your garnish is really good on all three. Nice and even. The pork and Ribs I would think would get high appearance scores. The color of those 2 pieces of chicken might throw that score down a little. I learned that consistency in the pieces is crucial.
Thanks for sharing.
10-02-2011, 09:09 PM
First of all, good luck on your contest! I hope its a great experience for you.
My approach to building a box changed when I heard the phrase, "make it look like a magazine add." Another words, you need to micro analyze while keeping the box as a whole in mind.
Chicken: good parsley bed, but I would recommend lighting up on the color and sauce, for the comp cook a lot of pieces in order to pick the most uniform six to place in the box.
Ribs: good uniform color, but I would recommend practicing slicing the ribs to have more uniform size and nice crisp edges and taking care not to have finger prints on the two you are using to display the edge.
Pork: again, nice parsley bed, nice chunks up front, but you might try cutting the sauce a little so it appears to be "barely there", try to contain the meat within a "margin" of garnish so none of the meat is close or touches the box edge.
You most definitely are on the right track, and I hope this helps in some way.
10-02-2011, 09:17 PM
Chicken... Nice parsley bed. The chicken does look dark, and the two pieces in the lower right have some kind of blemish on them that would cost you points. I would turn the pieces 90 degrees in the box so the judges aren't looking at the bone end of the thigh, and since the thighs are small I would try to get more in the box.
Ribs... Again, Nice parsley. The ribs look good, but take a pair of tweezers and pick off the bigger black bits and then touch up the sauce. Also, the cuts are rough. Sharpen your knife or get a new one and you should get cleaner cuts. I'm not a fan of showing the edge of the rib since it can dry out while sitting in the box. If you are going to show the edge you should at least give it a light coat of sauce or apple juice to give them a shine. Again, try to get more in the box. You could have gotten another rib in by tightening up the space between the bones, and with spares you can even double stack.
Pork... Nice box overall. Maybe too much sauce on the chunks in front, and the pulled in the back may need a little sauce. Again, try to fill up the box.
10-02-2011, 10:29 PM
Your practice boxes look pretty good..... photo's always have a little mis-representaion on true color, and sauce tends to have some glare, I won't consider those factors in my comments. For appearance scoring, I like to stay in the 15 second judging window, then I go back for a second look before making comments.
Chicken: Overlooking the torn skin you mentioned, the size and trim looks good. The box is balanced and the bed looks nice. The sauce looks too thick to me, and a little uneven. I'd give it a 7.
Shoulder: I like the layout of the box, as well as the size and contrast in color of the chunks. The bed shows off the meat well, if anything it's a tad roomy in front. The pulled meat looks nice and moist, but the pile should be fuller, maybe with a slightly finer pull. (a fuller pile would also move those chunks a little closer to the front of the box too). I think a mix of Miss white and Mr Brown would show off the pulled meat better, and give it some contrast.... I wouldn't score appearance down for no visible sauce on the pulled meat, but you should have some sauce or drippings out of view so you don't get hit on taste. I would score this box a 7-8.
Ribs: I think the side view ribs look a little dry and are smudged. (in the 15 minutes before the judges see them, they might look drier yet). The cuts are not as clean as they could be. The bed needs to be tighter. I like the pull back that I can see (did #3 and #4 have pull back or is hidden in the parsley?), and I like the color and viscosity of the sauce, but some of the specs are a bit large. As is, I would score this box 6-7, but with all other things staying the same, 2 more ribs with a 4 on 4 arrangement would be a solid 7. And might even push the score to a 8.
10-02-2011, 11:21 PM
Where's the Brisket?
10-03-2011, 07:25 AM
Thanks all for the remarks...I had made a mental note of alot of the same things you guys have said, and now I have a mental of the other things.
I don't have any brisket pictured as we didn't enter brisket in the first competition, though I would have liked to.
10-03-2011, 10:52 AM
One thing we learned early, take photos of every box, and review them after the comp. What looks good under pressure might look really bad with fresh eyes!
I think everyone else's critiques summed up my thoughts as well
10-03-2011, 11:32 AM
Chicken (as you know) could use some work. The garnish looked wonderful though!
The rib box is always hard to put together, with that much meat in on box.
I thought your pork looked great!
I have found http://www.bbqcritic.com/ to be a great site for box ideas.
10-03-2011, 12:02 PM
Not directed at the presentation(s) themselves (as I think it's pretty much said above), but know that your meat will probably be in the box 15+- minutes before being opened, and then left open for probably 15 minutes or so. These tend to cool and dry the meat. Chicken; cant help with dry by if you'd pack 8 pieces in there side-by-side it'll help retain the heat. Ribs, pack them together rather than spaced out, warmer and help retain moisture. Pork, the front pieces look awesome and are large enough chunks to retain their moisture well. The back pieces however look like they're pulled a little thin and are very likely to end up dry come judging time. While for presentation I think the pork is a solid 9, more pork in the box will help retain heat and moisture. Larger pieces in back will help too.
10-04-2011, 11:10 AM
Just a comment on time...as a judge and cook, let's say you turn in at 12:30, it would be to the judges table by 12:35 and the judges would be eating by 12:40. We put our box together a couple of minutes before turn-in...so I would say a total of 15 minutes is about correct, more like 12-15 minutes in our game plan.
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