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View Full Version : Please define "competition quality BBQ"


Pitts
06-24-2012, 07:09 PM
I have taken ONE KCBS judges class. I know your rib meat can't fall off the bone and brisket should have some pull to it. I know the meat should not be dry. I have eaten different turn in meats at comps. I spend a BUNCH of money and time cooking to achieve it. But how does it really differ from what you cook at home ? Ready ...... GO !.......

Lake Dogs
06-24-2012, 07:24 PM
It doesnt. I cook the same in competitions as I do at home.

HeSmellsLikeSmoke
06-24-2012, 07:31 PM
Other than presentation, the flavor profile for comps is typically designed for one or two bites, not for an entire meal.

fnbish
06-24-2012, 07:43 PM
I have taken ONE KCBS judges class. I know your rib meat can't fall off the bone and brisket should have some pull to it. I know the meat should not be dry. I have eaten different turn in meats at comps. I spend a BUNCH of money and time cooking to achieve it. But how does it really differ from what you cook at home ? Ready ...... GO !.......

When you say you "have eaten different turn in meats at comps" do you mean as a judge or just had some samples from teams?

But to your question my ribs are pretty much the same. Butts/Brisket I don't inject at home normally. Chicken is probably the most different as I don't really trim at home and especially don't scrape skin.

Pitts
06-24-2012, 07:50 PM
When you say you "have eaten different turn in meats at comps" do you mean as a judge or just had some samples from teams?

But to your question my ribs are pretty much the same. Butts/Brisket I don't inject at home normally. Chicken is probably the most different as I don't really trim at home and especially don't scrape skin.

Samples from teams around us at comps.

fnbish
06-24-2012, 08:08 PM
Samples from teams around us at comps.

Ah I wasn't sure if you meant you competed as well. How does your food differ?

Divemaster
06-24-2012, 08:24 PM
Not to sound like a rude cook but I think it sucks.

I don't care for any of it. I have two sets of recipes, what I cook for me and another set for the judges.

Tenderness is also completely different.

JMHO

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Brauma
06-24-2012, 08:37 PM
When I'm cooking for me & the fam, or for catering, my Q it is COMPLETELY different from comp cooking. I would NOT want a plate full of comp BBQ. We make our comp Q so that one bite dazzles the senses.

A huge difference is the injection. For example, on a pork butt for home consumption, my injection is just apple juice, dissolved 3Eyz rub and a shot of Worcestershire. Comp injections are much more complex.

sitnfat
06-24-2012, 09:15 PM
What I cook for my family and comps are the same when I cook a bunch for parties and such I leave a few steps out but it's still better than what you get at many BBQ joints around here. It still makes me shake my head when people say they dont prefer what they turn in at contests. I love what I turn in and so does my family and friends.

Divemaster
06-24-2012, 09:36 PM
What I cook for my family and comps are the same when I cook a bunch for parties and such I leave a few steps out but it's still better than what you get at many BBQ joints around here. It still makes me shake my head when people say they dont prefer what they turn in at contests. I love what I turn in and so does my family and friends.

Sorry, for me, the only thing similar is the meat.

When we are testing for a comp we are even waiting for 15-20 minutes before taking a bite. Flavors change once they've cooled down. What may taste good hot can taste like chit once cool or even cold.

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Rookie'48
06-24-2012, 10:14 PM
To me, the main difference is that for home cooking the flavor profiles are milder and I'm going for less bark. On ribs - well, they tend to fall off of the bone because that's what the family wants :oops:.

Jeff_in_KC
06-24-2012, 11:41 PM
I think comp food tends to be more intense whether it's sweet or whatever. My brisket and pork are the same at home and for catering as they are at comps with the exception that we do not inject at all for home and catering. Chicken is completely different and we don't cook thighs at home. I like a savory and spicy sauce, not the sweet stuff for comps. Ribs are identical except we don't baste our ribs with... "stuff"... at home.

When I think of "competition quality", I think not so much of what flavors they have but rather the level of care that goes into the preparation of "small batch" meat and also the quality of the meat selected to begin with.

Bentley
06-25-2012, 12:02 AM
But how does it really differ from what you cook at home ? Ready ...... GO !.......


For some it does not, if I cooked BBQ for myself at home, it would be prepared just the way i do it for a competition...

Market Hunter
06-25-2012, 05:55 AM
I would be DAL in a KCBS contest with my home cooked bbq.

On second thought,...Tenderness may bump me up a notch or 2.

Example, I grew up in Eastern NC and one of my favorite ways to cook bbq chicken that is done there is to:


indirect/direct grill it (GASP!!!!!!!!!!) over oak wood coals until done,
put it into a clean igloo cooler,
pour a bunch of heated up eastern NC vinegar sauce over it,
let it steam for and hour or so
pull it out and dip it into a heated mixture of margarine/vinegar sauce
Eat the mess out of it while it falls off the bone

How do you think that would score with a KCBS judge? :razz:

Lake Dogs
06-25-2012, 06:07 AM
It doesnt. I cook the same in competitions as I do at home.

Oh, I guess I should say KCBSish. Chicken ain't BBQ, so it's out. We RARELY grill chicken at home and never BBQ it; it's usually done another way. Chicken in the south is FRIED (even have it on a sign). If you get cajun-esque, it's kinda fried, by way of Fricassee... Fried, my favorite is breasts and wangs, but with Fricassee we'll do the whole chicken.

Brisket; I dont BBQ brisket at home, but if I did I'd do it the same way. When I do beef at home I BBQ chuckies and have pulled beef.

Otherwise, ribs, same. Pork shoulders, butts, picnics (rarely do this at home other than when on a whole shoulder), and the whole
hog; same.

I'm from the south, living in the south. We like our flavor! BBQ 'round here has a bit of a *punch*. No apologies; it does. NC area has one type of punch; SC another; Tenn has another, LA/MS yet another, and AL,FL, and GA are a bit of hybrid of all of the above. Some then describe this as "competition BBQ", that one or two bites making a statement. That's how we eat plate full after plate full.

Our regularly scheduled July 4th party will happen this year on the 7th. At midnight I'll wake up, stoke the fire and get those butts on fast. The ribs go on around 7am. Just like when I compete in MBN, the ribs will get a light saucing before I hand 'em over, and the pork will be presented sans sauce with multiple sauces on the side for the party-goers enjoyment; sauces labeled to suit their tastes... We have our custom competition sauce, then another sauce that we present in competition that is a Lexington style sauce, two or three variations of a KC sauce, and a rib sauce that we compete with that's fairly sweet, and other rib sauce that's VERY sweet. This year the party seems to be a bit on the smallish side; we're expecting 70 - 80 people. Boats are already gassed up....

Bigdog
06-25-2012, 08:01 AM
The KCBS comp meats that I have tasted tend to be much sweeter, except brisket. I'm with Jeff on this one. My home stuff is much more savory and spicy hot which would not be judged too well by those who can't take the heat.

Lake Dogs
06-25-2012, 08:45 AM
What most are describing isn't necessarily competition cooking as much as it is cooking to please the masses vs. cooking to please your personal tastes.

For example, my father likes ribs cooked about 30 minutes total, whether they need it or not, and the sauce caked and burned on. I can't think of too many other human beings who like this. If he presented this in a competition he'd probably define a new low in DAL. Why? BECAUSE most people hate it.

It's like when I'm cooking Fricassee or meat loaf or one of my many other signature dishes that I cook when entertaining. I have one version for the masses, and another version for me. Why? Because I like a little food with my cayenne pepper. A few of my friends are from the mid west, and while they say they like spicy food, they like it very very VERY mild spicy; whereas I like it at either 2 or 3 beer hot (that's 2 or 3 beers per bowl/plate needed to squelch the heat) and it makes sweat roll behind your ears...

Same in other cooking competitions. Chili, for example. HOT chili, you know the kind, the ones where you can't chase that last bite quick enough... The kind that sears your innards on the way down... That kind of chili usually is very close to DAL at any chili cookoff, even those in Waco TX.


In competitions, remember it's not about your personal taste, it's about everyone-elses taste. That's all. The guy from NY on PitMasters doesn't seem to know that yet. Fat, presented in BBQ, is DEATH. Why? Because 70% of people find it some degree of disgusting...



So, to re-word the original question: When cooking at home, do you cook for YOU or do you cook for everyone else at the table?


Me, I cook for everyone else, so my BBQ is the same at competitions as it is at home...

Frankbbq
06-25-2012, 11:11 PM
Attention to detail and presentation are the biggest differences between home and comp cooking. Everything needs to be done on a time schedule for comp and at home it is "Have a few more drinks and it should be ready". I like a hard core NC vinegar sauce on pork and that will work for MBN, but is a sure set of 4-5's for KCBS.

Butcher BBQ
06-26-2012, 06:37 AM
I have always described the difference in restaurant bbq is designed to be kept and served for hours and comp bbq is designed to be served over a 30 minute time frame.

Ford
06-26-2012, 08:24 AM
I define "competition quality" as ckkong for one bite. Spending 8 hours in meat prep such as trimming, injecting, seasoning, etc. very careful monitoring of meat temps, wrapping, reseasoning, glazing at the right times. Picking the perfect pieces of meat to go in the box. Making that box look like a Kodak moment. Attention to every detail. And of course 100's of hours of practice sp most of what you do is a repeatable process.

When the box is opened I want the judges to think "I want that".

Lake Dogs
06-26-2012, 08:32 AM
I define "competition quality" as ckkong for one bite. Spending 8 hours in meat prep such as trimming, injecting, seasoning, etc. very careful monitoring of meat temps, wrapping, reseasoning, glazing at the right times. Picking the perfect pieces of meat to go in the box. Making that box look like a Kodak moment. Attention to every detail. And of course 100's of hours of practice sp most of what you do is a repeatable process.

When the box is opened I want the judges to think "I want that".

Absolutely is as you described. Question though: would you / do you do the same when at home, particularly when having a few friends over? Mind you, we assume that you dont have to hit a 15 minute time window, and dont prep a 9x9 clamshell, but is the attention to detail the same with your barbecue, or is it different?

Pitts
06-26-2012, 09:16 AM
I define "competition quality" as ckkong for one bite. Spending 8 hours in meat prep such as trimming, injecting, seasoning, etc. very careful monitoring of meat temps, wrapping, reseasoning, glazing at the right times. Picking the perfect pieces of meat to go in the box. Making that box look like a Kodak moment. Attention to every detail. And of course 100's of hours of practice sp most of what you do is a repeatable process.

When the box is opened I want the judges to think "I want that".

This is most like what I was thinking when I asked this question. If I am at home and have the time, I will cook like this. basically practicing for a comp. I find it difficult to NOT COOK LIKE THIS though, as I feel I should be using my time at the cooker to be productive by taking notes etc. I am always mixing up new rubs and sauces for my friends and family to try as well. But I still have my "go to" recipes to use when i need guaranteed good results.

Ford
06-26-2012, 11:13 AM
Absolutely is as you described. Question though: would you / do you do the same when at home, particularly when having a few friends over? Mind you, we assume that you dont have to hit a 15 minute time window, and dont prep a 9x9 clamshell, but is the attention to detail the same with your barbecue, or is it different?

Nope. Don't cook a lot of q at home. I like whole chickens spatchcocked or rotisserie. Otherwise I grill more. Love Italian and tex mex as well and for tex mex often use leftover pork or brisket.

If I do ribs I like dry ribs better. Love to smoke beef tenderloin or rib roasts but always rare. I couldn't eat a slab of competition ribs for a meal. Way to intense flavor and way to sweet.

boogiesnap
06-26-2012, 11:18 AM
i don't really BBQ at home anymore. i only "practice", so i can't speak to the diff.

it's kinda sad actually.

Kaita
06-26-2012, 11:39 AM
Does anyone of you know of any spectacular injector sauce/marinade recipe books?

olewarthog
06-26-2012, 12:38 PM
The only competitions I have cooked in have been a couple of steak cook-offs & I finished 2nd both times. I have however, cooked a lot of BBQ at home & judged a lot of contests. That being said, I may not have much room to speak on this subject, but that rarely stops me ... :mrgreen:

Do I try to make competition "quality" when I cook at home? Yes, but only in terms of appearance (somewhat) & tenderness. I try to make a nice dark bark on my butts. I try for that nice deep red on ribs. I'm not happy if my pork isn't moist & doesn't pull nice & easy or my ribs are overcooked to "fall off the bone" stage.

In terms of flavor profile, NO. For my personal taste, competition BBQ is way too sweet and mild. I did ribs where I foiled them with butter, brown sugar & honey like you see on Pitmasters ... ONCE. My wife let me know in no uncertain terms not to screw up good ribs like that again. I like flavors that are tangy with some heat. Not Hance's "burn your gut" level of heat, but enough to know that it ain't just ketchup & mustard.

Lake Dogs
06-26-2012, 01:11 PM
LOL, as I age my worn-out-gut can't take the heat like it once could... Interestingly enough, there's another point regarding competition cooking. The average judge is either in their 40's or 50's, with plenty in their 60's and a few 70's or more. Anything very spicy or overly sweet just doesn't cut it any longer...

I'll go back to my hole now and drink another scotch.

Podge
06-26-2012, 01:14 PM
All the BBQ I cook is competition quality at home (or at least try to be).. because all the BBQ i've cooked over the past several years is based on practice cooking for contests. I do not like to eat BBQ any more. I still remember the last time I've cooked BBQ for myself was a rack of spicy baby backs on my old offset, which I loved. Sadly it was the last time I cooked BBQ soley for myself, back in 2005.

Me and ol Pappy Q can cook a mean hog together, and we enjoy the heck out of that !

Lake Dogs
06-26-2012, 01:21 PM
Aside, I talked about 2 or 3 beer chili. This describes 2 beer chili:


Frank: "Recently, I was honored to be selected as a judge at a chili
cook-off. The original person called in sick at the last moment and I
happened to be standing there at the judge's table, asking for directions
to the Coors Light truck, when the call came in. I was assured by the other
two judges (Native Texans) that the chili wouldn't be all that spicy;
and, besides, they told me I could have free beer during the tasting, so I
accepted and became Judge 3."

Here are the scorecard notes from the event:

CHILI # 1 - MIKE'S MANIAC MONSTER CHILI
Judge # 1 -- A little too heavy on the tomato. Amusing kick.
Judge # 2 -- Nice, smooth tomato flavor. Very mild.
Judge # 3 (Frank) -- Holy crap, what the hell is this stuff? You could
remove dried paint from your driveway. Took me two beers to put the flames
out. I hope that's the worst one. These Texans are crazy.

deguerre
06-26-2012, 01:24 PM
Aside, I talked about 2 or 3 beer chili. This describes 2 beer chili:


Frank: "Recently, I was honored to be selected as a judge at a chili
cook-off. The original person called in sick at the last moment and I
happened to be standing there at the judge's table, asking for directions
to the Coors Light truck, when the call came in. I was assured by the other
two judges (Native Texans) that the chili wouldn't be all that spicy;
and, besides, they told me I could have free beer during the tasting, so I
accepted and became Judge 3."

Here are the scorecard notes from the event:

CHILI # 1 - MIKE'S MANIAC MONSTER CHILI
Judge # 1 -- A little too heavy on the tomato. Amusing kick.
Judge # 2 -- Nice, smooth tomato flavor. Very mild.
Judge # 3 (Frank) -- Holy crap, what the hell is this stuff? You could
remove dried paint from your driveway. Took me two beers to put the flames
out. I hope that's the worst one. These Texans are crazy.

Might as well post the whole thing Hance...

http://www.bbq-brethren.com/forum/showpost.php?p=805542&postcount=1

Lake Dogs
06-26-2012, 01:26 PM
See, ^^^... dang it.

I was about to say this largely describes my chili, which is a 2.5 to 3 beer chili:

CHILI # 5 - LISA'S LEGAL LIP REMOVER
Judge # 1 -- Meaty, strong chili. Cayenne peppers freshly ground, adding
considerable kick. Very impressive.
Judge # 2 -- Chili using shredded beef, could use more tomato. Must admit
the cayenne peppers make a strong statement.
Judge # 3 -- My ears are ringing, sweat is pouring off my forehead and I
can no longer focus my eyes. I farted, and four people behind me needed
paramedics. The contestant seemed offended when I told her that her chili
had given me brain damage. Sally saved my tongue from bleeding by pouring
beer directly on it from the pitcher. I wonder if I'm burning my lips
off.
It really ticks me off that the other judges asked me to stop screaming.
Screw them.

JD McGee
06-26-2012, 01:32 PM
I have taken ONE KCBS judges class. I know your rib meat can't fall off the bone and brisket should have some pull to it. I know the meat should not be dry. I have eaten different turn in meats at comps. I spend a BUNCH of money and time cooking to achieve it. But how does it really differ from what you cook at home ? Ready ...... GO !.......

My backyard is 180 out from my comp meats! :becky:

Comp meats are over seasoned, over smoked, over sauced, and under cooked...we do not eat ANY of it...other than tasting to adjust seasonings before turn in...:tsk:

kenthanson
06-26-2012, 01:45 PM
i don't really BBQ at home anymore. i only "practice", so i can't speak to the diff.

it's kinda sad actually.

I hear this a lot from teams that compete frequently or do vending and catering. We do 1 contest a year so far and a couple of smaller 30-50 people parties and I still love bbq.

ssbbqguy
06-26-2012, 04:14 PM
I've always looked at it this way, food that was good enough to win or place well in competitions, was championship or contest type recipes equals comp. type food. That's what we offer and sell. Granted it's toned down for the masses, lacks the one bite intensity, but it's still the same flavor profiles. I think that's why one gets called back is the difference in approach and accumulated notice of attention to detail that sellers of over steamed bland box type places don't or won't offer. And I have often brought that chili judges story out at a new table of bbq judges to break the ice. LOL. Steve.