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View Full Version : Comp Brisket - Chopped? Pulled? Sliced?


BrooklynQ
10-18-2005, 09:22 PM
Guys,

At the Long Island judging class back in August, the Mullane's said that chopped brisket was a sign of being over cooked.

At the class in October, according to smokin cracker, "Dr. Death emphasized the fact that chopped or pulled brisket indicated potentially overcooked meat"

When I brought it upback in August, Jim Minon, KC Pellethead and others responded that this was not what that judges should be taught because chopped, pulled or sliced brisket is allowed by KCBS rules and that many winning teams submit chopped brisket.

So what's the deal? If the master judges are teaching the new judges that anything but sliced brisket is sub-par; isn't sliced brisket now the defacto standard for comp brisket?

The_Kapn
10-18-2005, 09:44 PM
So what's the deal? If the master judges are teaching the new judges that anything but sliced brisket is sub-par; isn't sliced brisket now the defacto standard for comp brisket?

In my limited experience--here is what I think.
All of this may be right or wrong, but...?

For Brisket in particular, the "Holy Grail" has traditionally been sliced, and "done to perfection".
As we all know, that is a high bar and hard to achieve for most of us "mere mortals".
I personally slice/chop/shred/pull to my hearts content at home.
In competetion, I want sliced to be the goal and "star" and that is what we turn in.
It may be supported or filled in with chopped/shredded for other reasons.
But, properly prepared sliced is the best I can do--(not that we are there yet)!

So, it becomes a matter of expectations and "how do we show off" for the Judges!

Under the rules, sure. All are allowed.
I am there to win, if possible.

And, there needs to be something to seperate the "others" from the championship level cooks who can cook and present at that level.

One of the many valuable lessons I learned from Ray Lampe at Arthur is "let others experiment with turn-ins". He wants to stand out with "this looks so good, I just cant wait to eat it!", or words to that effect.

So, until chopped/shredded becomes "mainstream"--everyone should do what they feel is right! Maybe the "standard" will change.

JMHO

TIM

smokincracker
10-18-2005, 10:08 PM
At the Lake City FBA contest I used a unfamiliar smoker to cook my brisket and it spiked for about 2 hrs...
Way over done ( brisket soup ).
Anyway we had no slices so we cut 8ea 3" by 3" brisket brownies.
We sauced them to look real nice and no crap they looked like brownies!!!
The taste was great and the presentation was good.
We pulled off 8th place in Brisket. Who would have thunk it.

jminion
10-18-2005, 10:15 PM
I think that to teach a judge that if something is presented in a certain manor it means is overstating the facts. I as an example turn in slices but I like to add chunks of the point which is by it's nature not good product for slicing but is very flavorful. A judge can make the call if it is over cooked by trying it not because someone has told that must be the case.

Sawdustguy
10-19-2005, 03:14 AM
This is my opinion right or wrong. I thought that an entry was to be judged on appearance, taste and texture. If an entry has a pleasant and appetizing appearance, tastes wonderful and has proper texture why the hell would it not score well, wether it is pulled, chopped or served as slices? I think any speculation on the judges part as to why a competitor decided to display his entry in any fashion is not in the spirit of fair judging. If the judge sticks to measuring the entry by the criteria set in the rules, there is no reason for it to score well, providing it satisfies each of the criteria. Speculation should never enter the equation on the judges part and should be frowned apon. I was talking to guy in my judging class as we were leaving and we briefly discussed how we judged some of the submissions during the class. He mentioned that he scored chicken low because he was got a drumstick (he was last and thats all that was left) and he didn't like drumsticks. I am sorry guys but people like this have no business as a judge. If you can't be objective and judge to the criteria set forth, don't judge.

wsm
10-19-2005, 07:05 AM
IMHO we are supposed to judge what we are presented, as it is presented. If brisket is presented as chopped (or chunked, burnt-ends), then I think it should be judged as chopped brisket (but I will carefully evaluate mouth feel for the mushy signs of over-cooking). To assume that it is overcooked is wrong, but if it SEEMS to be overcooked, then it IS overcooked.

Until the rules are changed to require sliced brisket, the judges cannot require that the brisket be sliced.

OMG - is this an example of the Judicial Activism that Harriet Meyers is being asked about??

Ron_L
10-19-2005, 07:05 AM
This is my opinion right or wrong. I thought that an entry was to be judged on appearance, taste and texture. If an entry has a pleasant and appetizing appearance, tastes wonderful and has proper texture why the hell would it not score well, wether it is pulled, chopped or served as slices?

I think you've hit the nail on the head, so to speak... What is the proper texture for brisket? Sliced, chopped or pulled, the texture (and tenderness) is different. All are allowable turn-ins, and each has its own perfect texture, so I think each should be judged as it is tunred in. If a judge gets chopped brisket, judging the texture and tenderness as if it were slices isn't appropriate to me.

Of course, I've never been through a judging class, so my opinion may not be of value... :rolleyes:

Smoker
10-19-2005, 07:20 AM
Very well said.

This is my opinion right or wrong. I thought that an entry was to be judged on appearance, taste and texture. If an entry has a pleasant and appetizing appearance, tastes wonderful and has proper texture why the hell would it not score well, wether it is pulled, chopped or served as slices? I think any speculation on the judges part as to why a competitor decided to display his entry in any fashion is not in the spirit of fair judging. If the judge sticks to measuring the entry by the criteria set in the rules, there is no reason for it to score well, providing it satisfies each of the criteria. Speculation should never enter the equation on the judges part and should be frowned apon. I was talking to guy in my judging class as we were leaving and we briefly discussed how we judged some of the submissions during the class. He mentioned that he scored chicken low because he was got a drumstick (he was last and thats all that was left) and he didn't like drumsticks. I am sorry guys but people like this have no business as a judge. If you can't be objective and judge to the criteria set forth, don't judge.

smokincracker
10-19-2005, 07:20 AM
Lets roll with it.

I agree with the Pollock but I think the point that we all need to realize is that this method to determine overcooked or under cooked meat is being thought at judging school. Death was very specific in the fact that thinly sliced meat would indicate undercooked meat and thicker sliced, pulled or chopped could indicate overcooked meat. Now that we all understand that and we all know how to burn a brisket lets know that we better put some good slices in the box that have good texture and fail the rubber band test. As a competition cook I took the KCBS judging class to learn a few things for myself and share them with fellow cooks/brothers so we can all turn-in a better product and have more fun. Right or wrong it obvious from these forum discussions that this method of judging brisket has been thought at other KCBS judging class as well. So we better turn in some slices with our burnt ends if we want our best chance at Grand Champion.

Cracker out!

chad
10-19-2005, 12:05 PM
All these insights are interesting but the fact remains that the expectation of the judges for the Brisket category is that the brisket will be sliced. The rules ALLOW chopped, shredded, etc. but the expectation is sliced. Same as when you go to a restaurant the the menu says Texas Style brisket - chopped, chunked, shredded is not the expectation - I know that if I get chopped or shredded or a fall apart chunk of meat that it'll probably be good, but it's not what I expected when I ordered.

Competitors KNOW that they CAN put other forms of brisket in the box but the KNOW if they don't have decent slices they don't have a prayer of scoring high. Like Jim and many others we use chopped or shredded brisket and burnt ends to enhance the box and give the judges more to taste and "love".

If KCBS changes to "beef" as the definition like they do for "pork" then the EXPECTATION of the judge changes.

Right now sliced brisket is the expectation and standard for the BRISKET category. As a judge and competitor I know and understand that. This will not change as far as I can see.

The training is adequate - someone in another "judge training" thread asked if the instructors give tips -- well, the pull test is a tip for checking the brisket - not hard and fast since everyone has a different idea of what he pull should be. Same with the tip that "usually" if the team doesn't put slices in the box it's because they missed. Common sense says that if you want slices in the box and it's overdone then you'll cut thicker slices - you have too if you want slices. Same with tough brisket - slice it thinner so that you have some hope of helping it be "tender" enough to score something.

The judges are hammered all throughout the class that personal likes/dislikes are to be set aside. You indeed judge based on what you're presented - don't blame the judges for the cook missing the target for the brisket! :biggrin:

BBQchef33
10-19-2005, 12:33 PM
All these insights are interesting but the fact remains that the expectation of the judges for the Brisket category is that the brisket will be sliced.



If this is true, then i would have to disagree with those judges. And KCBS classes needs to drill that home. The catagory is Brisket. Not Sliced brisket. Pork does not mean Pulled Pork, and Chicken does not mean thighs. It means in ANY FORM. As a judge, thats what I will expect and judge, and judge as presented. Pulled is judged as pulled and sliced as sliced. When judging, any predispositions of what I cook in my pit and put in my boxes will be left under my tent and NOT brought into the judges tent with me. <---- That is from a judges perspective.

Now, that being said, from the cooks perspective, I would be to chicken sh*t to turn in anything but sliced. :mrgreen:

smokincracker
10-19-2005, 12:42 PM
Yeh like he said

chad
10-19-2005, 12:51 PM
OK, I give up.

Opinions are like *******s - and each of us has one (some full body) but the reality is that if you don't turnin sliced brisket you are cutting your throat.

You can blame the rules, blame the judges, blame KCBS but the fact remains that sliced brisket is what's expected in a turnin box. If you like tilting at windmills then go ahead and turn in chopped/pulled/chunked brisket. I just want to be in the same contest - I'm guaranteed a higher placing.

We've all had less than perfect brisket and turned in what we could. But bottom line is if you didn't cook a sliceable brisket you farked up.

And that's my *******, I mean opinion!

spicewine
10-19-2005, 03:15 PM
It's almost like turning in cornish hen in the chicken category. I would have a hard time coming to grips with doing that.

We always send up sliced.

If it works for you-----just do it!!

Not a gambler like some.

wsm
10-19-2005, 05:53 PM
If you turn in brisket that isn't sliced, I'll rate it as I feel that it deserves, but since Death says it is not properly cooked, many other judges will rate it down.

DON'T take the risk!

Sawdustguy
10-19-2005, 06:10 PM
Ahhhhhh......That is the point precisely! The judge is guessing that the reason the brisket was pulled or chopped was because it was ill prepared. I just don't think that guessing should be part of the Judging process. If the texture (tenderness) and taste are good on what basis can he make this giant assumption? If he makes it based on the fact that it is chopped or pulled he is not acting in the spirit of fairness by taking a guess and not be allowed to judge.

wsm
10-19-2005, 06:23 PM
Ahhhhhh......That is the point precisely! The judge is guessing that the reason the brisket was pulled or chopped was because it was ill prepared. I just don't think that guessing should be part of the Judging process.

I agree, but you read what Ed Roith (Dr. Death) said - and he is the guy in charge of training Judges.

If he makes it [the assumption that the brisket is overcooked] based on the fact that it is chopped or pulled he is not acting in the spirit of fairness by taking a guess and not be allowed to judge.

Although I agree with much of what you say, I think that "banning" a judge for following instructions is a bit much.

Jeff_in_KC
10-19-2005, 07:14 PM
I agree, but you read what Ed Roith (Dr. Death) said - and he is the guy in charge of training Judges.

Then maybe someone ought to point out the arguments made here to Mr. Roith. Doesn't necessarily make it right because he says it, does it? Or does it?

Smoker
10-19-2005, 07:47 PM
What if they changed the rules so when you signed up for the event you had to tell the KCBS people my chicken will be:
A) legs
B) thighs
C) Wings
My brisket will be:
A) sliced
B) Pulled

ETC ETC ETC


OK, I give up.

Opinions are like *******s - and each of us has one (some full body) but the reality is that if you don't turnin sliced brisket you are cutting your throat.

You can blame the rules, blame the judges, blame KCBS but the fact remains that sliced brisket is what's expected in a turnin box. If you like tilting at windmills then go ahead and turn in chopped/pulled/chunked brisket. I just want to be in the same contest - I'm guaranteed a higher placing.

We've all had less than perfect brisket and turned in what we could. But bottom line is if you didn't cook a sliceable brisket you farked up.

And that's my *******, I mean opinion!

Jeff_in_KC
10-19-2005, 07:53 PM
What if they changed the rules so when you signed up for the event you had to tell the KCBS people my chicken will be:
A) legs
B) thighs
C) Wings
My brisket will be:
A) sliced
B) Pulled

ETC ETC ETC

Don't think that would work because if you're cooking a few different choices, maybe your plans change mid-stream and you're then hosed based on what you said at sign up. PLUS can you imagine the huge hassle in determining what every box was supposed to have in it from the sign up form? :shock:

I still agree that brisket SHOULD be sliced but I'm fine with someone who disagrees. If the rules say it's OK, it should be OK and judges shouldn't be taught that it isn't.

Sawdustguy
10-19-2005, 07:53 PM
Here is a transcription of a BBQ Judging class given by Ed Roith:

http://new.cbbqa.com/judging/EdRoithCBJClass.html

He never says anything about pulled or chopped brisket being overcooked or undercooked or being improper for presentation at a contest. For that matter, all he says is 99% will be sliced. He also stresses the meat being judged on it's own merit or what he terms "Judge what you taste". I was surprised. From reading this thread, I thought he was going to dictate that pulled or chopped brisket was bad. That wasn't the case at all. He very much preaches fairness. He impressed me quite a bit.

wsm
10-19-2005, 08:02 PM
Here is a transcription of a BBQ Judging class given by Ed Roith:

http://new.cbbqa.com/judging/EdRoithCBJClass.html

The web page was last Updated April 21, 2002 - the rules and/or the interpretation might have changed since then.

Sawdustguy
10-19-2005, 08:19 PM
I don't think so because this transcription sounded verbatim as my judging class I took just last month.

rookiedad
10-19-2005, 08:54 PM
heres what i think but remember i have never been in a competition or to a judging class. when they teach a judge they try to get them to identify the best possible product. pulling, chopping, thin slicing and thick slicing seem to be remedies for problems. granted, if it is legal it should be judged fairly in its turned in state, but the power of suggestion is very strong, so why turn in great brisket with a red flag on it and suggest to a judge that something may be wrong? the only way that you can turn in brisket with no indication of a fix-up seems to be medium width slices. having said this, what is the proper width to slice brisket? thanks.
phil

BrooklynQ
10-19-2005, 08:56 PM
proper width - at least the convential comp wisdom I've heard is the thickness of a pencil

Sawdustguy
10-19-2005, 09:08 PM
Agreed. At the Grillkings competition I spoke to Murray Saltzman and thats what he said. I think that was also echoed at the judges class.

wsm
10-19-2005, 09:08 PM
The goal is the thickness of a #2 pencil - which is a bit undefined, but with luck, you know what I mean - and some say if the beef is overcooked, then slices of that thickness will fall apart and if the beef is undercooked, then those slices will NOT pull apart and will be unchewable (is that a word?)

So we are told that thick slices are a sign of overcooking and thin slices are a sign of undercooking. I (who knows very little) suggest that you put it in your mouth and base your score on the feel of the meat in your mouth.

It is my PERSONAL opinion that a cook who can "rescue" an overcooked brisket:eek: and make it a pleasure to eat,:grin: is deserving of a prize.

Sawdustguy
10-19-2005, 09:34 PM
We agree.....:biggrin:

Jeff_in_KC
10-19-2005, 09:43 PM
It is my PERSONAL opinion that a cook who can "rescue" an overcooked brisket:eek: and make it a pleasure to eat,:grin: is deserving of a prize.

Based upon my limited experience, I would not agree with this, Rich. I believe the true measurement of who deserves a prize is who cooks the brisket the best. This is a cooking contest, not a "masking" contest. If a brisket is overcooked, you, as the cook, didn't do your job correctly. It happened to us at DeSoto. We cooked two briskets. Brisket 1 was farking awesome... great flavor and beautiful smoke ring and very appealing with plenty of meat above the fat cap so as to leave a nice, wide slice after trimming the fat. However, we overcooked it. When we tried to actually move the slices we cut, the damned things fell apart. It was un-useable. While brisket #2 was not quite as flavorful, the smoke ring wasn't quite as deep and it was slightly less tender, we turned it in because the slices didn't fall apart. Still gave easily when tugged on to bite it. We could have chunked/shredded/pulled this first brisket but I was very doubtful about turning in like this. I haven't ever seen it done. My neighbor next door advised against using it so we scrapped it. I just don't have the sack to mask my failure and don't think that a cook who does have the sack to mask his error should be rewarded just because he was successful. He still failed at the primary objective of the contest. BUT, as I stated before, if you choose to pull or chunk your brisket at a contest, it should not be an indication or red flag to a judge that you're TRYING to hide something. Not sure if I made a lot of sense... Now that I read this, I feel like I'm typing in circles and not getting my point across! :roll:

wsm
10-20-2005, 06:07 AM
Jeff, I understand you, and I think that our different viewpoint come from the fact that you are a competition cook and I am a backyard cook.

You are cooking to a specific (semi-specific??:grin:) set of requirements and I am looking to put a nice plate of food on the table.

I have to think about this some more (with more coffee) but I think you may be right and I may be wrong.

jminion
10-20-2005, 09:18 AM
The goal is the thickness of a #2 pencil - which is a bit undefined, but with luck, you know what I mean - and some say if the beef is overcooked, then slices of that thickness will fall apart and if the beef is undercooked, then those slices will NOT pull apart and will be unchewable (is that a word?).

Rich this is not anything personel towards you but I have found that what people are taking away from the classes are a misconception.
During a judging class the #2 pencil thing is meant to be a verbal discription of a way to test the tenderness of brisket. It is not a rule, required or mandated that anyone turn-in #2 pencil thick slices. In a perfect world if you find a brisket sliced in this manor and do the pull test, along with taste test, this is the type of texture you would be looking for.

When an instructor then adds if the slices are thicker or thinner it means, this changes the intent of the test. To tell judges that chopped or pulled brisket means that the cook is trying to hide the condition of the texture also makes moot the fact you can turn in pulled or chopped.

This should be discussed and the manor of teaching should be changed.

wsm
10-20-2005, 10:01 AM
Yes Jim - I tried to state what I thought that many take away from a CBJ class -
I have found that what people are taking away from the classes are a misconception.
During a judging class the #2 pencil thing is meant to be a verbal discription of a way to test the tenderness of brisket. It is not a rule, required or mandated that anyone turn-in #2 pencil thick slices.


As you know, I had been posting that I use "mouth feel" to judge tenderness, but Jeff in K C's comment in this thread have me pondering this question "If pencil thick slices are what most cooks aim for, do other presentations represent an effort to save - which means poorly cooked meat?" But that means that non-sliced brisket gets marked down - and non-sliced brisket can be OK under the KCBS rules.

So this is on my mind. I'm glad that I am not judging again until the Spring.

This should be discussed and the manor of teaching should be changed.

I cannot agree with you more!

smokincracker
10-20-2005, 11:15 AM
Then maybe someone ought to point out the arguments made here to Mr. Roith. Doesn't necessarily make it right because he says it, does it? Or does it?

The key to this point is how the point was directed to the judges and worded by the instructor.
Example: The brisket COULD be or MIGHT be etc. etc. etc. or this is a trick that some judges use to help judge the texture of the brisket.

It was obvious to me that several of the judges taking the class were inexperience and I would expect it is possible that some of the judges never tasted brisket prior to that class. I think they will follow these tips and use these guidelines. I donít think that death was trying to take the judging process out of these new judges hands but simply give them the help and guidelines they needed to help determine a good product.

If I learned anything in the class it is to turn in some slices that will pass the rubber band test. (right or wrong you better do it)

Sledneck
05-02-2009, 05:30 PM
I have turned in pulled and done well with it, as long as it has steak sauce :biggrin:

smoke-n-my-i's
05-02-2009, 07:43 PM
Here is my nickels worth,

We are going on a lot of hear say, so what is right, and what is wrong.

I believe that we are used to "roast" beef being sliced, so that is what we look for, not only as a consumer, but as a cook, and as a judge. Now this is just my thoughts.... so take it as that....

We are used to pork as pulled pork, and we like to do thighs because they are so forgiving....

So, when do we get out of the norm and do something different... when ever we feel like it... so, what do we do? Do we still do the norm, or think outside of the box.

Are the judges taught wrong, or are we thinking wrong???

I like my beef sliced, because that is what I grew up on... we like burnt ends, right? What is burnt ends, chopped and over cooked brisket, so why not chop it, or pull it? I might just have to try it. If the judge is doing his/her job, they will judge for what is turned in, not what they are expecting.....

Bentley
05-02-2009, 10:15 PM
You can blame the rules, blame the judges, blame KCBS but the fact remains that sliced brisket is what's expected in a turnin box.

And I do blame all 3, dont have rules and then blow them off!

River City Smokehouse
05-03-2009, 07:52 AM
And to think I was going to turn in chicken necks this year.:rolleyes:

barbefunkoramaque
05-03-2009, 08:23 AM
OMG - is this an example of the Judicial Activism that Harriet Meyers is being asked about??

No, because we do not have an equivalent to the Burger (Nixon appointee dominated Court) and Reinquist (Regan/Bush dominated) courts which invalidated nearly TWICE the federal legislation the Warren Court did.

barbefunkoramaque
05-03-2009, 08:24 AM
And to think I was going to turn in chicken necks this year.:rolleyes:

I think with KCBS chicken neck salad would be legal. I'd leave the bones in too.. take a nice big bite y'all. :wink:

Solidkick
05-03-2009, 07:10 PM
Sled....remind me to flog you next time I see you for bringing this one back up from the dead....it had been asleep for nearly 4 years.....chit stirrer! LOL

Big George's BBQ
05-03-2009, 07:44 PM
Right now I am trying to get my Brisket good. If that ever happens I will decide what is the best way to present- maybe 2 of the 3. Until then I will do sliced and hope for the best