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View Full Version : Competition in non-traditional BBQ areas of the country


bdawgbbq
06-04-2013, 10:52 PM
Hey Everyone;
i'm hoping to get some sage advice on BBQ style and flavor profiles to use in non-traditional areas. I'm gearing up for my first contest here in Rhode Island, and everything I've read says to default to KC style with an emphasis on sweet. Even a little heat is considered by many in New England as spicey so I'm probably going to tone it down some.
What have people had success with outside of the KC/Texas/GA/Memphis/Carolinas? Is it really just a crap shoot on who judges you?

Crash
06-05-2013, 04:17 AM
First off, we compete on an island in the middle of the Pacific (if you can call competing 2 NS contests/year). Our first year out (3 years ago) we used what we previously competed with in AZ. We did well.

After that first event we heard through the "coconut wireless" that our chicken was too spicy and that our brisket too tough for a few judges. Long story short, the next year we removed 100% of anything spicy from brines, rubs, and sauce and moved up two spots in chicken. We also overcooked the brisket and moved up one spot.

So, our take was that sweeter is better and spicier is not for chicken. Overcooking brisket was the way to go. Keep in mind the judges were not CBJ's but were considered some of the top chefs on the island.

If this were a BY event, I'd shoot right down the middle of Broadway and hit the sweet side for chicken, ribs and pork. I'd also stick to a slightly over-cooked brisket.

For a sanctioned comp.....I have no idea. Way to out of the game at this point.

Aloha and good luck dude.

Fatback Joe
06-05-2013, 08:16 AM
Most of what you have read working well most of the country works pretty well up here too.

Don't go extreme in any direction, but if you have to lean either towards sweet or spicy, go with the sweet.

Skip
06-05-2013, 08:42 AM
Well the advice is all good here although I wouldn't overcook the brisket but maybe slice it a little thinner. Anytime I put pencil width slices in I seem to get hammered.

But you really can't prepare. Judging is inconsistent. Good judges are washed over by too many judges who think no one can make good Q. Other who have openly stated that they won't give a 9 because no one can make perfect BBQ. Others who tell you how the food should be made rather then judging it for what it is. Still more who just seem to dislike BBQ. I'd rather have untrained judges who get a small instruction before hand. At least they go in wanting to eat BBQ and actually enjoy it rather then trying to find a reason to mark it down. Many of the trained judges also use the "start at 6 method" of judging which rarely allows them to get to 9. This method, as well as the start at 9 and go down, are frowned upon and not used in judging classes because of the bias they put on it. But we all know that what we learned is what we will continue to use. So the majority of NE judges were trained with the 6 and up mentality. Thats why first place ends up wit 4 9 and a bunch of 8's. Rather the 4 8's and a bunch of 9's.

Just my opinion and we all know about opinions.

CBQ
06-05-2013, 09:11 AM
Most of what you have read working well most of the country works pretty well up here too.

Don't go extreme in any direction, but if you have to lean either towards sweet or spicy, go with the sweet.

I was going to suggest quahog flavored 'que (http://seagrant.gso.uri.edu/factsheets/fsquahog.html (http://seagrant.gso.uri.edu/factsheets/fsquahog.html)) but Joe let the secret out.

It's pretty much the same as every place else. Sweet with a little heat does well. Many of the area judges (like the teams) drive all over New England and NY judging contests, so there isn't a lot of variation between the states. Experienced judges like a little heat, and want to taste the meat, not the sauce. Newer judges tend to favor sweet and saucy. You don't know who you are getting at your table, so aiming right down the middle is best.

Sawdustguy
06-06-2013, 09:00 AM
If you are cooking in a KCBS contest you can never go wrong with sweet and a little heat.

Podge
06-06-2013, 11:43 AM
I've thrown the whole regional thing out the window.. seems every contest, the organizer brags (as they should) on teams from 10 states, and judges from just as many. I'm cooking in north carolina next weekend and plan on doing the same stuff that does well in southern Indiana.... so we'll see if I'm wrong.. :becky:

INmitch
06-06-2013, 12:18 PM
A wise man ^^^^^^^^^(Podge) once said a Big Mac tastes the same on the east coast as it does on the west coast.

Podge
06-06-2013, 01:07 PM
A wise man ^^^^^^^^^(Podge) once said a Big Mac tastes the same on the east coast as it does on the west coast.

damn!!.. I did say that, didn't I???... I got to watch what I say while drinking ! I hope you get parked next to us next weekend!!.. we've competed together many times, but never set up next to each other.

Scottie
06-06-2013, 04:10 PM
Just cooked my 38th state last weekend. I cook the same way at every state.