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View Full Version : Your thoughts on my first comp turn-in boxes


TailGateJoecom
07-06-2013, 11:24 PM
So 2 weeks ago I entered my first comp, the Safeway BBQ Battle in DC. There were a lot of big names competing, so my version of realistic goals were,
1) get all my turn-ins done on time
2) not come DFL in any categories
3) come in the top 60%
4) get one top 10

Well, accomplished both of the first 2, just missed the 3rd coming in 28 out of 42(25th would have been top 60%) and my highest score was only 25th in pork shoulder.
I ended up:
28th overall 150ck, 158ri, 157pk,133br, total 600

29th in chicken 28, 32, 25.7, 33.7, 29.1 27.4, 150.28
27th in ribs 29.7, 25.7, 36, 36, 29.7, 27.4, 158.857
25th in pork 32, 27.4, 29.1, 31.4, 32.5714, 32.5714, 157.7142
32nd in brisket 26.85, 21.1428, 21.1428, 31.4, 23.4, 30.2858 = 133.1430

here are my boxes, except for pork, don't have a pic.
Chicken:
http://www.tailgatejoe.com/promos/bbqbattle/2013dcbbqbattle1.jpg

http://www.tailgatejoe.com/promos/bbqbattle/2013dcbbqbattle2.jpg

Chicken score
777 888 767 989 786 876


Ribs
http://www.tailgatejoe.com/promos/bbqbattle/2013dcbbqbattle3.jpg

http://www.tailgatejoe.com/promos/bbqbattle/2013dcbbqbattle4.jpg

Rib score
878 767 999 999 878 876

Brisket
http://www.tailgatejoe.com/promos/bbqbattle/2013dcbbqbattle5.jpg

http://www.tailgatejoe.com/promos/bbqbattle/2013dcbbqbattle6.jpg

brisket scores
776 755 755 987 765 787

I knew my brisket would be bad, it was the second one i ever cooked, and the first one i had cooked as a practice ended up in the garbage inedible! So I deserved to get bashed there.

Any thoughts on my scores, my boxes, would be a big help and appreciated. I don't really have the experience to analyze the numbers very well.

For anyone wondering, all my cooking done on 1 FEC120, which I got about 2 weeks before the comp with no previous pellet experience.

Atlasman
07-07-2013, 12:07 AM
Not bad out of the gate.......congrats on a fine cook.

I'm no fan of geometric shapes in chicken so the globes don't do much for me but I would say the uneven color and size would be what you got dinged for on that box. Looks like you couldn't decide between a run at crispy skin or carmelized sauce. Nothing wrong with either but pick one and go with it.

Ribs are sharp...........color isn't perfect but honestly dude if those had good taste and were tender and juicy they look like your best effort. Well done.

Brisket looks dry, dull, and grey. No burnt ends means your slices better sparkle. Don't be afraid to take a brush to them right in the box to juice and shine them up for the walk to the judges.

Overall I would say your boxes look more like you just filled them with parsley as a loose bed instead of making a tight putting green for them to sit on. Either tighten up the parsley or go to green leafy lettuce and supplement with parsley. Either will look better.


Having said all that..........nice job dude. You are well on your way to a call in your near future with that solid foundation to work from.


No pork??

Atlasman
07-07-2013, 12:19 AM
Looking closer at your scores you need to worry more about your taste and tenderness on that brisket..........they count WAY more than a pretty box.

The guy who gave you a 7 on those ribs is a tool. Two perfect scores tells me you should feel pretty good about that turn in.

landarc
07-07-2013, 12:20 AM
Hey, that is not at all a bad finish, especially for a first time. As you can tell, the scores are a little variable. In general, I think a better and smoother garnish bed will help you. Shouldn't matter, but, it does. Parsley on top of meat is usually not good.

I do like the ribs appearance wise. The chicken is uneven in color and shine. The shapes don't do it for me, but, I would not mark down for them. Lumpy, and uneven sauce, light spots, that would get dinged. Overall, I think the brisket looks okay, 7's seem fair. A light hit with a au jus moistened brush would help a lot.

TailGateJoecom
07-07-2013, 12:20 AM
Not bad out of the gate.......congrats on a fine cook.

I'm no fan of geometric shapes in chicken so the globes don't do much for me but I would say the uneven color and size would be what you got dinged for on that box. Looks like you couldn't decide between a run at crispy skin or carmelized sauce. Nothing wrong with either but pick one and go with it.

Ribs are sharp...........color isn't perfect but honestly dude if those bad good taste and were tender and juicy they look like your best effort. Well done.

Brisket looks dry, dull, and grey. No burnt ends means your slices better sparkle. Don't be afraid to take a brush to them right in the box to juice and shine them up for the walk to the judges.

Overall I would say your boxes look more like you just filled them with parsley as a loose bed instead of making a tight putting green for them to sit on. Either tighten up the parsley or go to green leafy lettuce and supplement with parsley. Either will look better.


Having said all that..........nice job dude. You are well on your way to a call in your near future with that solid foundation to work from.


No pork??

Thanks. Yeah, as far as the chicken, i think i just need to work on my trimming a bit more to get them a little smaller and more uniform.

The ribs I thought were great, the flavor was a little sweet but from what i read that is the way comp ribs should be. I did get 2 judges going 9s across the board, I am going to chalk that to the luck of the judges i drew.

Yeah, i pretty much didn't do a base of anything garnish wise, just put the meat in then parsley around it. It was my first time building a box, lol, talk about pressure.

The brisket, yeah, train wreck all around. As an example of how bad it went, i slice and choose the slices going into the box, i then pour the drippings from the brisket pan into the grease separator. I then tell one of my teammates to pour the juice from the separator and dunk the slices into the bowl of juice, then put into the box. After everything is done, i look at that bowl of juice, and it is just all liquid fat/grease. I flip out and ask WTF is this in the bowl. Teammate says he went and poured the drippings from the second brisket pan, then dispensed the juice, he never waited for it to settle, so he just ended up running the grease straight through the separator. I am sure that did NOT help at all!

Lots of work to do before the Battle of the Brethren!

Thanks for taking a minute to look it over, much appreciated!

TailGateJoecom
07-07-2013, 12:25 AM
Looking closer at your scores you need to worry more about your taste and tenderness on that brisket..........they count WAY more than a pretty box.

The guy who gave you a 7 on those ribs is a tool. Two perfect scores tells me you should feel pretty good about that turn in.

Yeah, i am stumped on the ribs. I don't know how common it is to get 2 judges going 9's across the board and STILL end up 27th. I am leaving the recipe and preparation alone and tightening up my presentation and see how it does for another 2 comps to get a better barometer.

TailGateJoecom
07-07-2013, 12:27 AM
Hey, that is not at all a bad finish, especially for a first time. As you can tell, the scores are a little variable. In general, I think a better and smoother garnish bed will help you. Shouldn't matter, but, it does. Parsley on top of meat is usually not good.

I do like the ribs appearance wise. The chicken is uneven in color and shine. The shapes don't do it for me, but, I would not mark down for them. Lumpy, and uneven sauce, light spots, that would get dinged. Overall, I think the brisket looks okay, 7's seem fair. A light hit with a au jus moistened brush would help a lot.

Thanks Landarc.

landarc
07-07-2013, 12:27 AM
A trick on building boxes, and there are many ways and videos etc...but, you can build the box while you are cooking. Do it early in the cook, sit down and lay the parsley, or lettuce, whatever you are using, into the box. Then spray it with a fine mist of cold water and put it in a cooler. It will hold fine for several/many hours this way, and when crunch time comes, you are not fussing with parsley.

TailGateJoecom
07-07-2013, 12:29 AM
A trick on building boxes, and there are many ways and videos etc...but, you can build the box while you are cooking. Do it early in the cook, sit down and lay the parsley, or lettuce, whatever you are using, into the box. Then spray it with a fine mist of cold water and put it in a cooler. It will hold fine for several/many hours this way, and when crunch time comes, you are not fussing with parsley.

Gonna try that with my next practice cook. Thanks.

jmoney7269
07-07-2013, 01:52 AM
JMHO,
Never was a fan of the muffin tin chicken, and I'm under the impression from BBQ critic that judges aren't either. The ribs look good except for those nasty black crustys when that marrow remders out of the bones, gotta wipe them off as the ribs cook, learned that trick years ago. Brisket looks real roasty. Judgees want brisket, not pot roast. It appears that you dipped it in some type of jus, re reading reveals that now. gotta separate that fat. put it in a sealable glass container, chunk it in a ice bath for 10 min, pop off the fat puck, reheat the juices and adjust taste from there. I helped a guy over the past few weeks on a pitmaker that was getting close to the back of the field to 2nd place brisket in his first ever IBCA. If your interested, just PM me and we'll talk. Good luck, keep practicing, you'll get it!

TailGateJoecom
07-07-2013, 02:19 AM
JMHO,
Never was a fan of the muffin tin chicken, and I'm under the impression from BBQ critic that judges aren't either. The ribs look good except for those nasty black crustys when that marrow remders out of the bones, gotta wipe them off as the ribs cook, learned that trick years ago. Brisket looks real roasty. Judgees want brisket, not pot roast. It appears that you dipped it in some type of jus, re reading reveals that now. gotta separate that fat. put it in a sealable glass container, chunk it in a ice bath for 10 min, pop off the fat puck, reheat the juices and adjust taste from there. I helped a guy over the past few weeks on a pitmaker that was getting close to the back of the field to 2nd place brisket in his first ever IBCA. If your interested, just PM me and we'll talk. Good luck, keep practicing, you'll get it!

Yeah, brisket was a disaster, i was dumbfounded at the way my teammate didn't use the grease separator, but my fault for not making sure he knew what he was doing. Never really thought about the rib bone tips, something I will look at in my next few practice cooks.

Thanks for taking the time to look over my post.

K-Train
07-07-2013, 06:13 AM
Look pretty good to me. Sauce looks uneven on chicken. Sorry If I'm repeating as I didn't read all the comments. The ribs look a little lost in your garnish. Overall I'd say not to shabby at all.

accuseal
07-07-2013, 06:50 AM
I'd stick with what you are doing for the next few comps (except for the known mistakes ). Some of your scores I would chalk up to luck of the judge draw. I agree that you could improve your garnish but the appearance did'nt really hurt you. Good first time out..........no DAL! :-)

TailGateJoecom
07-07-2013, 12:28 PM
Look pretty good to me. Sauce looks uneven on chicken. Sorry If I'm repeating as I didn't read all the comments. The ribs look a little lost in your garnish. Overall I'd say not to shabby at all.

Agree on both points. Ya know, looking back at pics a few days later opens your eyes to things i just didn't see at the comp. Helps having another pair of eyes looking too, thanks K-Train.

TailGateJoecom
07-07-2013, 12:29 PM
I'd stick with what you are doing for the next few comps (except for the known mistakes ). Some of your scores I would chalk up to luck of the judge draw. I agree that you could improve your garnish but the appearance did'nt really hurt you. Good first time out..........no DAL! :-)

Yeah, it is tough to not go back to the drawing board and change it all up, but that would be like trying to hit a moving target all the time. Thanks for taking a moment to look it over and drop some comments accuseal:wink:

K-Train
07-07-2013, 03:12 PM
Agree on both points. Ya know, looking back at pics a few days later opens your eyes to things i just didn't see at the comp. Helps having another pair of eyes looking too, thanks K-Train.

I always take a picture of my box on my phone before sending it off. Then I close the box and look at the picture to see if I missed anything.

gmag
07-07-2013, 03:22 PM
I think you did pretty good on the greens. Nothing out of ordinary, which is a good thing.

J&B'sBBQ
07-07-2013, 08:31 PM
A trick on building boxes, and there are many ways and videos etc...but, you can build the box while you are cooking. Do it early in the cook, sit down and lay the parsley, or lettuce, whatever you are using, into the box. Then spray it with a fine mist of cold water and put it in a cooler. It will hold fine for several/many hours this way, and when crunch time comes, you are not fussing with parsley.

I actually do my boxes on Friday after meat prep. If you get those beds nice and smooth, dampen a piece of paper towel (or three) with ice water and lay it onto of your parsley and close the box. Put the boxes back into your coolers, ensuring they lay flat, and they will look perfect on Saturday when you're ready. Just remember to bring them out of the cooler about 30min before turn in so you're not putting hot meat into a cold box. It takes that out of your Saturday equation all together.

Red Valley BBQ
07-07-2013, 09:32 PM
Man, you are a glutton for punishment. Congrats on completing your first comp, but to cook your first comp on a new cooker and never having cooked an edible brisket took some serious stones. I know everyone has to get their feet wet at some point, but that is borderline insane. You may have achieved goal #3 given a little practice.

That said, those ribs look great. A 9 from me all day long. I also am not a fan of muffin pan chicken, but Myron would have been proud. The brisket has nice color but looks dry.

TailGateJoecom
07-08-2013, 04:49 AM
I actually do my boxes on Friday after meat prep. If you get those beds nice and smooth, dampen a piece of paper towel (or three) with ice water and lay it onto of your parsley and close the box. Put the boxes back into your coolers, ensuring they lay flat, and they will look perfect on Saturday when you're ready. Just remember to bring them out of the cooler about 30min before turn in so you're not putting hot meat into a cold box. It takes that out of your Saturday equation all together.

Thanks for the suggestion!:thumb:

TailGateJoecom
07-08-2013, 04:50 AM
Man, you are a glutton for punishment. Congrats on completing your first comp, but to cook your first comp on a new cooker and never having cooked an edible brisket took some serious stones. I know everyone has to get their feet wet at some point, but that is borderline insane. You may have achieved goal #3 given a little practice.

That said, those ribs look great. A 9 from me all day long. I also am not a fan of muffin pan chicken, but Myron would have been proud. The brisket has nice color but looks dry.

Yeah, i have a reputation for just cannon balling into the deep end right off the bat!

Thanks for the compliments too.

Spydermike72
07-08-2013, 08:33 AM
Great start!!

My only recommendation in addition to the others is - More meat less green. Meaning put more meat in the box (if you can without compromising your turn ins).

Hot Wachulas
07-08-2013, 10:35 AM
Thanks. Yeah, as far as the chicken, i think i just need to work on my trimming a bit more to get them a little smaller and more uniform.



Dont trim the chicken any smaller.
Get away from the round muffin pan. Use a mini loaf pan. They are rectangular and look more like thighs.
Also, Never show parsley stems.

For your first contest you should be very pleased.

loco_engr
07-09-2013, 01:35 AM
IMHO :wink:

The 3 extra chicken pcs, the middle row, prob didn't help
your score as they are smaller than the 2 other rows.
You only need 6 samples, so pick the best 6.
HTH


Good Luck in future comps & keep us posted

bbq.tom
07-09-2013, 09:40 AM
From this judge’s perspective, first of all, I’m not crazy about thighs that look like Christmas tree ornaments. That being said, I DON’T judge down just because that is all I see, but rather I judge what is presented in the box. Just know that other judges may let their personal dislikes affect their scores. These balls look pretty good, but NOT excellent. The sizes are too dissimilar and the sauce is too thick and not spread evenly. If I were to score this box based on the photograph, I’d probably give it a 7 or 8 = meaning this box would get an 8 from me as I round UP when I’m on the fence (in favor of the cook team). In my opinion, the 989 was out of line. DON'T trim the chicken any more (too round as it is!).

The rib box would get an 8 from me, as they look pretty decent, but still have issues. Black bones are not attractive, looks moist, but the black stripe down the center is “different”. I’d suggest a reversed stacked arrangement so that the bones are away from the front of the box and the under-layer is closer to the back of the box than the front. Definitely tighten up on the garnish, as a judge wants to be able to see all the meat they can and not have it covered up with garnish. We don’t judge garnish, but want to see the meat not just garnish. Just a couple suggestions.

Brisket actually looks pretty decent to me = 8.

Lake Dogs
07-09-2013, 09:53 AM
From this judgeís perspective, first of all, Iím not crazy about thighs that look like Christmas tree ornaments. That being said, I DONíT judge down just because that is all I see, but rather I judge what is presented in the box. Just know that other judges may let their personal dislikes affect their scores. These balls look pretty good, but NOT excellent. The sizes are too dissimilar and the sauce is too thick and not spread evenly. If I were to score this box based on the photograph, Iíd probably give it a 7 or 8 = meaning this box would get an 8 from me as I round UP when Iím on the fence (in favor of the cook team). In my opinion, the 989 was out of line. DON'T trim the chicken any more (too round as it is!).

The rib box would get an 8 from me, as they look pretty decent, but still have issues. Black bones are not attractive, looks moist, but the black stripe down the center is ďdifferentĒ. Iíd suggest a reversed stacked arrangement so that the bones are away from the front of the box and the under-layer is closer to the back of the box than the front. Definitely tighten up on the garnish, as a judge wants to be able to see all the meat they can and not have it covered up with garnish. We donít judge garnish, but want to see the meat not just garnish. Just a couple suggestions.

Brisket actually looks pretty decent to me = 8.


I agree 100% with above, except that brisket looked darned good to me; it was borderline 8 and 9 in appearance, and when I'm borderline I try to recognize then err on the side of the competitor, so it would've received a 9 in appearance from me.

Still, the garnish is too bushy and takes away from the appearance of the meat.

Also, on the Christmas Ornaments, I agree with his score completely. Just know that it's possible to make meat look like something that it's not. In some cases, it can invoke imagery. Either way, IMHO, if it doesn't look like meat, you're heading down a very bad path. The muffin pan/tin suggestion earlier was probably a good idea, that way thighs come out still basically in the shape of a thigh (no additional imagery added).

TailGateJoecom
07-10-2013, 01:38 AM
Great start!!

My only recommendation in addition to the others is - More meat less green. Meaning put more meat in the box (if you can without compromising your turn ins).

Thanks Mike!

TailGateJoecom
07-10-2013, 01:40 AM
Dont trim the chicken any smaller.
Get away from the round muffin pan. Use a mini loaf pan. They are rectangular and look more like thighs.
Also, Never show parsley stems.

For your first contest you should be very pleased.

Thanks for the suggestions. I am a pretty tough critic of myself, but I think I can take some of the great suggestions here and tighten things up!

TailGateJoecom
07-10-2013, 01:40 AM
IMHO :wink:

The 3 extra chicken pcs, the middle row, prob didn't help
your score as they are smaller than the 2 other rows.
You only need 6 samples, so pick the best 6.
HTH


Good Luck in future comps & keep us posted

Thanks Loco for taking the time to comment!

TailGateJoecom
07-10-2013, 01:43 AM
From this judgeís perspective, first of all, Iím not crazy about thighs that look like Christmas tree ornaments. That being said, I DONíT judge down just because that is all I see, but rather I judge what is presented in the box. Just know that other judges may let their personal dislikes affect their scores. These balls look pretty good, but NOT excellent. The sizes are too dissimilar and the sauce is too thick and not spread evenly. If I were to score this box based on the photograph, Iíd probably give it a 7 or 8 = meaning this box would get an 8 from me as I round UP when Iím on the fence (in favor of the cook team). In my opinion, the 989 was out of line. DON'T trim the chicken any more (too round as it is!).

The rib box would get an 8 from me, as they look pretty decent, but still have issues. Black bones are not attractive, looks moist, but the black stripe down the center is ďdifferentĒ. Iíd suggest a reversed stacked arrangement so that the bones are away from the front of the box and the under-layer is closer to the back of the box than the front. Definitely tighten up on the garnish, as a judge wants to be able to see all the meat they can and not have it covered up with garnish. We donít judge garnish, but want to see the meat not just garnish. Just a couple suggestions.

Brisket actually looks pretty decent to me = 8.

Thanks Tom, and yeah, think I am definitely gonna play with that rib arrangement to minimize the black bones.

TailGateJoecom
07-10-2013, 01:45 AM
I agree 100% with above, except that brisket looked darned good to me; it was borderline 8 and 9 in appearance, and when I'm borderline I try to recognize then err on the side of the competitor, so it would've received a 9 in appearance from me.

Still, the garnish is too bushy and takes away from the appearance of the meat.

Also, on the Christmas Ornaments, I agree with his score completely. Just know that it's possible to make meat look like something that it's not. In some cases, it can invoke imagery. Either way, IMHO, if it doesn't look like meat, you're heading down a very bad path. The muffin pan/tin suggestion earlier was probably a good idea, that way thighs come out still basically in the shape of a thigh (no additional imagery added).

Thanks for taking the time to share your thoughts, it will definitely help.