View Full Version : Pulled Pork Sauced or Not. Vinegar base or Tomato base

07-22-2013, 11:49 PM
I am sure this has bee talked about but I can't find it. Do most judges prefer pork sauced or not. If they like it sauced do they like vinager base or tomato base. I know a lot of that has to do with location.

07-23-2013, 10:05 AM
We will lightly sauce our pork turnins, using the juice from the foil to thin it out as much as possible.

Granny's Gang Barbeque
07-23-2013, 10:51 AM
Though I prefer Pork with a good Vinegar sauce. The judges up here in New England like the Tomato based sauce. Like Columbia1, I thin down my sauce with pan juices or fruit juice. They also like it sweet.

07-23-2013, 10:59 AM
I don't know about certified BBQ judges, but I have found that many of my friends and family don't like the idea of a vinegar sauce, but if they try it without knowing that its there they like it. I have been contemplating using a vinegar sauce first and then lightly going over the top with a red sauce

Lake Dogs
07-23-2013, 11:12 AM
As a judge and a competition cook, I admit I like a nice vinegar sauce on the meat, if/when I sauce at all.

That said, most vinegar sauced meat I've seen come across the tables had a huge vinegar bite to it; too much IMHO. So far I've never seen one score well (a vinegar sauced meat)...

Find a nice semi-sweet tomato based sauce that has a hint of hot and you'll probably find that middle.

Also, I HIGHLY suggest that you have a sauce party with your own meat. At least it was my/our finding when we did this that the sauces that we liked best actually didnt compliment the BBQ at all, and 3 sauces that we figured wouldn't fare well actually did pretty good. We now end up with a combination of all 3 sauces.

07-23-2013, 11:42 AM
I've had some pulled pork bbq burn my nose it was so vinegary. I could see how vinegar sauce could, and has, turned folks off.

With that said, at my road-side-bbq-stand, folks choose vinegar sauce 8:1. Not really something I expected in the Shenandoah Valley.

I've never been brave enough to try it in KCBS, though.

07-23-2013, 11:47 AM
In all my experiences as a CBJ, I've only had pork in competition twice with a vinegar twang to it. Didn't fare too well.

I LOVE a good vinegar sauce on pork (ala "Eastern" North Carolina style), but it doesn't do well in KCBS comps. Now in North Carolina Pork Council (NCPC) comps it does GREAT.

Whatever you do, do NOT mask the flavor of the meat with your sauce!!! Judges want to taste the meat and have the sauce enhance the meat flavor.

07-23-2013, 12:53 PM
Around here I think a very thin tomato based sauce works best. Find a good, somewhat sweet sauce that has a little heat to it. Thin it out with apple juice, apple cider vinegar, and your pork drippings from the foil. This should add great complimentary flavor and moisture to your meat without overpowering. Obviously, don't use too much vinegar but it does work if it's it the background.

07-23-2013, 01:22 PM
I have not competed in VA.......yet. But I know judges in WV, NC, TN and a lot of other states for that matter, like a tomato based sauce with a touch of vinegar.

07-23-2013, 04:20 PM
Maybe I need a sauce tht has a little more heat. Mine doesn't have a lot of bite. Does anyone have any suggestions.

07-23-2013, 09:03 PM
Maybe I need a sauce tht has a little more heat. Mine doesn't have a lot of bite. Does anyone have any suggestions.

Heat isn't the sauce for pork. Save that for your chicken and/or ribs!

07-23-2013, 09:41 PM
I had marginal success in NC last year with a vinegar sauce, I moved to Va. this year and the judges up here hated it. My last comp I switched to a sweeter sauce with a little of my old NC vinegar sauce mixed in and I walked. Needless to say that I won't be using vinegar again.

07-23-2013, 09:48 PM
I use a sweeter tomato base sauce and I haven't done very well. I get great scores on appearance, ok scores on tenderness. I just can not bring my taste score up.

07-23-2013, 10:01 PM
My first reaction is that it looks like you have pulled it too much. The judges like to have a larger piece to pull apart. From the picture it looks "stringy". I am not a judge so I may be wrong. Maybe a judge can give you their thoughts. Might also want to check out BBQ critic if you havnt already.

07-23-2013, 10:26 PM
I wonder if the candy sweet sauces that are typically used on competition chicken and ribs would adversely affect how a vinegar sauce on pork would taste to judges when they finally taste a vinegar based sauce on pork? I prefer a vinegar based sauce on a pulled pork sandwich. I have yet to have tasted a vinegar based sauce on competition pork after having judged 33 KCBS contest. I'd love to see that though, but wonder if a judge's taste buds that have been overwhelmed with sweetness wouldn't be able to give it a fair judging because of how the different tastes would interact. I don't know, just wondering.

07-24-2013, 11:35 PM
That makes since to me.