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Scuffletown Smokers
10-01-2013, 06:45 PM
I have not taken a judging course yet but have done enough research to know what the judges are looking for in brisket, chicken, and ribs but have been struggling in pork. Can anyone give me any judging tips? An example would be for brisket and the pull test that a judge will do. Is there a pull test or anything standard that could help when I am trying to decide what parts to put in the box? Thanks.

Twelvegaugepump
10-01-2013, 07:07 PM
I am assuming that you understand what is being looked for from an appearance perspective. I am looking for a piece of meat that I just have to taste. It should look nice in the box and look delicious. There are many internet pictures you can find to base appearance off of.

From a taste and tenderness perspective, first thing is that it is subjective. Every person is different. What I look for when I judge on taste and tenderness is tongue feel and overall mouth feel. Are the spices layered and balanced? Can I taste the meat shining through a nice hint of smoke and sauce. I am looking for moist but not mushy meat. Pork butts have many different muscles and some are more tender and flavorful than others. Some are more dry than others. I have had great boxes with money muscle, pulled, sliced each on their own and any combination of the three. If they all taste good, and I try them all, you are scored well. As for what you should put in the box, I think most judges expect pork in more than one form (though we are trained to judge just what is presented). Right or wrong, it demonstrates to the judge your ability to cook and understand the nuances of your product. With that said, if just your money muscle, or sliced or pulled turn out great, just like burnt ends with brisket, unless everything in the box is great, I tend to start from the best meat your present and down grade if something is not as good in the box.

Not sure if this helped or not, but it is the process I got through while judging. I look forward to hearing other answers.

ModelMaker
10-02-2013, 07:20 AM
Here's a judge that fully understands the rules and procedures of KCBS judging.
You cooks want and deserve a whole tent full of his kind.
Ed

Lake Dogs
10-02-2013, 08:28 AM
I am assuming that you understand what is being looked for from an appearance perspective. I am looking for a piece of meat that I just have to taste. It should look nice in the box and look delicious. There are many internet pictures you can find to base appearance off of.

From a taste and tenderness perspective, first thing is that it is subjective. Every person is different. What I look for when I judge on taste and tenderness is tongue feel and overall mouth feel. Are the spices layered and balanced? Can I taste the meat shining through a nice hint of smoke and sauce. I am looking for moist but not mushy meat. Pork butts have many different muscles and some are more tender and flavorful than others. Some are more dry than others. I have had great boxes with money muscle, pulled, sliced each on their own and any combination of the three. If they all taste good, and I try them all, you are scored well. As for what you should put in the box, I think most judges expect pork in more than one form (though we are trained to judge just what is presented). Right or wrong, it demonstrates to the judge your ability to cook and understand the nuances of your product. With that said, if just your money muscle, or sliced or pulled turn out great, just like burnt ends with brisket, unless everything in the box is great, I tend to start from the best meat your present and down grade if something is not as good in the box.

Not sure if this helped or not, but it is the process I got through while judging. I look forward to hearing other answers.

Pretty good info above. In other sanctioning bodies we're trained to first test the pork in your fingers. A gentle squeeze will help you tell tenderness vs. mushy or tough. This is why pieces about the size of your thumb work best (from a competitors side), as they tend to hold moisture better and make great squeezable pieces. Next, smell. The judge should pull it up to his/her nose and take it in. In the mouth, you push the pork to the roof of your mouth. Mushy will show up fast. Then chew. Should be gentle and chewable, but not "chewy" nor tough. Whether Money Muscle or other pieces, same/same. What was said above is definitely true for appearance, helping display your knowledge of the category and how to cook that perfect piece of meat. But in taste or tenderness, that shouldn't have anything to do with it.

If you present multiple muscles, we try them all. Other sanctioning bodies dont allow garnish, so many will shred or chop a butt and put those pieces in the bottom as "lining". As judges, we're still required to sample ALL the pieces in the box, even the "lining". Dont do this technique with tough or mushy meat.

> Can I taste the meat shining through a nice hint of smoke and sauce.
Stated very well. The spices and sauce(s) and smoke used should compliment the taste of the meat, but not mask it. You can over-smoke meat, or over-sauce meat, or over-spice meat to the point where that's all you're tasting. Not good. Find that balance, the one that compliments the meat perfectly.

In a presentation, watch out for hints of imagery. It's very easy to make a "scoop" look like cat food; not good. It's very easy to make a money muscle look like a turd. I dont know about you, but I've never found a turd to be appetizing, nor something that looks like a turd...

bbq.tom
10-02-2013, 08:35 AM
Great comments Hance!