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Qbert60
02-06-2014, 11:44 AM
Is it possible for a team to be a top contender by using commodity meat? Currently I buy my chicken from Sam's. My pork and brisket come from Restaurant Depot, and my ribs hopefully will come from Sysco/Seaboard farms. A person/team can take all the competition classes available, but these cooks use top quality meat. I do want be a Grand Champ someday, but at the moment I can't afford $300 worth of meat at each comp.

I have taken a 1st, 3rd and 4th in the pork category this past season. Placed in the top 10 in chicken a few times. I really don't know of anyone cooking heritage pork ribs. So I guess I am more worried about brisket. More and more teams spending the money on Waygu. I was thinking about at least moving up to Prime, but have read recently that Prime and CAB are pretty similar. Is that true?

fnbish
02-06-2014, 12:00 PM
Other than getting Waygu for brisket tons of the top teams get their meat from RD sams/costco, etc. So the answer is Yes it is very possible.

Alexa RnQ
02-06-2014, 12:05 PM
Yes, very possible. No Wagyu required.

Qbert60
02-06-2014, 12:11 PM
Other than getting Waygu for brisket tons of the top teams get their meat from RD sams/costco, etc. So the answer is Yes it is very possible.

See Jason, That's my point. If I go to a comp where 60% of the teams are cooking Waygu, does my CAB stand a chance?

fnbish
02-06-2014, 12:18 PM
See Jason, That's my point. If I go to a comp where 60% of the teams are cooking Waygu, does my CAB stand a chance?

Yes you can absolutely win or place in the top 10 without Waygu. I meant that Waygu is pretty much the only category where people spend that high dollar, but it isn't necessary.

Now I'm not the greatest brisket cook, but we had 7 brisket calls (top 10s) last year and all were with choice. Almost every time I said our brisket was good it got a call. That for me was based more on tenderness and cooking it right. When I screw it up and under or over do it I know and it doesn't score as well. But it also doesn't shoot us in the foot anymore either.

MikeJ65
02-06-2014, 12:27 PM
I think we would have to agree that Waygu is the better meat and gives you an advantage. That said, I'm not sure that it is that big of an advantage and many teams do very well with CAB or prime. One advantage of buying CAB is that you have better selection instead of just having to cook what they send you. For me, I think I gain more by spending my money on 2-3 more comps instead of dropping a couple grand on Waygu.

jaestar
02-06-2014, 01:02 PM
After the first five or so comps last year I started cooking one Wagyu brisket instead of two. It saved money and made me work on getting one cooked properly. I think it helped me become a better brisket cook.

Hawg Father of Seoul
02-06-2014, 01:40 PM
Cooking waygu does not give you an advantage. Nailing waygu will.

However, nailing CAB will get you to the top as well.

BTW we also gave up cooking more than 1 brisket as well.

INmitch
02-06-2014, 02:14 PM
One of the top teams in the country gets all but cow at Kroger. And yes you can win brisket without wagyu. Perfectly cooked meat wins. Or should I say winners turn in perfectly cooked meat.

Qbert60
02-06-2014, 02:47 PM
One of the top teams in the country gets all but cow at Kroger. And yes you can win brisket without wagyu. Perfectly cooked meat wins. Or should I say winners turn in perfectly cooked meat.

How did it take you to load those 5 or 6 cases from SNF into your fridge?

Big Ugly's BBQ
02-06-2014, 03:32 PM
I know of one previous KCBS ToY that does it, BJ's Wholesale hates to see them comin.........

Butcher BBQ
02-06-2014, 05:24 PM
Yes you can. I buy my chicken at the grocery store, my ribs and butts comes from Sams or RD ( Seaboard ), and I use a prime grade brisket.

Podge
02-06-2014, 05:48 PM
I've beaten a lot of teams using wagyus with CAB's and Creekstones.. I've had a lot of CAB's, etc. beat my wagyu's. I buy Wagyu's primarily now, because where I live, briskets are few and far between and crap. I could order online primes, but why do that when I can just buy a wagyu for about $30 more?

Scottie
02-06-2014, 06:38 PM
My recommendation is to learn to cook your meat to perfection... once you have that down where you can do it blindfolded, then worry about wagyu... a wagyu does not make you a better cook. Personally, I think prime tastes better than wagyu. Remember.... there is no magic pixie dust. You want to be a better cook? Cook more. Then when you think you have it perfected.... Cook more... when you eat BBQ chicken for 2 straight weeks, every night is the dedication that you need. Not wagyu..

Meat Man
02-06-2014, 07:06 PM
I wouldn't go as far as to say all meat is equal, each piece is unique. To me there is a difference between Seaboard and IBP. All CAB beef is not created equal. Some brands of chicken just cook up better. One other thing, Wagyu isn't always the golden ticket. Unfortunately many meat managers in the big box/grocery stores don't get the opportunity to order their meats from specific suppliers. So one week it might brand A, the next week brand B. We have a meat shop and are pretty spoiled when choosing our meats for our competition, we also take a lot of pride in selecting cuts for other competitors. Butts with nice money muscle. Briskets with even flats and nice marbling, Ribs with straight bones and and a even covering of meat with some nice little streaks of fat running through them. Chicken that will cook up tender and moist. Better meats will usually cost more. If you can find a local butcher that will work with you, that's your best bet. I think most cooks simply struggle with finding quality meats on a consistent basis, and having a friend in the business sure can make life easier.

jaestar
02-06-2014, 07:26 PM
Keep in mind too that not all Wagyu is the same. I've tried four different suppliers and find that I like SRF. I think they have a very consistent, high quality product.

Rub
02-06-2014, 08:01 PM
I don't order any of the high dollar stuff. Publix supermarket for chicken; ribs, pork and choice CAB from the local family owned meat market Mac's Meats. Sometimes get ribs and pork from Sam's if in a bind. I beat a thousand dollars worth of Wagyu on a regular basis. High dollar mail order meat not necessary.

All that said if I could score a high-end brisket and rib sponsor I'd be on it. But I don't have the cha-ching to pay for it, so I work hard getting the regular stuff right.

ITBFQ
02-06-2014, 09:54 PM
I'm an amateur comp guy, so my opinion doesn't carry as much weight... but I will still offer it. I get my ribs at Meijer and they turn out really good for me. 2nd place in my first competition, and 3rd out of 62 at my second - both with ribs from the pork case at Meijer. I take forever to select racks with straight bones, etc. And I ain't going to fix what isn't broke... yet.

INmitch
02-06-2014, 10:14 PM
How did it take you to load those 5 or 6 cases from SNF into your fridge?

For the record Skippy. I only got one 180 last year in briskie.......and it wasn't a wagyu!:blah:

Ackman
02-07-2014, 07:46 AM
Twice I cooked both a Wagu and a CAB brisket...both times I ended up turning in the CAB. I thought they just tasted better...maybe I just don't appreciate the Wagu flavor?

CBQ
02-07-2014, 08:41 AM
Scottie's right, getting the meat cooked right is more important. Once you nail that, Wagyu can give you an edge.

We normally use it, but got 2nd in brisket last year in Lexington, MA with an RD brisket.

Qbert60
02-07-2014, 09:51 AM
I love this forum. Thank you! Now, just so you all know, I plan to beat all of you this year. Scottie, you beat me via a tie-breaker for 2nd in pork at silver lake last year. One word... GRRRRRRR!

I think that Alexa RnQ said it best. "Don't practice until you get it right. Practice until you can't get it wrong."

sweetracks
02-07-2014, 10:31 AM
Skippy, I've never cooked a Wagyu....never saw the point when we couldn't cook a consistent product. It was a good year for us in brisket with a couple top 5s and a couple more top 10's. We were flirting with the idea of trying a wagyu but the extra cost just isn't worth it for us. One of the westsiders put it this way to me.... when you cook any meat you have a window when its done and you need to get it off the smoker. With some meats, like the thin line when cooking ribs, that window closes fast. With Brisket the window will close slower with higher quality of meat. Basically you have to be a better brisket cook to get a choice brisket to finish top 10. Your margin for error is much greater on a wagyu. Weather that is accurate or not, I'm not sure. But its good enough for me.

PekingPorker
02-07-2014, 12:13 PM
I was told last year by a seasoned team with many wins that they got more brisket calls with Choice Grade meat from Sam's than any Waygu or Prime.

Rub
02-10-2014, 11:38 AM
Plain Excel ribs from Sam's Club won 1st this past weekend in an 81 pro team field.
That and Swamp Boys Original bbq sauce. :wink:

BBQ&Beyond
02-11-2014, 11:22 AM
My recommendation is to learn to cook your meat to perfection... once you have that down where you can do it blindfolded, then worry about wagyu... a wagyu does not make you a better cook. Personally, I think prime tastes better than wagyu. Remember.... there is no magic pixie dust. You want to be a better cook? Cook more. Then when you think you have it perfected.... Cook more... when you eat BBQ chicken for 2 straight weeks, every night is the dedication that you need. Not wagyu..

Well said Scottie!

Rookie'48
02-11-2014, 04:22 PM
Being that I'm a fairly well known judge in our area, I find that quite a few newer teams have asked me if they should switch to the fancy, high priced cuts of meat. My answer is always the same: NO!

Not until you can consistently turn in a quality product using the Sam's / Costco / RD / grocery store meats. If your taste & tenderness scores are damn near always 8s & 9s then go for it - until then I feel that you're going to be wasting money. Once you can turn in the same quality product week in and week out then you can justify spending the extra dollars on the higher priced meat.

Just like buying a Jambo won't make you a great cook there are a lot of great cooks who use a Jambo because its easier to control, maintains temps better and just plain looks good! If all that you can cook is 6s and 7s, buying a Jambo and Waygu briskies isn't going to put you into the money.

Hawg Father of Seoul
02-11-2014, 05:30 PM
Being that I'm a fairly well known judge in our area, I find that quite a few newer teams have asked me if they should switch to the fancy, high priced cuts of meat. My answer is always the same: NO!

Not until you can consistently turn in a quality product using the Sam's / Costco / RD / grocery store meats. If your taste & tenderness scores are damn near always 8s & 9s then go for it - until then I feel that you're going to be wasting money. Once you can turn in the same quality product week in and week out then you can justify spending the extra dollars on the higher priced meat.

Just like buying a Jambo won't make you a great cook there are a lot of great cooks who use a Jambo because its easier to control, maintains temps better and just plain looks good! If all that you can cook is 6s and 7s, buying a Jambo and Waygu briskies isn't going to put you into the money.

There was a real nice guy next to us at a comp last year. J5, custom cut ribs ( half spare, half baby back), waygu, said he had gone to several classes. He gave me a rib that was tough and bland so I gave him one of my ribs.

He tells me that my savory , no sugar, honey, ect ribs taste pretty much like his oversauced, over honeyed, over sugared ribs. Even when he copys winning techniques on great equipment, he is still at a disadvantage.

Spydermike72
02-12-2014, 08:17 AM
For the record Skippy. I only got one 180 last year in briskie.......and it wasn't a wagyu!:blah:

Only one 180 ?? :mrgreen::mrgreen:

mikerobes
02-12-2014, 08:50 AM
Skippy, I've never cooked a Wagyu....never saw the point when we couldn't cook a consistent product. It was a good year for us in brisket with a couple top 5s and a couple more top 10's. We were flirting with the idea of trying a wagyu but the extra cost just isn't worth it for us. One of the westsiders put it this way to me.... when you cook any meat you have a window when its done and you need to get it off the smoker. With some meats, like the thin line when cooking ribs, that window closes fast. With Brisket the window will close slower with higher quality of meat. Basically you have to be a better brisket cook to get a choice brisket to finish top 10. Your margin for error is much greater on a wagyu. Weather that is accurate or not, I'm not sure. But its good enough for me.

thars your first mistake...:blah:

Qbert60
02-12-2014, 09:54 AM
thars your first mistake...:blah:

Those darn Westsiders!

Qbert60
02-12-2014, 09:57 AM
So on another topic, but still has to do with this. How many practice runs does everyone do before and during the season?

That is probably my biggest hurdle is finding time to do them consistently. I hear what everyone is saying about being able to cook the best choice brisket you can before you dive into the expensive cuts.

sweetracks
02-12-2014, 10:45 AM
Normally I'm cooking through the winter. We tend to have a good 40 degree weekend at least once a month..even in January of February. This year however, I'm not sure I"m going to get one full practice cook in before Evansville. Weather has been chitty and my weekends have been busy. But, 2 full cooks at a minimum is what we typically do...hoping for one in next couple of weeks.

sweetracks
02-12-2014, 10:46 AM
Those darn Westsiders!

I don't trust East-siders farther than I can throw them :roll:

Rich Parker
02-12-2014, 12:39 PM
My rib win at the Rockford Sam's regionals were Excel ribs I bought in the store friday afternoon. I have tried the Duroc ribs and pork butts and prefer the Excel or IBP.

Brisket is a different story! There is no comparison in my book when tasting a well cooked a wagyu vs any other grade. The key thing is properly cooked because grade means nothing on a poorly cooked brisket.

MAP
02-12-2014, 12:43 PM
Not that I win but I use IBP ribs and butts from the base comissary. The meat manager does let me pick trough cases though. I cooked a few Wagyu briskets in 2012 and nothing but CAB in 13. for what it is worth I WILL be cooking wagyu again all of the 14 seaeson.

INmitch
02-12-2014, 02:01 PM
So on another topic, but still has to do with this. How many practice runs does everyone do before and during the season?

That is probably my biggest hurdle is finding time to do them consistently. I hear what everyone is saying about being able to cook the best choice brisket you can before you dive into the expensive cuts.

I've been messing with chicken. Not really practice, more like experimenting in the kitchen. I probably won't cook the other 3 till London KY. Where I'll probably get my a$$ handed to me seeing all the practicing going on by members of the KY Mafia on FB.:boxing:

indianagriller
02-12-2014, 11:54 PM
my thought is until you can duplicate a process that you have bee rewarded for in a competition, practicing isn't going to make you any better, if you are cooking your brisket and you think it tastes great, but the 6 CBJ's hate it you just wasted a lot of time and money on nothing but duplicating a bad brisket. I think we are planning one practice run where it is on a competition timeline before our first competition and that's just to shake the rust off of us. Our timeline wont change too much, even with the classes we have or will be taking.

sweetracks
02-13-2014, 07:39 AM
I agree. We don't change too much year to year. I like to cook occasionally just to stay "sharp" but is usually one category or another and usually at a friends request. We have always done one full dress rehearsal (including set up and boxes) once before the first comp every year. This year we might still have snow on the ground when Evansville, IN rolls around

sweetracks
02-13-2014, 07:40 AM
Where I'll probably get my a$$ handed to me seeing all the practicing going on by members of the KY Mafia on FB.:boxing:

I don't think they are buried in snow though :wacko:

Qbert60
02-13-2014, 09:25 AM
my thought is until you can duplicate a process that you have bee rewarded for in a competition, practicing isn't going to make you any better, if you are cooking your brisket and you think it tastes great, but the 6 CBJ's hate it you just wasted a lot of time and money on nothing but duplicating a bad brisket. I think we are planning one practice run where it is on a competition timeline before our first competition and that's just to shake the rust off of us. Our timeline wont change too much, even with the classes we have or will be taking.

OK, since you brought it up, if we are not practicing to improve our flavor profile so those 6 CBJ's will enjoy our food, why change it up in a comp? Aren't we wasting more money doing that?

sweetracks
02-13-2014, 10:05 AM
If it is a very minor change, I will try it at a comp....but also have my original. Reduces the margin of error when we do it that way but saves the expense of a practice cook to see what difference an new injection makes. Worked out pretty well for us in Plymouth when we tried a new rib injection :-D

indianagriller
02-13-2014, 10:38 AM
OK, since you brought it up, if we are not practicing to improve our flavor profile so those 6 CBJ's will enjoy our food, why change it up in a comp? Aren't we wasting more money doing that?

How do you know if the flavors you are practicing are going to win over the judges... you dont. Some times you gotta put it out there and swing for the fences, it happened with our chicken recipe and worked well last year. Not so well on our ribs. Our chicken recipe could fall flat on its face this year then we are back to square one, but we wont know until we cook it in competition... What you can practice is nailing your time line and hitting your marks, but we cook the same so it will be a matter of us just getting back in rhythm.

Qbert60
02-13-2014, 11:35 AM
Soooo....it seems as if when teams practice, it's more about the time-line then the flavor profile?

sweetracks
02-13-2014, 02:32 PM
that's the only reason we do a full dress rehearsal.

Spydermike72
02-14-2014, 04:43 AM
How do you know if the flavors you are practicing are going to win over the judges... you dont. Some times you gotta put it out there and swing for the fences, it happened with our chicken recipe and worked well last year. Not so well on our ribs. Our chicken recipe could fall flat on its face this year then we are back to square one, but we wont know until we cook it in competition... What you can practice is nailing your time line and hitting your marks, but we cook the same so it will be a matter of us just getting back in rhythm.

And this is the reason for the GLBBQA Spring Fling on May 17th, to get back in rhythm AND get judged by mostly CBJ's... It is an inexpensive way to test new flavor profiles and knock the rust off...