View Full Version : Competition Question

06-27-2008, 01:52 PM
I have a question that I thought would make for a great discussion. So here it is:

Do you feel that people, who try turning in something “different” than everyone else, are punished in the scoring? I mean if you do not turn in thighs for your chicken entry. Or if you put an asian BBQ sauce on your ribs instead of a traditional BBQ sauce. If you do something to “stand out” can it cost you? What do you think?

06-27-2008, 01:55 PM
IMO, judges have an idea of what they are looking for. They know what they want their BBQ to be like. The Asian ribs may taste great, but that isn't "BBQ" in some judges minds. I think it would hurt more than help. Most judges (around here at least) like something right in the middle of the flavor spectrum (does that exist??). Don't go getting all crazy on them.

I don't think a chicken cut other than thighs is as risky, as long as it is done well.

06-27-2008, 02:09 PM
Another example. In the KCBS rules you can turn in Cornish game hens as your chicken entry. But what would happen if the judges open up all the other boxes and see chicken thighs and in yours there are Cornish game hens? Would that cause your score to be higher or lower? What do you think?

Smokin Gator
06-27-2008, 02:20 PM
We have gone out on a limb a couple of time... the limb breaks and we fall off!!!

I think judges have a definite opinion of BBQ. If you are outside of that by very much your scores will suffer.

BTW... we did the cornish game hen thing once or twice. We did leg quarters. It cost a fortune because we had to buy them whole and them cut them up. That would have been fine, but the judged didn't like them!!

06-27-2008, 03:25 PM
I tried game hens last year. Went out and bought V-8 juice in 6 oz cans and used the cans to make "beer can game hens". Damn things were delicious, but I had it in my head that I needed to get 6 legs and 6 breasts into the box so that a judge wouldn't get a piece they didn't like. Couldn't fit everything in without making the box look like a pile of chit, so I fell back on the back up thighs at the last minute. I'd try them again if I can figure out the presentation of it.

06-27-2008, 03:29 PM
You roll the dice being unique, and usually lose. On the other hand, you can ask those that have cooked for a long time how popular breasts used to be, somebody had to be the first to inject a brisket or butt (it's common now), etc....

06-27-2008, 03:54 PM
I think I would hurt if your thought "outside the box." I wanted to do jerk chicken but I was told that the judges would not think that was "Q". Then again, it is worth a shot, you get bad scores don't do it again. If you have fun it doesn't really matter, as long as you have fun.

Mad Max
06-27-2008, 04:12 PM
You need to tweak the recipes and make it your own, while staying in the parameters that are set. I rather work on our rubs and sauces, while keeping our cooking technique intact.
Then again, It is fun to experiment. I guess it depends how bad you want to win the competition.

Rockaway BeachBQ
06-27-2008, 11:42 PM
I have heard that Jerk Chicken has done very well in some competitions. My wife makes some ribs with five spice powder and an apricot peach glaze that are to die for. Now here in the Northeast I might consider putting that in front of the judges. I doubt I would try it any where the judges are old timers.

06-28-2008, 08:01 AM
Then again, It is fun to experiment. I guess it depends how bad you want to win the competition.

Well said... It's all a matter of your priorities as to why you are there and whom you prefer to cook for.

06-28-2008, 08:32 AM
as everyone has said...it's what you want...after Yardley I told my hubby that I would like to change up our ribs, I tried a different method and he said they was good but tasted like cookie cutter Q...I said if that's what the judges are looking for then that's what I want to serve them...I'd rather be in 5th place than 28th...with something different that the judges don't like. Our original ribs we're delicious, but dry rub, no sauce and not sweet...but truly delicious.

So if you want to try it may work...it may not...but it's always worth trying at least once ...twice if you really like it...lol

06-28-2008, 09:42 AM
Well said... It's all a matter of your priorities as to why you are there and whom you prefer to cook for.

thats true but lets be real, it feels so much better with some validation from the judges.
lets not forget that it is called a competition for a reason and I don't think that I am going out on a limb when I say that the majority of us are there because we like to compete not just cook.
winning the whole thing may not be everyone's goal but I think that most people want to do "well".
I haven't seen anyone scowl when they get a call.

06-28-2008, 10:07 AM
In competitions only, setting out to win, leaving creativity for the backyard, here goes:

Having cooked KCBS (2), IBCA, and Texas Gulf Coast comps (20+) and observing so many others experiences throughout the country, my conclusion is that it does hurt if you try to be a standout. I'll go so far as to say I'd rather cook in a very narrow parameter like we have here in Texas than the supposedly broader scope the KCBS rules allow, as the playing field is a bit more level, and futhrmore the judges can't do so much self interpretation of what BBQ is supposed to be if the guidelines are very narrow. My biggest problem with comps in any organization is #1 judging, #2 rules that make judging subjective.

Judges are suposed to judge each entry on it's own merit not taking into account personal preference or comparing it to the previous entry tasted. That does not happen as much as it could or should.

All this being said, somehow our judging systems work because the consistancy of the top winners throughout the country cannot be a fluke. You must however go with the flow.

06-28-2008, 11:35 AM
we cooked breasts the only two kcbs comps i've been in because i can't stand thighs. we thought we had them nailed both times but scores were all over the place. we had 9's and we had 6's. i don't think you can win with white meat but i'm not gonna cook something i wouldn't eat.

butts a fire
06-28-2008, 12:10 PM
I think that there is a difference between trying to be "different" and turning in something that no one else is, and trying something new. In a BBQ competition setting doing something completely out of the box such as turning in teryaki cornish hens will get you killed on score because that isn't typical BBQ and that is what you need.

But there is plenty of room for experimenting within the perameters of typical BBQ. Your recipes don't have to be vanilla and shouldn't be in my opinion. You should push the envelope and strive to make the best tasting BBQ you can. But you have to know what scores well in your area if you want to win if that means you have to cook candied thighs then that is what you should (if you want to win) do but that doesn't mean you shouldn't experiment and try to change up the flavor profile on those candied thighs.