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View Full Version : What judges look for in brisket/pork butt


mattyp1214
01-19-2010, 12:37 PM
Hey everyone! Fairly new to the forum and looking to start competing this summer in a few comps. Picking up my backwoods party this friday and plan on using that in combination with my bullet. Also I am taking the judging class in Parker, CO next week!

That being said,
I was looking for advice on what judges look for as far as a flavor profile for brisket. Do they like a sweet rub and sauce on it? A real beefy flavor? Any sauce at all? Spicy? Etc.

I plan to use the low and slow method and hope to give wagyu a test run once I get my recipe down.
Any help is greatly appreciated!

early mornin' smokin'
01-19-2010, 01:02 PM
first things first, as far as i understand, you're supposed to taste the meat...ie briskets supposed to taste like beef, shoulder's supposed to taste like pork, if sauced it's supposed to be light enough to still let the flavor of the product shine thru.

Burnt Ends BBQ
01-19-2010, 01:34 PM
I have always taken the position that a BBQ competitor would be best served by taking a judging class BEFORE trying to compete. The judging class will give you great insight as to the finer points of what to look for, how to determine quality, doneness, etc. Judging a few contests will also help you in the long run.

Podge
01-19-2010, 01:40 PM
meat must still taste like meat, flavors to be balanced, and wagyu is not needed.

pigmaker23
01-19-2010, 01:58 PM
Keep it Simple, Simple Rub, Oak or Pecan Light Smoke, Thin Sauce. Also Practice keeping notes of each practice, a consistant method and receipe is what you want to end up with. Good Luck :-P

Capn Kev
01-19-2010, 02:11 PM
Matty,

Contact me directly. I'm more than happy to help you out with a few pointers. PM me and I'll shoot you over my contact info. Oh, and I'll be at the Parker class as well.

Kevin

KC_Bobby
01-19-2010, 02:17 PM
I plan to use the low and slow method and hope to give wagyu a test run once I get my recipe down.
Any help is greatly appreciated!

Keep in mind that a Wagyu brisket is going to taste different then a Black Angus brisket - even with the same recipe. So keep that in mind as your prepare. I'm not sure if it would be worth a test run on Wagyu if you are still at the point of getting a competition recipe down - seems like an expense and effort that might be better served elsewhere. But hard for me to say not knowing your cooking experience - so just some food for thought.

At the same time, one could argue that it wouldn't hurt to try it in a practice cook. Guess it depends on how deep on feels to dig in their pocket.

Podge
01-19-2010, 03:04 PM
Keep in mind that a Wagyu brisket is going to taste different then a Black Angus brisket - even with the same recipe. So keep that in mind as your prepare. I'm not sure if it would be worth a test run on Wagyu if you are still at the point of getting a competition recipe down - seems like an expense and effort that might be better served elsewhere. But hard for me to say not knowing your cooking experience - so just some food for thought.

At the same time, one could argue that it wouldn't hurt to try it in a practice cook. Guess it depends on how deep on feels to dig in their pocket.

I'd love to cook a Wagyu once for $h!ts and giggles, but I'm not going to buy a $120 piece of meat for a contest when $30 C.A.B.'s have gotten me plenty of top 5's. I think a lot of people need to realize it doesn't take that high-dollar meat to do well in a contest. It takes great quality meat, but no need to go to that expense.

That BBQ pitmasters has gotten everyone thinking muffin pans and Wagyu.. which is all fine by me !!:lol:

Rookie'48
01-19-2010, 09:17 PM
first things first, as far as i understand, you're supposed to taste the meat...ie briskets supposed to taste like beef, shoulder's supposed to taste like pork, if sauced it's supposed to be light enough to still let the flavor of the product shine thru.


If only everyone felt this way .....:rolleyes:.

mattyp1214
01-20-2010, 02:03 AM
I was looking for more of pointers as far as the actual presentation of how the judges like their brisket such as type of sauce if any, texture, taste,mop?, sweet or spicy, or even pointers on your cooking methods... I understand judges look for a "beef" flavor which leads me to believe that a simple rub and sauce but showcasing the flavor?
An injection of an intense beef/veal stock or demi-glace seems like it could be great if they look for flavor
As far as wagyu is concerned I just wanted try it out to find out myself if it is better or not. I will probably end up going with a local cab because of price.

TN_BBQ
01-20-2010, 06:41 AM
MOIST beef with nice flavors.

Nobody likes dried out brisket.

If you can keep it moist and have it tear apart nicely, then you've got yourself a winning combination.

Spydermike72
01-20-2010, 07:21 AM
What TN BBQ says and on the pork, not mushy and not chewy. You may want to work on putting both pulled and sliced in your boxes. As most have said above, the rub and sauce are supposed to enhance the meat, not overpower the meat.

BigJimsBBQ
01-20-2010, 07:39 AM
MOIST beef with nice flavors.

Nobody likes dried out brisket.

If you can keep it moist and have it tear apart nicely, then you've got yourself a winning combination.

Agreed and stress on "tear apart" not fall apart (over cooked) or stretch and snap (under cook).

Another give away is the edges (Bark) not flakeing or rough looking which is caused by a dull knife.

Smoke ring width is also a plus for the experianced judges. (the wider the smoke ring the better).

Last but not least is Judges LOVE burnt ends, so a plus if both slices and burnt ends are included in the box.

Hope that helps.....

BigJimsBBQ
01-20-2010, 08:08 AM
Above was the Beef Brisket feedback This is the Pulled pork feedback.

The judges are looking for a moist meat that they can still taste the pork meat taste. They look for the meat tenderness to be not mushy and stringy (over cooked) or tough (under cooked). They look for the bark (Rub) and sauces to enhance the pork taste and not over power the meat flavor. They enjoy larger pieces that they can pick up and have the entire spectrum (Bark, Sauce, Meat). They also like the Money muscle thick slices to be included in the box along with the pulled pork pieces.

Hope that helps ...

topchefvt52
01-20-2010, 08:22 AM
Welcome mattyp. Great post with great replies!

Jacked UP BBQ
01-20-2010, 09:41 AM
I am going to stick with my theory that this is a sauce contest.

mattyp1214
01-20-2010, 11:02 AM
To get the pulled and sliced effect from the butts do you guys cook two and pull on earlier for slicing?

KC_Bobby
01-20-2010, 12:44 PM
Yes - two or more.

michiana mark
01-20-2010, 01:33 PM
MOIST beef with nice flavors.

Nobody likes dried out brisket.

If you can keep it moist and have it tear apart nicely, then you've got yourself a winning combination.


Dead on! I judged a couple of contest last year, and brisket covers the scale of underdone to overdone, too beefy to no beefy taste, to sweet to no taste, but never too moist.
Strive for a tender, slightly beefy taste, moist, and balanced taste. Not sweet, not peppery, not salty, but a nice combination.Something for every taste bud to enjoy. Just my .02

michiana mark
01-20-2010, 01:35 PM
Above was the Beef Brisket feedback This is the Pulled pork feedback.

The judges are looking for a moist meat that they can still taste the pork meat taste. They look for the meat tenderness to be not mushy and stringy (over cooked) or tough (under cooked). They look for the bark (Rub) and sauces to enhance the pork taste and not over power the meat flavor. They enjoy larger pieces that they can pick up and have the entire spectrum (Bark, Sauce, Meat). They also like the Money muscle thick slices to be included in the box along with the pulled pork pieces.

Hope that helps ...

All God's children say AMEN! spot on Big Jim

billygbob
01-20-2010, 06:24 PM
I prefer the undercooked meat that the 'BBQ' cook finished in the microwave in the private confines of their $300,000 RV :icon_devil

Contracted Cookers
01-20-2010, 08:22 PM
which judge are you cooking for certified or off the street. sorry I`m just venting.

billygbob
01-20-2010, 08:51 PM
...
Smoke ring width is also a plus for the experianced judges. (the wider the smoke ring the better).

Last but not least is Judges LOVE burnt ends, so a plus if both slices and burnt ends are included in the box.
....

WRONG! An "experienced judge" (correct spelling) knows that KCBS instructs us to ignore the smoke ring as it can be "artificially inseminated". I like to get a nice ring at home because I know what happened. At contests - I have no idea what they did in the way of chemicals.

Burnt Ends - Real ones never happen. The "real" KC burnt ends are the left overs not worthy of selling for $. Contest "burnt ends" are just cubed brisket point - maybe sauced and smoked some more; usually not in my experience.

Woodreaux BBQ
01-20-2010, 09:10 PM
meat must still taste like meat, flavors to be balanced, and wagyu is not needed.
Have you tasted the wagyu Brisket? it is amazing for home cooking . It sometimes confuses the judges because the finish is so different in the mouth ( like braised beef cheeks).

billygbob
01-20-2010, 09:18 PM
Have you tasted the wagyu Brisket? it is amazing for home cooking . It sometimes confuses the judges because the finish is so different in the mouth ( like braised beef cheeks).

Oh Man - Love me some Wagyu cheeks!!! (Hopefully from the front end....)

Woodreaux BBQ
01-20-2010, 09:21 PM
Oh Man - Love me some Wagyu cheeks!!! (Hopefully from the front end....)
never had wagyu cheeks! where can you buy that?
i have my local Sam's carry it because i use it for stock and braise the best cheeks in the pack

billygbob
01-20-2010, 09:31 PM
never had wagyu cheeks! where can you buy that?
i have my local Sam's carry it because i use it for stock and braise the best cheeks in the pack

http://www.streetdirectory.com/stock_images/travel/simg_show/11787052130453/1/wagyu_beef_cheek/

$32 for a Man Sized bite of of Wagyu cheek.....

juicybuttsbbq
01-21-2010, 08:55 AM
I was looking for more of pointers as far as the actual presentation of how the judges like their brisket

We are going to try the "Perry Bros Method" Brisket on Crisp Twenty Dollars Bills instead of Parsley :shock::lol::shock:

Podge
01-21-2010, 09:14 AM
Have you tasted the wagyu Brisket? it is amazing for home cooking . It sometimes confuses the judges because the finish is so different in the mouth ( like braised beef cheeks).

No, never had Waygu beef anything.. but love to try it sometime. But confusing the judges is a main reason why not do to it for a contest IMO

juicybuttsbbq
01-21-2010, 10:29 AM
That BBQ pitmasters has gotten everyone thinking muffin pans and Wagyu.. which is all fine by me !!:lol:


Yeah The Best Tip we got is the Use of a Gallon of starter Fluid,, and all this time we been using a technique that didn't add that distinct BBQ flavor :-D:eek::eek:

cbagby64
01-21-2010, 08:48 PM
I'm relatively new to comp bbq as well and when we competed in our first 3 KCBS contest last year we over sauced our shoulder and brisket. I also started with some of the more expensive briskets but quickly changed to a cheaper(but quality) brisket and focused more on the execution of the cook. Also-make sure you take a test run on boxing pork and brisket before your first contest. Take it from me....15 minutes before turn-ins is not a fun time to be discussing box layout!

topchefvt52
01-22-2010, 08:38 AM
Yeah The Best Tip we got is the Use of a Gallon of starter Fluid,, and all this time we been using a technique that didn't add that distinct BBQ flavor :-D:eek::eek:

:biggrin:

BigJimsBBQ
01-22-2010, 09:32 AM
WRONG! An "experienced judge" (correct spelling) knows that KCBS instructs us to ignore the smoke ring as it can be "artificially inseminated". I like to get a nice ring at home because I know what happened. At contests - I have no idea what they did in the way of chemicals.

Burnt Ends - Real ones never happen. The "real" KC burnt ends are the left overs not worthy of selling for $. Contest "burnt ends" are just cubed brisket point - maybe sauced and smoked some more; usually not in my experience.

Not wrong for me .... and thanks for your opinion,