View Full Version : How would a KCBS judge evaluate a half chicken?

01-20-2010, 03:03 PM
Just a thought experiment here while I'm waiting for the first contest in the spring....

Suppose I could find some really small cornish game hens, or maybe some baby chickens--small enough that I could fit six half-chickens in standard clamshell. I'm not sure if such a thing is possible, but it's a thought experiment so let's pretend it is.

After judging appearance, how would you, as a KCBS judge, evaluate the taste and tenderness? Would you leave the chicken intact, or would you break it into pieces? Would you take just one or two bites, and if so, where? Your favorite part of the chicken? Or, alternatively, would you taste all of the major parts--a bite of thigh, a bite of leg, another of breast and maybe the wing, too?

I'm not sure if I would have the guts to do this, but, still, got to wondering...

--frank in Wilson, NY

01-20-2010, 03:14 PM
Fun question.

I think I would take the piece, try and ascertain the easiest way to get a bite I would enjoy, and take it. Depending on the size, it would probably come from the leg quarter, either the thigh or the leg.

I would not try to sample every portion type - at least I don't think I would.

early mornin' smokin'
01-20-2010, 03:28 PM
we've actually thought about doing this, spatchcock 3 cornish hens, but they'd have to be tiny, leaving me to believe they wouldnt have the best meat on them

01-20-2010, 03:37 PM
I've tried it in a grilling contest with not so great results. The taste is different than what judges usually look for in chicken.

01-20-2010, 04:47 PM
I would probably not recommend doing what you are proposing. There are too many variables that would confuse the judges. Would tenderness vary among the different pieces? I know I can only take about 2 bites of the samples due to the quantity of food we need to judge. (OK, 3 bites if it good) What if different judges take bites from different pieces of chicken? Hard to get consistent scores if the judges are sampling different parts of your entry. Just my thoughts and yes, I am a KCBS judge.

01-20-2010, 06:02 PM
You're going to feed us baby chicks?!? Awww, poor little chickens...

Seriously, I agree with davidh, too confusing for *most* judges, and hard to get consistent scores.

01-20-2010, 09:48 PM
Could you make them boneless cornish game hens - that would make them easier to sample. :)

While I love the idea - and would be happy to judge as presented with no bias - I think it would cause confusion with some of the judges.

01-20-2010, 11:49 PM
I've had Cornish Hen leg 1/4s turned in to my table a couple of times. One that I remember was great, I think that I gave it all 9s or two 9s and an 8. The other was kinda so-so & my scores reflected that, also.

01-21-2010, 08:31 AM
I would probably not recommend doing what you are proposing. There are too many variables that would confuse the judges.

I agree.
I wouldn't risk it.

Add the hens to your catering menu, but keep it out of the turn-in box.

01-21-2010, 08:41 AM
The judges will take a bite from whereever they want. Hard to predict.

I would look for the meatiest part and take a bite there (probably the breast), but depending on size, how it looked i might bite elsewhere.

I'm on of those "judged as submitted" so I try to be fair with whatever came out, but I won't eat the whole piece.

01-21-2010, 09:33 AM
Could you make them boneless cornish game hens - that would make them easier to sample. :)

Hmmm... boneless cornish game hens, maybe smoked in... yeah - MUFFIN TINS!

01-21-2010, 10:04 AM
Two years ago i was at a contest where someone did just that.
I was the table captain and we discussed that entry in length.

From the consensus...appearance was hard. It doesnt look like something we normally see. It looked pretty good just not outstanding. Mostly 7s and 8s.
The meat was mosit, juicy and had a good taste to it. Mostly 8s and 9s

People were tasting a little bit of everyting that was turned in. There was six chicken halves. Didnt seem to matter with this entry. It was all good and tasty. white or dark.

They finished something like 4th or so. I was out visiting with teams later and I was able to figure out which team did it and I saw the results later. I know I am not supposed to :(

01-21-2010, 09:04 PM
it seems like you would have to cram them into the box which would hurt appearance.

Candy Sue
01-21-2010, 09:42 PM
Most beautiful box I've ever seen was 6 very small chicken leg/thigh quarters. I was Table Captain, and would have loved to have had a bite...