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Three porks
01-30-2010, 07:30 PM
Hi Everybody,

We are a new team out of Central Illinois and was hoping for some critiques. Our team name is Three Porks and a Smoker. None of us has ever competed in BBQ comps but we've been backyard grilling for years. After saying that it really doesn't matter .......I've recently realized.) We are planning to do three or four per year and our first will be in Hazelwood, MO this April (Kick-Off Cook-Off). This will be our first ever competition and were looking forward to the challenge.

We decided to do some practicing today despite the 20 degree temps and 15 mph wind. We cooked pork shoulder, chicken thighs and spare ribs.

Could you all please look throught our processes and let us know if were on the right track? That would be most helpful.

Pork Shoulder:
The night before :trimmed fat off around the money muscle and injected the whole butt. This am: applied light coat of mustard, rubbed heavily with rub, placed on smoker at 275 F. Foiled in marinade at 165 and cooked till about 197 (probe went through like butter). Let the steam vent for 20 minutes then put in a cooler for 1 hr to rest. The whole process was about 8 hours. After the resting period, I cut off the money muscle and cut this into 6 pieces. I ran out of MM for the pics so I had to make due for today. The meat around the bone I pulled and chunked out pieces with burned ends. I tossed these pieces in some sauce and lightly applied more rub. I present this all on a bed of parsley. I only had one money muscle to pull from and the pre-cooked weight of the butt was only 6 lbs. In retrospect I will cook a larger butt next time in hopes to get a longer money muscle. In the picture, I got 4 great pieces and the other 2 sucked. The meat was very tender and tasty. For competitions I guess I'll cook 3 shoulders for greater availability of pieces.

Chicken Thighs:
De-boned, skinned, rubbed under the skin and over the skin, re-applied the skin, braised in parkay for 1 hr then smoked till 175 F. Smoker was at 230 F. Once at 175 F, grilled 30 minutes to crisp up the skin. Once grilled, applied sauce while spraying mop to smooth out sauce. These got a little dark so next time I guess we have to pay more attention.

Spare Ribs:
I wanted to try the 3-2-1 method but it was wayyyyyy over cooked. Please tell me what I did wrong. Smoked at 250-260 f, smoked unfoiled for 3 hours, then wrapped in foil bone up in parkay, b. sugar, honey, sauce and mop. Cooked in the foil for 2 hours. After two hours I took the ribs out of the foil and allowed the ribs to vent for 20 minutes. To finish I placed back on the smoker at 225f unfoiled and applied more sauce. After a total of 6 hours these bad boys were falling off the bone. Maybe next time 2-1-1 would suffice. I didn't take any pics due to embarrassment. Should I decrease time or decrease temps? What the best for comps?

For those that read all the way through......thank you and I look forward to your advice.

For those that have judged would you please critique the appearance of these boxes?

And Thanks to Paul at Thepickledpig for some great information!! You should write a book!

Oh yeah and brisket were going to tackle next weekend.

Thanks again! Looking forward to some responses.

monty3777
01-30-2010, 07:45 PM
I would probably sauce the pork a bit more. Presentation looks great. The greens look real good! What temp did you cook the ribs, or did I miss that?

QansasjayhawQ
01-30-2010, 07:47 PM
The bottom line for judges is when they ask themselves, 'does the appearance of this entry make me want to eat it?'. If the appearance looks extremely appealing, then it's going to score really high. If the appearance looks OK, then it's going to score 7s. If it looks dry and unkempt . . . it scores lower.

As to your specific techniques, I'll let others chime in here, but it sounds to me as if you're bound for having a lot of fun!

Three porks
01-30-2010, 07:52 PM
I would probably sauce the pork a bit more. Presentation looks great. The greens look real good! What temp did you cook the ribs, or did I miss that?

Good idea about the pork, I will definitely add more sauce next time. I was hesitant to add more sauce because it tasted so good un-sauced, but I guess for comps its should be sauced. Any suggestions how to add a nice glossy look with out powering the pork flavor?

Sorry I didn't say the rib temp. For the first 5 hours it was about 250-260 and for the last hour it was about 225f.

Three porks
01-30-2010, 07:55 PM
As to your specific techniques, I'll let others chime in here, but it sounds to me as if you're bound for having a lot of fun!

I hope so....that's what its all about really. I have to keep reminding myself that...lol

cbagby64
01-30-2010, 08:19 PM
Overall it looks good for your first time. I would sauce the pork more. The chicken needs to be cut more uniform. I'm not sure how many thighs you did but we usually do at least 12 for competitions because they will change size/form when you cook them. I wish I had pics of our first boxes, you are light years ahead of us!

cbagby64
01-30-2010, 08:26 PM
Forgot to comment about the ribs. I have the same problem with the 3-2-1 when cooking in those temp ranges. We go more like 2:15-1:30-45minutes. We sauce with about 30 minutes to go. Your greens look great

crd26a
01-30-2010, 08:57 PM
How much total liquid did you use in the foil? If they were drowing in liquid, could be the problem.

Three porks
01-30-2010, 09:03 PM
Overall it looks good for your first time. I would sauce the pork more. The chicken needs to be cut more uniform. I'm not sure how many thighs you did but we usually do at least 12 for competitions because they will change size/form when you cook them. I wish I had pics of our first boxes, you are light years ahead of us! Forgot to comment about the ribs. I have the same problem with the 3-2-1 when cooking in those temp ranges. We go more like 2:15-1:30-45minutes. We sauce with about 30 minutes to go. Your greens look great

Yeah today we only did 6 thighs. I'll definitely make a point to do many more. It is amazing how the thighs transformed while cooking.

I'll try your 2:15-1:30-45min method.

Thanks for posting!

Three porks
01-30-2010, 09:08 PM
How much total liquid did you use in the foil? If they were drowing in liquid, could be the problem.

You may be right.

For the foil part, I rolled out some foil, added 3 tbsp parkay, 3 tbsp honey, 1/2 cup q sauce, heavily sprayed with our mop and lightly re-applied the rub. Once this was all in the foil, I placed the ribs meat down and bone up and pushed it into the concoction mentioned above. I guess the meat was probably swimming in juices. Next time should I put ribs in bone down and the other stuff on top?

Contracted Cookers
01-30-2010, 09:21 PM
no.do a taste test with friends.

monty3777
01-30-2010, 09:30 PM
Good idea about the pork, I will definitely add more sauce next time. I was hesitant to add more sauce because it tasted so good un-sauced, but I guess for comps its should be sauced. Any suggestions how to add a nice glossy look with out powering the pork flavor?

Sorry I didn't say the rib temp. For the first 5 hours it was about 250-260 and for the last hour it was about 225f.

I don't cook ribs at those temps, but I would bet that you just cooked them too long. I/we cook at 300 for around 3-4 hours. Pick a temp that works for your cooker and then adjust. I'd try 2-1-1 and see what happens. You may be a little on the not quite done side - but that's easy to fix! :)

Have fun - practice is the best part!

mfreeman73
01-31-2010, 12:14 AM
I tried the 3-2-1 method before and after picking up a rib I was left holding a bone since all the meat slid off. It was definitely overdone. I think I started doing a 2 1/2-1/2-1/2 method. I'm still playing with it and the temps to see what works best. Also, when I foiled them, I would add some apple juice along with the honey and brown sugar. I think that wasn't helping as far as making them too soft. Next time, I'll fore go the apple juice and see if that works better.

Three porks
01-31-2010, 08:57 AM
Have fun - practice is the best part!

That is so true!

Thanks for your advice Monty!

Three porks
01-31-2010, 09:07 AM
I tried the 3-2-1 method before and after picking up a rib I was left holding a bone since all the meat slid off. It was definitely overdone. I think I started doing a 2 1/2-1/2-1/2 method. I'm still playing with it and the temps to see what works best. Also, when I foiled them, I would add some apple juice along with the honey and brown sugar. I think that wasn't helping as far as making them too soft. Next time, I'll fore go the apple juice and see if that works better.

Yeah it's crazy because after the 3 hours on the smoker, I already had 1/2 inch bone exposed and this thing flopped over into a "v"...I knew that these babies were pretty much done but I said screw it I need to try this 3-2-1 method so I wrapped them up and 3 hours later I had Nasty Candy coated pot roast.....

I'm not sure but you may be right about the 1/2 hour. Anymore than that and the steam/and boiling hot sugar may overcook them.

crd26a
01-31-2010, 09:20 AM
That's a lot of liquid to have inside the foil. I had okay luck with 3-2-1 method last year but will probably be changing it this year, but never had them that done as I never loaded the foil down with that much liquid. I would try half the foil time meat down and half the foil time bone done to help keep them from basically boiling in it.

Three porks
01-31-2010, 09:27 AM
That's a lot of liquid to have inside the foil. I had okay luck with 3-2-1 method last year but will probably be changing it this year, but never had them that done as I never loaded the foil down with that much liquid. I would try half the foil time meat down and half the foil time bone done to help keep them from basically boiling in it.

That's a good idea to flip them over half way through the foiling. I will also cut the liquid in half. I will try them again today and post pics later.... wish me luck.

mobow
01-31-2010, 09:34 AM
You are off to a great start. From a judges perspective the pork was arranged nicly and looked good. Maybe some of the competitors on here can give you some tips on getting a little shine on the pork. From the pic it looked a little dry. Your chicken looked good but the top two pieces have some dark areas on them and the bottom four do not. Either way would do ok score wise as long as the dark areas are a little carmalization but not burnt but they all need to have the color or they all need to not have it. I believe your box would be judged as if a couple of the pieces got away from you. Hope that is helpful. keith

Smokin Diablo
01-31-2010, 09:47 AM
Good looking boxes Two Porks. Your on the right track and practice is the key. You need to practice with different methods and techniques to get the shine you want. I don't think everyone does it the same. Some cooks will thin down their sauce or add coloring to it, some will do a totaly seperate finishing glaze and put it on after the meat is in the box. Some people use the spritz method, some mop it on, some brush it on. You just need to practice to get the finish and shine you want. Word of caution to not over do it though. That bright red look can get you in trouble sometime. Some judges like it but some judges think it looks to fake on the meat. Hope to see you at some of the Central Il comps this year.

Ford
01-31-2010, 10:11 AM
You asked so I'll be brutally honest. The chicken box is a good start but for me it's probably no more than a 7. There are little burned pieces sticking out. That's what manicure scissors are 4. Clean up any of that after cooking and before putting in the box. Using a fine paint brush you can hide the cut with a little bit of sauce. Top right pieces - skin looks funny like maybe it shrunk too much. Remember there's a fine line between 7 and 9 and it's all the very little details.

When practicing my chicken in 2007 I did 2 pans of 10 each. But I quickly realized that extra half hour prep time before putting in pan meant 10 was all I needed. And I do bone in chicken.

Rich Parker
01-31-2010, 10:29 AM
I think your pork looks great! Not all judges will like a lot of sauce because they want to taste the pork not the sauce.

Three porks
01-31-2010, 09:24 PM
OK so I tried my hand at ribs today. Yesterday I tried them and I ruined them.....badly. They looked like charcoal so I was embarrassed to take any pics. After taking some of the groups advice, I think they turned out pretty well. If anything, I think I should have left them in for another 1/2-1 hour but I was worried about burning the glaze. Hopefully after some practice I'll get a better feel of the cooking process.

Please look at the pics and please be totally honest. At this point in the game I need to hear the good, bad and ugly.

Here's what I did:

Cranked the smoker to 265-275, smoked with 2 fist sized pieces of hickory, one small chuck of pecan and one small chunk of cherry. I did a modified 3-2-1 and ended up doing a 2.5-1-1.25. During the foiling I omitted the sauce and went with Parkay, b. sug, honey, more rub and a spritz of mop. After an hour they rested for 30 minutes then back on the smoker unfoiled. I reapplied rub and cayanne and glazed with sauce with 30 minutes remaining. They rested 20 minutes and then they got sliced. I'm glad I got two slabs cause one of the slabs the bone were very curved curved so cutting nice uniform/recangular cuts would have been impossible.

I look forward to your responses......

Three porks
02-01-2010, 07:31 AM
You are off to a great start. From a judges perspective the pork was arranged nicly and looked good. Maybe some of the competitors on here can give you some tips on getting a little shine on the pork. From the pic it looked a little dry. Your chicken looked good but the top two pieces have some dark areas on them and the bottom four do not. Either way would do ok score wise as long as the dark areas are a little carmalization but not burnt but they all need to have the color or they all need to not have it. I believe your box would be judged as if a couple of the pieces got away from you. Hope that is helpful. keith

I wish I could say it was carmelization....it was burned for sure. As for the pork, I will for sure shine it up next time. Thanks

Three porks
02-01-2010, 07:32 AM
Good looking boxes Two Porks. Your on the right track and practice is the key. You need to practice with different methods and techniques to get the shine you want. I don't think everyone does it the same. Some cooks will thin down their sauce or add coloring to it, some will do a totaly seperate finishing glaze and put it on after the meat is in the box. Some people use the spritz method, some mop it on, some brush it on. You just need to practice to get the finish and shine you want. Word of caution to not over do it though. That bright red look can get you in trouble sometime. Some judges like it but some judges think it looks to fake on the meat. Hope to see you at some of the Central Il comps this year.

Thanks for the tips!!

Were gonna be in Shannon, IL and Murphysboro, IL will you be at any of these? That would be cool to have some local competition!

Three porks
02-01-2010, 07:36 AM
Sorry for the flood, I just found out how to multi-quote.


You asked so I'll be brutally honest. The chicken box is a good start but for me it's probably no more than a 7. There are little burned pieces sticking out. That's what manicure scissors are 4. Clean up any of that after cooking and before putting in the box. Using a fine paint brush you can hide the cut with a little bit of sauce. Top right pieces - skin looks funny like maybe it shrunk too much. Remember there's a fine line between 7 and 9 and it's all the very little details.

When practicing my chicken in 2007 I did 2 pans of 10 each. But I quickly realized that extra half hour prep time before putting in pan meant 10 was all I needed. And I do bone in chicken.

Yeah next time I'll put more love into the chicken. I was just ready to eat..lol Please be brutally honest, I'd rather get nailed on here than get last place at a comp.

I think your pork looks great! Not all judges will like a lot of sauce because they want to taste the pork not the sauce.

Dually noted! Me personally I like the less sauce approach but I do agree that the pork in the pictures looked a bit dry. When in person it didn't look that dry, but in the picture it for sure does.

michiana mark
02-01-2010, 12:39 PM
I've judged 4 contest and cooked 4 also. A judge sees your box for around 5 seconds more or less, coming and going. Your chicken box greens look great, chicken needs to be more uniform, but let it look like chicken. Color on 4 look good, little nubs can be trimmed post cooking. Ford has cooked a lot of chicken, and consistently walks in that category, usually with the big check and trophy. His advice is good.

You pork looks good, except, your money muscle looks dry in the pic. Light spray or light sauce to shine it up. I never turned in pork with a lot of sauce either, always tried to let it stand on it's own. Usually scored well this way. If there's too much sauce, are you trying to hide something, was always my train of thought.

Your ribs look spot on. I'd drive a 100 miles to eat them.

That's the question I always ask. "Would I drive 100 miles to eat that?"

The eyes are the gateway to the palate.:-P

Spydermike72
02-01-2010, 12:54 PM
OK so I tried my hand at ribs today. Yesterday I tried them and I ruined them.....badly. They looked like charcoal so I was embarrassed to take any pics. After taking some of the groups advice, I think they turned out pretty well. If anything, I think I should have left them in for another 1/2-1 hour but I was worried about burning the glaze. Hopefully after some practice I'll get a better feel of the cooking process.

Please look at the pics and please be totally honest. At this point in the game I need to hear the good, bad and ugly.

Here's what I did:

Cranked the smoker to 265-275, smoked with 2 fist sized pieces of hickory, one small chuck of pecan and one small chunk of cherry. I did a modified 3-2-1 and ended up doing a 2.5-1-1.25. During the foiling I omitted the sauce and went with Parkay, b. sug, honey, more rub and a spritz of mop. After an hour they rested for 30 minutes then back on the smoker unfoiled.



Did you let them rest off of the smoker ? Just curious as to why ? I normally put them back on the smoker after I take them out of the foil and then glaze for the last 30-45 minutes...

River City Smokehouse
02-01-2010, 06:08 PM
From a judges standpoint, I would want to see a more full pork box with a lot of bark. It needs more moisture too. Don't limit the slices/portions to just 6. Fill it up!
Ribs have sauce dripped in the garnish. That needs cleaned up.

Rich Parker
02-01-2010, 07:08 PM
I think the ribs look great.

mobow
02-01-2010, 07:23 PM
good looking ribs. lets eat. keith

Three porks
02-01-2010, 07:25 PM
Your ribs look spot on. I'd drive a 100 miles to eat them.

That's the question I always ask. "Would I drive 100 miles to eat that?"

The eyes are the gateway to the palate.:-P

WOW that made my day! I was in a good mood all day!

Did you let them rest off of the smoker ? Just curious as to why ? I normally put them back on the smoker after I take them out of the foil and then glaze for the last 30-45 minutes...

I guess my rationale behind this was during that first resting phase, I was hoping to ribs would absorbs some of the foiled juices while off the smoker. During this time I put them meat down in the butter, b sugar and honey mix and let rest wrapped in foil for 20-30 mins. Do you think there is benefit in this or should I just go from foil to un-foiled without resting?


Ribs have sauce dripped in the garnish. That needs cleaned up.

Damn I was hoping you wouldn't notice. :biggrin: I reused the pork box from the day before.

I think the ribs look great.

Thanks!!

Three porks
02-01-2010, 07:32 PM
good looking ribs. lets eat. keith

Thanks Keith!!

Spydermike72
02-01-2010, 07:52 PM
I guess my rationale behind this was during that first resting phase, I was hoping to ribs would absorbs some of the foiled juices while off the smoker. During this time I put them meat down in the butter, b sugar and honey mix and let rest wrapped in foil for 20-30 mins. Do you think there is benefit in this or should I just go from foil to un-foiled without resting?


When I foil I put the honey,butter and juice in the foil before I put the ribs in meat side down. Now this is just my method. I see what you were trying to do, but I think you may have slowed your cooking down. I would try them both ways and see which way you get the best results with. Those ribs look very good, I would catch a ride with Mark to eat them!!

Three porks
02-02-2010, 07:31 AM
When I foil I put the honey,butter and juice in the foil before I put the ribs in meat side down. Now this is just my method. I see what you were trying to do, but I think you may have slowed your cooking down. I would try them both ways and see which way you get the best results with. Those ribs look very good, I would catch a ride with Mark to eat them!!

Thanks Mike!

BBQ_MAFIA
02-02-2010, 10:09 AM
I'm no judge, I'm just a fat guy who likes to eat.

That being said, I want those ribs......and I want them now!!!!

Smokin Diablo
02-02-2010, 06:08 PM
Two Porks we will see you in Shannon, look for the Soy City Smokers from Decatur, Il.

Three porks
02-02-2010, 06:28 PM
Two Porks we will see you in Shannon, look for the Soy City Smokers from Decatur, Il.

Will do!

Rich Parker
02-02-2010, 06:46 PM
When I foil I put the honey,butter and juice in the foil before I put the ribs in meat side down. Now this is just my method. I see what you were trying to do, but I think you may have slowed your cooking down. I would try them both ways and see which way you get the best results with. Those ribs look very good, I would catch a ride with Mark to eat them!!

The secret is out. :biggrin:

michiana mark
02-03-2010, 12:56 AM
When I foil I put the honey,butter and juice in the foil before I put the ribs in meat side down. Now this is just my method. I see what you were trying to do, but I think you may have slowed your cooking down. I would try them both ways and see which way you get the best results with. Those ribs look very good, I would catch a ride with Mark to eat them!!

Mike, your always welcome to ride along. As far as your process, did you get that from Bruce B?:icon_blush:

BruceB
02-03-2010, 01:06 AM
mike, your always welcome to ride along. As far as your process, did you get that from bruce b?:icon_blush:

ouch!!

michiana mark
02-03-2010, 01:34 PM
ouch!!

I thought you were the Rib King of the RSS BBQ team, oh and your'e welcome!

Now back to the original thread.:cool:

Spydermike72
02-03-2010, 01:42 PM
I didnt give all of my secrets out in the above process... :mrgreen:

And yes Bruce is the Rib King!!