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View Full Version : POLL - Use of MSG in comp cooking


JohnJ
04-13-2010, 10:56 PM
There has been recently as well as in the past, quite a bit of talk about MSG, monosodium gluamate, MSG.

I have yet to see a poll on how many comp BBQers knowingly use MSG, so I thought a poll would be very insightful, at least for me... having a sensitivity to it.

JohnJ
04-16-2010, 12:13 AM
Just bumping this up as would like to keep up top for a few more days.

Tweedle
04-16-2010, 11:53 AM
I use it at home why not in comps?

HandsomeSwede
04-16-2010, 12:01 PM
Studied a lot of teams who compete on the NY circuit and those who do not use it are in a small minority.

Smitty250
04-16-2010, 01:22 PM
This poll got me thinking a little. I initially answered "Don't know" but after going home to check out my BBQ supplies, I need to change it to "Always use it"!

Extreme
04-16-2010, 01:50 PM
MSG = makes stuff gooder. The only concern is with hypochondriacs who wanna cry headache. It's BBQ not health food.

JohnJ
04-16-2010, 01:58 PM
MSG = makes stuff gooder. That's a fact!

I am in no way suggesting limiting MSG in an comp or in any way and I assure you I am no hypochondriac. But I know when I eat it! And I will keep on eating it and judging comps and suffer the consequences. I do whine and cry a little though!

Just curious about how widespread its use is in comps.

Thanks all!

John

daedalus
04-16-2010, 02:02 PM
MSG = makes stuff gooder.
Awesome!:becky:

MSG is just like anything else...sure there are a few people who are allergic too it, but the numbers are very small.

Southern Home Boy
04-16-2010, 02:44 PM
I know a research assistantat the University of Waterloo in Ontario, Canada. In hundreds of studies around the world, scientists were creating obese mice and rats to use in diet or diabetes test studies. No strain of rat or mice is naturally obese, so scientists have to create them. They make these creatures morbidly obese by injecting them with
MSG when they are first born.

The MSG triples the amount of insulin the pancreas creates, causing rats (and perhaps humans) to become obese. They even have a name for the fat rodents they create: 'MSG-Treated Rats.'

Not only is MSG scientifically proven to cause obesity, it is an addictive substance.

Even the propaganda website sponsored by the food manufacturers lobby group supporting MSG explains that the reason they add it to food is to make people eat more.

A study of the elderly showed that older people eat more of the foods that it is added to. The Glutamate Association lobbying group says eating more is a benefit to the elderly, but what does it do to the rest of us?

'Betcha can't eat [just] one,' takes on a whole new meaning where MSG is concerned! And we wonder why the nation is overweight!

MSG manufacturers themselves admit that it addicts people to their products. It makes people choose their product over others, and makes people eat more of it than they would if MSG wasn't added.

I'm not an idiot. I know that you want to do everything you can to win a comp. I also know that BBQ is not a health food.

However, MSG is a poison and I would no more use MSG in my cooking than I would mix anti-freeze in with my cocktails to make them sweeter or mix cocaine in with my rub.

Smitty250
04-16-2010, 04:44 PM
However, MSG is a poison and I would no more use MSG in my cooking than I would mix anti-freeze in with my cocktails to make them sweeter or mix cocaine in with my rub.

I tried mixing cocaine in my rub once - it just made me sneeze alot more! :becky:

BogsBBQ
04-16-2010, 04:44 PM
However, MSG is a poison and I would no more use MSG in my cooking than I would mix anti-freeze in with my cocktails to make them sweeter or mix cocaine in with my rub.

I was fine with everything you said up until the last sentence. I think calling it a "poison" and likening it to antifreeze and cocaine is a bit much. Assuming for a moment that it does cause obesity and is addictive, that doesn't make it a poison. No more than a donut or a pizza could be called a poison.

Do you have other facts that support the "poison" mentality?

The_Kapn
04-16-2010, 05:07 PM
We just went through this drill-----
http://www.bbq-brethren.com/forum/showthread.php?t=82319&highlight=msg (http://www.bbq-brethren.com/forum/showthread.php?t=82319&highlight=msg)

If you are not up to speed on the Brethren policy there--take a look.

May I suggest we all knock it off before Jorge gets involved???
And, he and the other current MOD's are right.
Not Brotherly discussions.

TIM

Retired Moderator

bigabyte
04-16-2010, 05:10 PM
I know a guy too. He says MSG is as safe as air. I only buy cereal with MSG in it, and spoon a little extra on top of the cereal before pouring in some MSG-enhanced milk.

Just saying. He said so.

(Please note: Not trying to start anything...just...well...If I had a delete button I could click...I would click it)

SirPorkaLot
04-16-2010, 05:37 PM
I would no more use MSG in my cooking than I would mix anti-freeze in with my cocktails to make them sweeter or mix cocaine in with my rub.

You don't use cocaine in your rubs? :tsk:

SirPorkaLot
04-16-2010, 05:53 PM
Just for the record - Allegedly: smoked & grilled food is a carcinogen, MSG is bad for you, beef is responsible for depletion of the ozone (methane from cow farts), raising pigs creates storm water run-off littered with pig feces, chicken is filled with hormones, and Al Gore invented the internet.

If any of these claims bother you, you should seriously consider switching to tofu (which btw allegedly causes dementia)

BoneDaddy's
04-16-2010, 09:46 PM
I think MSG is fine, but those that do not must love FAB

Smokin' Gnome BBQ
04-16-2010, 09:48 PM
I dont know what it is but..........I use about 5 pounds at every comp!!

CBQ
04-17-2010, 12:09 AM
I think MSG is fine, but those that do not must love FAB

Worrying about whether it was FAB Free or not probably distracts them from the brown sugar, honey, butter, and other goodies being added to naturally fatty foods.

Southern Home Boy
04-17-2010, 02:19 AM
:boxing:

KnucklHed BBQ
04-17-2010, 02:22 PM
I was hoping more folks would chime in on this with a "YES" and an explanation if they wanted to, or a "NO" and explanation...

As for me - Yes I absolutely use MSG in competition You have a judge sitting at a table with 6 samples, if the other 5 have it and yours does not, yours will likely be looked at as "not as flavorfull"
MSG makes the flavors POP to life and fills the mouth and tastebuds with that flavor.

I have also unscientifically concluded that MSG added to beef & pork draw a deeper smokering during cooking.

Last point - while I do use it in comps (and some of the rubs that I use at home) I also feel strongly that it can be over used... just like using salt, if you use to much it will overpower the true flavors that you're trying to showcase.

For this reason I prefer to use NO MSG rubs if I am buying them and then I add it to the level that I want. It gives me more control.

SirPorkaLot
04-17-2010, 02:38 PM
I was hoping more folks would chime in on this with a "YES" and an explanation if they wanted to, or a "NO" and explanation...

As for me - Yes I absolutely use MSG in competition You have a judge sitting at a table with 6 samples, if the other 5 have it and yours does not, yours will likely be looked at as "not as flavorfull"
MSG makes the flavors POP to life and fills the mouth and tastebuds with that flavor.

I have also unscientifically concluded that MSG added to beef & pork draw a deeper smokering during cooking.

Last point - while I do use it in comps (and some of the rubs that I use at home) I also feel strongly that it can be over used... just like using salt, if you use to much it will overpower the true flavors that you're trying to showcase.

For this reason I prefer to use NO MSG rubs if I am buying them and then I add it to the level that I want. It gives me more control.

Ok - you bring up a great point.

So in your estimation MSG is necessary to use in comps if you want to win?
The so called "secret ingredient" in many a Pitmaster's repertoire if you will.

It is apparent by the poll (at least so far) that most people that compete feel similar, which gets me to wondering could it be the KCBS scoring system that has created this?

Taste is twice as heavily weighted as tenderness, and almost 2.5 times as appearance.

So has the focus on on taste over any other factor created a sense that you can't win without an artificial flavor enhancer?

Is this really true or more of a perceived truth I wonder....

BigButzBBQ
04-17-2010, 03:03 PM
First of all, I don't use MSG in my comp cooking. It is more of a personal preference than anything. And yes, I too think this may put me at a slight disadvantage but, I like the challenge. When you have people tell you that you make great Que without the use of MSG I think it's more of a credit to your abilities.

That being said Sir Porkalot brings up a good point with the judging.

Ok - you bring up a great point.

So in your estimation MSG is necessary to use in comps if you want to win?
The so called "secret ingredient" in many a Pitmaster's repertoire if you will.

It is apparent by the poll (at least so far) that most people that compete feel similar, which gets me to wondering could it be the KCBS scoring system that has created this?

Taste is twice as heavily weighted as tenderness, and almost 2.5 times as appearance.

So has the focus on on taste over any other factor created a sense that you can't win without an artificial flavor enhancer?

Is this really true or more of a perceived truth I wonder....

I've complained before that I think that during KCBS judging classes that I think there is too much stress put on appearance and hardly anything else when it comes tenderness and almost nothing on taste.

During the class they leave the taste simply as, "It's your own interpretation." The one comment I do recall hearing was, remember, "This is a meat contest, not a sauce contest." Which is great! I wish they would have thrown in something about it not being a rub contest either but, lets face facts. When people sit down and taste something they lose track of where sauce, spice, and meat begin. And, truth be told, I think there are alot of people judging that don't really have any idea of how things are supposed to taste to begin with either way.

I guess in the end, I would either like some sort of flavor profile to be discussed in judging classes or have just as much stress put on tender as there is on taste cause I believe at times that is harder to achieve then taste.

KnucklHed BBQ
04-17-2010, 04:35 PM
Ok - you bring up a great point.

So in your estimation MSG is necessary to use in comps if you want to win?
The so called "secret ingredient" in many a Pitmaster's repertoire if you will.

It is apparent by the poll (at least so far) that most people that compete feel similar, which gets me to wondering could it be the KCBS scoring system that has created this?

Taste is twice as heavily weighted as tenderness, and almost 2.5 times as appearance.

So has the focus on on taste over any other factor created a sense that you can't win without an artificial flavor enhancer?

Is this really true or more of a perceived truth I wonder....


Interesting...

First, I do think it is possible to create great tasting food without MSG, but still on the level of MSG enhanced food, that make sense? I've had non-MSG'd foods that were amazing!
However, I also think you could take the best salty/savory/spicy thing you've ever eaten, add a bit of MSG to it and you would think that it tastes better...

I think this is partly because as a society we have been conditioned through the extensive use of MSG in pre-packaged foods. We've eatten enough Doritos that now if you gave most people a flavored tortilla chip without the MSG, I think they would be sorely dissappointed in it.

MSG (like all other spices/seasonings) causes receptors in our tounge and brain to react to what we've just eaten. Some of these reactions are very mild, some are quite pronounced.
If we are subjected to flavors with a strong enough presence, our brain learns to associate that flavor with an emotion or place or time... etc. MSG creates a very strong reaction.

That stored reaction can be either good or bad, typically (IMO) the MSG "Flavor" is stored as a good food association.

*NOTE* - There have been pleanty of pro MSG and anti MSG conversations lately and I do not want to steer this conversation in that direction.
I say that so that what I say next IS NOT taken as being a Health Risk/Concern type of statement.
I say it merely to show how MSG might possibly skew our perception of how a certain food tates to our brain.

Some neurosurgeons have classified MSG as an excitotoxin. As such, it literally excites brain cells to a far greater extent than most other chemical compounds. Some suggest that this over-excitement can cause damage to the cells (this is not going to be debated).
IF this chemical compound sends a brain cell into some sort of "Hyper-Activity" (like a little kid after eating lots of sugar), then I might suggest that our brain would become acustomed to a higher level of stimulation if subjected to consistently higher amounts of it (higher than what would normally be consumed IF ALL the MSG we ate came from ONLY natural foods. ie, cheese, mushrooms, tomatoes, etc.) , therefore, causing other chemical compounds with lesser stimulation to be percieved as "bland" or "not as flavorful"

Try the expirement yourself - next time you cook something, season it as you normally would, but do not use any MSG.
I'm sure the flavor will be wonderfull without the MSG.
Sample the non MSG item, and then, add a small amount of MSG to it and ask yourself which leaves more of an impression on your mouth.

Now put yourself at the judge's table and think about tasting those 2 samples and ask yourself which one you would score higher on taste.

As for KCBS rules, I kinda lean towards taste being the most important. We've all cooked UGLY dishes that tasted wounderful (except for cowgirl Hers are always purdy :wink:)

I would though put tenderness up higher on the scale, Taste and texture play a huge part in the over all picture IMO. Something that has the consistency of dog food may taste wonderfull, but I'd have a hard time getting past the texture


Anyways, those are my thoughts! :becky:

Jorge
04-17-2010, 05:09 PM
Mod Note: Please feel free to discuss MSG in terms of use for competition BBQ here.

If you'd like to discuss other issues related to MSG, please take that discussion here: http://www.bbq-brethren.com/forum/showthread.php?t=82903

More than once in the past several weeks the moderators have had to address a full contact, name calling, debate related to MSG. That ends today.

If anyone would like to discuss the merits, or lack thereof, of MSG please confine it to the thread linked above. The rules are layed out there, and are pretty simple, but strict. There will be ZERO TOLERANCE for name calling, baiting, taunting, etc...

bigabyte
04-17-2010, 05:11 PM
I think at ANY BBQ competition, KCBS or not, the judges would find more flavor in the food with some MSG for the simple reason that it enhances flavors. There is nothing in the KCBS rules or judging classes specifically pointing out how to locate food with MSG and score higher on it. That's just plain crazy talk there.:crazy: If you think MSG is a problem, don't blame KCBS judging, blame the human central nervous system for finding MSG enhanced food more flavorful. That's the problem.

bigabyte
04-17-2010, 05:11 PM
OK....fine...I'll go repost over there:tongue:

SirPorkaLot
04-17-2010, 05:35 PM
I think at ANY BBQ competition, KCBS or not, the judges would find more flavor in the food with some MSG for the simple reason that it enhances flavors. There is nothing in the KCBS rules or judging classes specifically pointing out how to locate food with MSG and score higher on it. That's just plain crazy talk there.:crazy: If you think MSG is a problem, don't blame KCBS judging, blame the human central nervous system for finding MSG enhanced food more flavorful. That's the problem.

Wasn't blaming the judging, just questioning whether the scoring system weighted so heavily towards taste had some teams using MSG where they normally wouldn't, just to give them that extra edge.

I'm sure the answer is an resounding YES.....just like some teams spend tens of thousands on a rig to get that little extra edge.

I am still on the fence to be quite honest.
I have not used MSG in my comps, but i also haven't won any GC or RGC's (yet) connected? ..i guess that is up for debate until someone comes in and states emphatically they don't use MSG, and win GCs & RGCs regular like. Of course - then do we really believe them? :laugh:

Sawdustguy
04-18-2010, 06:09 AM
Wasn't blaming the judging, just questioning whether the scoring system weighted so heavily towards taste had some teams using MSG where they normally wouldn't, just to give them that extra edge.

How else would you score any food contest? It would seem logical the main criteria for any food based contest is first and foremost "Taste". I am sure food judges would give very high marks for entries that that looked appealing to the eye, was tender but tasted like unflavored tofu.:heh::crazy:

KnucklHed BBQ
04-18-2010, 11:01 AM
...had some teams using MSG where they normally wouldn't, just to give them that extra edge.

I'm sure the answer is an resounding YES.....just like some teams spend tens of thousands on a rig to get that little extra edge.


I think that sort of thing happens all the time... you hear Trigg say that he doesn't like his comp ribs, I've heard others say similar.

I think the very nature of competition BBQ has created it's own definition of BBQ... Backyard food tastes totally different (and often better) than comp. I try to cook how I like to cook while still trying to cater to what the judges will like. It's my opinion that if you have 5 chicken thighs that all look nearly identical, the 6th, as long as it looks good and tastes good, has a better chance of standing out. I think that was we illustrated by the last Pitmasters episode where they had the rib shootout, you heard a couple of times from the judges "this one and that one could have been cooked by the same guy!"

I personally like just a bit of cracked black & kosher with a spritz during cooking - no sauce, don't need it. What's funny is that if I adda little MSG to the S&P, they do taste better. :rolleyes:

If you're still on the fence about it, try the expirement for yourself, I think it would answer the question for you.