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Bigmista
09-04-2010, 03:14 AM
Ever since I listened to the judges comments on Pitmasters, something has been bugging me. So I pose this question to the group...

What does good BBQ taste like?

(Be careful how you answer because there will be follow up questions.)

Neil
09-04-2010, 03:54 AM
You know what good BBQ tastes like, you make it everyday. You wouldn't have all the repeat business you have if you didn't make good BBQ. You chose to add a raspberry flavor to your ribs and it didn't work fo those judges thats all it is. Don't let Myron's comments and those other two bozo's get to you Neil.

wickedbbq'r
09-04-2010, 06:01 AM
I thought I had an idea until the show as well. Apparently it needs to have a good sear, had been pound the heck out of for more flavor, and make sure it has lots of sauce.:wink:

Bigmista
09-04-2010, 06:50 AM
This is really separate from the show. I want everyone to describe what good BBQ tastes like to them.

Sawdustguy
09-04-2010, 06:51 AM
Good BBQ means different things to different people. I am not sure that there is an answer beyond perfectly cooked meat. For flavor, not all of our tastes are the same. Some like it sweet, some like it tangy, some like it with alot of sauce and some like it with no sauce at all. Just remember that it is just the opinion of three people on Pitmasters. When we compete, we rarely bring anything home, because at a contest we prepare our Que with the idea that we have just one bite, to capture the judges attention, and thats not the type of cue we would enjoy eating. I watched you on Pitmasters. Just keep your chin up. It's just the opinion of three people. You conducted yourself like a true professional and Ambassador for the Brethren. You should be very proud of yourself. Michele and I were.

Sledneck
09-04-2010, 06:57 AM
To me this is what I found to be BBQ. http://bbqilluminati.blogspot.com/2009/06/lexington-bbq-nc.html

Ford
09-04-2010, 07:21 AM
what I like is how I define good BBQ. I don't think my first place ribs are good BBQ but they score well. I do think my comp chicken is good BBQ. I like chopped brisket done to 205. I like pulled pork in chunks with no sauce. And I like dry ribs with a little sauce on the side. That's what I think is good BBQ. Why???? Because I liike it that way.

Nwo there are actually definitions of "good" bbq for competition and they are different for different sanctioning bodies. There's good vending BBQ, good family BBQ, good restaurant BBQ, good catering BBQ. They all vary for me.

Smokesman
09-04-2010, 07:21 AM
Neil - I totally agree with the others comments about the show - spot on!

To me, good BBQ is deep rich flavorful meat that can stand on it's own without sauce. Good BBQ should have a nice balanced blend of spices on top of tender moist meat. The sauce when added should complement the meat and never overpower it...again balance be it a sweet spicy sauce or more savory sauce.

Great job on the show. Keep up the good work!

Rookie'48
09-04-2010, 12:55 PM
To me, good BBQ is deep rich flavorful meat that can stand on it's own without sauce. Good BBQ should have a nice balanced blend of spices on top of tender moist meat. The sauce when added should complement the meat and never overpower it...again balance be it a sweet spicy sauce or more savory sauce. Great job on the show. Keep up the good work!

That says it all as far as I am concerned.
Every once in a while some one will turn in what must be farm raised pork. You older folks will remember what I'm talking about, full of flavor, grease running down your chin - not the "healthy" & "low fat" stuff that the factory farms put out today. That pork makes some damn good BBQ, food that can stand on its own and win :thumb:.

AZScott
09-04-2010, 03:37 PM
Depends on the meat but I'm looking for the 5 tastes, bitterness, sourness, sweetness, saltiness, and umami with the hint of smoke played together like a beautiful composition. Now, individual tastes vary but for comp bbq I'm looking to avoid those "individual" tastes. I'm looking to create something that encompasses what people love about bbq while allowing individual tastes to appreciate what I'm trying to do. Looking at it another way, some like rock n roll, country, classical, funk, jazz, death metal, folk, opera, etc and that's just like all of us and our individual preferences with bbq. Now, there are some bands out there that can trangress that one genre and be appreciated by nearly all music lovers. We may not love that band and every song (Ray Charles, Aretha Franklin, Michael Jackson, Bob Dylan, The Beatles, U2, Metallica, Rolling Stones, Led Zeppelin, Garth Brooks, Elvis, Johnny Cash, etc.) but we can listen to it and deeply admire it for what it does musically. My favorite bbq is like a song that makes you take notice, sit or drive a little longer, and appreciate it for what it is.

Now with what you did, you threw in some jazz with the raspberry but it individualized the taste a bit too much. Granted, I didn't taste them but by adding in that raspberry it was like presenting Miles Davis. Great for jazz fans but most people don't appreciate him.

jbrink01
09-04-2010, 04:40 PM
Neil,
Ford hits on very good points. Depends on what kind of BBQ, but, I'll take a stab, considering that my comp BBQ is not "good BBQ" in my honest opinion.

Good bbq is smokey, sweet, spicy and tender. Pulled pork is good with a vinegar sauce, not too tender. Nice bark, never been in foil. Chicken is best with a touch of char, crispy skin and sticky sweet from the grill. Ribs are best smokey through, tender but not fall off the bone and a nice spicy sweet light glaze. Brisket is best not too smokey, spicy rub, and peppery sauce in the side. IMHO.

Jeff Selle
09-04-2010, 05:03 PM
Hey Bigmista, the judges gave Johnny Trigg a perfect score on his BBQ, but my brothers beat Johnny Trigg in ribs last weekend in Craig Colorado. I don't think our taste in BBQ is any better than Trigg's or your's for that matter ... but to the Judges in Craig, they liked ours better than Triggs -- this time

Harbormaster
09-04-2010, 05:31 PM
Don't know that I am qualified to answer that question, but here goes:

Good BBQ tastes like meat that has been carefully and delicately seasoned with a well balanced combination of smoke, salt, spice, and sweet that requires nothing else to make it taste great.

Bigmista
09-04-2010, 06:13 PM
I guess what I'm getting at is everyone seems to be describing the flavors of the seasonings (rubs, sauces, smoke) and not the meat itself. When is the last time that you (or me for that matter) cooked a piece of meat with heat only? No seasoning, no smoke. If you have, what did it taste like?

Rubs, sauces and smoke are supposed to enhance the flavor of the meat but what is the flavor that we are enhancing? Can anyone describe it? And if we can't quantify it, how can we judge it? What is our baseline?

I submit that we aren't judging the meat at all. We are judging how well we can put together a bunch of herbs, spices, liquids and slurries with different kinds of smoke to fool the taste buds into believing that we have made a bland piece of meat into something delicious. It's the seasoning that we judge, not the meat.

Let's discuss.

AZScott
09-04-2010, 08:39 PM
See, now that would be interesting. Salt, pepper, and meat. Now that's my favorite bbq. Unctuous, tender, smoky, crispy bits, and the quality and methods to raise the animal shine through. Different ballgame but delicious.

rookiedad
09-04-2010, 09:54 PM
for comp bbq i think you gotta look at the meat and more importantly the fat of the meat as a blank canvas. everyone says fat = flavor but it is not so. it is the element apon which fat soluable flavors ride.

Rookie'48
09-04-2010, 10:03 PM
When is the last time that you (or me for that matter) cooked a piece of meat with heat only? No seasoning, no smoke. If you have, what did it taste like?

The closest that I can think of was tossing a well-marbled chunk of ribeye about 1 1/2" thick on the Platinum. I used only S & P, onion powder and garlic powder. It turned out GREAT :-D.
Now, how that type of cooking would go over at your average judges' table is another question :rolleyes:.

Bigmista
09-04-2010, 10:55 PM
The closest that I can think of was tossing a well-marbled chunk of ribeye about 1 1/2" thick on the Platinum. I used only S & P, onion powder and garlic powder. It turned out GREAT :-D.
Now, how that type of cooking would go over at your average judges' table is another question :rolleyes:.

Even then, you had flavor enhancers (Spices and Smoke). Kinda hard to judge something that's been altered if you don't know what the original tastes like.

Take almonds for example. Roasted, salted almonds are tasty. So are smoked almonds. But until you've had them raw, how do you know what you are eating is better or worse than the original, unadulterated flavor? You're just saying I like the flavor of that salt. or that smoke.

BTW...I'm not advocating that you go out and eat raw meat.

Soapm
09-05-2010, 12:14 AM
Rubs, sauces and smoke are supposed to enhance the flavor of the meat but what is the flavor that we are enhancing? Can anyone describe it? And if we can't quantify it, how can we judge it? What is our baseline?

I guess you're right that we anticipate the pit-masters skills of enhancing what we perceive to be bland flavor (excluding beef for me). Even if we never calibrate back to the true baseline of no enhancement at all, we do know meat that is too far in that direction because we say, not enough smoke, not enough spice etc... Or how about "boring"?

You don't have to eat grapes to appreciate a fine wine because we expect wine to be an enhancement of the baseline.

PS... Just curious, what made you go with raspberry? Was it something you sell at your restaurant or do you make it from time to time for self? Is that your preference of a rib?

QansasjayhawQ
09-05-2010, 12:18 AM
Even then, you had flavor enhancers (Spices and Smoke). Kinda hard to judge something that's been altered if you don't know what the original tastes like.

Take almonds for example. Roasted, salted almonds are tasty. So are smoked almonds. But until you've had them raw, how do you know what you are eating is better or worse than the original, unadulterated flavor? You're just saying I like the flavor of that salt. or that smoke.

BTW...I'm not advocating that you go out and eat raw meat.
My wife and I discuss this frequently. I LOVE the most simple, unadulterated meat. I also LOVE corn on the cob, still in the husk that's been cooked over a fire. No salt, no pepper, no butter.

Eating that simple food is like listening to the wind blowing through the trees. It's like listening to the cicadas racket in the night that should be quiet. It's simply what is.

BUT - when I judge BBQ . . . it's the human element that takes that natural simplicity and evolves it into a tone poem of spices.

I think that simply appreciating being alive - the opportunity to have this human experience of existing in this time/space continuum - is enough for me to appreciate the unadulterated flavor of meat and any other thing.

To appreciate the art that the human being cook brings to the already perfection of food . . . well, that's nervana to me. It's like good music - it's not what you hear in nature - but I've never pumped my booty to the sound of waves washing up on the shore. It takes human input (God Bless Eddie Harris!) to get me up off the beach!

Sure, we can all go to McDonald's and get our bellies full. But what's the point in that? But to be able to sample the creation of a master artist . . . now THAT is worth seeking it out!

I suppose that good BBQ is what drives my brain to attempt to create a human rendition of what already exists in natural perfection.

Does that help? :-)

Soapm
09-05-2010, 01:01 AM
But to be able to sample the creation of a master artist . . . now THAT is worth seeking it out!

I think you nailed it, it's like the difference between a 1Kz tone which is a baseline for sound and good music. The difference between a painter and an artist. The painter can give you the reference like a plain white wall but an artist etc... :clap2::clap2:

Bigmista
09-05-2010, 02:28 AM
I guess you're right that we anticipate the pit-masters skills of enhancing what we perceive to be bland flavor (excluding beef for me). Even if we never calibrate back to the true baseline of no enhancement at all, we do know meat that is too far in that direction because we say, not enough smoke, not enough spice etc... Or how about "boring"?

You don't have to eat grapes to appreciate a fine wine because we expect wine to be an enhancement of the baseline.

PS... Just curious, what made you go with raspberry? Was it something you sell at your restaurant or do you make it from time to time for self? Is that your preference of a rib?

I use it to make a spicy sauce. And I had just used it 2 weeks before on the exact same ribs and got 10th out of 57 teams.

Bigmista
09-05-2010, 02:36 AM
I think you nailed it, it's like the difference between a 1Kz tone which is a baseline for sound and good music. The difference between a painter and an artist. The painter can give you the reference like a plain white wall but an artist etc... :clap2::clap2:

So you see meat as a canvas, and seasonings as paint? Interesting how we've turned from Science to Art in this conversation. Not a bad thing. Just an interesting turn of events.

Like expecting a conversation about water vapor and light refraction and instead hearing that God made that rainbow.

wickedbbq'r
09-05-2010, 06:43 AM
By your signature, 6-time peoples choice champion, it looks like you know exactly what good bbq tastes like. As well as the support from many of the people here. The thing about bbq judges scores to me is, you have those that know what they are looking for in good tasteing bbq, and those that are told what it should look, feel, and taste like. Like Ford said, there is a difference between eatin, vending, and competiton bbq. The trouble I am having with finding the right flavor profile for competition bbq is that you hear people say you enhace the flavor of the meat with the rubs, spices , sauces, and not cover it up. But, you also hear it must be one bite bbq. To me one bite bbq is all about the rubs and sauce not the meat. Definately a fine line. Great topic Bigmista.

Hub
09-05-2010, 08:12 AM
The Pitmasters show has gotten out of control and is now just mindless drivel unrelated to anything interesting or real (but that's another post). To your question:

Good Barbeque tastes like a finely engineered balance of the meat, the spices (rub, marinade, mop, injection, sauce, etc.) and the cooking method (smoke infused by burnng wood or creating fat splash into the heat source). As a judge, I've learned that good "balance" among all the elements creates the best results. As a competitor I've learned how hard it is to do! Oh, but the quest is exciting. When I give an entry a 9 it is because the entry had great balance.

To eat barbeque in most popular chain restraunts is to experience mush meat flavored with sweet red characterless sauce. To eat barbeque as a judge in a good competition is seeking nirvana.

Hub

Soapm
09-05-2010, 09:22 AM
I use it to make a spicy sauce. And I had just used it 2 weeks before on the exact same ribs and got 10th out of 57 teams.

I don't expect you to share your recipe but I love fruit flavor with my meat. I once tried perfecting a orange marmalade glaze for my pork but could never overcome the taste of burnt orange peels. I've had pomegranate and liked it and we all know apple is a natural for pork.

One thing I noticed, two of those judges judged on if one could give them what THEY prefer as BBQ as opposed to interpreting the pit masters skill and ability to achieve their "twist" while maintaining the industry profile of meat texture etc... You know, tender but not mushy, flavorful but not overpowering etc... In my $00.02 a judge should be able to say this is the best rib even if it isn't my preference...

The one on the left was really asking if you can make a rib like his. In subtle ways he said that several times.

Rookie'48
09-05-2010, 12:31 PM
....In my $00.02 a judge should be able to say this is the best rib even if it isn't my preference....

Providing that you are not comparing rib A to rib B, you've hit the nail on the head for KCBS judging :-D. I have given 9s for a sweet taste (I'm not much into sweets) and handed out much lower scores for spicey foods (I am somewhat of a chili-head) depending on how the final result tasted.

Bigmista
09-05-2010, 08:03 PM
I don't expect you to share your recipe but I love fruit flavor with my meat. I once tried perfecting a orange marmalade glaze for my pork but could never overcome the taste of burnt orange peels. I've had pomegranate and liked it and we all know apple is a natural for pork.

Side note: Try mixing equal parts Marmelade and Dijon or Creole Mustard. Won't work in competition but it sure is tasty!

QansasjayhawQ
09-05-2010, 11:13 PM
Balance.

Yep.

Did someone say balance?

A good judge can tell when someone has all the elements balanced.

And yes, any human input into any scientific method = ART

topchefvt52
09-06-2010, 09:27 AM
What does good BBQ taste like?


What does a fine painting look like? I don't think BBQ can be pidgeon holed.

One of the things I find most fascinating about cooking and eating BBQ is the diversity of its regionality. There's no right or wrong to it. Slow cooked meat enhanced with smoke flavor...that's the baseline. What would be the point of a competition whereby every team was cooking pork, chicken and pork with nothing other than salt & pepper?

Adding flavor enhancements to the baseline is the fun part. To that end, balance is key. Sweet & heat seem to be the buzz words these days but I want to taste the meat first.

my .02

ZILLA
09-06-2010, 09:18 PM
What I think good BBQ should taste like.

I want to taste the meat and I want it to taste like the meat I'm eating, then smoke flavor, then a salty kick or in the case of chicken that sweetness that a smoked chicken gets when it's done right. Then I want to taste that pepper on the beef and lamb or maybe some garlicy flavor on the ribs. I like it simple and I like it hot off the pit.

I don't want stock injections or herbal brines I would be happy with the meat, good smoke, salt&pepper. I don't want to hear what BBQ has become or where it's going. BBQ is what it was, and should remain so. Name the new stuff something else.

JD McGee
09-06-2010, 09:25 PM
"I submit that we aren't judging the meat at all. We are judging how well we can put together a bunch of herbs, spices, liquids and slurries with different kinds of smoke to fool the taste buds into believing that we have made a bland piece of meat into something delicious. It's the seasoning that we judge, not the meat."

I think you just answered your own question...:becky: For me...it's all about balance...as stated before...a happy marriage between meat, smoke, and spice...:cool:

mfreeman73
09-07-2010, 11:03 AM
Makes me want to go cook something without any seasoning or smoke just to see what it tastes like. I've never had it that way. Maybe it's best to start there and then decide what it may be lacking and add from there. I would think a combo of salty, sweet, and spicy. Which I guess is what most people think of when they think of bbq.

Fat Woody
09-07-2010, 12:30 PM
I submit that we aren't judging the meat at all. We are judging how well we can put together a bunch of herbs, spices, liquids and slurries with different kinds of smoke to fool the taste buds into believing that we have made a bland piece of meat into something delicious. It's the seasoning that we judge, not the meat.

An interesting quandary and very difficult to answer succinctly. Baselining any meat's "flavor" is nearly impossible due to the numerous breeds and various methods of raising them. Grass fed beef vs. corn finished, free range chicken vs. caged, farm raised salmon (ugh!) vs. wild caught. If you've never tasted the difference, your expectations of normal are already skewed to what you are accustomed to eating. Toss in personal preferences for cooking method and seasonings and it's tough to quantify...yet we all know what 'beef' tastes like.

At home as a kid I thought all roast beef was grey and dried out, because my dad wouldn't eat anything that wasn't well done. I ate it and because I hadn't experienced anything else, that was my "beef baseline". Later, when I finally tried rare roast beef I was shocked by the completely different flavor. Now I had two beef baselines (and a decided preference for rare!). Is one more "correct" than the other?

BBQ is a preparation & cooking method, just like frying or baking. It's at the hands of the pitmaster and his creative use of spice and smoke that it transcends from a mere piece of meat to a delicious BBQ'd entree. Let me toss out a bad analogy: You give me five gallons of water; I can drink the water as is or make something with it. I decide to make it into beer by adding malted barley, hops and yeast, boiling and fermenting it until there is little trace left of the water's original flavor. Hopefully, if I've done my job well, the beer is drinkable and the water has transcended it's original state and become something more complex and enjoyable. It's still mostly water, but it doesn't taste like water anymore.

Similarly, when we choose to cook a piece of meat, we have plenty of options: frying, roasting, boiling, braising, barbequeing, etc. I think we inherently accept that the taste of the meat will change (hopefully for the better!) and which cooking method we choose and the seasonings we apply are part of our conscious effort to "improve" or enhance the flavor of the basic and turn it into something more desirable.

When we taste BBQ, I think the expectation is generally for some smoky flavor accompanied by seasonings unique to the BBQ method of cooking. It's here that things get complicated: what are the seasonings unique to BBQ? Unlike classic French cuisine that is prepared to a strict guideline, BBQ has become a regional dish that supports many different, wonderful and unique tastes. Creativity can be rewarding or humbling, depending on results and the expectations of the tasters. Personally, I'm glad that there is not just one way to prepare great BBQ because it's the experimenting and tweaking that I really enjoy. But this also makes judging a very complicated matter as anyone who has competed can attest. I think we've all been surprised by scores that were not what we expected (for better and for worse). The process of making great BBQ is just too widely varied to make an easy baseline. I submit that we are judging the sum of the various parts; that BBQ is a combination of meat, smoke and seasoning and that's what makes it unique.

Sorry too be a rambler, but discussion was invited!:bored:

BBQ_Mayor
09-07-2010, 12:34 PM
Good BBQ is what ever you make of it. I have cooked just the meat(pork) and it is still flavorful. Pork should taste like pork and beef should taste like beef and, well, everything tastes like chicken.
For contest thought, you must stick to the traditional "bbq" flavors and spices and sauce. When I learn what those are maybe I'll win some contests.

Lake Dogs
09-07-2010, 12:50 PM
How long ago eating pork without seasoning? For me, 5 months. It was cooked, grilled
actually, no smoke, just on a flame. Pork chops, about 2" thick, makes a great steak.
Pork has a wonderful flavor all by itself. The darker meats, like a ham, an ever better
flavor. When cooking for home more often than not I'll smoke a whole ham rather than
a butt or shoulder, because the meat itself has a great flavor.

That said, it is more of an art than a science. Yes, we're judging how the flavors of
the spices mix with the flavor of the meat and smoke, and how well the flavors of
the sauces compliment those.

When BBQ'ing a ham, I'll use only a little rub and no sauce ever. The rub gives the
bark a nice spicy flavor. It's smoked of course, so there's a nice red smoke ring that
shows that wonderful smoke flavor. But, as it's a very thick piece of meat, there's
plenty of meat without much smoke flavor or rub flavor. It's wonderful.

So, when I judge, being a personal subjective thing, tendencies being tendencies,
I prefer the meats presented without sauce, or VERY VERY little sauce, and not
over-spiced to where you cant still get a little flavor of the meat itself. Good old
fashioned can-be-greasy moist MEAT.

Lake Dogs
09-07-2010, 12:52 PM
"I submit that we aren't judging the meat at all. We are judging how well we can put together a bunch of herbs, spices, liquids and slurries with different kinds of smoke to fool the taste buds into believing that we have made a bland piece of meat into something delicious. It's the seasoning that we judge, not the meat."

I think you just answered your own question...:becky: For me...it's all about balance...as stated before...a happy marriage between meat, smoke, and spice...:cool:

And then after writing up mind (above), I read this. Spot on.

Bentley
09-07-2010, 01:15 PM
Contests have always been about sauce and rubs and injections, not about the meat...Can someone point me to a winner that has won by not using them.

CBQ
09-07-2010, 07:46 PM
Contests have always been about sauce and rubs and injections, not about the meat...Can someone point me to a winner that has won by not using them.

My second contest had an "extra" category of beef ribs. I didn't know what to do with 'em, so I put on salt and pepper and smoked 'em for 20 hours. Took third.

That said, I'm not going to try that with the 4 KCBS meats :laugh:

DawgPhan
09-07-2010, 07:49 PM
Contests have always been about sauce and rubs and injections, not about the meat...Can someone point me to a winner that has won by not using them.


Contests have never been about the rubs and sauces...it has and is always about how you cook your meat. Turning out perfectly cooked meat wins contests. Rubs, sauces, and injections dont win contests. I can't believe i actually have to type this.

Pigs on Fire
09-07-2010, 08:14 PM
I did my first comp this past spring. Cooked right next to Myron.

After rib turn-ins, I was walking by his tent and he said 'go back there and get you some good ribs'.

I did. I turned around and took him some of ours. He looked at them and said 'they ain't sweet. Ate one and said...they are good, but not sweet enough.'

I finished .7 point behind him. :clap2:

I think he edged us a touch more in pork, but I did 15th in pork. Myron did 2nd.

I like pork to be more or less absent of fat, great hickory smoke flavor, good seasoned bark, moist and tender. And from a Boston Butt, not a ham, not a loin, etc.

Meat Burner
09-07-2010, 08:23 PM
Mista, just my thought here bro. Presentation and tenderness judging may be somewhat fair. The whole taste, which carries the most points, can be the difference between last and first. Who knows what those particular judges are thinking that day. Tough deal, but we are very very proud of you bro.

bam
09-07-2010, 09:03 PM
Ever since I listened to the judges comments on Pitmasters, something has been bugging me. So I pose this question to the group...

What does good BBQ taste like?

(Be careful how you answer because there will be follow up questions.)

What ever the judge likes is good bbq . Judge can be your family,your customers,or the judges at the contest.Some like hot some like it sweeeet some like it spicy. Know your judge.

Bentley
09-07-2010, 10:37 PM
Contests have never been about the rubs and sauces...it has and is always about how you cook your meat. Turning out perfectly cooked meat wins contests. Rubs, sauces, and injections dont win contests. I can't believe i actually have to type this.


Next time you compete do me a favor and turn that perfectly cooked meat in with out using anything, salt and pepper is a rub and get back to me on where you finish...I can believe I had to type this some folks are just...

C Rocke
09-07-2010, 11:02 PM
OK, ok boys - May be time for a glass of warm milk, and a hug before bed...

SmokinOkie
09-08-2010, 08:21 AM
So you see meat as a canvas, and seasonings as paint? Interesting how we've turned from Science to Art in this conversation. Not a bad thing. Just an interesting turn of events.

Like expecting a conversation about water vapor and light refraction and instead hearing that God made that rainbow.

Really depends in what context you're asking in trying to define good BBQ (home vs competition vs made for tv), but for yourself, try to describe a rainbow and when you look and say "that's a great rainbow" WHY is it a great rainbow.

No one would agree.

It comes down to personal bias of EVERY judge (sometimes it's little bias, sometimes it's a lot) and it's really what they think.

Until KCBS (or any organization) defines it for the judges it will always be an individual determination.

For me, I don't have a preconceived notion when I judge (over 30+ times now) and I've also competed for over 5 years. I give everyone the benefit of a doubt.

I try to leave it open to interpretation since it's like trying to compare to paintings, one by Van Gogh and one by my wife. Who says that both can't be 999.

Try asking this question sometimes at a judging table and you'll REALLY get an earful and unfortunately a lot of bad judging.

They judge the sauce
They don't like chicken (dark) or chicken (white)
Pork is too greasy
Don't like BB
Don't know what sliced pork is
Brisket is great when it tastes like pot roast.

All of the above are comments I've heard at my tables

Russ

Dr_KY
09-08-2010, 11:25 AM
I'm on the balance camp as far a competition cooking matters.

Imagine if teams were judges on the sole properties of the meat alone. Those teams that can afford the best of the best cuts of everything will more often than not end up the top runners as long the product is cooked properly. Yes there are still the variables of 'what is the ideal texture' but it's obvious second and third rate meat wouldn't fare well no matter what.

I don't pay for prime cuts and it makes winning that much sweeter over those that spend a grip.

Southern Home Boy
09-08-2010, 12:15 PM
Wow. I haven't read every post in a thread this long in a while. I think this one was worth it though.

Neil, I'll try to answer your first question since it seemed to me like you were looking for data for an informal poll of sorts.

To me, good BBQ has several essential ingredients:

It must be tender, but not mushy. I have to feel like I'm eating something and not slurping it through a straw. I have teeth. I like to use them.

It must be JUICY... the jucier the better. Rivulets of juice and/or grease running down my chin, splattering my shirt and squirting across the table when I bite it are just FINE by me.

I want my mouth to explode with flavor right off the bat, and then experience layer after subtle layer of flavor and "feel". I like that slightly sweet poke in the tongue when I bite down followed quickly by the smokey, salty tang you can only get with true BBQ and ending in a soft, warm, heated burn all over my mouth. I like to feel the textures of the meat as I chew; a slight "pop" every time my teeth clamp down.

But "flavor" is more than 80% "smell". I want to smell the smoke, I want to smell the rendered fats and the char of the slightly burnt flesh and carmelization of the sauces. I want to smell the herbs and spices included in the rubs and sauces (that's why I always use a little ground cloves in my rubs) and see how many I can identify.

Good BBQ - any good food for that matter, but BBQ especially for me - is a complete sensual experience that engages ALL of our five standard senses in a way no other art form does. It plays on our memories and our emotions and touches our souls.

Oh, and BTW... I think you did the right thing with the raspberry sauce. Mixon's an arrogant twerp.

Bigdog
09-08-2010, 06:39 PM
Good BBQ is when it smells great, tastes great, looks great (not as important as the KCBS thinks it is IMHO) and you keep on tasting it all through the day or night as the case might be. Nothing like burping a good one and tasting it all over again. :thumb: Good BBQ even sweats out in my pores and still smells good.:cool: