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Vince RnQ
11-29-2010, 11:51 AM
Now that the competition season is over for most of the country, I was wondering what meats, if any, you are thinking about making changes to? We are always open to making tweaks and small adjustments throughout the year but my question is related to making a pretty big change in methodology or in flavor, etc.

Here's what we've been talking about adjusting over the next few months:

Chicken - Not much change planned here. We're pretty happy with the results we've been getting this season and so, aside from those tweaks I mentioned above, we probably won't spend much time working on this meat.

Ribs - We made some major changes from 2009 to 2010 and fortunately our scores improved. We're much more satisfied with the texture we are achieving but we think there's a lot of room for improvement in color and flavor. Looks like we'll finally be able to make use of all those trimmed and vacuum sealed racks that ended up in the freezer over the course of the year!

Pork - Only minor changes planned for this meat. The changes we made for the 2010 season allowed us to turn out some of the best pork we've ever cooked so the changes will probably be very small. We like where we're at with pork right now.

Brisket - This is one meat where we think we have the greatest opportunity for improvement from 2010 to 2011. Although we've had some really great calls in Brisket this year, we've also had some results that cost us dearly in the Overall. I guess this meat feels like our least consistent so we're going to work on this one and see if we can improve it based on all the things we've learned throughout the year.

OK, what about you?

HarleyEarl
11-29-2010, 12:03 PM
I'm looking at changing a few things:

Chicken: We did okay here but, will be trying a different rub mix

Ribs: We did terrible (only one call all year) - looking at a complete revamp, been testing rubs to finishing sauces to cooking temps, etc. Planning on taking a cooking class mainly for help here.

Pork: We did great here - no major changes, but will be trying to use the UDS for cooking - not sure if we'll use it in contests yet.

Brisket: We did great here also - no major changes other than trying the UDS to see if I can get a better smoke ring.

mobow
11-29-2010, 12:28 PM
Next year will be first year competing. Will finish up my master judge requirements sometime in April and then hope to do a few contest and finish up at the Royal. So I am adjusting everything at this moment. I feel pretty solid on brisket. Still doing some minor adjustments on pork and chicken and am at scratch with ribs. Looking forward to every weekend from now till the season opens back up.

HandsomeSwede
11-29-2010, 01:06 PM
Ribs were top 10 everywhere we went, pork most places.

We are awesome at making 13th place chicken, so that will be the first one we work on. Plus, I think we will different cuts used more next year on the circuit. The reign of the thigh is coming to an end.

big matt
11-29-2010, 01:43 PM
Great topic!..we have been really happy with our brisket and pork finishes this year,and when those two meats have not placed well I went back to pictures and and notes..all my fault rookie mistakes!..either overcooked or bark not set up well enough,so as far as those two we aren't really going to change too much,chicken and ribs have been all over the place but we just got a new Mak 2 star pellet smoker so I have already been practicing with chicken and ribs on it.I really like the results so far the color is just what I've been looking for and the ability to be able to ramp it up to a higher heat to finish is just a turn of a knob!.so those are our changes but were gonna be ready to use them a Tom's farms..here is a pic of some of the ribs do you like the color?
http://i984.photobucket.com/albums/ae328/matt74_photos/71b6be88.jpg

Southern Home Boy
11-29-2010, 01:51 PM
I'll be making some changes.

Chicken - Going with whole rotisserie game hen leg quarters. They're juicy, have crispy skin and look good in a box.

Brisket - doing ok here, probably won't change much.

Pork - got one 7th place call this year. Going to start injecting with my Carolina mustard sauce and see if that takes it up any.

Ribs - biggest change here. Have always done spares in the past, but began playing with BBs and have decided I like them better. Same method, same rub, same sauce... just different rib.

We'll see.

Scottie
11-29-2010, 02:45 PM
I'm going with just salt and pepper and Kraft BBQ Sauce...

AZScott
11-29-2010, 03:03 PM
2010 was our rookie year so we're making some big changes. The first change is moving from 3 BGE's to 1 BGE and an FEC 100. I am so tired of moving eggs and worrying about breaking them. It will also be nice to get the consistency of an FEC 100. The other major thing is I'm going to try and get away from the "feel" of the meat to a temperature. We have been too hit or miss using a toothpick to test for tenderness. Many of the ideas we have for the off season are coming from a class that we took a week ago with Plowboys.

Chicken: Our chicken has been our weakest meat by far and is the one we're changing the most. We are trying everything we can think of between now and late February.

Ribs: We have finally found out a couple of mistakes we were making as far as seasoning is concerned. We'll be practicing with spares and BB's on each cook to find which product is more consistent.

Pork: We're going to change it very little. I'm going to find one source of pork and use that exclusively. Last year we used bone in and boneless from 4 different sources for 4 different contests. We're also going to find a sauce for pork rather than changing it every contest.

Brisket: We are looking to possibly tweak the sauce a little bit but nothing drastic. Right now this is our best category.

Vince RnQ
11-29-2010, 03:52 PM
We're also going to find a sauce for pork rather than changing it every contest.


Scottie recommends Kraft.

Always trust a World Champion!

On the other had, America seems to be in love with the McRib so maybe you should try that sauce too.

Jorge
11-29-2010, 04:13 PM
I'm going with just salt and pepper and Kraft BBQ Sauce...

I know a couple of guys that just go with salt, pepper, and Ketchup...just ask them:wink:

chambersuac
11-29-2010, 04:29 PM
I'll be making some changes.

Chicken - Going with whole rotisserie game hen leg quarters. They're juicy, have crispy skin and look good in a box.


I'm intrigued. Can you post some pictures? I'd love to see what you're talking about.

Scottie
11-29-2010, 04:39 PM
Scottie recommends Kraft.

Always trust a World Champion!

On the other had, America seems to be in love with the McRib so maybe you should try that sauce too.

I've tried to buy McDonald's BBQ Sauce... they said I couldn't get it and we represent McDonald's!!!! Otherwise I would use that instead of Kraft!!!

Coz
11-29-2010, 04:40 PM
Dont know which one but I am taking a class this winter, looking to be more consistent . Chicken still sucks the other 3 mostly good but you always can improve .

AZScott
11-29-2010, 04:53 PM
I've tried to buy McDonald's BBQ Sauce... they said I couldn't get it and we represent McDonald's!!!! Otherwise I would use that instead of Kraft!!!

I have 15 packs of McDonalds BBQ sauce at home. One more rib placing like my last contest and it might be game on.

Alexa RnQ
11-29-2010, 04:57 PM
Scottie, all I have to do is smile and ask nicely during McRib promotions.

AZScott
11-29-2010, 04:59 PM
I'll be making some changes.

Chicken - Going with whole rotisserie game hen leg quarters. They're juicy, have crispy skin and look good in a box.


Give some to your friends and watch how they eat those leg quarters. I'm willing to bet that where they take the bite there won't be much meat at that location if they are cornish game hens. I realized this after my last comp watching friends and family eat the extra leg quarters. One side of the thigh has significantly more meat than the other.

Smoke'n Ice
11-29-2010, 05:21 PM
Scottie, all I have to do is smile and ask nicely during McRib promotions.
Have you ever looked at a picture of you and Scotty together????? I definately know who would get the sauce!!!!!:tape:

Scottie
11-29-2010, 05:25 PM
Scottie, all I have to do is smile and ask nicely during McRib promotions.



I need gallons!!!! I did ask about a 55 gallon drum of it. Maybe I should have started smaller.

Scottie
11-29-2010, 05:27 PM
Have you ever looked at a picture of you and Scotty together????? I definately know who would get the sauce!!!!!:tape:

I got better Crocs though Mack... otherwise I agree completely with you. She also has better team shirts...

bbq lover
11-29-2010, 05:33 PM
I am not sure if this is a good or off limits question I am a 2 yr. comp. team best we did this yr. was a 4th in pork and 7th in chicken in same kcbs contest my question is to
Rhyhem n Que and the others I feel are the top teams question is how does a team get the finishes from the 20s to the top 10s I myself practice alot but the numbers are all over and for the most part I cook to the same temps and times Ihave taken some judging classes kcbs certified and im no better of a cook ??any help from the top teams not asking for there magic just how did you guys go from mid pack to the top and for the most part keep your finishes in the top half ???

sitnfat
11-29-2010, 07:09 PM
I will be working on pork this off season. And work on consistency with chicken and ribs We didn't get a call on pork all year I wish I had sauces it at my last comp it could have done better even got me a gc. As far as bbqlover question goes I try to keep it simple use what people are familiar with and improve on if and make if the best

yelonutz
11-29-2010, 07:16 PM
I am not sure if this is a good or off limits question I am a 2 yr. comp. team best we did this yr. was a 4th in pork and 7th in chicken in same kcbs contest my question is to
Rhyhem n Que and the others I feel are the top teams question is how does a team get the finishes from the 20s to the top 10s I myself practice alot but the numbers are all over and for the most part I cook to the same temps and times Ihave taken some judging classes kcbs certified and im no better of a cook ??any help from the top teams not asking for there magic just how did you guys go from mid pack to the top and for the most part keep your finishes in the top half ???

While I am not a top team, I would suggest this. Spring of 2011 go to Ric Gilberts house in San Jose. We have a practice warm up cook off. Your turn ins will be judged by KCBS judges but they will tell you to your face why they scored it the way they did. You will also be able to swap notes and look for input from the other teams there. This is not a sanctioned contest but it is a lot of fun and very educational.

NUTZ

Coz
11-29-2010, 07:31 PM
I am not sure if this is a good or off limits question I am a 2 yr. comp. team best we did this yr. was a 4th in pork and 7th in chicken in same kcbs contest my question is to
Rhyhem n Que and the others I feel are the top teams question is how does a team get the finishes from the 20s to the top 10s I myself practice alot but the numbers are all over and for the most part I cook to the same temps and times Ihave taken some judging classes kcbs certified and im no better of a cook ??any help from the top teams not asking for there magic just how did you guys go from mid pack to the top and for the most part keep your finishes in the top half ???


Although we are not one of the top teams I think in addition to what Nutz told you above going to one of the comp classes put on by the top competitors will increase your odds greatly.

Alexa RnQ
11-29-2010, 09:23 PM
I myself practice alot but the numbers are all over and for the most part I cook to the same temps and times Ihave taken some judging classes kcbs certified and im no better of a cook ??any help from the top teams not asking for there magic just how did you guys go from mid pack to the top and for the most part keep your finishes in the top half ???
Once upon a time, in a galaxy far far away...

When we started out, we took the class given by QN4U's Brent and Kim Walton. Then we went home and practiced for the bulk of that year -- one or more times a week, one or more meats per cook.

When we took the product on the road to Taylor, AZ on Labor Day weekend of '97, we got our butts handed to us. On the long, long drive back down the hill, we had to face the fact that all our practice hadn't taken us in the right direction. We went home determined to retool our cook, practiced like hell over the two weeks following, and went to Clovis, CA with focus we hadn't had before. It paid off with RGC, and we were on our way.

I don't think anybody comes right out the gate into winning consistently or placing high consistently. No matter how much you practice at home, you learn more in actual contest conditions than anywhere else. Our yearly results show that was true for us; we competed more in each successive year, and learned more in each successive year.

Which is a longwinded way of getting around to saying that in order to improve your contest results, you need to cook contests, and you need to evaluate your feedback from each contest. Are you cooking a consistent product? It all starts from that. If your product varies, and I mean in flavor and texture not just time/temp, then it stands to reason that your numbers bounce around. That happens some to all of us, the bounces just level out a bit with more experience. We tried not to make corrections on feedback from just one contest, but if we implemented a change and two/three contests showed us it wasn't working, then we'd overhaul it again.

It's all about working at it, but it helps to know what you're working *for*, and as John says the open judging at Ric's springtime warmup event would be invaluable. We've all wanted to hear WTF that judge was thinking! :becky:

At a contest, ask an experienced team to taste your food. A team that is a regular in your area will have a good feeling for what your judging pool likes.

It's an evolutionary process, and it never stops. That's part of the fun and part of the frustration, and what keeps us coming back week after week.

Bentley
11-29-2010, 09:38 PM
'97, you guys have been cooking longer then I thought.

swamprb
11-29-2010, 09:40 PM
cooking partners

jbrink01
11-29-2010, 09:51 PM
We had contest success early on - 2005, 2006. Our attention quickly turned to catering and $$. We now have built catering to a point of consistency booking and employee-wise that I can cook a few more contests. We did 0 contests in 2008, 1 in 2009, and 4 in 2010. We've slipped to a mid-pack "team" with an average of 1 call per contest. So what are we changing? Everything.

We have a toyhauler, another / smaller cooker, and a strong desire to find some consistency back. Gonna start with what get's us called and make incremental changes.

Alexa RnQ
11-29-2010, 11:24 PM
'97, you guys have been cooking longer then I thought.

:shock: *snort* I'm alzheimering again, or committing blatant typo. That had to have been 2007. :icon_blush:

Smokedelic
11-30-2010, 12:24 PM
I know a couple of guys that just go with salt, pepper, and Ketchup...just ask them:wink:
But I don't know if you should trust them.:thumb:

Scottie
11-30-2010, 12:57 PM
But I don't know if you should trust them.:thumb:


so people tell fibs in BBQ? I never realized... :becky:

Jorge
11-30-2010, 01:03 PM
But I don't know if you should trust them.:thumb:

I'll believe whatever they say, if the big one is around:wink:

Jorge
11-30-2010, 01:10 PM
I am not sure if this is a good or off limits question I am a 2 yr. comp. team best we did this yr. was a 4th in pork and 7th in chicken in same kcbs contest my question is to
Rhyhem n Que and the others I feel are the top teams question is how does a team get the finishes from the 20s to the top 10s I myself practice alot but the numbers are all over and for the most part I cook to the same temps and times Ihave taken some judging classes kcbs certified and im no better of a cook ??any help from the top teams not asking for there magic just how did you guys go from mid pack to the top and for the most part keep your finishes in the top half ???

I'm not Rhythem n Que, or anybody else noteworthy but the best advice I've ever been given and I've heard from more than one top team is that you have to cook the MEAT right. If you can turn out a good sample of meat then, you can worry about flavor profiles. If the meat isn't there, you can't save it with flavor you add with injections, rubs, or marinades.

Once you have quality meat coming out of the cooker you can adjust the flavor profile, and fixing garnish and layout is the easiest of the criteria to fix.

Dale P
11-30-2010, 06:55 PM
We are trying something totally different with our ribs. We are going to try and make them taste good.

JD McGee
11-30-2010, 07:02 PM
Changing up pretty much all my flavor profiles except ribs...:becky:...my technique will remain the same! :-P

jbrink01
11-30-2010, 07:09 PM
Once you have quality meat coming out of the cooker you can adjust the flavor profile, and fixing garnish and layout is the easiest of the criteria to fix.

Right on brother! While going over my scores, I was recently referred to by a well known STRONG finishing BBQ cook as a "Box Makin' M*****r Farker". My take away from that, in that my tenderness scores are right on is that my flavor profile needs adjustment as the last piece of the puzzle. I validated that by judging this past weekend. Taste is easy to change, so I will, as my few years catering has put us behind the curve.

indianagriller
11-30-2010, 07:10 PM
We are trying something totally different with our ribs. We are going to try and make them taste good.

Let your son cook them...:becky:

Candy Sue
12-01-2010, 09:57 AM
I've got to learn how to cook ribs consistently! Did a dual fuel thing at my last comp that I believe I'll practice using again.

Southern Home Boy
12-01-2010, 12:56 PM
I'm intrigued. Can you post some pictures? I'd love to see what you're talking about.

Sorry... I don't have any pictures. My last comp my regular partner wasn't there and my wife was being my sous so we were just too busy to take pics.

I'll take some next time I practice though.