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Thunder's Wife
01-03-2011, 06:43 PM
I haven't participated in a competition yet, but I'm trying to learn everything I can. I noticed the nice little bundles many of you create with your chicken <I bow to the masters>. I was wondering if you created those bundles at home, prior to arriving at the competition, or do you have to wait until after your chicken is inspected at the event?

Vince RnQ
01-03-2011, 06:45 PM
KCBS and IBCA rules allow cooks to trim their competition meats prior to arriving on site and meat inspections. You are not allowed to pre-season or marinate your meat in advance of the meat inspection.

watertowerbbq
01-03-2011, 06:48 PM
Trimming at home can remove a lot of work that you''d have to do otherwise once you arrive at the comp. It's always nice to sit and relax a little and enjoy the company of friends instead of trimming. Plus, it's always nicer to trim in an air conditioned home with all the sanitation compared to standing on an asphalt surfare when it's 90ļF.

big blue bbq
01-03-2011, 09:23 PM
We always do the chicken trimming at home. it is the most tedious of all the meats to prep for me.

Divemaster
01-04-2011, 03:40 PM
We not only trim our chicken, we trim ALL of our meats prior to the event; sometimes months in advance and then freeze it.

We've got enough stress at a comp to worry about without having to spend hours trimming out our meat...

Based on the following, we are saving about 4 1/2 hours after the inspection by trimming our product in the comfort of the house...
Trimming Two Briskets - 45-50 minutes
Trimming Two Pork Butts - 30 minutes
Trimming Four Slabs of Ribs - 60-75 minutes
Trimming Sixteen Thighs - 120 minutes

By trimming all of the meat prior, you get to inspect it and not get short handed. I wish I could count the number of briskets that I brought home only to find that after I opened them up there was a slice down the middle and we couldn't use it for a comp. Now we bring out two briskets for each comp so that if one doesn't turn out just right we can use the other. Why would you want to tie one hand behind you by not having a back up?

Good luck and remember, a cryo-suck machine and a freezer is your friend!

deepsouth
01-04-2011, 04:00 PM
We not only trim our chicken, we trim ALL of our meats prior to the event; sometimes months in advance and then freeze it.



how long can you freeze your meat with no adverse effects (number of months)?

Divemaster
01-04-2011, 04:05 PM
We not only trim our chicken, we trim ALL of our meats prior to the event; sometimes months in advance and then freeze it.

how long can you freeze your meat with no adverse effects (number of months)?
I know that others don't like to freeze, but I haven't found any problems with it. I have a deep freezer in my basement that normally sits at -20*F. I generally start looking for my meats now for trimming and freezing with the knowledge that they are good for a solid year.

Now if you are using the freezer in your kitchen, I wouldn't go more than a couple of months (three at the most) because it just won't get that cold.

Vince RnQ
01-05-2011, 04:57 PM
I know that others don't like to freeze, but I haven't found any problems with it.

You're not alone. I know of other teams that do exactly what you do. I have never been able to convince myself that frozen meat is as good as that which has not been frozen but that may be just a head game I play inside my own skull.

JD McGee
01-05-2011, 09:10 PM
If I can set up early enough I'll trim all my meats on site...if not I'll do it at home the night before. :cool: Same here Vince...always fresh...never frozen...NTTAWWT...:becky:

Divemaster
01-06-2011, 09:11 AM
I know that others don't like to freeze, but I haven't found any problems with it.

You're not alone. I know of other teams that do exactly what you do. I have never been able to convince myself that frozen meat is as good as that which has not been frozen but that may be just a head game I play inside my own skull.

If I can set up early enough I'll trim all my meats on site...if not I'll do it at home the night before. :cool: Same here Vince...always fresh...never frozen...NTTAWWT...:becky:
As I said, different strokes for different folks. I know that there are a bunch out there that wouldn't even think of letting the meat get below 35*F and that's fine with me. I one of those that likes to have every thing prepared way ahead of time.

Unfortunately, I donít have sponsors so saving money is a big part of being able to do comps. When I can save $.30 to $.75 (or sometimes more) a pound when briskets are on sale at RD I jump on it. Iíve also built up a friendship with the guys in the meat department and they let me dig through the cases and pick out the meat. Last year I bought briskets twice, both times on sale, and after going through 7 cases I was able to find 12 briskets that I liked for the comps. Same thing goes for ribs. I want to say that I went through at least 9-10 cases of ribs to find enough Ďgood onesí for 5-6 comps.

When it comes to chicken, Iím always trying to get that out of the way. I donít think that Iím alone in saying that I HATE trimming chicken, it drives me nuts, I almost wish that they would drop the category. So if I can get that done on my schedule over the winter with no adverse effect by flash freezing, I'll do it with no regrets.

I guess one of the other pluses is the fact that I can inspect the meat well before the competition. Iíve always said that there are only two days I like surprises, my birthday and Christmas. For me to take a risk on a cryoíd brisket is just too much for me. While I havenít had any that were Ďsourí, I have had more than a few that once opened I discovered that there was a slice across the middle of the flat and no way to hide it for the turn-in. I want to know this before I get to the comp so I can select another one to take its place.

For what itís worth, itís worked for us.

Jacked UP BBQ
01-06-2011, 10:36 AM
MAybe that is why we suck at chicken. It only takes me about a minute a thigh to get good shapes and the fat off. Dont trim pork, trim brisket in about 5 minutes and ribs in about 3 minutes per rack. Sharp knife and know how to trim, shouldnt take you too long. I sometimes trim chicken in the morning.

Divemaster
01-06-2011, 11:09 AM
MAybe that is why we suck at chicken. It only takes me about a minute a thigh to get good shapes and the fat off. Dont trim pork, trim brisket in about 5 minutes and ribs in about 3 minutes per rack. Sharp knife and know how to trim, shouldnt take you too long. I sometimes trim chicken in the morning.

Trust me; Iíve been trimming all kinds of meats for longer than I care to remember. I just find that the more time I spend trimming, the better I do overall at the compÖ

I normally start out with about 20 thighs (then pick the best 16 to take with me) and I can average about 4 minutes a thigh once I get into a rhythm, but there are times it takes me longer to get into that rhythm. I also clean up my trimmings and store them for later use in things like pot pies and stir fries so I donít have to handle them as much.

As for brisket, I like to split the flat from the point so thatís where about half my time is spent. After that Iím trimming the fat cap down to 1/8-1/4 inch.

Pork, I donít know, maybe Iím a bit fussy in how I trim up the MM but it works for us.

Ribs, I usually have a hassle with getting the silver skin off the back so thatís where my some of the time is spentÖ Rib tips are popular with my customers so I try to clean them up for later cookingÖ Again, Iíd rather only handle the meat once if I can help it.

JayAre
01-06-2011, 01:14 PM
I personally like to trim all my meats at the contest. It keeps me from drinking all day and not focusing on the contest.

glenntm
01-06-2011, 01:28 PM
We trim all the meats the night before leaving for a competition. It's much easier in your own kitchen.

JiveTurkey
01-06-2011, 01:43 PM
I do my trimming at the comp as well, chicken included. No worries about sanitation we have good hot water, soap, and I bring lots of rubber gloves. After we set up on Friday there isn't really much to do anyways and I like the feel of knowing I'm getting the meat ready on site. Makes me feel like I'm really rollin with the big boys! ha. This did cost me BIG TIME over the NYE comp though when I opened my brisket and found a big slash down the middle of the flat. I just sliced the finished product from another area. Got killed in brisket, 42/45, but that was other reasons than the slice.

Comp chicken is hard though. I bow to the masters as well.

Divemaster
01-06-2011, 02:07 PM
I do my trimming at the comp as well, chicken included. No worries about sanitation we have good hot water, soap, and I bring lots of rubber gloves. After we set up on Friday there isn't really much to do anyways and I like the feel of knowing I'm getting the meat ready on site. Makes me feel like I'm really rollin with the big boys! ha. This did cost me BIG TIME over the NYE comp though when I opened my brisket and found a big slash down the middle of the flat. I just sliced the finished product from another area. Got killed in brisket, 42/45, but that was other reasons than the slice.

Comp chicken is hard though. I bow to the masters as well.
That and the fact that I've heard stories of getting 'sour' meat is one of the very big reasons I do it ahead of time.

One thing I can recommend if you are insistent on not freezing and trimming on site, is to at least open the package and inspect it and then cryo-suck it for transportation. This way you can avoid just what you are talking about.

JiveTurkey
01-06-2011, 02:18 PM
That and the fact that I've heard stories of getting 'sour' meat is one of the very big reasons I do it ahead of time.

One thing I can recommend if you are insistent on not freezing and trimming on site, is to at least open the package and inspect it and then cryo-suck it for transportation. This way you can avoid just what you are talking about.

I have no problems with freezing so yea next time I'll open up at home, inspect, freeze, and thaw out the night before leaving. Then trim on site. or not, who knows we're always doing things different, we're a loooong way from consistent!

Divemaster
01-06-2011, 03:07 PM
I have no problems with freezing so yea next time I'll open up at home, inspect, freeze, and thaw out the night before leaving. Then trim on site. or not, who knows we're always doing things different, we're a loooong way from consistent!
Just a heads up, it can take up to 4-5 days to thaw a pork butt in the fridge... 2-3 days for a brisket.... 1-2 days for trimmed chicken and ribs...

Dale P
01-06-2011, 03:46 PM
Chicken takes me at least 10 minutes per piece. At least that much time. I do that nasty job at home. I usually prep ribs at home but not always.

Hub
01-08-2011, 12:14 PM
Where and when you trim just depends on how busy you want to be and how hard you get into it (particularly chicken trimming). Divemaster made a great point though: Even if you trim at the contest, its best to open any cryo or other packaging before you go. I've been burned with bad meat in cryovac on two occasions and one very suspicious butt in plastic wrap. Usually its a lot easier to get replacements on your home turf.

CivilWarBBQ
01-08-2011, 03:06 PM
Chicken is one of the indicators of how a contest will go for us.

If I get it trimmed at home it will be a relaxing weekend and we usually do pretty well.:grin:

If I have to trim chicken onsite we'll be behind the timeline constantly and probably not get great scores.:doh:

So yeah, my advice is absolutely trim chix at home!