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View Full Version : whats the deal with chicken?


BBQ John
01-07-2011, 09:07 PM
does everybody do the old muffin pan chicken trick or do these judges actually want to taste something different? shouldn't originality be scored well? i'm not a judge and have no clue how there trained, just looking for some insight here.

watertowerbbq
01-07-2011, 09:38 PM
no muffin pan chicken here. i've turned in both legs and thighs, never breast or wings.

Balls Casten
01-07-2011, 10:24 PM
sweet savory jucy parts. How can you best turm that in?

I "can" cook great chicken on the grill. But if I want to repoduce consistant chicken ... I use pans and butter.

BBQ John
01-07-2011, 10:53 PM
thats my point though, shouldn't BBQing be judged on BBqing? not mass produced butter and pan style cooking methods?

BBQ Grail
01-07-2011, 11:03 PM
thats my point though, shouldn't BBQing be judged on BBqing? not mass produced butter and pan style cooking methods?

Wait just one minute...

Putting 10 to 12 pieces of chicken on a smoker grate or a grill is just as "mass produced" as chicken placed in a muffin tin and then put in a smoker.

It's called a technique and just because it's in a muffin tin doesn't mean it's not BBQ. I don't cook chicken in a muffin tin nor do I compete on a regular basis, but I know lots and lots of people who do and they are talented individuals (and teams) and calling their entries mass produced, no matter how they cook it, is disrespectful.

If it's cooked according to the rules, it's good enough for the sanctioning body. Then it's good enough...

BBQ John
01-08-2011, 12:30 AM
whoa man, i never tried to come off as disrespectful. all i'm saying is if theres 40 teams, and 40 teams are doing the same style of chicken, theres something wrong with that. just seems to me that there should be more of a variety because it seems this is the one category there is none of that in.
in no way was i disrespecting or trying to disrespect anyone. i think you took it the wrong way my friend.

altomari8868
01-08-2011, 01:59 AM
No tins here but thought of trying it for fun... I agree, it is more about the taste of the chicken... You get 1 maybe 2 bites to wow them...

Dale P
01-08-2011, 05:02 AM
I use a bundt cake pan because I think they are cool.

ssbbqguy
01-08-2011, 05:31 AM
Believe me 40 teams are not doing chicken the same way. You might want to practice some ideas or methods that work for you. Go to a judge class or help with some contests. You'll have a better idea of what's being turned in. Steve.

Hub
01-08-2011, 06:56 AM
There are no judging instructions concerning chicken appearance other than the infamous "red next to the bone use a napkin to see if its blood" thing. Muffin tins and some trimming methods (e.g. lollipop style) can create a more uniform appearance (every piece in the box looks the same). During appearance judging, uniformity can be important (no judge wants a bad looking piece) but so is appetizing coloration, artistic arrangement, appetizing looking greenage, etc.

If you look at the score weighting you'll see most of the score is attributable to flavor, though, not picture-perfection.

As a judge I look at the chicken and think: "Does this look like something I'd really like to dive into?" The appearance is an attraction, not the whole game :rolleyes:

Buster Dog BBQ
01-08-2011, 08:25 AM
Even if a majority of teams do something similar it all comes down to the detils and that is what gets a call....attention to detail. I'll spemd an extra 30 min on chicken to get looking perfect vs just saying it looks good enough.

Bunny
01-08-2011, 09:40 AM
does everybody do the old muffin pan chicken trick or do these judges actually want to taste something different? shouldn't originality be scored well? i'm not a judge and have no clue how there trained, just looking for some insight here.

Doesn't matter if it's muffin pans, lollipops or just plain drumsticks. If you're good at chicken, you're good at it. I do believe you right when it comes to originality and creativity. But most of those who walk do something great with the flavor. Don't worry, someone will come up with something everyone else will try to copy...like chicken smoked inside Jack Daniel whiskey barrels. LOL:idea:

quarters69
01-08-2011, 10:09 AM
We grill our chicken like the normal folk does at home on a weber and have done very well in our chicken turn in. Do whatever works for yourself.

Lake Dogs
01-08-2011, 11:18 AM
The chicken should be hot, moist, and tender, and not chewy or rubbery. That's
pretty much it for chicken as far as training. Unique flavor I'm sure will be appreciated,
but if it's dry, say g'nite gracy, regardless of how it's cooked, pan or not. Uniqueness
is great, but unique skunky is still skunky...

sitnfat
01-08-2011, 11:58 AM
^^^^^^what he said and bite through skin

bmanMA
01-08-2011, 02:25 PM
I judged a comp last summer where a team turned in muffin-pan thighs. They totally burned the tops. They were the only muffin-pan that I saw. It's incorrect to assume that everyone is doing this. Do what you think will get you a call. That means it needs to be tender and taste good, and it needs to look good so that it makes me want to eat some. If you use a muffin pan, a rotisserie, a baking sheet, it does not matter. It simply needs to be good.

landarc
01-08-2011, 02:41 PM
I am not much for competition BBQ in terms of competing, but, I have to say there are regional characteristics that can come into play, especially when you are talking local judges and new judges. Many of the techniques you see, such as panning, muffin cups, margarine etc...are being used to create a consistent, repeatable product while reducing the variables. Consistent size of meat, amount of fat, thickness of skin, location of bone etc...are all about making each piece cook like it's neighbor on the grill.

In terms of flavor, last year as I trolled through peoples comp sites looking for samples, I found one guy who scored abysmally whose chicken was outstanding. It was chickeny, smoky, salty everything I would ascribe to bbq chicken. But, it was not spicy/sweet and the flavor was too much different, the skin was crispy and pulled, not bite through, it was too far afield.

CivilWarBBQ
01-08-2011, 02:58 PM
I hate to be the bearer of bad tidings, friend, but "originality" is usually scored DOWN at KCBS competitions. Believe me, as both a judge and a cook I'd love to see stuff like Korean flavors, Chimichurri and chutneys at a contest, but the truth is if you vary more than a few points off "standard American BBQ" your scores are going to be terrible.

Unlike an Iron Chef competition where originality is rewarded, competition BBQ judges are conditioned to look for a pretty narrow range of flavor profiles at the judging table and to punish any entry that falls outside of that range. While the KCBS rules don't specify this, it's the reality of what you will face when cooking competitively. Many a time I have heard a fellow judge say how they gave a low score to an entry that didn't include a sweet, tomato based sauce with a comment like "It was good, but it's not what I call BBQ".

Probably the biggest single hurdle for most cooks starting out is getting their head around the idea that it doesn't matter what you or your family and friends like, to win contests you have to give the judges what they expect.

butt head
01-08-2011, 03:06 PM
Probably the biggest single hurdle for most cooks starting out is getting their head around the idea that it doesn't matter what you or your family and friends like, to win contests you have to give the judges what they expect.

I,ve been competing for 6 years and i will never cook for a judge- how can you, do you know what every judge's taste is i don't, and who's going to eat the other 12 peices that you didn't turn in.

CivilWarBBQ
01-08-2011, 03:16 PM
I,ve been competing for 6 years and i will never cook for a judge- how can you, do you know what every judge's taste is i don't, and who's going to eat the other 12 peices that you didn't turn in.


You don't cook for a judge, you cook for the judges. It's a group-think thing. If you've been competing for that long you should know what I mean by now. Unless you're either lucky enough to have the same taste as the KCBS standard or you don't worry about your scores.

Example: I sampled a terrific tequila/lime drumstick at a contest last season that was cooked perfectly. I scored it 9-9-9. No other judge gave it a score above 7, because "It just isn't BBQ". Nuff said.

Lake Dogs
01-08-2011, 03:59 PM
Probably the biggest single hurdle for most cooks starting out is getting their head around the idea that it doesn't matter what you or your family and friends like, to win contests you have to give the judges what they expect.

I,ve been competing for 6 years and i will never cook for a judge- how can you, do you know what every judge's taste is i don't, and who's going to eat the other 12 peices that you didn't turn in.

> comment like "It was good, but it's not what I call BBQ".

Whether chicken or other, this pretty much hits what he was saying DEAD
ON. First, you're cooking for 6 particular judges not of your choosing.
Flavors outside what any one of them thinks is BBQ, in their individual
opinion, will surely invite a 7 or worse, and as a result death. Just
remember, it's BBQ. Stick with that. If you cook a moist, tender, tasty
piece of BBQ chicken that's not in a muffin pan, by all means do it!

While I've only been cooking BBQ comps the last 3 or so years, I've been
competing in food competitions for the last 18+- years. I've always advised
new cooks to cook what they like, with a major caveat: It cannot be too
extreme. Like chili. I like mine 3-beer hot (3 beers required per bowl, it's
that hot). 3-beer chili will NEVER win, it's too hot for 85% of judges. So,
in chili cookoffs I'll tone it down quite a bit. Same for other foods; when I
cook for me I like spicy foods, but when I'm having guests over I dial it
back quite a bit. Pretty much the same goes for competitions; remember
you're cooking for THEM, not you. Until you're able to judge your own
entries, and be the ONLY one judging your own entries, that simple truth,
whether we like it or not, is still the truth.

For what it's worth, when working up a new recipe (BBQ, chili, whatever),
I always choose a few people who like foods much different than I do, and
that they'll tell me the honest truth. My very best friend happens to have
the complete opposite taste as do I. Ends up, when he and I both agree
that something is *off the hook*, we've always done well presenting it
at comps.

CBQ
01-08-2011, 07:26 PM
Probably the biggest single hurdle for most cooks starting out is getting their head around the idea that it doesn't matter what you or your family and friends like, to win contests you have to give the judges what they expect.

Absolutely true. When we stopped trying to make hip flavor profiles and concentrated on classic flavors and consistent execution, we did a lot better. If foiling meats and cooking in pans helps produce consistent results, you bet we are going to choose that and not worry about being unique. If we win, that's the kind of unique we want. :-D

Lake Dogs
01-08-2011, 07:48 PM
An idea: I suggest taking a judging class and actually judging a few competitions.
In a picture is worth a thousand words, this will get you a picture that has smells
and flavors. You'll quickly understand the mark to hit. I cannot tell you how many
competitors I saw judging their first competitions and having the "ah ha" moments.
Honestly, I learned at least as much judging as I did/have techniques from friends
who are competitors.

chambersuac
01-09-2011, 07:52 AM
whoa man, i never tried to come off as disrespectful. all i'm saying is if theres 40 teams, and 40 teams are doing the same style of chicken, theres something wrong with that. just seems to me that there should be more of a variety because it seems this is the one category there is none of that in.
in no way was i disrespecting or trying to disrespect anyone. i think you took it the wrong way my friend.

BBQ John,
I see what you're asking.
I've only been to a few contests - only competed in a couple of backyard events, so my experience is very limited. Yet, what I have seen is that most of the chicken turned in from team to team is different - even those who use muffin tins do SOMETHING different to them. Most people I've seen don't use them at all, but like I said, I have little experience.

Dale P
01-09-2011, 08:26 AM
I gave thanks to Butt Head and CivilWar because if you put the 2 ideas they have, you end up thinking like we do. We cook what we like and turn it in. The only variable is heat. I like it hot to the point of sweating, but I cant cook that way for my family, so we turn in what the majority likes. We turn in every entry just like we cook at home. Our theory is if it looks good, taste good, and is tender, we have a chance.

Hogtie N' Ride
01-09-2011, 09:10 AM
Winning habits: Begin with the end in mind. Seek to understand, then be understood.

The end in mind: Win the competition.

Seek to understand: 1) Learn how the judges judge, what they look for. Take a judging class and judge competitions to find out what wins from the inside. 2) Shig the consistent winners, most are willing to share as long as you are genuine and truly want to learn. Some offer classes. How does Dr BBQ, Pellet Envy, etc get top scores with all the judges all the time? In a swimming competition, you don't win freestyle by doing the backstroke.

Then be understood: Once you understand these things, add your touch to the food. I have been lucky enough to sample chicken from several consistent winners and each were very unique in there flavors and presentation, but all had incredible taste and tenderness.