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thunderbelly 08-23-2006 09:28 AM

Presentation tips
Any tips on presentation techniques? I have viewed multiple pictures of winning presentations on the net but would like to know what judges consider, my first couple of presentations I thought the meat couldn't touch.
What size are the portions?
sauced or not sauced?
ANYTHING you guys have would be appreciated

cmcadams 08-23-2006 09:37 AM

After my first judging experience, here are my tips, by category:

Chicken - don't do pulled chicken! Make sure no pieces look burned. Don't oversauce.

Ribs - Show at least one rib with the side of the meat showing. Every judge at my table thought that was important. Keep cuts very clean. Double cut isn't necessarily a good thing.

Pork - If you do more than one style of pork (sliced, pulled, chopped), don't separate them too much; it makes the box look empty. Spray with sugar water/apple juice/whatever to keep it from looking dry if you don't sauce.

Brisket - trim off excess fat. Also, trim the brisket to the box... pieces that are too long detract.

On all, make sure that the box and the meat are tidy. If it's sliced, like brisket or chicken (if sliced), clean any rub off the cut part of the meat so it looks neat. Make sure things don't look dry!

voodoobbqIL 08-23-2006 09:38 AM

the rule of thumb we use is this: make it so when the table captain opens the box the judges think to themselves "I gotta have some of that!" The meat touching thing is not huge but make sure that if it does that does not stick together. Example here is that if 2 ribs were to stick together then that counts as one portion therefore another judge has nothing to sample.

As for portion size it needs to be enough that the judge can get at lest 2 bites, 3 or more is better. For ribs we turn in 6+ individual ribs "Hollywood style" (meat on both sides). For pork its usually a ball in the middle and they take what they want. Chicken is 6 portions of thighs or what we choose to cook that day, and brisket is 6+ slices.

For the sauce. This is a big discussion around here and my 2 cents is that if you follow the rules then sauce makes no difference. IF you choose to use it and most do make sure it does not pool anywhere in the container. I use very little sauce unless I am going somewhere that is used to seeing lots of sauce on their meat.

I am not sure if any of this helps but the best thing to do is do a practice run and submit pictures to the brethren, any of us is happy to help you get started on the right foot or thigh as the case may be

YankeeBBQ 08-23-2006 09:54 AM

I'm gonna have to contradict a couple of things posted here. This is just my opinion but I've had some succes with my ribs. Do not hollywood cut the ribs for KCBS presentation, it doesn't help and I think it actually hurts in some instances. Do not put any ribs on their side, I don't think it looks that great and you can get good scores without doing it. Do put more than six ribs in the box, 8 has been a good number for me. Four ribs on top of four ribs. Make sure your ribs have a nice red color and a nice glazed look to them. There are several ways to accomplish this, I leave it up to you to find the technique you like.


CTSmokehouse 08-23-2006 11:14 AM


Could you comment on some of the techniques that can be used to get the red look and that nice glazed appearance? I am new to comp. and would appreciate your input.

Yours in BBQ,


YankeeBBQ 08-23-2006 11:26 AM


Originally Posted by CTSmokehouse

Could you comment on some of the techniques that can be used to get the red look and that nice glazed appearance? I am new to comp. and would appreciate your input.

Yours in BBQ,


Things like paprika and sugar in your rub. Butter oil or margarin when you wrap the ribs. Honey, maple or butter added to your sauce for a nice glaze. I use a combination of these things. When people talk about wrapping ribs they usually talk about doing this to make the ribs tender. It's also a time to give the ribs more flavor and a time to enhance the appearance of the ribs. It's not just about tenderness.

CTSmokehouse 08-23-2006 12:56 PM

Thank you YankeeBBQ.

When you are heating the ribs to glaze them how intense should the heat be and for approx. how long? What are your guidlines as to how much to glaze to get the look but not overdo it?


thunderbelly 08-23-2006 03:56 PM

I put a light glaze on my ribs before I take them off, there is already a good dark color to them from the rub (contains paprika and brown sugar).
These tips are excelent guys this is just what I was hoping for but YankeeBBQ, could you elaborate on your comments please. What is it about the hollywood cut you don't like?

voodoobbqIL 08-23-2006 03:57 PM

we do not use much sauce as our rub turns into glaze naturally from the constant temperature. The mahogany look also comes from our rub which does have paprika and brown sugar that has been dried among other things. For temperature I go a little hotter to start (300) then go back to 200-225 for the rest of the time, and I spray them about every 20-30 minutes to keep them moist and to help the glaze take. everyone has their style that's mine, looks good tastes good scores good.

good luck

cmcadams 08-23-2006 06:32 PM

I agree with the 'no hollywood cut' It's not necessary from a judging perspective, and it means you need 3 times the ribs to choose from, and you won't get a set of ribs that fit together like contiguous ribs from the same rack. It doesn't mean you can't win that way... it's just a lot of work, I think.

YankeeBBQ 08-23-2006 06:41 PM

Hollywood cut: The judges are taught when they bite the rib the meat should come cleanly from the bone where they bite it. Now on a hollywood cut to bit down to the bone they have to take a big ole chomp on the rib. If they don't they're just gonna bite meat and if it starts to pull away from the bone the odds are they're going to get the meat off the whole side of that bone. They're gonna think you ribs are overdone. On the other hand if they bite it and don't see any bone they might think your ribs are undercooked.

I've also heard that woman judges don't like the looks of a big honken rib. Don't know if that's true or not but I do know that I do much better with regular cut ribs.

Curt also made a good point about the amount of ribs you'll need to get just right to get enough hollywood cut. With regular cut ribs if you have one rack that's just perfect you might be able to get all six ribs from the same rack. I know some cooks that will only turn in ribs from a single rack.

YankeeBBQ 08-23-2006 06:42 PM

Glaze: I glaze my ribs at around 350 degrees for 10 to 15 minutes. I like to get 3 coats of glaze on there if I can. I'll only glaze the bottom once when I first put the ribs on.

HoDeDo 08-23-2006 07:54 PM

1 Attachment(s)
Once the ribs have broken thier sweat, and are starting to pull, I cover them with honey and wrap (loosely) them for 30 min. Open the wrap, sauce, brown sugar, and back to the cooker. They come out glossy and have a beautiful color to them. no additional heat required.... I maintain the same pit temp. throughout the cooking.
Attachment 3297

spicewine 08-23-2006 09:02 PM

Regarding " Hollywood Cut" Ribs--- You will not get 6 ribs from the same rack doing the Hollywood cut style turn in. This is my point FWIW. Each rack of ribs that you cook will probably be from different pigs. Each with their own particular flavor and characteristics. Why would you put two different tasting samples of ribs in your turn in box??? Some folks get the great tasting Ribs while the others get the lesser. I challenge you!! cook 6 racks of ribs and taste each rack individually. You will find that one of the 6 racks will stand head and shoulders above the rest and you will want to get all 6 cuts from that particular rack. If you don't taste all of the racks and just cut for the best looking pieces, you are just shooting craps on your turn in and putting more of a priority on appearance ( which doesn't carry as much weight) than taste and tenderness . My Team taste everything and agree as a group as to what gets sent up.

Don't get so caught up in presentation that you loose sight of the main goal---- The best tasting ribs at the contest.


CTSmokehouse 08-23-2006 09:22 PM

Thank you this is great advice. We cooked probably our best Brisket at the comp. this weekend and did not fare as well as we thought we should. We cooked CAB Gold Prime. It pulled appart just as I have been taught it should and everyone who tasted it thought it was a WOW. There is probably 10 to 15 minutes before the judges sample. How do you finish your brisket slices to keep them from drying out during that period? Do you serve deckle (we did and it tasted great). We got a 5 from one judge on taste and much higher scores from all the others. Your input is appreciated.

Yours in BBQ,


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