Jack's Old South - Grand Champion
Woodhouse Grill - Reserve
No surpises here - the top 10 looked good with Smarr, Swamp Water Boys, etc. all in the hunt.
I judged the backyard division (hey, somebody has to do it!) - and had some monumentally BAD BBQ. Don't get me wrong, there was some decent food, too, but too many backyard teams try to emulate the "pros" and screw up - they ought to do the food they know and love and turn it in.
I saw boiled ribs and a boiled pork butt - nasty! I even wise-cracked to the table captain asking if I had to take a rib - they smelled boiled.
The boiled pork but was grey and NASTY.
The chicken didn't distinguish itself but only one needed to be spit out! One team did boneless skinless breast - real pale presentation and DRY - seasoning was good but they overcooked it. A couple of teams submitted legs and thighs in the same box. It was OK but just looked a bit strange in the box.
The ribs were the biggest disappointment - none that were edible were tender and the tender ones just pure-D sucked.
Since it was backyard they are allowed to do pork loin and one team did - it was pretty good. Moist with good flavor. Sliced about a 1/2 inch thick - just a bit salty - but otherwise pretty good. It got decent scores around the table.
A couple of brisket were close - a bit dry and one had a ketchup based sauce (?) - one would have been excellent if he'd just left the lousy sauce off of it - nice bark, tender moist, etc. Guess he didn't taste the sauce or had had too much "fun" the night before!
I'm not trying to be harsh but this was the most disappointing time I've had judging. I'll judge backyard again - I'm not so vain as to think it's beneath me to judge it. I'm just encouraging anyone that is doing the backyard division to cook like you do at home - don't change because it's a competition - your're being judged with your peers - seperate table and set of judges. Oh yeah, we got all entreies from every team so we had a LOT of food to judge!
Oh yeah, in case anyone is going to test the waters by doing the backyard division (some only do chicken and ribs - this contest let them do all four) talk to the pro teams - I guarantee they'll help you out with presentation tips, timing, etc. Honest! :D
Maybe I'm being too picky but it's because I haven't cooked in a few weeks! Come on Mobile :D