Originally Posted by smolderingbbq
What are competition judges looking for? Aside from smell, taste and texture...What in the world makes the top shelf bbq better than middle of the pack? Both cooked to perfection with amazing taste but what are the little things that the pros are doing better? Thanks!
What are judges looking for? Perfectly cooked meat wins every time. The difference between the top 2 or 3 entries and the middle-of-the-pack is simple: tenderness.
What are the little things that the pros are doing better? Like said above, a picture is worth a thousand words. You'll want to judge a few contests to see. The consistent winners know that it starts first with the presentation, hopefully so mouth watering that you want fight the judge next to you to eat his/her piece too. Perfect tenderness, as defined by the sanctioning body. Know that they define the different categories DIFFERENT from one another. KCBS perfect ribs fail in MBN, and visa. versa. Finally, taste. Frankly, it shouldn't be too anything. Not too sweet, not too spicy, not too salty, but certainly not too bland either. Blazing new trails outside of BBQ, tartness, etc. will be punished. Trying to appeal to a small minority (like with a mustard sauce) will be punished.
However, I'll tell you having judged probably 2000 entries over time, having two or three great tasting entries at the table, tenderness wins.