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Old 06-11-2018, 11:10 PM   #19
is One Chatty Farker
Join Date: 09-14-12
Location: Springfield, MO

Originally Posted by smoke ninja View Post
Is being bbq a scoring category? traditional comp, chicken has strayed far from many of our (the public not judges) definitions of what bbq is. Doesn't mean it isn't good and I'd like to try it done by someone who does it well. Phil's old school chicken sounds more up my alley.

I'm not trying to knock it, it's a serious question. Does kcbs, or other organizations have a scoring criteria for being bbq or is it just a matter of heat source?

I try and take away the positives from every style; comp, back yard, and restuarant. I've learned to roll up my thighs into pillows with a light trim and scrape to the skin. I grill direct raised over fire but the prep is kinda comp light.
The judges are all that matter. If they truly want something else, they’ll ultimately get it. KCBS does not (directly) dictate what BBQ is. That has been molded by the decisions of judges over the last 30+ years of KCBS competitions and continues to get defined every Saturday.

From my experience at around 200 competitions cooked and in my restaurants is that people (op aside), almost without exception, have their mind’s blown by properly prepared competition chicken. It’s that far above what they normally get as “BBQ chicken”.

I do feel the OPs pain, however, because I bet that it does get extremely old tasting the same flavors time and time again, but I can’t imagine this is unique to just chicken. I also guess that it makes it extremely hard to judge. He needs to understand that our goal as competition cooks is not to make the best BBQ he’s ever had. That’s too personal. Our goal is to make the best BBQ that 6 different people with different life experiences and different palates can agree on. This is why the top teams go easy on the smoke and why sage or other spices are used sparingly. You may love it, but I promise another judge hates it. We actually want nothing to stand out. If a judge can pick out a particular spice in my food, I’ve lost. We call it middle of the road BBQ (flavor, not quality). I compare cooking chicken to teeing off. I could pull out the driver, swing hard and try for 350 yards off the tee and be damned where it goes, but I’d much prefer to hit one about 230 right down the middle of the fairway and move on to ribs. So I cook pretty, expertly cooked thighs, dunked in a Blues Hog mix. Safe. Down the middle.

The margins between these cooks has become razor thin. Understand that the entries at an event like Mankato last weekend are all going to be very close because the teams were very close in ability. A judge deciding to make up their own scoring criteria such as creativity or deciding that a new average should be formed because all the entries that day are very much the same can have big consequences when the top 4 places were all over 700 and within 1 taste point from 1 judge of each other. The difference between winning and losing could have been not hitting this table in chicken.

There have been many innovations since I’ve started cooking, but eventually the cat gets out of the bag and that innovation quickly becomes the norm. I hear people say all the time is that it should be a meat contest (and I agree). These same people will then talk about the lack of creativity. One thing the homogenization of comp BBQ due to classes and the internet has done is made it all about the meat. When the entire field uses the same (or similar) sauces and rubs it truly does come down to who cooked that piece of meat the best.
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Last edited by gettinbasted; 06-11-2018 at 11:24 PM..
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