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Old 06-13-2018, 08:19 AM   #25
Full Fledged Farker
Join Date: 06-10-13
Location: heart of tx.

Originally Posted by gettinbasted View Post
The judges are all that matter. If they truly want something else, theyíll 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 mindís blown by properly prepared competition chicken. Itís that far above what they normally get as ďBBQ chickenĒ.

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 canít 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 heís ever had. Thatís 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, Iíve 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 Iíd 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 Iíve 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.
Very very well stated GB, you nailed it!
We don't have a problem with boring chicken in Texas, recently "ugly burnt birds win" is an ongoing and true joke"
The issue I see here is the OP is expecting bbq to taste like what he likes,
" I did give a flavor "9" to one of the red chickens because the cook got a nice mild smoke flavor into it. Otherwise, the red chicken thighs I've been getting are pretty much an 8 for me.

Wings?? How about some wings? Last week I did a batch at home Weber/vortex with Oakridge Secret Weapon rub and a few chunks of apple wood tossed in the coals. I would love to get something like that in a turn-in box!"

that's a very big problem in Texas where team members are allowed to judge, they always or in 99% of the cases score based on their own perception of what bbq is instead of listening to what the table monitor tells them to do. But we do still have a very different scoring system that needs to be overhauled very soon.
Your the judge, you should score it as presented. Didn't you learn that in the class?

You shouldn't be asking anyone on what good chicken is or how it should be presented or why it's presented like that, just score it for what the cook presented. It's just that simple!"

In our Texas style competition classes we teach what I call the "6,7,8 strategy" I dont want the judges to LOVE my food but I do want every judge on the table to at least LIKE it which usually means at least 6,7, or 8 in scores and will give an overall total that will usually win or at least get a walk in the top ten. If 9's and 10's are received I just call it a bonus.

OP no disrespect just saying that we cook to get those middle of the road scores that total out high enough to hopefully win.
__________________, Smokin' Lonestar bbq team
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