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Competition BBQ *On Topic Only* Discussion regarding all aspects of Competition BBQ. Experiences competing or visiting, questions, getting started, Equipment, announcements of events, Results, Reviews, Planning, etc. Questions here will be responded to with competition BBQ in mind.


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Unread 08-13-2010, 11:31 AM   #1
ZILLA
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Default Injection question

My intent is that this conversation be confined to injection of meat for moisture and flavor enhancement.

Do you think that the use of moisture enhancement by means of chemical injections, such as sodium phosphate,
a store bought stock, or homemade stock, such as beef broth in competition meat is ethical?

Tasting judges at BBQ competitions are not specifically told that the meat they are about to eat may or may not be chemically or naturally enhanced by injection by a cook. There is no disclosure by the cook and no notice given by the Judging official of the potential that some of the meat may have been chemically altered or enhanced and with what chemical or product and if it is actually used in a safe amount.

Do you think that the use of moisture enhancement by means of any injection, such as sodium phosphate, a store bought stock, or homemade stock, such as beef broth should be allowed in competition BBQ?

Some people are of the opinion that injections are not representative of true and traditional BBQ and are added to simply get a leg up on another competitor, and that it is hurting the BBQ tradition as a whole that our competitions were originally intended to promote.

For the record, I do use variuos methods of moisture enhancement in my competiton BBQ.

I do not use any form of meat enhancement at home except for an occasional brined Thanksgiving turkey, mainly to being on a low salt diet.
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Unread 08-13-2010, 11:39 AM   #2
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Regardless of how I feel about it, there is no way to regulate it. MSG for instance enhances flavors but you can't see or taste it so there is really no way to know who is using it.
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Unread 08-13-2010, 11:48 AM   #3
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You know, I hadn't put much thought into this subject, and honestly I agree with you.

I truly believe in BBQ being BBQ, and that's it, to the point where I really think that
greenery has no business being in a turn-in box, and I'm also of the opinion that
chicken ain't BBQ either. So, I'm probably fairly extreme in my views this way.

As long as it's allowed, I'll use it. I do use it at home, mainly because I enjoy the
added flavors that tend to coincide nicely with my rub and any sauce that we may
or may not add. Oh, as Tim said below, we ONLY use stuff in our injection(s) that
your mom would approve of. No *chemicals* perse.

However, I doubt either the slaves when pretty much inventing the BBQ technique
with pork in NC, SC, GA coast or the guys on the trail in Texas (using beef of course)
had injectors... They might've soaked it, in something, but something tells me they
didn't pull out the needle and have-at-it.

Then again, until we're all cooking out of a hole in the ground, one could easily debate
that we're already away from the origins, so where do we/they draw the line?

I like your point, and I think it's valid, but I also think we'll see ice sculptures in hades
before we get there.
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Unread 08-13-2010, 11:50 AM   #4
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Speaking soley for and as me, I say this...

I view Injecting as borderline cheating. I liken it to steroids in baseball. <dismounts from soapbox> That being said, one must do what one must to compete and be competetive.

When I do inject it is a mix of butter, honey, dark brown sugar and apple juice. Things your mother wouldn't object to you eating (unless it's my mother, who thought butter was evil ).

But, injecting is legal, as are pellet poopers, Guru's, etc. so, I find no harm in using what is allowed and available.
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Unread 08-16-2010, 02:36 PM   #5
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That's it? No other opinions? You have to be kidding!
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Unread 08-16-2010, 02:43 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ZILLA View Post
That's it? No other opinions? You have to be kidding!
Put this in the competition forum and you'd probably be up to 5 pages by now.

To answer your first question, yes, I believe it is ethical. Personally, I don't compete, so I don't inject, or even wrap any of my meats anymore. I like the challenge of trying to produce moist BBQ without them.

To answer your second question, I'm on the fence on that one. It sure would be hard to enforce a no injection policy in comps, and pretty much everyone is doing it. If I was running a comp in my back yard though, my rule would be no injections or even wrapping! Let's put everybody on an even playing field.
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Unread 08-16-2010, 02:44 PM   #7
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Zilla, did you mean this thread for Q-Talk? Seems as if it would be more at home in the Comp forum.
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Unread 08-16-2010, 02:52 PM   #8
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Yes I suppose you're right.
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Unread 08-16-2010, 02:57 PM   #9
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I never answered your question though. I don't compete but I've never injected for home cooks.
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Unread 08-16-2010, 03:35 PM   #10
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Although I have never competed or even cooked my first brisket (soon though), I think that injecting a "flavor" enhancer is not a bad thing. It just speeds up (turbo charges) marination, which has been done forever. That being said, I do have a problem with using non food items such as TSP in this venue, even though it was in the ham I ate today. My vote is to use real food in food.

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Unread 08-16-2010, 03:58 PM   #11
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I inject pork butts, mmm. Injected pork butt.
I've done an injected brisket once, didn't much fancy it.

I don't do competitions though.
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Unread 08-16-2010, 08:01 PM   #12
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I don't think anything chemical or artificial should be allowed. Brining/marinading is as old, maybe older, than BBQ, and by injecting it into the meat is just a bit quicker than soaking, but I think OK.
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Unread 08-16-2010, 08:28 PM   #13
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I have not competed yet. There is no way to know of a piece of meat has been injected or enhanced. I have read some of the rules and I remember seeing something about no pre-marinated meats but does that include enhanced meats from the packer? Is the meat required to be in store sealed packages at meat inspection? Disassembling chicken to scrape the skin and cooking separately then reassembling for submission does not seem right to me.
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Unread 08-16-2010, 08:30 PM   #14
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Mod Note : Thread re-directed from Q-Talk to Comp

It's ethical as it's not against the rules and the judges are adults who willingly agree to take a chance eating foods of unknown origins, storage, methods etc. I'd be just as concerned eating BBQ meats cooked by some who have little to no experience or care about proper food handling and preparation as I would about what they pump into the meat or rub on top of it. If you're concerned about what you consume, comp BBQ judging is one of the last places you should be.

competition BBQ is already somewhat of a gross misrepresentation traditional BBQ and any form of artificial moisture retention seems fitting alongside much of the other wacky things associated with high level comp BBQ, such has parsley beds, parkay and butter baths, sugar braising in foils, chicken thigh pillows, mufffin pans, etc.
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Unread 08-16-2010, 08:49 PM   #15
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If it's allowed by the rules, it's ethical, and the means justifies the ends, especially if you win.
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