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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 04-18-2011, 07:57 PM   #1
bigjonsBBQ
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Hey Everyone. I have been playing around with rubs and sauces, and also have searched the net, but I wanted to get firsthand experience, is sweet the way to go? I have read some like very sweet, with a little heat, others not soo sweet. I am guessing it is all per judge, even though the classes are supposed to show exactly what to look for. I have looked to take a class, but have not found any yet in the NJ area.

Any insight from competitors and/or judges would be appreciated.
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Unread 04-18-2011, 08:00 PM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bigjonsBBQ View Post
even though the classes are supposed to show exactly what to look for.
You're off base here, the CBJ class does not tell the judge what they are supposed to look for regarding taste. The tenderness/texture of the meat is covered, but the taste is purely subjective.
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Unread 04-18-2011, 08:04 PM   #3
bigjonsBBQ
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Thanks NRA4Life, so when it comes to taste, it comes down purely to what the head cook wants to send in, whether sweet, heat, etc?
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Unread 04-18-2011, 08:14 PM   #4
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The way I was taught, the sauces and spices had to 'enhance the meat'. You didn't have to like it, even, but we all know if you were to spring an Alabama white sauce on an all-Texan judging crew, you'd probably not fair too well...
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Unread 04-18-2011, 08:15 PM   #5
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Yes and no. It is supposed to be judged on its own merits -- if it is a great example of its kind, it should be rewarded.

BUT
If the head cook likes "spicy", and his idea of spicy is the judge's idea of "tastebud inferno", there's going to be trouble.

The idea is to find a unique profile that agrees with many palates.
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Unread 04-18-2011, 08:40 PM   #6
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You want to "offend" the least amount of judges with your unique flavor profile at whatever random table your box hits while impressing them at the same time. But yes, whatever the head cook decides to send in as their entry that day, spicy, sweet, salty, etc.... Of course the same entry at different competitions could go from first to worst, due to no fault of the competition team...The scores you could receive even at the same table can have incredible variance as well. Good Luck!
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Unread 04-18-2011, 08:47 PM   #7
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Thanks everyone. For some reason, I was under the impression that a CBJ class also gives you a "flavor profile" to look for when items are turned in at a KCBS event.

I think I will go with what I have had, lil sweet with just barely a touch of heat. My 1st competition this upcoming May will only be my 3rd ever, hopefully, I can learn a lot more the more I do.
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Unread 04-19-2011, 07:49 AM   #8
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There is no such thing as a "flavor profile" and KCBS issues no standards for taste. The current trend is toward sweet but, like everything, that can be overdone. BALANCE is the name of the game. Judges should look for an entry to have a pleasing combination of flavor provided by the meat and smoke, the rub and the sauce (and injection or mop if used). No one thing should dominate. Easy to say and very hard to do!
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Unread 04-19-2011, 08:22 AM   #9
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^^^ +1
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Unread 04-19-2011, 11:17 AM   #10
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Figuring out peoples tastes is a constant evolving moving target. There is no permanent flavor profile. It's not a sweet sauce, it's not a spicy sauce, it's nothing everytime.
You put it on a meat I taste it and give you my opinion with a numbered score.
It's just that easy.
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P.S. All that being said, why do the top teams usally find their way to the top?
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Unread 04-19-2011, 12:24 PM   #11
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I sort of agree with Hub above, although I'm not sure "current trend" is accurate. I would say that (at least around KC) that sweet has worked for a long time and I'm not sure it will change soon.

In addition to the above, I would say that many judges confuse or intertwine tenderness and taste. Many of our enteries score very similar or the same in both taste and tenderness. I think tenderness is equally as important as taste, even though officially taste is about twice as important. I am not judge bashing here...some of my best friends are judges!
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