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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 10-18-2011, 08:49 AM   #1
Billcftc
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Default help with competition ribs

I recently competed in a KCBS competition in the ribs category. prior to competing, i came across the following which i thought were kcbs guidelines for judging ribs, "When sampling a properly cooked contest rib the area of the meat where the bite is taken should be pulled cleanly from the bone with very little effort. The exposed bone of a well cooked rib will often dry immediately. Ribs should be moist, flavorful and possess good texture." the ribs i turned in met the guidlines above exactly, but i received all 7s. i am not complaining about the judging. i know they have a hard job to do. i'm jusk asking if someone can help me understand what the judges are looking for. thanks for your help.
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Unread 10-18-2011, 09:07 AM   #2
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you wont really know until you have turned in the same product a couple more times. if you think they are right on thenthey probably were. judging is subjective you can be first 1 week and 21 the next. as long as you are more consistent with good scoring then not good scoring you will be fine. i know this sounds stupid, but its how it is. turn the ribs in 1 or 2 more times then adjust if nesessary. i know taste and texture are differant scores, but they kinda go hand in hand. usually when 1 is off the other will be to. just something to think about
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Unread 10-18-2011, 09:23 AM   #3
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If you look at the scores from many competition you will often find, regardless of how you feel the texture was, that the taste and texture scores tend to gravitate toward each other. So for instance, if you have a judge that just LOVED the flavor of your rib and gave you a 9, but that rib is underdone or overdone, you're probably still gonna get an 8, maybe even a 9. However, if a judge HATES the flavor of your rib to a 6 or 7, but you know that texture was dead on ... you're probably still gonna get a 7. That's just been my experience. And having judged a number of contest I've often found myself doing the same, ESPECIALLY on ribs, to the point that prior to judging (ribs in particular) I remind myself that they are different categories and it's ok to give a 6/9 or 9/6.

It may not be a comforting response, but that's just been my experience.
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Unread 10-18-2011, 10:28 AM   #4
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Bill, that is the guideline and it is correct but perhaps incomplete. I believe you can have ribs that "When sampling a properly cooked contest rib the area of the meat where the bite is taken should be pulled cleanly from the bone with very little effort. The exposed bone of a well cooked rib will often dry immediately. Ribs should be moist, flavorful and possess good texture." but not be an 8 or a 9. With a lot of concentrated practice you'll know the difference between a 7 that follows that "guideline" and a 9 that follows that "guideline". There is more to rib tenderness than how it pulls from the bone.

I also agree with nthole that tenderness and flavor scores are dependent upon each other but I believe that tenderness will affect taste but taste will not affect tenderness.
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Unread 10-18-2011, 11:54 AM   #5
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Just continue to cook and with each contest you will get better. Ribs are tough to master on the competition trail. That said, you may win one week with mediocre ribs and place near last the next with better ribs. The secret is to stay consistant making small tweaks and that should help you move up.
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Unread 10-18-2011, 12:08 PM   #6
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The above is dead on.

I know it sounds like a bit of a cop-out to say keep trying, but it's the truth. Judging should be objective, but is often more subjective. Give yourself a couple more attempts before changing anything. Then, after you've turned in your third CONSISTENT entry make slight changes.

Last year our tenderness scores were low. By shifting where on the cooker where we prepared them made all the difference.
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Unread 10-18-2011, 02:07 PM   #7
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Hi,

I thought that I'd point out that a 7 is not a bad score and is actually above average.

I'm sure that once you zone in a bit your scores will increase reflecting your experience.

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Unread 10-18-2011, 02:50 PM   #8
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Interesting topic. I wonder how many teams use commercial rubs and sauce vs homemade, and I wonder what the success rate is under each. I wonder if the judges are accustomed/conditioned to a certain flavor profile like a "Blues Hog" and somewhat expect it. I also wonder how many judges are open to new flavor profiles and whether during a contest it's beneficial to surprise them with something new? Boy, lots to think about.
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Unread 10-18-2011, 04:37 PM   #9
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Overcook them..........
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Unread 10-18-2011, 04:51 PM   #10
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Dont know if this will help, but try to think of it this way. Like a perfect steak it is all subjective. There may have been a perfectly cooked medium steak but person 1 likes their steaks rare,person 2 may like medium rare, person 3 well done etc. Even though the steak was cooked to a perfect medium those people would not say the steak was perfect, though they may say it was above average or even good just not perfect.
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Unread 10-18-2011, 07:09 PM   #11
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Nobody is Perfect, not even a Perfect Stranger. How about like Comp Chili were the judeges write a response to all they taste is that too much to ask? I think not
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Unread 10-18-2011, 08:27 PM   #12
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I too struggle with this, and probably will continue to do so until I get to judge myself and actually experience a rib that is a true 9.

As it is now, I have turned in ribs that scored well once and I genuinely did noy care for the texture at all. Perfect bite mark yes. Enjoyable texture......absolutely not.

Why the heck any judge would enjoy the feel of there teeth ripping through strands of connective tissue that have not completely broken down is beyond me. I don't like fall off the bone either, but I think a whole bunch of folks have convinced themselves that they prefer something that they might not actually prefer. Just so they can get some kind of warm fuzzy feeling from seeing a perfect half moon bite mark.
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Unread 10-18-2011, 09:08 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Q-Dat View Post
I too struggle with this, and probably will continue to do so until I get to judge myself and actually experience a rib that is a true 9.

As it is now, I have turned in ribs that scored well once and I genuinely did noy care for the texture at all. Perfect bite mark yes. Enjoyable texture......absolutely not.

Why the heck any judge would enjoy the feel of there teeth ripping through strands of connective tissue that have not completely broken down is beyond me. I don't like fall off the bone either, but I think a whole bunch of folks have convinced themselves that they prefer something that they might not actually prefer. Just so they can get some kind of warm fuzzy feeling from seeing a perfect half moon bite mark.
not sure you have full grasp of the "goal" with this statement.

in any event, sled is right...
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Unread 10-18-2011, 09:32 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by boogiesnap View Post
not sure you have full grasp of the "goal" with this statement.

in any event, sled is right...
LOL I agree! Thats why I want to take a judging class soooo dang bad! Problem is I can never seem to catch one anywhere near me. I feel like I am continually making an educated guess as to the right kind of texture that a KCBS rib should be.

I had a similar problem with Brisket, but once I experienced a properly cooked, moist and tender brisket, it gave me something to shoot for, and I immediaty started to improve.
Right now, even with all of the descriptions that I have heard, I have no such target to aim at when it comes to ribs
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Unread 10-19-2011, 07:10 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sledneck View Post
Overcook them..........
Steve is absolutely correct. Even though the judges are instructed on the pull away bite we have done better when the ribs were slightly over cooked. It is just human nature to not want to work that hard when eating a rib.
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