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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 07-06-2009, 01:19 PM   #1
Greg60525
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Default Advice on Punching Up flavor to Get Judge's Attention?

As the judge takes 1 or 2 bites, what are some techniques to make the meat standout?

For example, I really like my brisket rub, but have recently tried Smokin' Guns Hot and liked that better. I've only used my rub in contests so far, but will probably try Smokin Guns, unless I find something better. That being said, I don't think that it's so much better or different that it's going to really knock someone over.

Is the difference really in the rub, injection or the sauce or do you have to resort to extreme measures and make the meat taste like something it's not? Are the judges looking for over-the-top sweet or salty or something that get's their attention..........hopefully, in a good way!
I've tried a lot of different sauces and for the most part they have the same basic flavor. Some more smoky, some have more sweet, etc., but for the most part they are all variants of one another............Blues Hog does standout to me as being very different. Too me, most of these sauces aren't real attention getters.

I'm not asking for your secrets, just some general tips or directions.

Thanks,
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Unread 07-06-2009, 01:49 PM   #2
Double D's BBQ
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Dave's Insanity Sauce instantly comes to mind if you want to get their attention although I wouldn't recommend it. (just joking, please don't do this!)

Seriously though a little last minute rub additions to the meat, salt and pepper whatever it takes. Make sure you taste the meat yourself and season for 1-2 bites until you like it. If you have the luxury get 2 or three other teammates/friends opinion as well. In the end no one ingredient should stand out. Concentrate more on cooking the meat properly and you'll do well. Make small adjustments at each contests rather than making large changes. You've got to please six judges not one so you need to aim for a middle of the road flavor profile. Sometime the team that makes the least offensive BBQ does best. Not too hot, not to sweet. If you have to err on one end of the spectrum, err on the sweet side.
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Unread 07-06-2009, 04:44 PM   #3
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Good advice from Dallas if you're in the ballaprk and getting some calls now. Otherwise you may need a bigger change. Lots of people use Guns Hot and usually it's in combination with other rubs. Best advice I can give is take the Old School High Tech class and you'll have the answers.

But here's a tip - when your wife says there's too much salt you're about half way to salting. And the same goes for a lot of other spices both hot and sweet. Brown sugar and honey are your friends. It takes a little time to find the blend that works but think over the top. Think my wife won't eat these for sure and I'd never serve it to friends. And I do give it to neighbors and they think it's fantastic but then one person never eats a 1/2 slab of ribs.

Consider going to a couple of contests as a spectator and asking some top teams if there's any way you can sample their food. Be honest about wanting to improve your skills and they should say yes. If you get to a Michigan contest this year look me up during turn-in.
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Unread 07-06-2009, 05:32 PM   #4
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I'm not asking for your secrets, just some general tips or directions.

Can you tell us how your scores have been? As far as injection I do but I really don't know if I even taste it, the first thing that hits my tongue when I take a bite is on the outside of the meat.
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Unread 07-06-2009, 08:13 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BRBBQ View Post
I'm not asking for your secrets, just some general tips or directions.

Can you tell us how your scores have been? As far as injection I do but I really don't know if I even taste it, the first thing that hits my tongue when I take a bite is on the outside of the meat.
Before classes 0 chicken 1st place calls. In 2+ years since 7 1st place calls and numerous other top 5. 2 GC, 1 Reserve and many top 5 calls. 8th overall at last years GAB Invitational plus 3rd brisket and 2 other top 20's. Flavoe intensity is a big deal and it takes classes or it takes cooking with top teams. And it means changing from cooking what you like to what wins.
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Unread 07-06-2009, 08:33 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Double D's BBQ View Post
Dave's Insanity Sauce instantly comes to mind if you want to get their attention although I wouldn't recommend it. (just joking, please don't do this!)
Either, they would be looking for a new panel of judges or that panel has just been recalibrated!


Quote:
Originally Posted by Ford View Post
Good advice from Dallas if you're in the ballaprk and getting some calls now. Otherwise you may need a bigger change. Lots of people use Guns Hot and usually it's in combination with other rubs. Best advice I can give is take the Old School High Tech class and you'll have the answers.

But here's a tip - when your wife says there's too much salt you're about half way to salting. And the same goes for a lot of other spices both hot and sweet. Brown sugar and honey are your friends. It takes a little time to find the blend that works but think over the top. Think my wife won't eat these for sure and I'd never serve it to friends. And I do give it to neighbors and they think it's fantastic but then one person never eats a 1/2 slab of ribs.

Consider going to a couple of contests as a spectator and asking some top teams if there's any way you can sample their food. Be honest about wanting to improve your skills and they should say yes. If you get to a Michigan contest this year look me up during turn-in.
No calls yet..........only 3 comps under my belt. Westmont last year and this year and Libertyville last year. Probably won't make it up to Michigan for one, but thanks for the offer. If I do get up there I'll take you up on it.


Quote:
Originally Posted by BRBBQ View Post
Can you tell us how your scores have been?
First comp: dead last overall and dead last brisket. I screwed up big time.

Here's my last comp's (Westmont 2009) scores (34th overall):

- Chicken: 150.2858 (30th place)
Appearance Taste Tenderness
888878 768887 787886

- Ribs: 152.5712 (23rd place)
Appearance Taste Tenderness
977797 786976 886978

- Pork: 148.5714 (32nd place)
Appearance Taste Tenderness
778678 678967 767988

- Brisket: 147.4284 (30th place)
Appearance Taste Tenderness
889988 786696 786696

There is a wide range in every category, except chicken.



Thanks for everyone's advice and comments,
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Unread 07-06-2009, 08:53 PM   #7
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Quote:
First comp: dead last overall and dead last brisket. I screwed up big time.

Here's my last comp's (Westmont 2009) scores (34th overall):

- Chicken: 150.2858 (30th place)
Appearance Taste Tenderness
888878 768887 787886

- Ribs: 152.5712 (23rd place)
Appearance Taste Tenderness
977797 786976 886978

- Pork: 148.5714 (32nd place)
Appearance Taste Tenderness
778678 678967 767988

- Brisket: 147.4284 (30th place)
Appearance Taste Tenderness
889988 786696 786696



A lot of 8/9's to bad on the 6/7's they hurt you.
As far as injection look at this pork clip, Wayne Booth, might help. I'm not advertising this sauce just injection.
http://www.cattlemensbbqsauce.com/Re...spx?featured=1

Last edited by Ron_L; 07-07-2009 at 10:53 AM..
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Unread 07-06-2009, 08:59 PM   #8
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Here is what I do, and it's working for me.

Chicken
  • Brine 6 hours (light - 3/4 cup Kosher salt to 1/2 cup dark brown sugar, and 1/4 cup rub, per gallon)
  • Drain, but leave wet
  • Dust all sides with sweet rub as you put them on the cooker
  • Cook indirect to 175*
  • Glaze with two coats of sauce during the last 20 minutes on the cooker (I start at about 165* internal)
  • Sauce again just as they are coming off.
Ribs
  • St. Louis, skinned, of course
  • Dust with a moderate sweet rub on all sides
  • 2 1/2 hours on the cooker bare
  • 1 1/2 hour foiled with butter, brown sugar and honey (yes, that sweet)
  • Glaze just before they are cut and in the box
Pork
  • Untrimmed and injected with apple juice and a little rub, dissolved over heat and cooled
  • Thin plain mustard slather, then a heavy coat of sweet rub on all sides
  • Bag and let marinate 6-8 hours
  • Cook over 2/3 cherry and 1/3 hickory to 195*
  • Double-wrap with HD foil, wrap in two towels, and rest at least one hour
  • Pull to thumb-sized pieces and dust with a tiny bit of rub
  • Sauce (warmed) the pieces lightly and into the box
Brisket
  • 13-16 lb packer, trimmed, prepped, and cooked as you see on my blog
As for garnish, I use putting greens for everything.

I hope this helps,
John
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Unread 07-06-2009, 09:25 PM   #9
Greg60525
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PatioDaddio,

Thanks for the tips or did you just spill your secrets! When I saw the 13-16 lb packer I was immediately thinking, how long is that cook going to be! Until I saw your blog.........wow only 6 hours!

Do you get that competition pull test tenderness?

Thanks,
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Unread 07-06-2009, 11:46 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Greg60525 View Post
Thanks for the tips or did you just spill your secrets! When I saw the 13-16 lb packer I was immediately thinking, how long is that cook going to be! Until I saw your blog.........wow only 6 hours!

Do you get that competition pull test tenderness?
I'm not really a secret-keeping kinda guy, but what I listed doesn't really contain any "secrets". I've even posted the base of my competition mild (sweet) rub.

It may sound kinda corny, but I've learned a lot online, so I try to give back a little where I can. In fact, that is part of what my blog is about.

As for the brisket, yes, I get competition quality. Hot and fast cooking isn't anything new. Myron Mixon does it all the time. He calls it "power cookin". You can hear Myron describe his incredibly fast competition timeline here (start at 26:15 -- the topic at hand starts at 29:45).

Glad to help,
John
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Unread 07-07-2009, 12:57 AM   #11
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I heard somewhere that if you put a fresh twenty dollar bill under
each piece of meat, that surely will get the Judges attention
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Unread 07-07-2009, 10:48 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nitrofly View Post
I heard somewhere that if you put a fresh twenty dollar bill under
each piece of meat, that surely will get the Judges attention
Unless the parsley is stuck to it then they ignore the cash.
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Unread 07-07-2009, 11:24 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nitrofly View Post
I heard somewhere that if you put a fresh twenty dollar bill under
each piece of meat, that surely will get the Judges attention

I was cheap...........I used Monopoly money, but I did add a bunch of hotels!
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Unread 07-07-2009, 01:13 PM   #14
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Unread 07-07-2009, 02:07 PM   #15
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