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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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Old 06-11-2018, 06:59 PM   #16
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You also had some special food at that contest in Mankato. That field was stacked. If you couldn’t find a couple of nines there I doubt you ever will.
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Old 06-11-2018, 08:16 PM   #17
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Creativity isn’t a scoring category in KCBS. This ain’t Chopped.
Is being bbq a scoring category? traditional comp, chicken has strayed far from many of our (the public not judges) definitions of what bbq is. Doesn't mean it isn't good and I'd like to try it done by someone who does it well. Phil's old school chicken sounds more up my alley.

I'm not trying to knock it, it's a serious question. Does kcbs, or other organizations have a scoring criteria for being bbq or is it just a matter of heat source?


I try and take away the positives from every style; comp, back yard, and restuarant. I've learned to roll up my thighs into pillows with a light trim and scrape to the skin. I grill direct raised over fire but the prep is kinda comp light.
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Old 06-11-2018, 11:10 PM   #18
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Old 06-11-2018, 11:10 PM   #19
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Originally Posted by smoke ninja View Post
Is being bbq a scoring category? traditional comp, chicken has strayed far from many of our (the public not judges) definitions of what bbq is. Doesn't mean it isn't good and I'd like to try it done by someone who does it well. Phil's old school chicken sounds more up my alley.

I'm not trying to knock it, it's a serious question. Does kcbs, or other organizations have a scoring criteria for being bbq or is it just a matter of heat source?


I try and take away the positives from every style; comp, back yard, and restuarant. I've learned to roll up my thighs into pillows with a light trim and scrape to the skin. I grill direct raised over fire but the prep is kinda comp light.
The judges are all that matter. If they truly want something else, they’ll 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 mind’s blown by properly prepared competition chicken. It’s that far above what they normally get as “BBQ chicken”.

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 can’t 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 he’s ever had. That’s 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, I’ve 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 I’d 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 I’ve 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.
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Old 06-12-2018, 04:42 AM   #20
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The judges are all that matter. If they truly want something else, they’ll 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 mind’s blown by properly prepared competition chicken. It’s that far above what they normally get as “BBQ chicken”.

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 can’t 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 he’s ever had. That’s 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, I’ve 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 I’d 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 I’ve 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.
What are the details of this Blues Hog mix you speak of?
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Old 06-12-2018, 07:30 AM   #21
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In my two contests I walked in my first (7th) and a (12th) in the other with rubbed, no sauce, soaked wood chip direct grilled wings.
Tips off and web cut to ease separation. All right or left hand chicken arms.
Flipped until golden brown and crisp.
Why chicken wings? I judged for 6 years before I decided to cook for my Master CBJ, in those six years I and others would hope to see some wings.
Easy peasey.
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Old 06-12-2018, 08:19 AM   #22
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Originally Posted by gettinbasted View Post
From my experience at around 200 competitions cooked and in my restaurants is that people (op aside), almost without exception, have their mind’s blown by properly prepared competition chicken. It’s that far above what they normally get as “BBQ chicken”.
As I judge I love the chicken category...I won't say it's my favorite, but it's definitely above pork. As a cook I enjoy eating competition style thighs when doing practice cooks, but I also enjoy eating chicken other ways too. I'm from KC so a little sauce doesn't bother me one bit
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Old 06-12-2018, 10:39 AM   #23
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I blame Travis Clark. I think he single handedly ruined competition chicken by teaching the entire known universe how to cook it.
A fair assignment of blame! Haha.

That Mankato comp also has an odd history of scoring. It's not uncommon for the greatest of teams to make top 5 one of the days and middle pack the other. Seems like scores are usually higher on day 2 also. Plus, with the new judge seating system it's pretty evident that scores will continue to be razor thin. Which table you land on (and who else is on it) will certainly have a big impact on whether your score falls within that 3 point range of 1st-10th. We can't afford to give up a single point - which is why I have to spend so much damn time making sure every piece of chicken is the exact same shape and size and placed in the pan oh-so-perfectly so as not to take on an odd shape during the cook. There's your homogenized bbq.
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Old 06-12-2018, 09:54 PM   #24
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Two Fat Pollacks on Long Island perfected making BBQ chicken that looked and tasted like deep fried chicken. They stopped doing it partly because the reps got called over to the table a lot to determine if it was legal, but mainly because it scored very high or very low. Judges loved it or hated it.

Creative entries might find some fans, but you are going to get punished by some judges, and it only takes 2 for you to have a bad day.
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Old 06-13-2018, 08:19 AM   #25
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The judges are all that matter. If they truly want something else, they’ll 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 mind’s blown by properly prepared competition chicken. It’s that far above what they normally get as “BBQ chicken”.

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 can’t 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 he’s ever had. That’s 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, I’ve 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 I’d 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 I’ve 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!"
This

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.
ArnieTex

OP no disrespect just saying that we cook to get those middle of the road scores that total out high enough to hopefully win.
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Old 06-13-2018, 08:40 AM   #26
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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!"
This

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.
ArnieTex

OP no disrespect just saying that we cook to get those middle of the road scores that total out high enough to hopefully win.
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Well said Arnie, as comp cooks we want to wow everyone's taste buds including our own, but sometimes we get in trouble trying to do that. Judges don't share our taste buds and expectations of what good BBQ is. It's like trying to stand out in a black tie affair.. be careful lol
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Old 06-13-2018, 09:02 AM   #27
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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!
So, after judging 3 contests you're one of those that brings your own personal likes and dislikes to the judging table? You're the kind of judge that makes a team cringe. Before you get too set in your judging mistakes, you should retake the judging class, AND LISTEN THIS TIME! OR QUIT JUDGING!
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Old 06-13-2018, 09:23 AM   #28
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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!
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So, after judging 3 contests you're one of those that brings your own personal likes and dislikes to the judging table? You're the kind of judge that makes a team cringe. Before you get too set in your judging mistakes, you should retake the judging class, AND LISTEN THIS TIME! OR QUIT JUDGING!
I have no idea how you got that out of the quoted post

But, stop the personal attacks! Feel free to discuss this civilly, but this type of attack is not going to be tolerated.
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Old 06-13-2018, 09:27 AM   #29
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I have no idea how you got that out of the quoted post

But, stop the personal attacks! Feel free to discuss this civilly, but this type of attack is not going to be tolerated.
Yeah, I don't know where he got that BaBE had only judged 3 times. Hell, he's cooked more than a lot of guys, though I don't know how many times if at all he's judged.

That said, I thought this was going to get good. Thanks for the buzzkill :)
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Old 06-13-2018, 10:10 AM   #30
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.......Our goal is to make the best BBQ that 6 different people with different life experiences and different palates can agree on. .....

^^This^^

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