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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 04-13-2011, 07:56 PM   #1
big blue bbq
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Default Un-sauces ribs

Has anyone tried turning in ribs without the sauce. I believe mine are better without sauce at the moment. I still get shine during the cooking process so don't think appearance would suffer. Talked to a judge who said they have seen a few time, and give 7 on appearance because they don't look as good to him. Are we stuck saucing due to pre-determined biases by the judges or am I missing the boat?
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Unread 04-13-2011, 08:06 PM   #2
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That would be a KCBS judge, yes?

MBN it's normal, and there aren't extra points for "shine". However, I'd never turn in a Memphis style rib in KCBS.
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Unread 04-13-2011, 10:09 PM   #3
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too scared
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Unread 04-14-2011, 01:15 AM   #4
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I judged a contest where one box of ribs turned in was with out sauce, at 1st I was taken back but then I remembered this is a meat contest, I'm thinking I scored a 7-8 to long ago to recall. But after seeing everthing sauced over and over and over it kind of catches you off guard seeing a plain rib box, it also had no garnish another catch you off guard moment, but as I said a meat contest, so I didnt score down.
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Unread 04-14-2011, 04:38 AM   #5
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Personally, I'd also be too scared to turn in unsauced ribs in a KCBS comp.

Then again, some of the best ribs I have ever tasted were made by Chris Marks using his own Memphis Style rub with no sauce. Not a plug, just an observation.
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Unread 04-14-2011, 08:08 AM   #6
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I'd sauce the ribs in KCBS if you wanna score well!!! I know they say that it's a "meat" contest, but they call it "BBQ sauce" for a reason!!! But then again, this is only my opinion..not like it counts for much!! lol But I am a KCBS CBJ (since 2007)!!!
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Unread 04-14-2011, 08:16 AM   #7
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If your appearance is as good as you say it is, I'd go for it. I've encountered several unsauced rib entries in the past and could care less about the presence of sauce (there is no KCBS requirement that it be used). Too often, "shiny" sauce is used only for appearance and not taste. Too bad. Once again one must remember that the sauce is only a part of the overall experience and that the appearance judging gets the lowest weighting. Post us a picture and let us see if you still have doubts.
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Unread 04-14-2011, 10:41 AM   #8
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We tried unsauced ribs at our first comp last year. My partner was convinced that he got enough shine from the contents of the foiling process. The ribs tanked. With no other changes in the process, our ribs with sauce have done very well for us. Not as consistent as our brisket, but they did place third in our second comp last year. We'll never go without sauce again.
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Unread 04-14-2011, 10:48 AM   #9
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You can always give it a quick with Butter or Parkay at the end just before turn in to give a shine
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Unread 04-14-2011, 06:48 PM   #10
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As a (KCBS) judge I'm going to grade you on what's in the box, not what isn't. If a judge scores you down because there's no sauce then that judge is WRONG, the bad news is that his scores still will count against you. The very best ribs that I ever had were Memphis style, rub only, no sauce. At home I serve sauce on the side, never on the meat itself.
If your ribs hit my table I can't say what others might do, but I'll judge them on their own merit.
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Unread 04-14-2011, 08:25 PM   #11
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I think what Dave and Ron said above pretty much sums it up. I dont know about your
luck, but mind would be that I'd get 2 Daves and 4 Rons on my table and there goes
a great Memphis rib, middle of the pack, at best.

You have to ask yourself; Do you feel lucky?

While whose table you land on is all part of it, I'd rather have barbecue that's not
out of the range of expectations of the judges. KCBS judges, by and large, expect
sauce on ribs. Some are ok without, but the odds of getting 5 or 6 judges like
Dave at your table are remote.
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Unread 04-14-2011, 10:19 PM   #12
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I will take pics Saturday when they get done so you can let me know. I know it will be too late for turn-ins, but I still value the opinions. I am going to do 4 with and 2 without and see how they look and see how brave I feel at about 12:15.
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Unread 04-15-2011, 12:11 AM   #13
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In spite of all the talk the question is do ribs look better with sauce or without. It was not about taste, but what looks better. From the many ribs I have seen, most look better with light sauce than they do without sauce. But then I'm the biased judge.
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Unread 04-15-2011, 08:23 AM   #14
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I do understand your point/concern..and would say you have a valid point...but as competitors we have to accept the fact that this isn't a perfect world, and the goal is to WIN the contest, regardless of our preferences or thoughts to what we would "like" to turn in..The reality is that judges are gonna score, how they want to and it's up to us as competitors to appease them if we want to WIN!!!! (plain and simple) sometimes we have to adjust on the fly and go with what WINS consistently....Trust me, I've learned that the hard way from my 1st two comps that I've cooked so far!!!
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Unread 04-18-2011, 06:03 PM   #15
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Ok, I went ahead and turned in the ribs with sauce. The process I used with all the ribs would have them on the smoker for 30 minutes after foil so the shine was lost on the unsauced. I would need to do some adjusting to get them done at the right time for this not to happen. Here is the sauced ribs before cutting. 2nd pic is unsauced and third pic is turn in box. Scores for appearance were9,8,9,9,7,9. Any comments almost welcome. I know I am asking for pain!
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