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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 04-19-2011, 08:44 PM   #1
Mister Bob
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Default Brisket and Chicken Boxes - Opinions Please

This first box took 2nd place at an approximately 80 team competition last year. the brisket was a Wagyu from Snake River Farms and the rub was my own, Mister Bob's Blue Ribbon Spice Rub. It was injected with 10oz of Butcher's Injection, mixed with water, per the instructions. I used Royal Oak lump charcoal with 3 chunks of cherry added with each chimney while the brisket was in the cooker. I cooked at 275 degrees. The brisket was wrapped at 165 IT and taken to 202 degrees then rested for about 3 hours in the Cambro. The sauce was a beefy brown sauce (secret recipe), mixed with 1/4 cup of the cooking liquid from the brisket. These were the scores:

Appearance: 9,9,8,9,8,9
Taste: 9,9,8,8,9,9
Tenderness: 9,9,9,9,8,9

Here's what it looked like:
.


This next box was turned in recently at a competition with a few more than 100 competitors. I will withhold the name of the competition because I don't want to give any negative feedback on what I consider to be a great event run by really great people. I just would appreciate some comments on the turn-in and discuss the inconsistency of the judging at many contests lately.

This brisket was also a Wagyu from Snake River Farms, approximately the same size as the first. Once again the rub was the same, my own Mister Bob's Blue Ribbon Spice Rub. I injected with the same amount of Butcher's injection, used the same Royal Oak charcoal and cherry chunks. Again I cooked at 275. I wrapped again at 165 and pulled it at 202. The sauce was the identical recipe from the first. The only difference was the burnt ends. These I took from the point, soaked in the sauce and put back in the cooker for about an hour. Last year I just made some cubes from the flat and put them in the box.

Here's a picture of the box (please ignore the shadow):
.


I tasted it and did the pull test. It was in my opinion as good or better in every way than the first one. I'm also a CBJ, and I like to think I know what I'm talking about.

The brisket came in 76th overall, these were the scores:

Appearance: 9,8,7,7,9,9
Taste: 8,6,6,7,6,8
Tenderness: 8,6,6,8,7,7



This first chicken box is from the same 80 team event last year. They were Bell and Evans air chilled thighs, meticulously trimmed as you can see. I used the 'butter bath' method and the sauce was a mixture of one part each of Blues Hog Original, Blues Hog Tennessee Red and my own sauce. No marination. The chicken was cooked at 275 one hour uncovered and one hour covered. Sauced and put back in for fifteen minutes to set the sauce.

This was the box:
.


It came in 4th overall. These were the scores:

Appearance: 9,9,8,8,9,8
Taste: 9,8,9,9,9,8
Tenderness: 8,8,9,8,8,9

So this year, the chicken was once again Bell and Evans. The method was identical, same temperature, same time, same brand margarine (I Can't Believe It's Not Butter) and the sauce was exactly the same mix. I cooked once again at 275, an hour uncovered and an hour covered. Set the sauce for 15 minutes at the end. I believe I did the same careful job of trimming and arranging, you tell me.

Here's a picture of the box:
.


This chicken came in 63rd place. These were the scores:

Appearance: 9,9,8,8,9,9
Taste: 8,8,8,6,8,6
Tenderness: 5,7,9,6,8,8

Taste scores from 8 down to 6 can happen, but tenderness from 9 to 5?

I'm not a sore loser, I'll take the scores and move on. I'm just a little disappointed and felt the need to vent my frustration, and I'd like to hear some comments.
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Unread 04-19-2011, 08:52 PM   #2
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Mr Bob, you have to remember we are dealing with people and anytime people get involved you are not going to find any real consistancy. I've found that out in our contests hear in SC. While I don't do alot of KCBS contests I feel the same frustration you do at times. Will it get any better....I doubt it. But I enjoy cooking and I understand there will be contests where I will do well and those I won't. It is what it is. Good luck in the future and I hope this won't deter you from future comps.

BTW those are some great looking boxes you put together!!!
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Unread 04-19-2011, 09:02 PM   #3
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OK, the five to nine on this year's chicken is BS. Wow. Obviously I can't grade anything but appearance, but my wife and I both agreed that both brisket boxes were solid nines and the chicken boxes would go eight or nine. But we're fledgling judges.
Weird.
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Unread 04-19-2011, 09:18 PM   #4
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Again, this is a VERY good reason for mandatory comment cards for anything under a 6. If a judge is of the opinion that an entry is below average, they'd better be able to articulate in one or two words WHY they think it's below average. I'd also wish for the TC/rep interviewing the judge to find out why they have a 4-point swing away from the table. Then again, with a median of 7.16, maybe the 9 was equally wrong?


On that beautiful, beautiful brisket above, let me relate a story. Shortly after Smokin' Triggers got a 180 in brisket last year, we were at another contest with them. While chatting with Miss Trish, I congratulated them on the achievement, but then said "Let me ask you -- do you know, without a doubt, that that 180 brisket was the best you ever cooked?" Miss Trish immediately replied "Oh hell no!"

And that's the way it happens sometimes. Sometimes, you can turn in what you *know* is the best product of your cooking career, and for whatever reason, the judges don't reward it. Other times, we look at each other and say "We're going to need some serious luck in that tent," and yet come away with a high placement. All you can do is keep cooking consistently and go to the next contest, because it shakes out over time.
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Unread 04-19-2011, 09:29 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Arlin_MacRae View Post
OK, the five to nine on this year's chicken is BS. Wow. Obviously I can't grade anything but appearance, but my wife and I both agreed that both brisket boxes were solid nines and the chicken boxes would go eight or nine. But we're fledgling judges.
Weird.
Well, we really don't know that the 5 too 9 swing is BS since it was in the tenderness scores. It is entirely possible for one judge to have a thigh that is tender and juicy and has perfect skin while another judge's thigh may have been dry and had rubbery skin. While I doubt it, it is possible. Just as it is possible for one piece to have too much seasoning or too little seasoning and not score the same as the rest on taste. Unfortunately, we really have no way to know this because we didn't taste or bite into all of those pieces. We also have no idea why the judges scored as they did without comment cards.

What drives me crazy, however, is that kind of score swing in presentation. I can see a point or two swing, but too many times we've received swings like that on presentation. As an example, at one competition we received the following presentation scores: 999955. How can 6 people look at the exact same box and 4 of them thinks it looks excellent and two of them think it looks below average? That is where i really want a detailed comment card telling me why the box was a 5.
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Unread 04-19-2011, 09:50 PM   #6
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I missed part of my point, Ron, sorry. Unless there were seven judges at the table (and I guess there could have been - but with 100+ teams, I doubt it) why was the five counted at all??
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Unread 04-19-2011, 10:40 PM   #7
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Default Ouch......

This is coming from a human being acting as a judge.

Briz is a 9 (no matter what I've seen that day)
Chicken is a 9 unless I've seen some awesome boxes prior to yours, in which case I would mark it an 8.

Again...I know this isn't how judges are told to score, but we know that as humans we are flawed and have our own "unwritten rules".

You got a raw deal, brother!
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Unread 04-20-2011, 12:20 AM   #8
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I was at the contest Trigg got the 180. Just after turn ins he told me his brisket was burnt! You just never know!
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Unread 04-20-2011, 06:24 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Arlin_MacRae View Post
I missed part of my point, Ron, sorry. Unless there were seven judges at the table (and I guess there could have been - but with 100+ teams, I doubt it) why was the five counted at all??
Unless I'm mistaking, the 5 was counted because that judge scored it a 9,8,5 which would be higher than the 8,6,6 from judge 4.

It's just a guess, but the second brisket is glistening much more than the first which MIGHT have been due to more fat? Just a guess, but if it was, it may have started to harden prior to being scored. If that's not the case, I have no idea.. I'd turn in the second brisket entry over the first entry every time assuming everything else to be equal.

As far as the chicken, I do like the appearance of the first entry better than the second because of the color. That doesn't explain the difference in tenderness scores.
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Unread 04-20-2011, 06:48 AM   #10
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Last year we cooked in Mississippi and cooked a brisket that was so mushy I was mad at myself for letting this happen. It was so soft and mushy I couldn't keep the slices together. We were set up right beside Mr. Trigg and he tried it and said that was crap ( nice to hear that when your already upset, but the truth). We ended up getting 2nd. Trigg and I laughed about it for 5 minutes after the awards.
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Unread 04-20-2011, 07:23 AM   #11
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please please please can we some how get the KCBS to have their judges fill out comment cards....i believe it would offer a ton of help if not at least narrow your focus of anger
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Unread 04-20-2011, 07:35 AM   #12
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At the judging class I attended, we were instructed to fill out comment cards only if we could give constructive criticism that would help the cook in the future.

Quote:
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please please please can we some how get the KCBS to have their judges fill out comment cards....i believe it would offer a ton of help if not at least narrow your focus of anger
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Unread 04-20-2011, 08:03 AM   #13
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I feel your pain..Last 2 contests in the St louis area our chicken was 175 and first place, next contest 155 26th and it was exactly the same chicken.Both times the best I ever turned in.
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Unread 04-20-2011, 08:22 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by goodbuddiesbbq View Post

Chicken is a 9 unless I've seen some awesome boxes prior to yours, in which case I would mark it an 8.
No offense intended to Mr. Goodbuddiesbbq....but I think we found the problem^^^^

When someone invents a computer that smells, tastes and see's we'll have some consistant results. Until then it is what it is.
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Unread 04-20-2011, 08:28 AM   #15
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Ahh yea.. that's a problem.. You are not judging against the other entries. All entries are to be judged against the standard.. not each other.
A 9 is a 9 regardless of what the previous entries looked like.
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