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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 07-06-2011, 09:25 PM   #1
KC_Bobby
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Default Let's talk pork ... wondering if the taste profile has changed?

Throughout 2008-10 pork was a very consistent category for us, it earned calls regularly. When it didn't get a call it was generally right outside the top scores and never killed us overall.

This year, the pork has taken a nosedive. For the life of me, I can't think of anything we're doing differently in purchase, prep, cook or box.

Wondering if others have had similar experiences with pork this year?
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Unread 07-06-2011, 10:19 PM   #2
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Same thing happened to my brisket this year. I'm thinking the judges want pot roast not brisket. No idea on pork, except maybe use Yardbird and Smoke on Wheels......seems to work for them.
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Unread 07-06-2011, 11:13 PM   #3
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Bob great topic hope people chime in! The best we have done in pork is 2nd out of 192 at Lenexa last year, looking at the pics recently it looked good. Comp BBQ I think is becoming a coin toss weekend and week out!
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Unread 07-07-2011, 07:12 AM   #4
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2 - 2nd
1 - 3rd
1 - 4th
1 - 6th

In our last 5 events in pork....before our most recent changes...our 5 previous contests in pork were as follows:

9th
10th
6th
28th
29th

Changes: We got really salty on our rub and painted our pieces with super sweet sauce, both are our own recipe. I can't give any more specific information or I'll have to answer to Top Men. It literally has gone from easily our worst category to arguably our best.
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Unread 07-07-2011, 07:25 AM   #5
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i've only done 2 KCBS contests so i'm not much of a resource on the topic, but, i'll offer that i made 1 simple change from the first to the next and went from 22nd to 5th in pork.

for 5th, i too painted each piece with a pretty sticky sweet red sauce.
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Unread 07-07-2011, 07:29 AM   #6
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Taste "profile" is always a moving target. You have to keep up with what the competition and even the regional market is doing.

Hey, if it was easy everyone would score 180.
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Unread 07-07-2011, 08:12 AM   #7
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A-1 steak sauce , it's not just for brisket any more
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Unread 07-07-2011, 09:18 AM   #8
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I think it has changed for sure. I've been doing the same pork for six years and have had great results including 5th place pork TOY, Butt to Butt 11 Champion, Butt to Butt 12 Reserve Champion, Great American 1st Place, American Royal 1st Place, and several contest 1st place finishes. In 2008-2009 a pork call wasn't even a question. I could always count on a call and most of the time a high call. It was money. Now, I'm mostly miss and sometimes a low hit. Made a few major changes this last weekend and hit 2nd place with a 172+.

Still using my tried and true injection, though. Ancient Chinese secret... unless you've taken one of my classes!

Good luck finding your new path. Darren of Iowa's Smokey D's and I have been talking "lost pork" this last month. Like me, he's cooked the same pork for years with strong results. When your go to recipe isn't hitting, you feel like a rookie cook again and don't know where to go next. It is like ground zero.
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Unread 07-07-2011, 09:22 AM   #9
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Our neighbor at Whiting made the same comment.
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Unread 07-07-2011, 09:43 AM   #10
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So is it trending more to a Sauce entry? VS Texture and Bark
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Unread 07-07-2011, 10:22 AM   #11
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This is a puzzle since the judging criteria have not changed.

Be interesting to know if you ran into some of the same judges contest to contest.
KCBS judges tracking still not in place and running.

I would be surprised if there was an easy obvious answer here. Probably a mix of reasons plus luck ( unluck) of the draw about what table you were judged at.

Would be good to know what the actual scores were to see where you were losing points.
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Unread 07-07-2011, 10:29 AM   #12
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Is it possible that with the popularity in competition bbq growing that the *average* team is significantly better than you'd see a few years ago? If so, then it is going to be more of a "which table you land on" type of thing. That's a question for judges; the ones who've judged the same competitions over the last 8+- years. What's changed?
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Unread 07-07-2011, 10:45 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lake Dogs View Post
Is it possible that with the popularity in competition bbq growing that the *average* team is significantly better than you'd see a few years ago? If so, then it is going to be more of a "which table you land on" type of thing. That's a question for judges; the ones who've judged the same competitions over the last 8+- years. What's changed?
I think that's part of it, and the stats make that pretty clear. There are two teams that are pretty dialed in. One racking up quite a few RGCs.

I think that classes and the internet are playing a role. The learning curve is a lot shorter, and product becomes similar. It's also pretty easy to sit down at the keyboard, place the order and get the same ingredients that just about everybody else is ordering.

That draws the field closer together. The teams that figure out a way to set themselves apart, and appeal to the judges in a positive way are ahead of the curve.
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Unread 07-07-2011, 12:48 PM   #14
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Maybe judges are getting tired of the same rubs,sauces,etc with many entries....need some way to differentiate your entry in a good way?
As for me, pork has taken over chicken as my worst category
I have been receiving okay taste scores and terrible tenderness even when I have cooked to different temps in different contests.
Going back to the KISS method with a really good sauce
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Unread 07-07-2011, 01:37 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lake Dogs View Post
Is it possible that with the popularity in competition bbq growing that the *average* team is significantly better than you'd see a few years ago? If so, then it is going to be more of a "which table you land on" type of thing. That's a question for judges; the ones who've judged the same competitions over the last 8+- years. What's changed?
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jorge View Post
I think that's part of it, and the stats make that pretty clear. There are two teams that are pretty dialed in. One racking up quite a few RGCs.

I think that classes and the internet are playing a role. The learning curve is a lot shorter, and product becomes similar. It's also pretty easy to sit down at the keyboard, place the order and get the same ingredients that just about everybody else is ordering.

That draws the field closer together. The teams that figure out a way to set themselves apart, and appeal to the judges in a positive way are ahead of the curve.
If true that teams are just getting better, then it would mean that the overall scores are getting that much higher. That isn't the case. It isn't just about placement in the field of teams, it is about the number of 8's and 9's you are getting. Since judges don't, theoretically, compare teams, then what I'm saying about scores being overall higher would be true. I'm just not seeing that. I'm seeing scores staying the same, but teams with different recipes moving around in the field. That tells me that there's a shift in what's winning. Could be presentation style changes that are affecting that as much as taste.
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