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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 08-08-2011, 08:10 PM   #1
bearnakedbbq
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Default Cooking for the judges.


Myron Mixon mentioned in a class I took back in November that who cares what you like, you cook for the judges.

This being the case, I am about to enter my first two lower 48 competitions and havenít a clue what profiles these judges are looking for.

I am planning on doing the Yakima, Washington event and the American Royal.

Should I be worrying about what the judges are expecting?

Anyone want to give me a few pointers on how I should cook for these two events? Still debating between Legs and Thighs? Does the Pacific Northwest like spicy? How about Kansas City?

I will be doing my Briskets and butt like I normally do, but I am worried about the chicken and ribs where you sauce.

Thanks

Troy
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Unread 08-08-2011, 09:24 PM   #2
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Thighs. Sweet. Really, really sweet in Missouri.
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Unread 08-08-2011, 10:04 PM   #3
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Yakima will have a good mix of judges that are both PNWBA and KCBS CBJ's.

I've tasted Smoke on Wheels and Butcher BBQ comp meats in classes and they were sweeter than I expected. Both VERY good, some of the best comp meats I've tasted and thats as close to KCBS style Q as I've gotten. I don't care for sweet, but I play the game.

Do the judges in Alaska like spicy?
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Unread 08-08-2011, 10:27 PM   #4
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Personally I like a bit of spice , but what I think has a little tingle might set two other judges mouths on fire.
I don't judge as to what I like, I judge on how well you achieved the standard that you were trying for. Is this a good example of a Wasabi / plum thigh? Is this a good example of a sickenly sweet, cavity inducing, diabetic coma style rib?
Really, it's all about how well the spices in the rubs / brines / injections meld with the meat, smoke and sauce, if used. Does the rub comliment the meat and the sauce? A prime CAB brisky injected with Kosmo's and rubbed with Bovine Bold is going to be totaly screwed up if you smoke it with pine wood and use apple jelly as a finishing sauce.
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Unread 08-08-2011, 11:29 PM   #5
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It's all about the regional flavor profile. Different comps = different judges = slight differences in the flavor profile. Yes, you should worry about what the judges expect and appreciate w/ re. to flavor. IMHO... PNWBA judges like middle of the road, a little spice but not too spicy, not too sweet, well cooked meat. Not too salty, definitely a focus on the meat and quite a few judges won't hesitate to chew you out on your comment cards for using parsley in your turn in box.

That's about all I'm gonna give you because I'll be cooking the Skewered Apple in Yakima this year as well Swing by, I'll buy you a beer and we can talk NW flavor profiles
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Unread 08-09-2011, 06:22 AM   #6
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^^^ bingo, with a caveat. Sure as dickens you can get judges at your table from wildly different backgrounds and regions, at any competition anywhere. You could be in the heart of a heat/spice region and end up with 3 or 4 judges who prefer a little more sweet and not so much heat. Or a judge who really likes the salt sit next to someone who cant stand even the slightest bit of salt.

Me, I wouldnt adjust for different regions. If your barbecue strikes a balance from sweet to spice to salty to smoky you'll do well. As said above, not too much of anything. Please understand, what one person calls "sickening candy sweet" another will call "a nice mildly sweet flavor". The ***** of it is: it's subjective. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, and in this case you have 6 beholders at the table that your barbecue lands on.

For example, and to Myron's point: I LOVE spice and really strong flavors. This type of rib or barbecue would get me demolished in a competition. I can't and dont cook for me. I have a team partner that hates spice but likes a little sweet with his salt. Me, I really despise salt. So when he and I find a barbecue that we both really like we know we're on to something; a balance. Cook "to the center". Try not to offend any judge.
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Unread 08-09-2011, 08:36 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Brewer View Post
and quite a few judges won't hesitate to chew you out on your comment cards for using parsley in your turn in box.
Please explain.
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Unread 08-09-2011, 08:49 AM   #8
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Not a big deal to some maybe but I think he is referring to the fact if using small leaf items such as cilantro, when you go to pick up the meat to place on your score card, a lot of that greenery comes along with it. It can also give off it;s flavor onto the meat you are judging. So you have to then pick it all off the meat before tasting.

Its just an added step as judge you have to remove these items before tasting. Not an earth shattering event to be sure.
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Unread 08-09-2011, 10:05 AM   #9
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Middle of the road for PNWBA...sweeter and smokier for the Royal...see ya in Yakima!
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Unread 08-09-2011, 10:31 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tigerpaw View Post
Not a big deal to some maybe but I think he is referring to the fact if using small leaf items such as cilantro, when you go to pick up the meat to place on your score card, a lot of that greenery comes along with it. It can also give off it;s flavor onto the meat you are judging. So you have to then pick it all off the meat before tasting.
Cilantro is doubly dangerous - to a lot of people (my wife included) it tastes like soap. So if you get unlucky with your judges, you may be in for a world of hurt.. (For her, she can tell if its been in contact with it for any length of time - if I put a piece on a hot steak for pics before removing it and serving, she knows...)
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Unread 08-09-2011, 04:33 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bearnakedbbq View Post
This being the case, I am about to enter my first two lower 48 competitions and haven’t a clue what profiles these judges are looking for.

Should I be worrying about what the judges are expecting?
Welcome to the Club...

Quote:
Originally Posted by Lake Dogs View Post

Me, I wouldnt adjust for different regions. If your barbecue strikes a balance from sweet to spice to salty to smoky you'll do well.
I think this is about as good advice as you are going to receive.

We cooked with Pelletheads.com last year...I dont know how to say this dipomaticly and am not trying to step on toes, but the ribs, chicken and brisket that was turned in was cooked by either myself or my sister and the pork by Phrett from Pelletheads.com. I know I nor my sister did anything different to those 3 meats then when we compete in CA. We finished 3rd overall in the Open, which as much as I would like to say was not a surprise, would be BS. That was against 490 entries. We competed 3 weeks later in CA, cooking the exact same way with the exact same sauces in a contest with 26 teams and finished 19th...

If you do figure it out, I will pay for any advice you can offer!
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Unread 08-10-2011, 09:55 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jbrink01 View Post
Please explain.
Honestly, I can't explain it... Not sure what their beef is (pun intended) - maybe they were beaten with bunches of parsley when they were kids and as a result fear the parsley... ...dunno.

Personally, I like doing parsley boxes much better than rolled lettuce. Takes me less time and I like that flat putting green look.
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Unread 08-10-2011, 02:40 PM   #13
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For the Thighs vs Legs issue.
Myron Mixon gave some suggestions a couple of years ago (2009) to a local team at the Royal Open. Holla-N-Swalla was trying to decide between thighs and legs. Myron's advice was to go with legs. His rationale was that there was a high ratio of uncertified judges who would potentially be at any particular judging table since it's damned hard to round up 488 certified judges. He felt that these less experienced judges would go for chicken "with a handle" over thighs. Holla-N-Swalla went with legs and placed third in chicken, ahead of Myron who turned in thighs.

So... it all depends on...... luck.
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Unread 08-10-2011, 03:51 PM   #14
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Well, since you took Myron's class, that's not a bad flavor profile to start with. It does tend towards the sweet, but that seems to be popular everyplace now. It has long been the sample on the northeast, and it's becoming more common to win with sweet down south too.
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Unread 08-10-2011, 03:58 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bearnakedbbq View Post
Myron Mixon mentioned in a class I took back in November that who cares what you like, you cook for the judges.

This being the case, I am about to enter my first two lower 48 competitions and havenít a clue what profiles these judges are looking for.

I am planning on doing the Yakima, Washington event and the American Royal.

Should I be worrying about what the judges are expecting?

Anyone want to give me a few pointers on how I should cook for these two events? Still debating between Legs and Thighs? Does the Pacific Northwest like spicy? How about Kansas City?

I will be doing my Briskets and butt like I normally do, but I am worried about the chicken and ribs where you sauce.

Thanks

Troy
Why not cook what Myron taught you?
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