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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 09-04-2011, 07:03 AM   #1
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Default I was an idiot this weekend....!

This has been a year of recipe adjustment, some minor, some major. Pork and Brisket are safe from changes for the rest of the year, Ribs have earned at least 2 more contests with no adjustments but chicken is driving me nuts!

I changed chicken after my first outing (almost DAL) this year and got 2nd. That process (a very simple one) was good for a call for 7 or 8 outings. For no apparent reason and with 0 changes, it has fallen flat. SO, I decided to try something kinda radical this weekend. WRONG answer. Back to hot and fast thighs, but contemplating a rub change...
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Unread 09-04-2011, 08:00 AM   #2
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I don't know what you are doing or how you are doing it, but I've got to tell you that it has been several contests since I've had any killer chicken to judge! Seems that chicken is getting more difficult to get "excellent" lately. The thighs I judged yesterday in Myrtle Beach - 3 out of 6 had great bite-through and were tender, but the flavor profiles were not good. Either too much chili powder taste or too fruity. It can be frustrating to us judges too when nothing stands out as "excellent".

GOOD LUCK!!!
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Unread 09-04-2011, 08:04 AM   #3
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I don't change anything because of one contest. Especially if it has been doing well. Not sure about the region you cook in but I have noticed depending on the area the judges prefer different tastes and tenderness on certain meats. In the future I will adjust for those areas.
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Unread 09-04-2011, 08:12 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sitnfat View Post
Not sure about the region you cook in but I have noticed depending on the area the judges prefer different tastes and tenderness on certain meats. In the future I will adjust for those areas.
Just curious, can you be a bit more specific on the areas that judges look for different tastes and tenderness? I'm in the southeast (VA/NC/SC/TN) and know what I look for (and basically the other judges at table with me), but what other areas are looking for something different and how?
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Unread 09-04-2011, 08:21 AM   #5
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To clarify my process a bit. I don't poach in butter as I think it washes out flavor. I cook thighs in about 30 minutes. My skin is generally perfect bite through. I use a very common rub + a hint of heat, and a sauce that contains at least 50% Blues Hot (no fruity additions). My chicken has placed something along the lines of the following this year;
60, 4, 2, 5, 4, 9, 8, 13, 28, 14, 30.
I changed to my current method after the 60. The 13, 28 and 14 is what bothers me. This last 30 was my own fark-up.
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Unread 09-04-2011, 08:22 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bbq.tom View Post
Just curious, can you be a bit more specific on the areas that judges look for different tastes and tenderness? I'm in the southeast (VA/NC/SC/TN) and know what I look for (and basically the other judges at table with me), but what other areas are looking for something different and how?
Appearance is great. Taste / Tenderness is where i've slipped.
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Unread 09-04-2011, 08:29 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jbrink01 View Post
My chicken has placed something along the lines of the following this year;
60, 4, 2, 5, 4, 9, 8, 13, 28, 14, 30.
I changed to my current method after the 60. The 13, 28 and 14 is what bothers me. This last 30 was my own fark-up.
Were all of these contests in the same general area, or have you traveled around where you got inconsistent scores? How about the competition level in the different comps? Were "big-guns" at some and not others? Were all of these judged with experienced CBJ judges or did some use "locals"? Just trying to help figure out the variations in your scores. If the product stays the same, then there has to be another variable in there to throw the scores off.
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Unread 09-04-2011, 08:43 AM   #8
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Geographically It's a mix of Missouri, Illinois and Oklahoma. Judges have been at or near 100% CBJ. The heavy hitters have been at nearly all of these.
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Unread 09-04-2011, 08:49 AM   #9
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I hear ya, Jeff... We went through a similar thing. I made a change late last summer and we started getting calls So, I started out this season with the same recipe. Nothing. I made another change and we started getting calls again including our first ever first place chicken call. Then, for the last three or four comps, no calls again. Yeah, chicken can vary from week to week, but not that much. I'm going to try a couple of things tomorrow to see what I want to try for the rest of this season.

I'll trade coffee for a proven chicken method!
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Unread 09-04-2011, 08:51 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jbrink01 View Post
Geographically It's a mix of Missouri, Illinois and Oklahoma. Judges have been at or near 100% CBJ. The heavy hitters have been at nearly all of these.
Okay then - so much for my ideas. Maybe go back to what you were doing when you walked for flavor, and concentrate on the tenderness aspect.

Just a thought.
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Unread 09-04-2011, 08:55 AM   #11
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it would seem there are very few proven chicken methods.

it appears to have the widest swing from hitting or not.

i feel like it is the most "depends on the table you get" category even if it is good.

the other categories seem to me to be to be more; if they're good products, the scores will reflect it.
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Unread 09-04-2011, 09:06 AM   #12
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Well, much like Ron L., I've got a couple ideas and 10 days to get my act together. Using my early year run as a baseline, I'll start tweaking a bit and see what happens.
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Unread 09-04-2011, 09:33 AM   #13
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Just a question did you change your brand/supplier of chicken or type such as free range?
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Unread 09-04-2011, 09:36 AM   #14
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Quote:
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Just a question did you change your brand/supplier of chicken or type such as free range?
I have not.
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Unread 09-04-2011, 11:02 AM   #15
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Could it be the Blues Hog? I was using a sauce cut with Blues Hog and was hitting bottom third in chicken. I changed to a more "traditional" sauce and took sixth last comp. I've heard a few judges say that they're getting "tired of Blues Hog on chicken turn-ins" and since it has a distinctive taste it's easy to mark down. Just a thought....
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