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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 12-12-2011, 05:52 PM   #1
Big Mike
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Default Judging Class Question

I'm curious about something. How many folks have gone through a judging class where chicken breasts were presented?
Obviously breasts have a different texture from a piece of dark meat (thighs). So in my mind how you judge something like tenderness would need to be considered differently. So I'm wondering if part of the reason breasts don't seem to fare well for the most part is because the judging classes don't affectively teach differences.
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Unread 12-12-2011, 06:15 PM   #2
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We had both sliced breast meat and chicken thighs at mine. They taught us that even though the window to nail a breast is much smaller than the window for a thigh (or dark meat) that you don't give more points for nailing a breast. Also from talking with all the people at the competitions I've been to and also chatting with some master judges at a competition I judged the hard part to breast meat is there is just less flavor there. So tenderness matters, but it is much harder to get great flavor into a breast. As a cook I definitely agree with this too.
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Unread 12-12-2011, 06:46 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fnbish View Post
We had both sliced breast meat and chicken thighs at mine. They taught us that even though the window to nail a breast is much smaller than the window for a thigh (or dark meat) that you don't give more points for nailing a breast. Also from talking with all the people at the competitions I've been to and also chatting with some master judges at a competition I judged the hard part to breast meat is there is just less flavor there. So tenderness matters, but it is much harder to get great flavor into a breast. As a cook I definitely agree with this too.
I sure don't understand this part. If you nail something, whatever the category, isn't that a reason to give more points? If a person has perfected that small window, wouldn't that mean they are a more skilled cook? Of course there are the three variable, of appearance, taste and texture that count towards overal score. From where I'm sitting it seems they told you that as you judge the six entries in chicken that are at your table not to give extra points for a piece of meat that is cook perfectly.
And then there is the flavor issue. It seems there are preconceived notions that breasts can't be flavorful. Shouldn't each entry be judged with an open mind? Seems like the above comments indicate a certain closed mind attitude.

What if blind judging included a blind fold? The results might be surprising.

Please discuss.

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Unread 12-12-2011, 07:08 PM   #4
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And then there is the flavor issue. It seems there are preconceived notions...........

Judges with preconcived notions...I find that hard to believe...Like a smoke ring equales better BBQ, or a babyback rib is cheating, but a $150 Wagyu is super and more then acceptable! Or my favorite, the box does not look full enough...

Naw, that would never happen in a KCBS contest!
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Unread 12-12-2011, 07:42 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Robert View Post
I sure don't understand this part. If you nail something, whatever the category, isn't that a reason to give more points? If a person has perfected that small window, wouldn't that mean they are a more skilled cook? Of course there are the three variable, of appearance, taste and texture that count towards overal score. From where I'm sitting it seems they told you that as you judge the six entries in chicken that are at your table not to give extra points for a piece of meat that is cook perfectly.
And then there is the flavor issue. It seems there are preconceived notions that breasts can't be flavorful. Shouldn't each entry be judged with an open mind? Seems like the above comments indicate a certain closed mind attitude.

What if blind judging included a blind fold? The results might be surprising.

Please discuss.

Robert
I do see what you are saying, but the discussion could really go either way here just like all BBQ opinions :). But here is something else to think about. At the competition I judged need to point out that during the judges meeting the KCBS reps made sure to very adamantly tell the judges to stop trying to out think the cooks. It is cooks choice as to what to give the judges so they should judge what is in the box and not what isn't in there. So for instance if a brisket box only has burnt ends which are delicious and many time easier to make taste great you shouldn't sit there and think "well there are no slices so the cook must have screwed up the flat".

So there must be preconceived notions that judges have that omitting certain "cuts" of BBQ mean you didn't try and cook the most difficult portion of the meat. And the KCBS reps wanted the judges to stop thinking this way. I don't know if they are saying this to the judges at other competitions, but it was refreshing to hear as a cook.
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Unread 12-12-2011, 08:13 PM   #6
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I'm going to go out on a limb and say every judging class has at least one box of chicken breast. KCBS has a specific protocal for a judging class that the class cook (and box preparers) must follow. In the case of chicken, the breast are there to make sure judges see different cuts of chicken in a box and not automatically assume all boxes must contain thighs.

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Unread 12-12-2011, 08:56 PM   #7
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Thanks for the replies yall, I appreciate it. It is something that has been on my mind and I don't remember there being any breasts in the class I took. However, that was a few years ago and I'm getting older so I may just not remember. As a cook it just seems to me that judges may have a hard time judging breast because it is different than thighs. You get used to judging taste and tenderness on one type of meat and then when someone throws something different at you it kind of throws you for a loop. I've put breast out there with varying degrees of success and I've just been trying to figure out if I should keep giving it a shot or if I am waisting my time.
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Unread 12-12-2011, 09:57 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fnbish View Post
So for instance if a brisket box only has burnt ends which are delicious and many time easier to make taste great you shouldn't sit there and think "well there are no slices so the cook must have screwed up the flat".

Excellent point!

A team turn in something like this last Saturday at a competition, excellent presentation, excellent taste, excellent texture. Yes, they got 9 9 9 from me.
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Unread 12-13-2011, 08:43 AM   #9
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Hey Mike, how ya been bud!...at our class in Kettering, we had breasts, thighs and legs.

I think the classes are being taught correctly (judge each entry on its own merits regardless of what type of selection is being presented) but I think it gets diluted because thighs are the "norm" and somewhat expected.

I wonder if chicken pillows (muffin pan) are getting more attention (better scores) by the judges because of the JOS factor. Once that hit, they became a trendy turn in. Bottom line is that trends change, the more breasts that get turned in might reverse the trend of thighs???? just a thought
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Unread 12-13-2011, 11:19 AM   #10
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Could be one reason that classes use only thighs is that it is sometimes difficult to get husbands to judge contests after going home from the CBJ training and telling their wives that they learned how to judge breasts!

Just saying...
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Unread 12-13-2011, 05:36 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bbq.tom View Post
Could be one reason that classes use only thighs is that it is sometimes difficult to get husbands to judge contests after going home from the CBJ training and telling their wives that they learned how to judge breasts!

Just saying...

I don't think the class instructors are allowed to only present thighs. I am pretty sure they have instruction documents that they follow and those documents dictate what is presented.

Just my educated guess, I am often wrong....just ask my wife.
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Unread 12-13-2011, 05:40 PM   #12
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My wife could be equally upset if she found me judging thighs or breasts.
Just sayin...
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Unread 12-13-2011, 08:16 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JayAre View Post
Hey Mike, how ya been bud!...at our class in Kettering, we had breasts, thighs and legs.

I think the classes are being taught correctly (judge each entry on its own merits regardless of what type of selection is being presented) but I think it gets diluted because thighs are the "norm" and somewhat expected.

I wonder if chicken pillows (muffin pan) are getting more attention (better scores) by the judges because of the JOS factor. Once that hit, they became a trendy turn in. Bottom line is that trends change, the more breasts that get turned in might reverse the trend of thighs???? just a thought
Hey JayAre. I'm doing pretty good, just been busy with work and as you can tell, contemplating breasts.
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Unread 12-14-2011, 09:14 AM   #14
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Breasts are used in KCBS classes, at least the 4 or 5 that I've attended. In fact, at the most recent one, I believe breasts, thighs, and maybe even legs were included. and the breasts did pretty well with the trainee judges
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