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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 09-26-2012, 12:34 PM   #1
Will the Grill
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Our team just finished cooking both the KCBS and back yard grilling comp at Oinktoberfest in Clarence, NY (suburb of Buffalo). We didn't do as well as hoped in the KCBS 37/65, but finished 5th out of 28 in the back yard grill comp. When we picked up our results packet we noticed there were 7 comment cards. This was the 1st time we had ever received comment cards so we were eager to see what they said. Here is what they had to say and what concerns us.

Ribs
Judge 1, beautifully done, bang on tender and firm, good flavor and tang Judge 2, Lighter fluid ruined the taste, perfect cook, nice looking.

Fish (corn flake crusted, pan seared sea bass with balsamic cherry glaze)
Judge 1, Mushy and over cooked, nice crust.
Judge 2, cooked perfectly, and taste fantastic

Pork (tenderloin stuffed with bacon, scallions and moz cheese)
Judge 1, Excellent
Judge 2, Lighter fluid taste , would be 9 without it. (scored 9,7,9)
Judge 3, nice flavor, but chewy

We can live with one judge thinking the fish was perfect and one said it was overdone and mushy. We can live with 3 judges scoring it a 9 in tenderness and one saying it was chewy. What has us concearned is two seperate judges eating two seperate meats said they tasted lighter fluid. Here is what I can tell you. Our smoker is 3 years old and lighter fluid had not once ever been in it or around it. What could cause two seperate judges to say that. We have a custom built offset reverse flow smoker like a Lang. We only burn lump charcoal and apple wood and somtimes we add a little hickory or mesquite. We did use mesquite on sunday but not a lot. Any thoughts on what would be causing a lighter fluid taste.
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Unread 09-26-2012, 12:36 PM   #2
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Mesquite maybe or a mixed up box number.
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Unread 09-26-2012, 12:41 PM   #3
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Creosote can give a "lighter fluid" like flavor... Some judges just don't know the difference...
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Unread 09-26-2012, 12:42 PM   #4
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Too much smoke. ????
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Unread 09-26-2012, 12:51 PM   #5
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Welcome to the mysteries of competition BBQ judging.
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Unread 09-26-2012, 01:58 PM   #6
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A friend of mine got a lighter fluid comment card in Atlanta. He uses a Lang 84 and has never used lighter fluid.

Never use mesquite. If you didn't this time, I'm going to say that wasn't the cause. But just don't use it.

The craziest comment card I've seen yet was on brisket a month ago.... (not ours) "Tastes like pickle juice was added"...
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Unread 09-26-2012, 02:38 PM   #7
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A judge with taste bud issues! We NEVER have used it, but had 2 cards over the years that said it.

Last year had a top 5 butt that one judge called "rancid tasting".

I don't put much stock in current card system
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Unread 09-26-2012, 02:56 PM   #8
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In my WSM, if I don't clean the pan after a couple of cooks, I've noticed before the 'drippings' that have collected and then begin to heat and sometimes burn will give off an oily, almost lighter fluid esq smell. So I've taken to being sure to scrape out the pan each time. If you have a drip pan in there somewhere perhaps that could be adding some unwanted flavor.

Possible conspiracy theorist would suggest it is possible the person BEFORE your entry each time WAS cooking on lighter fluid and this particular judge didn't realize his palate had been soured and didn't know how to cleanse it.

However, as far as comments cards go, I wouldn't get bent out of shape over it. We one got a comment card that simply said 'Beef tasted too beefy'. Wtf were we supposed to do with that? Make it taste more like chicken?
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Unread 09-26-2012, 03:11 PM   #9
TheJackal
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What's a comment card?
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Unread 09-26-2012, 03:27 PM   #10
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It will make your head spin sometimes . The only comment card I got this year was a 9,9,9 and the judge said he "loved the spicy sauce." Only problem was he/she didn't put what meat category it was for. I have an idea of course but it could have been 2 of our turn ins.
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Unread 09-26-2012, 04:14 PM   #11
Will the Grill
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[QUOTE=nthole;2225984]In my WSM, if I don't clean the pan after a couple of cooks, I've noticed before the 'drippings' that have collected and then begin to heat and sometimes burn will give off an oily, almost lighter fluid esq smell.

This is possible, we do not use a drip pan, we have a heat shield like a lang cooker. The weekend before the comp, we cooked a 73lb hog for a going away party on saturday and on sunday we cooked 60lbs of chicken and 2 fresh hams for a fundraiser at a Buffalo Bills tail gait party. We seldom clean the cooker going for the seasoned smell. Also the night before we cooked 2 briskets, 2 shoulders and 6 racks of ribs for the KCBS event.
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Unread 09-26-2012, 04:18 PM   #12
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most likely culprit is not running a clean fire the whole time. especially on a stick burner.
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Unread 09-26-2012, 04:45 PM   #13
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I've had that taste before with oil. Ive done pork chops with Italian dressing and the smoke mixed with that has gotten a bit of lighter fluid taste. Maybe the bacon grease could have done that?
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Last edited by Outnumbered; 09-26-2012 at 08:23 PM.. Reason: damn phone.
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Unread 09-26-2012, 08:55 PM   #14
richardnoodle
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maybe you got some of that apple cider on the wood.
good job on sunday!
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Unread 09-26-2012, 10:35 PM   #15
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Sometimes when you put sauce on your meat and there's still smoke running around in the cooker it can turn the sauce bitter.
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