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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, 01:22 PM   #1
jasonjax
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I posted in the Q-Talk forum that my pork doesn't seem to "pop". It has a great porky flavor like pulled/chopped pork should, but it doesn't have anything else that makes it taste special imo.

All this said, I do some competing here and there, and I am wondering what sort of flavor profile judges are looking for in the pork shoulder category.

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Unread 09-26-2012, 01:36 PM   #2
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I can't pretend to know what the judges look for cause I compete in TX where we typically don't have to cook pork, but I would 1st ask you what is your technique/method now? Seems to me a good pork injection followed by a good heavy coat of rub is a must.
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Unread 09-26-2012, 01:42 PM   #3
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That's what I do today. I'm experimenting so I wouldn't say I have a specific technique, but roughly I do the following:

1) Trim fat cap/excessive fat
2) Inject with whatever injection I'm trying (usually variation of Chris Lilly's with AJ as the base ingredient).
3) Two coats of rub, one base coat with salt, pepper, garlic type rub, and then a flavorful rub usually comprising a sweet component, brown sugar etc.
4) Cook varies wildly, but lately I've been trying higher heat until internal is around 197* and it is probing nicely
5) Wrap in foil for at least an hour.
6) Pull/chop after rest removing the chunks of extra fat
7) Mix in some of the drippings and sprinkle with the 2nd rub component
8) Sometimes toss in a little vinegar based sauce
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Unread 09-26-2012, 01:53 PM   #4
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As a judge I want to taste pork first! Then some subtle flavors in the background from the smoke, rub & sauce. That could be a magnitude of combinations. For my personal Que I like a combination of paprika, ancho chile powder, salt, turbinado sugar, onion, garlic, cumin, coriander, celery seed, black pepper, cayenne pepper, etc... Then after it's pulled a slight amount of my BBQ sauce mixed with apple cider vinegar and apple juice, plus a bit more rub. YMMV. Cheers!!!
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Unread 09-26-2012, 01:58 PM   #5
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I've used Chris Lilly's injection and while it's good the flavor it provides is on the mild side IMO. I've used the injection found in the Wicked Good BBQ book and it's very good, better than the popular Chris Lilly injection I think. You may also try putting some heat in your rub. Pork can definitely take some heat with all the time it spends on the pit. How strong is your vinegar sauce? Too much vinegar can mute flavors IMO. Also what is your bark like? I think a softer bark may be better for pork since it gets all mixed in with the rest of the meat.
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Unread 09-26-2012, 11:02 PM   #6
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> Sometimes toss in a little vinegar based sauce

Ya, don't do that. Try a hickory sauce with a little hot and sweet - and not much of it. Vinegar sauces are quite tasty, but they don't seem to do well in competition.
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Unread 09-27-2012, 09:42 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CBQ View Post
> Sometimes toss in a little vinegar based sauce

Ya, don't do that. Try a hickory sauce with a little hot and sweet - and not much of it. Vinegar sauces are quite tasty, but they don't seem to do well in competition.
Wouldn't that depend on where you can compete? I figure the Carolinas are all about vinegar sauces.

What makes a "hickory" sauce anyway?
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Unread 09-27-2012, 10:31 AM   #8
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Hamilton said it largely above. Judges,
CBJ's, are taught/trained to look for the meat flavor first. The spices in the rub, injection, and or sauce should compliment and enhance the flavor of the meat, but not replace/mask/smother the taste of the meat. I read a LOT about this flavor
"profile" here or there, but from what I've seen no 1 flavor profile does superior to another any any region. For the most part, if you stay away from the terrible 2's you've hit the mark. That is, not too salty, not too sweet, not too spicy, but not too bland either, etc. Find a nice balance of spices that enhance the flavor of the meat, and yet still allow the meat and smoke flavor to come through. More than anything, it's about balance.
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Unread 09-27-2012, 12:02 PM   #9
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We don't like to oversauce or even use a real thick, heavy sauce. Ours is a thinner consistency. As hamiltont said above.....we like our pork to taste like PORK and only be complimented and enhanced by the sauce.
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