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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 02-04-2006, 07:14 AM   #1
River City Smokehouse
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Default Perfecting the edible Chicken skin

I see a lot of discussion on a couple of message boards that I frequent about the skin of finished chicken thighs for compettion turn-ins. To me it seems that many people either get tired of not achieving the ultimate skin doneness or they just don't want to mess with it because it requires a lot of effort and constant testing. I don't really know but in the past it had been an issue with me and I wanted to get it right.
I'm not saying that I am perfect in any way, but I have finally come to a place that I am comfortable enough to have confidence in my finished chicken thighs with the skin on. I have finally been able to turn my chicken in and not stress about whether or not the skin is edible enough for a judge or a family member or even a friend.
I have eaten so much chicken in the past that sometimes I feel like laying an egg. I kept on cooking sometimes only chicken to work on the skin. Even if I only cooked 4 pieces at a time. I would work all night thinking about it and when I would get home from work I would BBQ before going to bed. I think that it doesn't help anyone's scores if you get rid of the skin hoping it will keep your texture scores from dropping.
I know as a judge(newly certified) I would knock the score down for someone removing the skin. Right or wrong, it would send a signal to me that the cook could not produce a skin that could be turned in. I know that watching the fat wouldn't have been a factor in why it was removed.
I stress to all BBQ cooks as a cook myself to keep working on the ultimate chicken skin. There is a reward in the end. Once you get it down, it's smooth sailing from there. I am now re-working my ribs. I have a lot of work ahead of me too.
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Unread 02-04-2006, 08:59 AM   #2
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In the KCBS judging certification class, judges are taught to judge each entry on it's own merit, and not to compare entries. Based on that instruction, your remarks about judging someone down for presenting chicken without skin concern me. You just completed the judging school in St. Louis and already you're putting your own unique spin on how to judge competition barbecue. This attitude speaks to the very heart of the issues raised on this forum and others about judging consistency. There is a judging class for a reason. It's not like a cooking class, where you can take away only the parts that you felt were useful or worthwhile. It's the instruction necessary to create consistent, meaningful evaluation of competition barbecue. Obviously there is subjectivity involved, especially in taste and appearance. However, for you to decide that chicken presented to you without skin is somehow inferior to the other entries at your table is wrong, plain and simple.
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Unread 02-04-2006, 11:01 AM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by River City Smokehouse
I would knock the score down for someone removing the skin.
That comment really disturbs me. Any legal entry I turn in, I expect to be judged on its own merit, and in accordance with the KCBS rules and regulations.
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Unread 02-04-2006, 01:20 PM   #4
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Ok, Rod, Yes I am a new cert. and I won't claim to know it all especially KCBS judging. After I have judged many a contest over the next few years then I may have a different outlook on it. In your expert opinion, if you were sitting at the judging table and you had two seperate entries put in front of you one with skin and one without would you not at least give the one with skin a point higher in apperance since it didn't look raped? I personally like the looks of a piece of chicken with the skin on it. I think it was said by Ed Roith during the class that all the taste in chicken is in the skin. The skin has to be tasted in order to get the real flavor of the piece of chicken. I was totally awake during the class. Did I misunderstand him?
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Unread 02-04-2006, 01:45 PM   #5
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Normally I would think a piece of chicken with the skin on it would get a higher score in presentation as it does look nicer. As far as taste goes, I will judge the chicken on how it tastes to me, with or without skin. I would think the piece without skin might get a better score from me since the chicken with skin can chew funny because of the rubber skin.
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Unread 02-04-2006, 02:50 PM   #6
Paola Greg
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Skinless thighs here. If the skin would have been left on, they would have scored better in apperance??

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Unread 02-04-2006, 02:52 PM   #7
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They look good to me,i've seen thighs with skin on that didn't look that good.How did you cook them?
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Unread 02-04-2006, 04:27 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by River City Smokehouse
Ok, Rod, Yes I am a new cert. and I won't claim to know it all especially KCBS judging. After I have judged many a contest over the next few years then I may have a different outlook on it. In your expert opinion, if you were sitting at the judging table and you had two seperate entries put in front of you one with skin and one without would you not at least give the one with skin a point higher in apperance since it didn't look raped? I personally like the looks of a piece of chicken with the skin on it. I think it was said by Ed Roith during the class that all the taste in chicken is in the skin. The skin has to be tasted in order to get the real flavor of the piece of chicken. I was totally awake during the class. Did I misunderstand him?
As someone who teaches the judging class what I tell people is if the chicken is turned in skin on you must take a bite of the skin and meat because it is part of the flavor print. If it is turned in skinless then judge it as such.
To read into that it is somehow inferior if it is skinless is in disagreement with the spirit of the job you have agreed to do.

As a judge let say you like dark meat better than white, if you can't objectively give a great chicken breast a good score because it is not a thigh then you should ask yourself if you should be judging?

I'm not taking issue with you but the idea is to judge what you are presented and ascertain if the cook achieved what they were going for.
Judge what you are presented and don't read into it, just what you are presented.
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Unread 02-04-2006, 05:52 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Paola Greg
Skinless thighs here. If the skin would have been left on, they would have scored better in apperance??

Greg
All those are skinless? kinda looks like there is skin on at least some. Must be the thick glaze. Interesting.
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Unread 02-04-2006, 08:41 PM   #10
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This doesn't surprise me at all. Back in September when I took the judging class I couldn't believe my ears why people marked entries down. I just wish people took this a bit more serious and actually listened to the instructor during the judging class.
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Unread 02-04-2006, 11:46 PM   #11
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I think the biggest issue here is that all judges are human and no matter what they learn in a class, there's going to come a time when they'll judge something based on their personal preferences rather than the merits of the sample. I'm sure that happens at every contest and truth be known, nearly every judge. I think it's human nature to do so even if on occasion. And I think it sometimes happens without the judge actually even realizing they're doing it. Does that make sense? I realize that I was new to the judging end of things by just taking the class but I found myself at times trying to block from my mind how another sample looked compared to the one I was currently scoring. I had thoughts like "Oh crap, there I go again! I know I'm not supposed to be doing that! Why am I doing it?" So it occurs to me that it is entirely possible that human nature makes it a constant struggle to do what you've been taught rather than do what comes natural and that's judging a piece of meat with your personal preferences in mind. I believe it is an in-exact science and from what I learned, regardless of what some folks might say, judges have a tough job and I commend those who are respectfully doing their damnedest to do a good job!
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Unread 02-05-2006, 08:57 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by kcpellethead
In the KCBS judging certification class, judges are taught to judge each entry on it's own merit, and not to compare entries.
Didn't Ed Roith, KCBS' official judge instructor, break this rule during All Star BBQ on OLN? Para-phrasing, "sauce means they are covering up poorly cooked meat".

No Ed, the Cook thought it tasted good with sauce, judge it as such.

I know OLN wasnt using KCBS rules but I have heard this sentiment from KCBS judges, including Ed who is supposed to teach the right way. Not trying to bash Ed here, just pointing it out that its not only River City who judges this way.
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Unread 02-05-2006, 09:34 AM   #13
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i have not even been in a competition and i already have something very controversial to say about this whole judging thing, i just have not thought of the right words to put it in and i don't want anyone to misunderstand me, so maybe after the superbowl! thanks.
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Unread 02-05-2006, 10:33 AM   #14
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I know I'm a newbie, but isn;t the skin part of the chicken? Are boneless entries allowed? If the physical attribute of the part in questions has skin on it shouldn;t it be left on? I know, I know, I;m not talking about trimming unnecessary fat off the meat/chicken. I'm talking about gross anatomy of the bird. If no skin...I;d be tempted to go no bone either. just a thought. Scott
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Unread 02-05-2006, 11:00 AM   #15
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Hi Scott - Boneless and/or skinless is allowed.

As to your point about leaving the entire phyiscal attributes on for the part in question... the answer is not per the rules.... It must be remembered that the contest is focused on the meat, not the skin or lack thereof...However I do recall it was recently brought up at a KCBS meeting that it is against the rules to submit pulled rib-meat only without the bone as in this case the bone is an integral part of the entry that defines it as a rib.

Jeff - I think you make very valid points even if some may not agree. It is very possible that even if conciously you are following the rules as written, there could very well be some subconcious factor that goes into what you write on the judges scorecard based on what you like.
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