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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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Old 06-09-2013, 01:37 PM   #1
J&B'sBBQ
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Default Chicken, chicken, chicken...

Can I start by saying how much I dislike chicken...really, really dislike chicken.

We've done two competitions now and improved from the 1st to the 2nd with our chicken scores, but they are still way low. Based on some of the scores (straight 7's!) you would think we're trying to kill someone.

I'm not worried about the appearance as I know where we're lacking there and how to fix it, but I need some guidance on taste and tenderness.

What are the judges told to look for in tenderness for chicken? Also, what is the current trend in taste for chicken (sweet, spicy, a mix)?

I've thought about trying legs a few times between now and our next competition too so if anyone has any tips on legs I would greatly appreciate that too :).

Thanks in advance!!!
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Old 06-09-2013, 01:50 PM   #2
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Ah, chicken, the devil's meat!!
Great questions we all wish to have the answerr to. Hit the search button for chicken tips, lots of info and some pics and videos that should be helpful. Good luck to you and your team.
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Old 06-09-2013, 01:59 PM   #3
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Sweet with a little after burn, juicy but not overly juicy, flavorful, make it taste like chicken and cook it to perfection... sounds easy right?
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Old 06-09-2013, 02:09 PM   #4
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Quote:
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Ah, chicken, the devil's meat.
:a men:
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Old 06-09-2013, 02:25 PM   #5
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I used to love chicken.....until I started trying to cook it for competition. Now it makes me feel like I've never lit a grill before....
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Old 06-09-2013, 03:06 PM   #6
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Sweet with a little after burn, juicy but not overly juicy, flavorful, make it taste like chicken and cook it to perfection... sounds easy right?
Don't forget you have to have perfect bite through skin!
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Old 06-09-2013, 03:26 PM   #7
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I have looked via the search option. I really want to know what they tell the judges to look for in tenderness the most because I feel like we have decent flavor but the tenderness is killing us (we do have bite through skin btw).
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Old 06-09-2013, 03:48 PM   #8
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I've found tenderness corresponds with the finish temp, what are you cooking it to?
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Old 06-09-2013, 04:01 PM   #9
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Straight 7's??? The judges are telling you your chicken is "above average", what's the problem?
Only practice and experience will turn your chicken into "very good-8 or excellent-9.
Keep at it.
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Old 06-09-2013, 06:18 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by sfisch View Post
I've found tenderness corresponds with the finish temp, what are you cooking it to?
We aim for 170*. I know 160* is "done" but we've found we like it better a little higher in temp. I've heard of people cooking it even higher than 170* but I worry about it being mushy.

I know straight 7's is "average" but that means we have a lot of room for improvement, hence the reason I asked for some guidance.
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Old 06-09-2013, 06:51 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by J&B'sBBQ View Post
I have looked via the search option. I really want to know what they tell the judges to look for in tenderness the most because I feel like we have decent flavor but the tenderness is killing us (we do have bite through skin btw).
Most sanctioning bodies don't tell judges what is tender. It should be a solid piece that breaks easily in the mouth, full of juice but no fat pockets. Trim all that fat out or you'll be seeing 7's or less.
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Old 06-09-2013, 07:11 PM   #12
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If it makes you feel any better yesterday I got 6,7,8,7,7,9.
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Old 06-09-2013, 07:27 PM   #13
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Judges aren't instructed on tenderness of the meat itself, but they are told skin is bite through. There are two ways to do this, make it crispy or make it soft. Crispy is more difficult because the window between underdone, perfect, and overcooked is pretty small. Most cooks braise the chicken to soften the skin, has a wider margin of error.

In a way, chicken is hard because it's easy. You can make decent chicken without much effort, but so can everyone else. Consider Sam's regional last year in VA:

1. S'Mo Q - 169.1430
2. Redneck Scientific - 169.1428
3. Hog-It-Up BBQ - 169.1428
4. Hawg Nation BBQ - 168.5716
5. Pork Barrel BBQ - 168.5714
6. Lo'-N-Slo' BBQ - 168.5712
7. Q Haven BBQ - 166.8572
8. Rex's Red Hot BBQ - 166.8572
9. BBQ Guru - 166.8572
10. gonehoggin.com - 166.2858
11. Two Old Men & a Grill - 165.7144
12. Pigheaded BBQ - 165.7144
13. Midnight Burn - 165.7144
14. Pickin' Porkers - 165.7142
15. ZBQ - 165.7142

We were 15th. 2 way tie for 14 & 15. Three way tie for 11, 12, and 13 (and only .0002 points in front of 14/15.) Three way tie for 7, 8 and 9. Three way tie for 4, 5, and 6. Two way tie for 2 and 3.

Think about that. We were 15th, and there were *5* ties in front of us. We were 3.4 points out from first but finished in the middle of the pack. Chicken has to be perfect to win. (and ya, we were the GC)
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Old 06-09-2013, 07:54 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CBQ View Post
Judges aren't instructed on tenderness of the meat itself, but they are told skin is bite through.
In the CBJ class I took in 2012, the instructors told us that the chicken should be bite through. When specifically asked about the skin being bite through, they repeated that the "chicken" should be bite through and to interpret that as we see fit.

That having been said, if the skin isn't bite through, don't expect a 9 in tenderness.
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Old 06-09-2013, 08:46 PM   #15
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Thank you for the input! We have about a month before our next comp so I guess it's a good thing that our daughter likes chicken because that might be all we eat :-).

It is interesting to see those results, but the overall scores tell us we have room to improve. This past weekend we got 156.57 in chicken. It was a 10 point improvement from our first competition so that is good.

I guess we'll work on trimming more because that may be our issue...fat.

Thank you everyone for the input!
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