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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 04-12-2008, 12:31 PM   #1
Lemon Lime
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Default Spares, St. Louis's or Baby Backs

I'm looking for some advice here. We're doing our first competition ever first weekend in May at a small comp. Have been practicing and practicing. I've been told that to be successful in competition, not that we're expecting anything but having fun, you should compete with spares or St. Louis style ribs.

Any truth to this? Is this what the judges are expecting? I'm fine with either but just curious to hear from others out there that have competed and why?

LL
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Unread 04-12-2008, 12:40 PM   #2
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Only if you are in an IBCA contest. If it's KCBS Baby Backs have just as good a chance as spares.
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Unread 04-12-2008, 01:20 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lemon Lime View Post
I'm looking for some advice here. We're doing our first competition ever first weekend in May at a small comp. Have been practicing and practicing. I've been told that to be successful in competition, not that we're expecting anything but having fun, you should compete with spares or St. Louis style ribs.

Any truth to this? Is this what the judges are expecting? I'm fine with either but just curious to hear from others out there that have competed and why?

LL
I personally think that St. Louis fut ribs are best at competitions. I think that because you can trim them yourself you have better control over appearance. I have had baby backs that have had bone splinters from being band sawed at the butcher and decided against ever using baby backs at a contest. Another advantage is the short ribs trimmed off while trimming to St. Louis style make mighty fine sliders.
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Unread 04-12-2008, 01:24 PM   #4
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baby backs = ham. I like spares, cut st louis best. Scott
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Unread 04-12-2008, 01:26 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sawdustguy View Post
I personally think that St. Louis fut ribs are best at competitions.
I thought we could only use pork ribs?

I don't think KCBS judges are expecting either BBs or spares. Lots of competitors use spares for a variety of reason, not the least of which is cost.
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Unread 04-12-2008, 03:46 PM   #6
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I prefer baby backs they are what I cook best and what I like to eat. I have had no problem scoring well with Babybacks at KCBS competitions.

I have never had them tase hammy either, but I have had spares that tasted that way.
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Unread 04-12-2008, 03:56 PM   #7
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I have only used spares trimmed to St. Louis in comps and have never done very well. It may be I just don't know how to cook. I am going to start practicing with the BB ribs to see if I can get them how I think they should be. Cost was the deciding factor on why I used spares. My local grocery just had BB ribs for $1.99 a pound. I got some for practicing
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Unread 04-12-2008, 04:02 PM   #8
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If it's your first contest ever, use which ever you have the most experience with to ensure they are cooked properly.

Even if one was more likely to place well, it all depends on how well the cook manages it during the cooking process.
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Unread 04-12-2008, 04:07 PM   #9
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We've used both. First two years, we used Baby Backs. Got calls. Used Spares cut St Louis last year, got no calls. We're testing again, and may go back to Baby Backs.

The symmetry, flat bones, and heft of the St Louis Cut, make them look real nice in the turn in box. We're going to invest more practice with both to make the determination.

For comp, I would go with whichever you feel you cook the best. If they are cooked properly, and have a balanced flavor you should be fine. Good luck.
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Unread 04-12-2008, 05:16 PM   #10
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Have scored with both, but most consistently with baby backs. Only first did come with St Louis cut spares. I'd do what you are most comfortable cooking and leave it up to the judges.
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Unread 04-12-2008, 08:46 PM   #11
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Like these guys have said... cook whatever you are most comfortable with and do best with, regardless of what kind. I botched up this weekend and cooked spares at our comp, having probably cooked less that two dozen slabs of spares in my lifetime. We sucked.
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Unread 04-12-2008, 09:22 PM   #12
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No such thing as St. Louis Babybacks or Babyback spares!!


Cook what ya know!!
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Unread 04-13-2008, 08:39 AM   #13
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I perfer Spares or baby back ribs , here in South Carolina you have to use what the event folks supply you to use.
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Unread 04-13-2008, 09:01 AM   #14
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Both will work, but I like St. Louis because they are more forgiving and they have more meat on them.
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Unread 04-13-2008, 10:21 AM   #15
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We use St Louis spares only because that is what our meet sponsor supplies us with and have gotten calls. However, I have practiced with BB and have never gotten them to come out right. So like all say, do what you feel most comfortable with, just make sure they are legal for the contest.
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