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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 08-27-2008, 10:36 AM   #1
musicmanryann
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Okay, so at our first competition the KCBS rep sat us down and gave us some pointers to help. One of the things the said was to make sure you make your Q sweet, as this is what the judges prefer. This concept was not something new to me, as I had done my homework prior to entering my first competition. What I did not understand, I believe, is how important this would be to our final scores, at least for pork, ribs and chicken, as sweetness is probably less important for brisket.

Anyway, our flavor scores for chicken, ribs, and pork were consistently low, although some judges love it (9's) and others did not (6's). In my opinion an abundance of flavor is something that is never missing in my cooking, especially in my Q. This led me to thinking that perhaps we weren't missing flavor, but rather the "correct" flavor.

Both our rub, and the sauce we used in the comp had plenty of sugar, but we attmpeted to balance the sweetness with tartness and spice. I do not believe for a second the Q was too spicy as I have read on here several times that judges overwhelmingly score low for spicy Q. I guess what I am wondering is if, instead of a balanced mix of ingredients, we shouldn't tip the scale over to the sweet side of things? Do your rubs contain a majority of sugars, or like our a majority of paprika (non-sharp)?

Even though this was my first comp, I expected (and did) lose points on tenderness, but I did not expect such relatively low scores on flavor, and am just wondering what went awry. Any thoughts? Should I just shut up until I have had a chance to try stuff out again at another competition? I guess I am also looking for a discussion of sweetness versus spicy/savory and what judges are looking for. While I have read other discussions, I feel I underestimated the importance of it, and am just wondering what others think. Thanks!
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Unread 08-27-2008, 10:47 AM   #2
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I don't know how much of it is that the judges 'like' sweet, and how much of it is that it is easy to offend someone with too much spice. Alot of the heat tasted in a judging tent comes from things like cayenne and white pepper. I think a spicey rib would do better if that heat came from something that is naturally hot, like horseradish instead of meeting a certain cooks pallet. Spice is a preference and when most teams submit a spicy product, it is to their tastes. Alot like salt, some things need salt, some things are salty. The sweeter stuff allows more flavors to come through for most people, you can work the same way with spicey, but its alot harder. I say go for an even balance and youll do fine.
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Unread 08-27-2008, 10:55 AM   #3
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I was told by many accomplished teams that you never want to give them something they might not like. If you give it spicy and they do not like spicy, you lose! If you use rosemary in your rub and they do not like it, you lose! If you stick to the basics from what I have been told and learned from experiments, you will do much better. I have tried crazy flavors and they always taste awesome, but the judges may not agree. They are looking for basic, so stick to basic rubs for seasoning, not crusting and stick to a nice glaze with a nice sweet flavor and you will do fine. Stay away from spicy things, I have learned the expensive hard way. Good luck!
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Unread 08-27-2008, 11:11 AM   #4
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Did thighs last weekend that were sickly sweet.

Dried them out, they were damn near inedible but placed 15th out of 39.




I dunno?
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Unread 08-27-2008, 11:14 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PimpSmoke View Post
Did thighs last weekend that were sickly sweet.

Dried them out, they were damn near inedible but placed 15th out of 39.




I dunno?
Good to know. Thanks!
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Unread 08-27-2008, 12:10 PM   #6
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Hey ryann, I was at the same contest last weekend.
My ribs are the only q I turn in that I consider to be sweet. However, I tried a rib from a team that was next to me. Their ribs had more spice to them than mine. I got 9th and they scored ahead of me.
It just depends on the table. My ribs may beat them at another contest.
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Unread 08-27-2008, 01:16 PM   #7
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you're right Ray. As I was at the same contest as PimpSmoke. Mine chicken wasn't dry, they had great flavor and bite through skin. I finished 23rd... Same deal on my pork.... Both of those were "on" and the judges didn't think so. Oh well, better luck next week.
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Unread 08-27-2008, 01:32 PM   #8
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My very little experience has shown me that 75% of the times you think somethings going to tank hard, it doesn't.

Conversely, when you think you have a great turn-in it tanks.




I agree with Scottie, just which table it lands on I guess.
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So here we are in my paisley crib, what you want to eat?
"Ribs"...ah, Latoya, I don't serve ribs.
Better be happy that dress is still on,
I heard the rip when you sat down.
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Unread 08-27-2008, 01:41 PM   #9
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One of the most important bits of advice I was ever given a few years ago by a good friend and experienced successful cook was this.

If your bbq is generally good to you, your friends and family, and in a contest you receive low or erratic scores, Do Not make changes until after 3 or so contests, and then only make minor changes. If you start second guessing the judges after one or two contests, and make a wholesale change for the next contest, you will get totally lost and become very frustrated.

If you get generally low scores for one of the categories after 3 or 4 contests, then tweak it, little steps at a time.
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Unread 08-27-2008, 01:56 PM   #10
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Oh I'll probably do them the same next time, except I won't cook 'em so damn long.
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So here we are in my paisley crib, what you want to eat?
"Ribs"...ah, Latoya, I don't serve ribs.
Better be happy that dress is still on,
I heard the rip when you sat down.
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Unread 08-27-2008, 02:00 PM   #11
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That is the ultimate test in frustration....trying to figure out what it is THEY will find the most interesting.....it is not a matter of pleasing 6, it is a matter of not pissing off 3 or 4. Go with small scale changes and alterations, try to stay as true to what you are doing, and tweek a little at a time.....the biggest thing to go for is consistency....and always remember, HAVE FUN.....
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Unread 08-27-2008, 04:07 PM   #12
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I was told that the more experienced the judges are in generally, the less overly sweet things can be. We always try to find out how new to judging the judges are. Also, rib doneness... The newer the judges, the longer in the smoker.
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Unread 08-27-2008, 05:33 PM   #13
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Take it for what its worth we are a rookie team but have done ok in our 2 contests this year.We have been shooting for just enough sweet to take the edge off of the sauce and we have done well so far.Other than the worlds worst brisket this last weekend.My coaches and mentors preached practice getting the meat done right and use a proven sauce and rub combo and let the chips fall.Until I took a BBQ class at the BBQ Factory (ALEX AND KATE from Dr Porkenstein)I had the worlds worst ribs and in 2 contests we had 1st and 3rd in ribs.What I learned in the ribs and chicken class more than offset the cost of both classes.Sometimes its just 1 little thing and all of a sudden it just clicks.
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Unread 08-28-2008, 01:16 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PimpSmoke View Post
Did thighs last weekend that were sickly sweet.

Dried them out, they were damn near inedible but placed 15th out of 39.

I dunno?
Tell me about it.... mine was also bite through skin, juciy, and had good flavor and we ended up in 14th in the same contest.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Scottie View Post
you're right Ray. As I was at the same contest as PimpSmoke. Mine chicken wasn't dry, they had great flavor and bite through skin. I finished 23rd... Same deal on my pork.... Both of those were "on" and the judges didn't think so. Oh well, better luck next week.
No Scottie, you ended up 22nd... We ended up 23rd... I just don't understand the pork judging in this contest...
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Unread 08-28-2008, 05:17 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Divemaster View Post
Tell me about it.... mine was also bite through skin, juciy, and had good flavor and we ended up in 14th in the same contest.


No Scottie, you ended up 22nd... We ended up 23rd... I just don't understand the pork judging in this contest...
I thought the Pork judging was wonderfull,now the brisket on the other hand....
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