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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 04-14-2014, 12:15 PM   #1
CodyJ.
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Default 1st KCBS Comp. Did ok, need some advice

All,
My team and I competed in the NYC BBQ Cookoff on Staten Island this past weekend. This was our first KCBS event and we placed 18th out of 37 overall. Attached are pic's of our boxes. Judges scores were all over the place and I have no idea how to figure them out. What to improve in?

19th in Chicken
Judge 1_____Judge 2_____ Judge 3_____ Judge 4_____ Judge 5_____ Judge 6
9/8/9 ______ 7/7/7 ______ 6/7/8 ______ 8/8/7 ______ 7/6/6 ______ 9/9/9
These are all over the place. What do I do?

20th in Ribs
Judge 1_____Judge 2_____ Judge 3_____ Judge 4_____ Judge 5_____ Judge 6
8/7/5______ 7/7/7________ 9/9/9 ______8/8/7_______ 9/8/9_______ 7/5/6
how do I get a 5 on tenderness from one judge and a 9 from two others?

11th in Pork
Judge 1_____Judge 2_____ Judge 3_____ Judge 4_____ Judge 5_____ Judge 6
9/7/7______ 9/8/8_______ 9/8/8_______ 7/8/7_______ 9/8/8 _______ 8/7/7
How do I get 9's on appearance from 4 judges and antother gives me a 7?

19th in Brisket
Judge 1_____Judge 2_____ Judge 3_____ Judge 4_____ Judge 5_____ Judge 6
8/8/8 ______ 7/6/6______ 9/8/9_______ 8/7/6_______ 8/6/6_______ 8/8/8
All over the place. I'm not surprised by this one. The sliced brisket was over cooked, but the burnt ends were a rediculous flavor bomb going off in one tiny bite.

So, please take a look at what I've posted here. I could really use some direction. Although being in the top 50% I consider to be respectable, I'd like to get into the top 3rd of competition consistantly.

Thank you!

--Cody J.
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File Type: jpg NYCBBQ.jpg (71.4 KB, 286 views)

Last edited by CodyJ.; 04-14-2014 at 12:31 PM..
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Unread 04-14-2014, 12:42 PM   #2
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Change the way you look at the scores and it will make things clearer.

Drop the lowest judges score and then make your scores like this

Chicken
AP - 9-7-6-8-9 (39)
TS - 8-7-7-8-9 (39)
TN - 9-7-8-7-9 (40)

You need to have at least all 8's or a total of 40 in each category to be top 1/3rd.

Basically just everything needs to be more consistent. Your pulled pork is too fine. Overcooking is way better than undercooking and if it isnt good dont put it in the box..chopped, pulled cubed or sliced brisket can win and from flat or point.
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Unread 04-14-2014, 01:26 PM   #3
CodyJ.
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Thank you. That does make it more simple.
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Unread 04-14-2014, 01:31 PM   #4
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Where did each entry place on the table? To me, it makes a lot more sense to compare to the other 5 (or so) entries that were evaluated by the same judges instead of comparing scores from table to table. Look at where you placed, how far behind the table winner you were, and the reputation of the other teams.

Secondly, you are giving away a lot of appearance points that wouldn't be that hard to get. There are alignment issues in most of the boxes, saucing could be better, and there is lots of high parsley. Another minute or two per box would probably gain you 4-5 points.

Finally, just looking at scores, I would say that ribs and brisket are in the most need of work. You identified the tenderness issue on brisket and I would take a close look at tenderness (or uniformity since tenderness scores ranged 5-9) on ribs. I think I would maintain flavor profiles another contest or two instead of trying to change too many things at once.

Overall, top 1/2 is a great first effort. Don't get discouraged if you don't move up every contest. Some days you hit rough tables and your placing doesn't reflect how well you cooked, other days you luck out.
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Unread 04-14-2014, 01:57 PM   #5
CodyJ.
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This place is such a great wealth if knowledge. Thank you very much. I'm not discouraged at all. 11th in pork. 18 overall. Not bad for first KCBS event as far as I'm concerned.
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Unread 04-14-2014, 02:00 PM   #6
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To me your pork and brisket boxes are the best looking, and that is all we can score here anyway, lol. The pictures aren't great but the chicken looks a little light, and the sauce is a bit blotchy. The picture has the box sideways so looking at the box from the way a judge would view it (where the tabs are) I would advise if your pieces are different size which it looks like here to put the smaller pieces in the front so optically you don't see the size missmatch as easily.

Ribs IMHO will score better if they look like they are all from the same slab side by side. Looks like you may have reversed a few bones end for end so the tips are angled different.

The pork box could use a little more bark mixed into the pulled, and a little tighter parsley to make the slices stand on top instead of sinking in may help also.

The brisket has some parsley that is sitting on top of the 2nd slice on the left end, I think you need to make sure the meat stays on top of the garnish.

Your biggest problems with the scores were on taste and tenderness. With chicken and ribs (especially if ribs come from more than 1 slab) each piece can taste different, and be different tenderness. On your chicken scores honestly looks like judge 6 was too nice, judge 2 may have been the most accurate. On ribs Judge 3 treated you well, but maybe not accurate. Pork some judges just score different, looks like other than judge 4 with a seven all liked the look. And brisket was all over the place.

Keep at it and good luck.
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Unread 04-14-2014, 02:06 PM   #7
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Alright. So chicken and ribs we were 1st at the table. Pork we were 3rd at the table, the two ahead of is were in te top 5 for pork. Brisket we were 2nd at the table, 1st at our table was the brisket winner
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Unread 04-14-2014, 02:59 PM   #8
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From the looks of it CodyJ, it was a low scoring comp. A 657 gets the GC?

Let's take another look at how you did. Had 2 judges increased their score by 1 in taste you probably would have gotten a call.

Also, had that happened in all 4 categories, you would have had an overall call.

Your appearance scores only hurt you in 1 category, Pork. Had you received the last 8 as a 9 you would have been in 10th.

With that said I would work more on your flavor profile, those 2 more scores increased in each category kept you from 7th place.

If you haven't already done so, take a cooking class from one of the top teams. It will save you a lot of frustration.
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Unread 04-14-2014, 03:04 PM   #9
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If you are seeing a wide disparity in your tenderness scores, check the following:

1) Are you turning in bones from more than one rack? If so, one could be very different from another unless you test carefully.

2) Are you turning in bones from the end of the racks? These tend to be much tougher than the middle bones if they are overcooking.

3) Are you turning in shiners? When a KCBS judge gets "more than they bit for" from a rib, your tenderness scores will fall dramatically. Often only a few overlooked shiners make it into the box, which can definitely result in that five-and-nine fruit salad.
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Unread 04-14-2014, 03:08 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bignburlyman View Post
To me your pork and brisket boxes are the best looking, and that is all we can score here anyway, lol. The pictures aren't great but the chicken looks a little light, and the sauce is a bit blotchy. The picture has the box sideways so looking at the box from the way a judge would view it (where the tabs are) I would advise if your pieces are different size which it looks like here to put the smaller pieces in the front so optically you don't see the size missmatch as easily.

Ribs IMHO will score better if they look like they are all from the same slab side by side. Looks like you may have reversed a few bones end for end so the tips are angled different.

The pork box could use a little more bark mixed into the pulled, and a little tighter parsley to make the slices stand on top instead of sinking in may help also.

The brisket has some parsley that is sitting on top of the 2nd slice on the left end, I think you need to make sure the meat stays on top of the garnish.

Your biggest problems with the scores were on taste and tenderness. With chicken and ribs (especially if ribs come from more than 1 slab) each piece can taste different, and be different tenderness. On your chicken scores honestly looks like judge 6 was too nice, judge 2 may have been the most accurate. On ribs Judge 3 treated you well, but maybe not accurate. Pork some judges just score different, looks like other than judge 4 with a seven all liked the look. And brisket was all over the place.

Keep at it and good luck.
Agree with all this. Personally I'm not a fan of the way you laid out the pork box, I've done better when the MM was fanned front to back of the box. That brisket looks DRY! Ribs need to be even. Too much yellow in the chicken.

Keep taking pixs of your turn ins and look at them later, it helps teach. Everything needs to be even and straight.
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Unread 04-14-2014, 03:10 PM   #11
CodyJ.
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82. I am not frustrated at all. In fact for my first KCBS competition I am happy. Just looking for some helpful information to get better. Thank you for the tips!
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Unread 04-14-2014, 03:52 PM   #12
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I didn't mean you were frustrated with your current comp. What I meant to say is you'll possibly get frustrated chasing what you think may improve your cooking.
There are a ton of great guys on here that will give you advice, but without knowing how you cooked and prepped, and what it tasted like, it's hard to tell you how to fix it. A class gives you a chance to taste and feel what is winning. I thought my stuff was pretty darn good and it was hitting the middle of the pack. I kept trying to tweak it here and there but just couldn't nail down a winning style. I took a class and realized my profile was in left field. I changed it up and saw great improvements, along with a check.

Here is few questions that may help figure it out. Some may seem redundant but without asking I can only assume.
What temperature did you pull your meats at?
Did you scrape your chicken skin?
Are your injecting?
Are you using 1 rub or several? (you don't have to provide brands)
How many racks of ribs are you cooking?
How many thighs?
Are you using regular store bought thighs or a specific brand?
Are you using a flavor profile that is spicy, sweet or both?
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Unread 04-14-2014, 04:42 PM   #13
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Several wise people here gave me a piece of great advice after my first KCBS contest. Don't change anything...yet. Obviously you can up your appearance scores by making a few minor changes to the boxes, but you don't really have any basis on what to change vs. what to keep from a single contest's results. You need to have a few under your belt in order to see what's going wrong/right.
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Unread 04-14-2014, 05:00 PM   #14
CodyJ.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 82's BBQ View Post
I didn't mean you were frustrated with your current comp. What I meant to say is you'll possibly get frustrated chasing what you think may improve your cooking.
There are a ton of great guys on here that will give you advice, but without knowing how you cooked and prepped, and what it tasted like, it's hard to tell you how to fix it. A class gives you a chance to taste and feel what is winning. I thought my stuff was pretty darn good and it was hitting the middle of the pack. I kept trying to tweak it here and there but just couldn't nail down a winning style. I took a class and realized my profile was in left field. I changed it up and saw great improvements, along with a check.

Here is few questions that may help figure it out. Some may seem redundant but without asking I can only assume.
What temperature did you pull your meats at?
Did you scrape your chicken skin?
Are your injecting?
Are you using 1 rub or several? (you don't have to provide brands)
How many racks of ribs are you cooking?
How many thighs?
Are you using regular store bought thighs or a specific brand?
Are you using a flavor profile that is spicy, sweet or both?
Everything cooked between 220-240 through the entire cook. Brisket pulled at 192 between point and flat. It was dry and falling apart. Burnt ends were a powerful pack of tenderness. Maybe too powerful...
Pork wasn't done to me. Bone didn't fall out. Money muscle was pulled at 180 and was borderline over cooked. Very very tender. Tough to cut.
Chicken was 170 near the bone. Skin was very well scraped. Bite through on all pieces. 16 pieces were used.
Ribs I did the 3-2-1. I think I should have wrapped top side down. Used 4 racks.
I inject pork. No fab-p. Just an apple product. I personally love it. Combination of rubs. Plow boys is one of them. Some brown sugar. Other stuff too.
Brisket is injected with low sodium beef broth. I think we are going to abandon that. Makes it pot roasty. Was combined with moisture magic. I think that crap is garbage. Lol. Used a choice cut. Rubbed with a combination of rubs. Sweet and pepper.
Chicken is just marinated. Ribs just a combination of rubs. Flavors on all are more on the sweet side than heat.
We cook with apple, peach and pecan.
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Unread 04-14-2014, 05:53 PM   #15
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I shoot for 155-160 on my chicken. Cooking 16 you should have plenty to knit pick from.

Cooking 4 slabs of ribs you, theoretically, should be able to pick enough good bones to fill a box. My first comp this year I cooked 3 slabs and had to pull all the bones from 1 slab. The other 2 overcooked, it does happen. Try getting 8 in a box.

Sounds like your pork is seasoned/injected decently. I have been having issues with butts taking forever to get to a done point. Not sure what is causing it.

Have you played with Butcher's prime injection? I've been pretty happy with it.

We inject every meat except ribs.

Some of my suggestions, if you aren't already doing it:
Use temp on the big meats as a guide, probe tender will do you better than a specific temp.
Let your big meats rest after coming to temp, but only after allowing them to vent for 10-15 minutes.
We inject several hours before we cook our big meats.
If your ribs look like they are getting done early, pull them off and let them sit in a cooler. Be cautious about how long to let them go back in the cooker to set a sauce. See my previous statement about how many slabs we cook.
Judges are possibly only taking one bite, so make that one bite full of flavor.
Don't try your leftovers until about 10 minutes after you box your turn in, that will give you an idea as to what the judges are tasting.

As was stated earlier, be cautious about making drastic changes to flavor after one comp. If it is tasting good to you, try it again. If you keep getting less than desirable scores then make adjustments.

Hope this helps out a little. Oh yeah chicken is cheap, practice it until you can't stand to eat it.
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