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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 09-18-2009, 02:12 PM   #1
SkySaw
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Default KCBS Judging Standards

I don't have any plans to go pro, but I would like to have something other than my own perception of good/no-good on which to judge and improve my own cooking.

My pork butts are great. Searching youtube for KCBS judging, I saw a clip where a judge took a piece of pulled pork and tore the 3-inch piece against the grain into 2, 1.5 inch pieces. He did this to demonstrate a nice, tender pulled pork. Now, trying this at home, my pork comes apart nicely. However, I am sure I am not producing the same kind of thing that gets turned-in at most competitions.

So, I have been searching for objective KCBS judging standards, but can find nothing more than "taste", "tenderness", and "appearance". There must be more, and I would like to have some of these standards against which I can learn to produce better barbecue.

Anyone know of a set of standards for pulled pork, brisket, ribs, etc.?

Mark
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Unread 09-18-2009, 02:24 PM   #2
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hmm. Its really up to the judge for the most part. The judging class teaches things like the ribbon test on a brisket. You should be able to hold both ends without it crumbling. It should open up between the grains slightly under its own weight. When you pull it apart it should droop and then break easily.
For pork they have you look for mushy meat. It should have a nice tender texture but not disolve in your mouth.
Ribs they taught it shouldn't just fall off the bone. If your first bite pulls all the meat free its overdone. If it is tough its under done. It should pull clean from the bone with little resistance. Old time judges would watch the bone and time how long it took to dry after the took the bite.

I'm sure others will be able to explain this a bit better.
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Unread 09-18-2009, 03:10 PM   #3
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Skip per above recaps the basics pretty well and of course it is still very subjective.
Many of us that cook have found it interesting and somewhat helpful to take the KCBS Judges class and if you ever have the chance it would be worth considering.
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Unread 09-18-2009, 04:05 PM   #4
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Judge here gone rogue; now a cook. :-) I was surprised how many cooks attend
judging class. It's very beneficial. That, and if you can, volunteer to be a judge at
a contest or two. It's amazing to see what comes across the table; good AND bad.

Ribs: pull cleanly from the bone with only slight resistance (not falling off, but VERY
close), bone should turn white shortly. Meat still moist and tender, but not mushy.
If you have to gnaw the meat from the bone, it's undercooked. Not heavy sauce.
No glop, etc. You dont want the flavor of the sauce to overpower the meat. It
should compliment the meat. Many dont sauce at all and do just fine.

Pork: have bark and regular in the turn-in. lets see some smoke ring, otherwise it'll
look washed out. moist, not leathery. Averages being averages, more often than
not the unsauced pork does better, but that's average. Yours with a great sauce
(not much of it) can do just as good if not better than others unsauced.

Brisket: see above, I think he said it VERY well.

Chicken: should still be moist and tender, but cooked. This is largely why we dont
see too much breast meat come across the table; 2 instants after it's done it starts
to become dry. consistent sizes if possible. sauce should not glop, as even a coating
as possible. I've actually seen rather uneducated judges (not stupid, just ignorant)
take off because of the smoke ring, thinking the red color was uncooked chicken...
Ok, maybe they are/were stupid, 'ya can't fix stupid...
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Unread 09-18-2009, 05:33 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SkySaw View Post
I don't have any plans to go pro, but I would like to have something other than my own perception of good/no-good on which to judge and improve my own cooking.

My pork butts are great. Searching youtube for KCBS judging, I saw a clip where a judge took a piece of pulled pork and tore the 3-inch piece against the grain into 2, 1.5 inch pieces. He did this to demonstrate a nice, tender pulled pork. Now, trying this at home, my pork comes apart nicely. However, I am sure I am not producing the same kind of thing that gets turned-in at most competitions.

So, I have been searching for objective KCBS judging standards, but can find nothing more than "taste", "tenderness", and "appearance". There must be more, and I would like to have some of these standards against which I can learn to produce better barbecue.

Anyone know of a set of standards for pulled pork, brisket, ribs, etc.?

Mark

Do yourself a big favor and don't try to replicate what is being done at the BBQ contests. Trying to please a judge with a small sample is a whole different game that.

Cook what you like & what your friends and families and enjoy and you'll be most satisfied in the end.
Some of the best BBQ cooks I know (and they hang out only in the Q-Talk section of our forum) have never cooked a contest and I'd eat their food any day of the week !!!
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Unread 09-19-2009, 09:54 AM   #6
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Some really great suggestions here for what "tender" etc. actually means. They are very helpful illustrations.

I appreciate the suggestion to make what pleases myself and my family. My aim, since I have very little to compare against my own barbecue is to he able to prepare traditional barbecue according to known standards. Then I can feel free to deviate from those standards in ways that suit me. That way I can have a systematic method to develop my own style a d to improve my barbecue.

Mark
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Unread 09-19-2009, 11:08 AM   #7
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Good luck in that endevour Mark. It sounds like you will fit right in here. I hope you accomplish your goals.
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Yeah it looks good...but how does it smell?

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Unread 09-19-2009, 05:42 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lake Dogs View Post
Judge here gone rogue; now a cook. :-) I was surprised how many cooks attend
judging class. It's very beneficial. That, and if you can, volunteer to be a judge at
a contest or two. It's amazing to see what comes across the table; good AND bad.

Ribs: pull cleanly from the bone with only slight resistance (not falling off, but VERY
close), bone should turn white shortly. Meat still moist and tender, but not mushy.
If you have to gnaw the meat from the bone, it's undercooked. Not heavy sauce.
No glop, etc. You dont want the flavor of the sauce to overpower the meat. It
should compliment the meat. Many dont sauce at all and do just fine.

Pork: have bark and regular in the turn-in. lets see some smoke ring, otherwise it'll
look washed out. moist, not leathery. Averages being averages, more often than
not the unsauced pork does better, but that's average. Yours with a great sauce
(not much of it) can do just as good if not better than others unsauced.

Brisket: see above, I think he said it VERY well.

Chicken: should still be moist and tender, but cooked. This is largely why we dont
see too much breast meat come across the table; 2 instants after it's done it starts
to become dry. consistent sizes if possible. sauce should not glop, as even a coating
as possible. I've actually seen rather uneducated judges (not stupid, just ignorant)
take off because of the smoke ring, thinking the red color was uncooked chicken...
Ok, maybe they are/were stupid, 'ya can't fix stupid...
Our judging class said you're not to judge on the smoke ring.
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Unread 09-19-2009, 06:04 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Buster Dog BBQ View Post
Our judging class said you're not to judge on the smoke ring.
Correct. I recommeded that they have/show it, OTHERWISE it'll look
washed out.
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Unread 09-19-2009, 06:08 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Buster Dog BBQ View Post
Our judging class said you're not to judge on the smoke ring.
Ditto!

Skysaw - I don't have a real urge to compete myself and wanted to taste some good Q, so I took the judging class and will hopefully judge a comp or two to get my fill of other peoples Q.

Cook what you and your family and friends like and you can do no wrong. My wife loves fall of the bone ribs so that is how I cook them for her.
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