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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 12-24-2009, 12:47 PM   #1
KnucklHed BBQ
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Default Chicken Scoring question...

I've got a question about my score results on chicken that came back from my 1st sanctioned event...

To set the stage, a little background, I've competed in a backyard event for the past 6 years and have been in the top 5 for the past 5 years, with a GC this last time.

Being a BY event, the rules are obviously going to be a bit looser than a sanctioned one. For instance, this BY comp allows any garnish & decoration to accompany your turn in, and it always has a "suprise" category that isn't disclosed until a few weeks before...

This past summer I entered the PNWBA sanctioned event in Stevensville, MT (looks like they haven't updated the 09 results) and took 3rd in butt and 3rd in brisket, but my chicken was the killer...

To the point:
Knowing that it is typical for everyone to turn in thighs that are glazed, I thought I'd set myself apart and do it a bit different.
I spatched and brined my chicken and then served sliced breast (super moist, wasn't even worried about it drying out) and then aranged 2 drums, 2 thighs and 2 wings in the box. None of it was sauced or glazed, just the dry rub & brine for the flavor.

My thinking was nobody else is probably going to risk turning in breast since it tends to dry out, and I would include the other pieces so that the judge could grab a drum or thigh or breast if that is what they prefer and it made for a nice full box without over stuffing it.
No sauce or glaze because the meat had all the flavor it needed and I wanted to show that off, not cover it up. Also the skin was nice & crispy but not over done.

My scores came back at opposite ends. 1/2 the judges scored it with 8's & 9's accross the board and the other 1/2 gave me 5's & 6's...

Were they trying to tell me something? I find it hard to believe that 1/2 the judges thought it was some of the best and the other 1/2 thought it was dog food.

Since it's double blind I didn't see that there was any way for me to pick the judges brain to find out what it meant, if anything.

Thanks!
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Unread 12-24-2009, 01:05 PM   #2
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You may be trying to read into it too much since you're only having evaluating it after one contest.


While probably a unique entry (and unsauced as well) Since you only provided two of each section of the bird (not including the breast), you may have hurt your chances... Let's face it, thighs to best and any of the others are hit or miss... Also, breast meat after 10 minutes will dry out no matter how moist it is after it first comes off the pit.

You can try it again and make small changes and see if the results are the same or move with the pack and do what most others do, but hope to execute it better than most.
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Unread 12-24-2009, 01:40 PM   #3
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There are so many possibilities... Half of the judges may have liked it without sauce and half wanted sauce, or the high scores were from judges who got a thigh or leg along with some breast and the lower scores may have come from judges who ended up with wings. Or, you could have been at a table with three generous judges and three grumpy one. As Milt said, one competition isn't enough to really tell.
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Unread 12-24-2009, 01:40 PM   #4
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What ^^^ said, it is only one contest, and don't worry you still won't understand after 20...
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Unread 12-24-2009, 01:59 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MilitantSquatter View Post
You may be trying to read into it too much since you're only having evaluating it after one contest.

Yeah, it's one of the thoughts that I've had, however, going against the grain as I did, I didn't want to jepordize my chances in future comps by being stubborn and "doing it my way" if it was a laughable "what's-this-guy-thinking?" offense to the judges

While probably a unique entry (and unsauced as well) Since you only provided two of each section of the bird (not including the breast), you may have hurt your chances... Let's face it, thighs to best and any of the others are hit or miss... Also, breast meat after 10 minutes will dry out no matter how moist it is after it first comes off the pit.

I considered this when building the box, here's what I did: Sliced 1 left and 1 right breast of the same size into equal # of pieces and then "sandwiched" them together in the middle of the box so that they made a heart shape, this way they were not exposed to the air and allowed to loose heat and moisture as quickly. I also deliberately turned my box in at the very last moment.

Is not saucing a big deal? In my oppinion, if you do the meat right (any meat) and it tastes great on it's own, then there is no reason to cover it up with a sauce, especially when you make it even tougher to get rid of rubbery skin. In the same breath, I really don't care for my competition ribs, but I make them because the judges usually do...

You can try it again and make small changes and see if the results are the same or move with the pack and do what most others do, but hope to execute it better than most.
Is there any value in showing the judges that you're capable of pulling off more than just the same ol' same ol'?
For instance, in the same event I served my butt 2 ways in the same box, lightly pulled (left larger chunks of the tubes and bark intact or only pulled in 1/2 so that more heat and moisture was held without adding any sauce) and sliced. I cooked a few butts to pulling temps and cooked 2 more to slicing temps and put the best from all of them in my box.

While 3rd place ain't too shabby when up against all of the big boys and their rigs, lil' old me's just using backyard equip... I'm also very aware that by doing slices AND pulled I've just added a whole 'nother set of variables to the game.
Would I have scored better just serving pulled? Did the sliced impress anyone at all? They were tender, juicy and flavorfull. Did my boxes scream NOOB! and therefore merit some simpathy scores? Several unknowns that I've unwittingly served up to myself...

More than anything, I just want to make sure that I'm not making too many classic mistakes that will hold me back.
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Unread 12-24-2009, 04:11 PM   #6
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Here's a tip. Keep some chicken and taste it about 15 minutes after you turn in. That's what judges are tasting.

Now on scores - judges areinstructed to take a piece of each type of meat. As you did 2 drums, 2 thighs and 2 wings thethe first 2 judges could have taken 4 pieces and elft the other 4 with just breasts. If you do multiple pieces put 6 of each in the box to avoid problems.
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Unread 12-24-2009, 05:29 PM   #7
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[QUOTE=Ford;1123803]Here's a tip. Keep some chicken and taste it about 15 minutes after you turn in. That's what judges are tasting.

Great Tip to pass - Thanks

Now on scores - judges areinstructed to take a piece of each type of meat. As you did 2 drums, 2 thighs and 2 wings thethe first 2 judges could have taken 4 pieces and elft the other 4 with just breasts. If you do multiple pieces put 6 of each in the box to avoid problems.[/QUOTE]

Make that 8 pieces if doing FBA:
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Unread 12-24-2009, 06:01 PM   #8
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One thing about turning in pieces, whether it is brisket slices, ribs, or chicken. You always have the question that one piece may not be as good as others because it was dry or some other factor.
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Unread 12-24-2009, 06:18 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ford View Post
...put 6 of each in the box to avoid problems.
"You're gonna need a bigger box."

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Unread 12-24-2009, 06:47 PM   #10
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As a CBJ, I would have taken a slice of breast and one of the other pieces if there were any available (as Ford stated, they may have all been gone b4 the last judge gets a sample).
I would recommend, putting 6 of the same piece along with the breast slices so the judges can take one of each if that was your intent. Of course, that means cooking 3 whole birds.
Don't know if you have one, but a photo of the box would help.

Benny

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Unread 12-25-2009, 08:28 AM   #11
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not being a sanctioned event it also leaves the question of were any of the judges given any training at all? or were they "guest" judges? in K.C.B.S. we are told to judge each piece separately not against the others. your judges may have judged your pieces against the rest on the ones they were dong and marked you down accordingly. my advice, would be to pick one piece for your box and do the sliced breast if you want (but you run the risk of adding an extra variable to your box that could be a problem. i.e. if you get marked down was it because the breast did dry out or did they find something about your thighs that they did not like?)
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Unread 12-28-2009, 10:31 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by trekmstr View Post
not being a sanctioned event
To clarify, the author stated it was a PNWBA-sanctioned event. Judges are trained not to compare entries, just like KCBS.

But this post is still on the money.
My question is: This event has not always been sanctioned... and it's in rural Montana, not exactly a hotbed of competitive BBQ. The judges were probably not all certified experienced judges; which just means you can't draw any conclusions from the scores. It sounds like you have a high degree of confidence in this chicken, maybe give it another shot?
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Unread 12-28-2009, 10:50 AM   #13
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Thanks for the input fellas, I'm pretty sure that my problem was not having enough of each piece to grab, which might also tell me that the judes that did get 1 of each thought it was great, but the ones that didn't scored lower due to not getting all of what they were supposed to.

If some of you do me a favor, in q-talk I have a thread called "I thnk I've found it... No more rubbery skin??". Would you critique my pics pleas?
I- would link to it but I'm typing this onmy blackberry...
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We shall throw our bacon wrapped all beef justice upon the wooden skewers of truth to be held on high and let them know that we will not stand for this. ~Butz

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Unread 12-28-2009, 07:54 PM   #14
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Here you go;

http://www.bbq-brethren.com/forum/sh...ad.php?t=75043

I would say that I judge each sample simply on how it tastes and well it is cooked. If it doesn't have sauce - that's fine with me. If it does, then that's fine too. As long as the entire ensemble makes beautiful music in my mouth . . . I will score it appropriately. What I prefer doesn't really matter . . . except maybe at the extremes.

All the above advice is good . . .
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Unread 12-28-2009, 09:25 PM   #15
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[QUOTE=BigJimsBBQ;1123907]
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ford View Post
Here's a tip. Keep some chicken and taste it about 15 minutes after you turn in. That's what judges are tasting.

Great Tip to pass - Thanks ---> DITTO!

Now on scores - judges areinstructed to take a piece of each type of meat. As you did 2 drums, 2 thighs and 2 wings thethe first 2 judges could have taken 4 pieces and elft the other 4 with just breasts. If you do multiple pieces put 6 of each in the box to avoid problems.[/QUOTE]

Make that 8 pieces if doing FBA:
Quote:
Originally Posted by VisionQuest220 View Post
"You're gonna need a bigger box."

Thanks for the pic, I needed that! I was thinking that I might need to duct tape 2 boxes together! Is duct tape considered a forein object??

Quote:
Originally Posted by Funtimebbq View Post
As a CBJ, I would have taken a slice of breast and one of the other pieces if there were any available (as Ford stated, they may have all been gone b4 the last judge gets a sample).
I would recommend, putting 6 of the same piece along with the breast slices so the judges can take one of each if that was your intent. Of course, that means cooking 3 whole birds.
Don't know if you have one, but a photo of the box would help.

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Prairie Smoke View Post
To clarify, the author stated it was a PNWBA-sanctioned event. Judges are trained not to compare entries, just like KCBS.

Correct!!

But this post is still on the money.
My question is: This event has not always been sanctioned... and it's in rural Montana, not exactly a hotbed of competitive BBQ. The judges were probably not all certified experienced judges; which just means you can't draw any conclusions from the scores. It sounds like you have a high degree of confidence in this chicken, maybe give it another shot?
Umm, I dunno man, the president of the PNWBA, Tom Wallin, was competing in the site right next to me... as if I needed the extra intimidation/"you're probably doing it wrong" factor to be added in... I beat him in brisket though... He took 4th, I took 3rd. His brisket was truely better than mine, dunno how that happened, got lucky... He whooped my ass in butt tho, results of that comp if you care. We were team RiboLator (my old man) and Tom is Dances with Smoke.

Edit:
Forgot to mention, what really fried me about our chicken (pun intended) is that we were only 20 pts behind the GC, IF we had scored consistently across the board on chicken, it's quite likely that we would have had the 20 pts needed. I know... Shoulda-Coulda-Woulda.

Anyone had a chance to look at the other thread and give some suggestions on my quest for better skin? http://www.bbq-brethren.com/forum/sh...ad.php?t=75043

Thanks a heap!
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