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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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Old 01-25-2011, 09:05 AM   #1
Smokin' Hicks
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Default Chicken.....What are they looking for?

I have done 2 competition now and I have never done all the catagories.
This season it is all or nothing, so my only question that i have is, what exactly are the judges looking for in chicken? KCBS is the area i compete they want whole breasts? thighs? a shiny type glaze finish? a seared crust type finish? pulled? skin on?
I am still a rookie to all this, but it is my passion and i love it....just got my new custom smoker, 9' long 3'ft in diameter for smoking chamber all stainless steel 1/4", offset fire box, its my baby....looking forward to the season in my part of town
thanks for the feedback all
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Old 01-25-2011, 09:24 AM   #2
somebody shut me the fark up.
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Best taste, texture, tenderness and juiciness. Outside of appearance of course.
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Old 01-25-2011, 09:40 AM   #3
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Taste, texture and appearance means:
1. Taste should be a good balance of the cooking method (don't over-smoke), the rub, and the sauce. No one of these three should dominate.
2. Texture means fully cooked but still moist with a nice mouth feel -- not mushy and falling apart or dry and flaky. Judges must taste the skin if it is on and usually appreciate being able to bite through it but that isn't really a requirement -- it is really part of the flavor we're looking for. Crisp skin is also not a requirement but is sometimes done by quick-grilling late in the cooking process.
3. Appearance desires relate to eye-appeal (does this look delicious?) but many cooks go to great lengths to get very uniform size and dimensions (muffin-tin and lollypop, e.g.).

Thighs are the most common entry because they can be trimmed for uniformity very easily and are very forgiving of over-cooking (retain their moisture well and don't cook into mush without a lot of effort). Legs show up fairly often. Breast and any other white meat is rare as an entry (but not illegal). The white meat dries out very easily and is very unforgiving of overcooking (gets tough and dry).

Hope this helps at least in part. Recommendation: If you can, take a judging class the next time one is conveniently near you. It is fun and gives you an appreciation of the judge's role. I do both cooking and judging and find that cooks who are also judges tend to "sweat it" less and that judges who are cooks have a deeper appreciation of all the work it takes to do contest-level barbeque.

Good luck with your chicken entries. . .

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Old 01-25-2011, 09:40 AM   #4
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Based on what you have said I'd recommend thighs for the simple reason that they are more forgiving. If this is your first time doing all the categories then that's what I'd recommend.
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Old 01-25-2011, 10:00 AM   #5
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Thanks a TON for the advice, i always did a breast....but thighs are more flavorful and like you said more forgiving, just didn't know what part of the chicken to i do, thanks.....oh, and if i do thighs do you generally leave the skin on for turn in or do you usually take it off?
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Old 01-25-2011, 10:21 AM   #6
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Bite through skin is a desired yet hard to accomplish feat. Some cooks go to great extremes to get this. My point is turn in a piece that when a bite is taken, the whole skin does not come with it. Easier said than done. There are many methods used to get uniform, equal looking pieces. Do some more research on this topic. Also, I cook enough pieces to get 6 to 8 of the best in the box. Good luck. Steve
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Old 01-25-2011, 10:50 AM   #7
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As a judge, I look for all of the aforementioned particulars. I "like" the chicken thigh with the skin on, but not if the skin isn't cooked just right. The "bite-through" is VERY important with the skin on, but isn't necessary for the judging. In other words, I'll score a piece higher without the skin if the meat is identical with a piece with skin on but the skin is either rubbery or comes off completely with my bite.
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Old 01-25-2011, 10:52 AM   #8
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Best advice I can give as an organizer and not a cook, have people on your team become CBJ's so you know the standards that KCBS have set as the marks to shoot for.

Everybody above has had good constructive advice.

Having CBJ's on the team is a good opportunity to have some informed feedback on your practice pieces.

My advice regarding skin, leave it on. It enhances flavor and helps retain moisture.
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Thanks from:--->
Old 01-25-2011, 11:13 AM   #9
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hmmmm.....boned or deboned?
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Old 01-25-2011, 03:31 PM   #10
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the answer is simple.
cook the best chicken you can and present it.
BUT, if you'd like to see a proven method step by step start here and make it your own.
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Old 01-25-2011, 11:32 PM   #11
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What I look for in chicken is even-ness in size, shape, color, etc of each piece. If you present it with the skin on (skin is optional in KCBS) then make sure that the skin isn't a chunk of rubber - if that skin pulls comleatly away from the meat & I have to wipe the sauce out of my beard then you're going to lose at least one point on tenderness. Make sure that your chickie is juicy - a marinade or a brine works wonders! Dark meat (thighs, drummies, etc.) won't dry out as quick as a breast will and it might be a half an hour from the time that you build the box untill I take a bite out of it.
I really don't care which part of the bird is turned in - as long as it looks and tastes good I'll score it accordingly. BUT - - - I know that some judges expect to see thighs & are dissapointed (pissed?) if the don't get them. These are the same ones who are upset if they don't get burnt ends, but that's another story.
Good luck this year, maybe I'll see you somewhere!
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Old 01-26-2011, 01:28 PM   #12
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Default Bone

Good comments.

On the bone issue, I've done it both ways. It is easier to get consistent size with the bone out, but a l;ot more work. I've gotten 3rds with the bone in, but never 1st.

When I've judged, bone in or bone out, both can have good flavor.
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Old 01-26-2011, 02:33 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by Smokin' Hicks View Post
hmmmm.....boned or deboned?
Doesn't matter, but if you are just starting, bone in is easier.

Some teams leave the bone alone, some debone, and some trim the bone for uniformity. You will see a lot of variation here, but I would not consider this a big issue. Get the flavor profile, texture, and skin right first, and then worry about the little touches. If you are getting 8s all the time, then you can worry about the tweaking. If you are getting 5s and 6s, the bone isn't the issue.
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Old 02-22-2011, 02:05 PM   #14
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How do you keep the skin from pulling off???
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Old 02-22-2011, 03:21 PM   #15
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Originally Posted by HOG WILD BBQ View Post
How do you keep the skin from pulling off???
that is the $64,000.00 question isntt it?
when u find out let me
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