MMMM.. BRISKET..
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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 08-11-2019, 12:18 PM   #1
thirdeye
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Talking Full Rehearsal For Our First Competition

6 or 8 months ago two of my friends and I decided to enter our local KCBS competition in September. Thanks everyone for all the advice, both online and in PMs, and once again I'm glad there are so many archived threads with solid information. We've done some single meat practice cooks along the way but Thursday/Friday we did the full meal deal using the KCBS timetable. We each picked a meat to sort of take the lead on, then flipped a coin for the last one (chicken). I wound up with brisket and chicken. Other than being tired and a little rummy from staying up all night, we pulled it off. We only cooked one brisket, one butt, two racks of ribs and 12 thighs. All the photos of the turn-in boxes were taken after the food sat in the boxes for 25 minutes. The other chicken photos were after 10 or 12 minutes to cool down slightly. We have our own critiques, and input from 4 or 5 tasters, but I'm open for any comments and suggestions and thanks for looking.









Here are some of the thigh samples, as I've been mindful of having good skin



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Old 08-11-2019, 06:12 PM   #2
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I spritz my boxes with a, Zep sprayer from the hardware store, that has HOT water in it. This seems to make the meat look a little shiner and moist.
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Old 08-11-2019, 08:36 PM   #3
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Yep, I use the 16 oz. ones from NAPA. Top notch.
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Old 08-11-2019, 08:50 PM   #4
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Maybe try to get the thighs all the same size. I know easier said than done. I only include the burnt ends if they are perfect and melt in your mouth. Everything looks pretty darn good though.
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Old 08-12-2019, 08:05 AM   #5
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Maybe try to get the thighs all the same size. I know easier said than done. I only include the burnt ends if they are perfect and melt in your mouth. Everything looks pretty darn good though.
Easier said than done is an understatement, we'll cook 16 and hope for the best. Many have advised to leave the burnt ends out, and I think we'll go that route because I have judged way more burnt ends that are above average than excellent.
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Old 08-12-2019, 09:08 AM   #6
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I'd put 2 more ribs in the box. 4 more if you can squeeze it but not always possible. Full boxes always looks better. Try spritzing with apple juice.
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Old 08-12-2019, 09:14 AM   #7
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Boxes look nice Some will carefully brush some juice on to give them that nice moist almost shiny look
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Old 08-12-2019, 09:30 AM   #8
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Quote:
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I'd put 2 more ribs in the box. 4 more if you can squeeze it but not always possible. Full boxes always looks better. Try spritzing with apple juice.
Agreed. The rib guy originally planned on a 6 rib diagonal arrangement, but they were too wide. He also went too thick on the kale making the top row almost too high.
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Old 08-12-2019, 09:35 AM   #9
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Quote:
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Boxes look nice Some will carefully brush some juice on to give them that nice moist almost shiny look
In the 25 minutes, the sauce on the chicken and the burnt ends held up the best. They were misted with water after adding some finishing rub. The sauce on the upper row of ribs and on the pork changed considerably, I don't think either of those guys misted their boxes.... I need to ask.
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Old 08-12-2019, 04:55 PM   #10
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Your chicken looks great. The rest........ not so much. I'm being honest here. Ribs need some shine. Pork... scrap the whole layout. It's not gonna score. And shine it up with some sauce too. Line up your slices like you would brisket slices in a row and neatly place whatever else you are going to put in along side of it. Unless it's just the photo, the brisket looks dark and the specs of stuff on the slices are affect how appetizing it looks to me.





I know it's not what you want to hear..... but it's as nice as I could put it.
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Old 08-12-2019, 06:10 PM   #11
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OK... Remember that letting me look at pictures gives me more time to pick nits

Chicken - I agree with the suggestions about size. Not only does it look better in the box, but they cook more evenly. Odds are that the small thigh was cooked more than the larger ones. Also, it is hard to tell from a picture, but the sauce looks thick. If it was in person, try thinning it out a bit.

Ribs - The color looks good, but they could use a little more shine. Also, I think the box looks better if the ribs are from the same rack. It doesn’t look like that is the case, but sometimes you can’t do that and put your best food in the box. I also prefer a full box, but, again, don’t do it if that means putting in less than perfect ribs.

Pork - I am not a fan of the layout. Plus, it looks flat and dull. The pulled in the very middle looks to be shredded and appears over done.

Brisket - I agree with the other comments. The front slice looks to have a line on it where the knife may have been drawn back or sawed?
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Old 08-13-2019, 12:22 AM   #12
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Quote:
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Your chicken looks great. The rest........ not so much. I'm being honest here. Ribs need some shine. Pork... scrap the whole layout. It's not gonna score. And shine it up with some sauce too. Line up your slices like you would brisket slices in a row and neatly place whatever else you are going to put in along side of it. Unless it's just the photo, the brisket looks dark and the specs of stuff on the slices are affect how appetizing it looks to me.

I know it's not what you want to hear..... but it's as nice as I could put it.
Honesty is what I'm after. I wish I had taken some photos at the time of boxing because we waited 20 or so minutes to sample and took the photos then, to see and taste what the judges would. Things do change.... The front ribs originally had the same shine as the rear ribs, but that went away. The pork guy had a couple of reference photos to go by, but the slices were not uniform in shape so he ad-libed at the last minute. The sauce on the pork also faded over the 20 minutes in the box. The brisket is dark as I tried to avoid a pale dry look by mixing sauce with aujus on the cutting board. That streak on the leading piece of brisket was from the basting brush, and again was not noticeable when boxed, but it sure was after some time. Here is the previous test brisket, it looked dry and I was trying to change that.



Quote:
Originally Posted by Ron_L View Post
OK... Remember that letting me look at pictures gives me more time to pick nits

Chicken - I agree with the suggestions about size. Not only does it look better in the box, but they cook more evenly. Odds are that the small thigh was cooked more than the larger ones. Also, it is hard to tell from a picture, but the sauce looks thick. If it was in person, try thinning it out a bit.

Ribs - The color looks good, but they could use a little more shine. Also, I think the box looks better if the ribs are from the same rack. It doesn’t look like that is the case, but sometimes you can’t do that and put your best food in the box. I also prefer a full box, but, again, don’t do it if that means putting in less than perfect ribs.

Pork - I am not a fan of the layout. Plus, it looks flat and dull. The pulled in the very middle looks to be shredded and appears over done.

Brisket - I agree with the other comments. The front slice looks to have a line on it where the knife may have been drawn back or sawed?
The sauce was thinned and I was pleased with the look on the chicken, but the sizing changed more than I expected after cooking.

Those ribs were from the same rack, but I agree 4 on 4 would have a better choice.

The pork guy changed the layout on the fly because of the irregular shape of the slices. And yes, the color changed to flat but it was the same sauce as used on the chicken. All of the pulled came from the horn muscles and was quite good.

I think the streak on the leading brisket slice was a brush mark, I used a 12" slicer with one pull per slice, then the slices were dunked in aujus, then brushed with sauce before being boxed, and lastly... touched up after boxing. That good night kiss didn't work I guess.

The reality check for all of us was how the appearance changes in 20 or 25 minutes of box time. I regret not taking before and after photos, but the bottom line is photos don't lie.
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Old 08-13-2019, 07:58 AM   #13
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Chicken - Although there is no rule in KCBS that all pieces in the box should be the same size, to me it is a quality the cook has an opportunity to shine. I don't automatically mark down for it but it becomes part of the overall thought.
Looks very tasty, good color and shine. Your bite pictures show perfect doneness. Above average 7

Ribs - Little dry looking (doesn't have to be sauced) nice clean cuts, it looks pretty minimalistic. Above average 7 (average 6 is highly possible).

Pork - Finishing rub on slices make them seem even dryer than they look. Fan slices like they were cut will hold moisture and look more natural. As I'm talking samples I'll take one slice, one tube bundle, and some pulled. You only boxed 5 tube samples (completely legal) but do you want to risk ticking off judge #6?
Average 6 might consider above average 7.

Brisket - Great color, nice slices, moist square ends. Only thing I would change is maybe tumble square ends instead of lining them up which only highlights the difference in size. Very good 8.
Your on the right track! Good luck.
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Old 08-13-2019, 09:04 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ModelMaker View Post
Chicken - Although there is no rule in KCBS that all pieces in the box should be the same size, to me it is a quality the cook has an opportunity to shine. I don't automatically mark down for it but it becomes part of the overall thought.
Looks very tasty, good color and shine. Your bite pictures show perfect doneness. Above average 7

Ribs - Little dry looking (doesn't have to be sauced) nice clean cuts, it looks pretty minimalistic. Above average 7 (average 6 is highly possible).

Pork - Finishing rub on slices make them seem even dryer than they look. Fan slices like they were cut will hold moisture and look more natural. As I'm talking samples I'll take one slice, one tube bundle, and some pulled. You only boxed 5 tube samples (completely legal) but do you want to risk ticking off judge #6?
Average 6 might consider above average 7.

Brisket - Great color, nice slices, moist square ends. Only thing I would change is maybe tumble square ends instead of lining them up which only highlights the difference in size. Very good 8.
Your on the right track! Good luck.
Ed


For the chicken practice runs, I've been sorting and packaging the trimmed chicken like ^ this ^ and following the cooking I even do slight corrections to the trim before dunking in sauce. I'm improving but consistent sizing is tough.

Our plan is to have each of us be responsible for one meat start to finish, and another option for the pork slices none of us thought of until later was to slice, then put the slices back together in sort of a loaf shape. And for the competition we are cooking two butts.

I'm pretty much convinced that the competition brisket box will be all slices so we will cook two hand trimmed flats and save the points for another day. This is my second practice brisket box, so the temptation to put burnt ends in there was pretty great.
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