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Competition BBQ, judging and crackers

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sw2geeks

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Just got certified as a KCBS BBQ judge this weekend and did a story about it for the paper. If you eat just 1 ounce pieces of the BBQ that you are judging, you will have consumed two pounds of meat! It is a nice gig if you can get it. Here is a link to the story. There were over 50 teams competing this weekend here.
 

kalaeb

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That is alot of meat! Looks like great fun, how many competitions are there per year?

I need to make my way to Texas more often..

160 pics makes me hungry. Well done.
 

Dave Martell

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As I'm scrolling through the pictures I kept thinking I wonder what a good knife could do for their scores. :)

Thanks for sharing this Steve, cool stuff.
 

sw2geeks

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As I'm scrolling through the pictures I kept thinking I wonder what a good knife could do for their scores. :)

Thanks for sharing this Steve, cool stuff.
A $30 duo-edge roast slicer seemed to be the knife of choice.
 

HHH Knives

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Man, Now I'm hungry! Great pics and cool story. Thanks for sharing!

Dave, I was looking at the knives in the pics as well. and even cringed a few times.. lol :D
 

sw2geeks

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That is alot of meat! Looks like great fun, how many competitions are there per year?

I need to make my way to Texas more often..

160 pics makes me hungry. Well done.
The KCBS has over 400 sanctioned events each year nationally, in Texas I think the number is something like 5 to 10 KCBS events.
 

jmforge

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Dave, I have an old school buddy who competes and I asked him that very question. Apparently, presentation is a part of your score. A sharp knife willmake better cuts, especially one meat that is cooked to the point of falling apart, right?
I told him to let me know when the next big contest was, so I could check out what these guys are using. You figure that some of the big teams have smokers that are the size of an old travel trailer, so they are not shy about spending money on their hobby.
As I'm scrolling through the pictures I kept thinking I wonder what a good knife could do for their scores. :) These guys are dealy serious about their Cue. My buddy is ranked 2dn amongst the local competitors in Georgia, but he got his ass handed to him at a REALLY big competition he participated in recently where the serious guys from all over showed up.

Thanks for sharing this Steve, cool stuff.
 

jmforge

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A question for the judges and guys who have competed. My freind didmanage to place in the top ten in the chicken category in that big contest, but I get the impression that if you are not doing one of the "real" meats, those being ribs, brisket or pork shoulder, you might as well be competing in the junior girls division. Is that accurate?
 

mhlee

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Dave, I have an old school buddy who competes and I asked him that very question. Apparently, presentation is a part of your score. A sharp knife willmake better cuts, especially one meat that is cooked to the point of falling apart, right?
I told him to let me know when the next big contest was, so I could check out what these guys are using. You figure that some of the big teams have smokers that are the size of an old travel trailer, so they are not shy about spending money on their hobby.
I'm a KCBS Certified Judge and avid home barbecuer. I've judged a few competitions. No meat should be cooked to the point of falling apart; if it's falling apart, it's overcooked - it doesn't have any structure and the texture is mush.

Many teams that I've observed use electric knives. For ribs, most people will cut ribs so that they cut along the rib bones next to the one bone in the center, instead of through the meat, to allow for more meat to be eaten by the judge. Pork can be sliced or pulled; brisket is generally sliced, but some teams cut the deckle/point into chunks a la burnt ends. Chicken is usually left whole as most teams submit thighs.

IMHO, the hardest thing to cut is brisket because it will have a hard outer crust, i.e. bark, but can be extremely soft when cutting through the point/deckle, and firm when cutting the flat. The hardest part to cut through is the bark.
 

mhlee

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A question for the judges and guys who have competed. My freind didmanage to place in the top ten in the chicken category in that big contest, but I get the impression that if you are not doing one of the "real" meats, those being ribs, brisket or pork shoulder, you might as well be competing in the junior girls division. Is that accurate?
To qualify for the overall championship, a team must submit all four meats: chicken, ribs, pork and brisket. I've seen teams not compete in all four categories and they are allowed to compete in the categories they wish to under KCBS rules.

I haven't competed yet, so I haven't seen how other teams look at those teams that do not compete in all four categories. However, IMHO, the easiest meat to get good results from is pork shoulder. So I'm surprised that a team wouldn't compete in that category.

P.S. - There is usually a junior barbecue competition at larger competitions.
 

jmforge

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My friend got whooped at the Sam's Club event in Marietta. He said that one was a lot more competitive than the typical local contests. Using thighs for submission makes a lot of sense even to a guy like me who just eats chicken. When I buy cut pieces, that is all I buy. I am not a big breast meat fan. What is the advantage of only cooking part of the whole brisket? I have seen guys cleaning and cutting up a whole one at BBQ joints in Texas and i seem to recal that it had a fair amount of fat between the two muscles even after 12+ hours of cooking. It wasn't pretty, but wouldn't that help to "baste' the meat?
 

peterm

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Nice.
How did you get pictures during the judging? I thought you couldn't do that. At least here in New England with the control-freak rep in charge, that wouldn't work.
 

sw2geeks

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Nice.
How did you get pictures during the judging? I thought you couldn't do that. At least here in New England with the control-freak rep in charge, that wouldn't work.
I was told it was OK just as long as I did not take any pictures were you could identify the boxes during judging. That is showing the number on the box at a table or a real tight shot of the box with a judge.
 

mhlee

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My friend got whooped at the Sam's Club event in Marietta. He said that one was a lot more competitive than the typical local contests. Using thighs for submission makes a lot of sense even to a guy like me who just eats chicken. When I buy cut pieces, that is all I buy. I am not a big breast meat fan. What is the advantage of only cooking part of the whole brisket? I have seen guys cleaning and cutting up a whole one at BBQ joints in Texas and i seem to recal that it had a fair amount of fat between the two muscles even after 12+ hours of cooking. It wasn't pretty, but wouldn't that help to "baste' the meat?
I'm sure it does baste the meat. However, I haven't done an experiment to see how the two parts cook separately. Jim or Warren probably know better since they're more experienced cooks.

However, IMHO, there would be a few advantages to cooking the muscles separately: 1. The flat and the point cook differently and to be able to have both cooked perfectly at the same time, or close to the same time, has not happened when I've cooked a whole brisket; 2. There is a thick layer of fat between the muscles, and this is one UGLY piece of fat; it looks more like tripe than back fat and you shouldn't serve it with any competition level brisket - it's way to greasy, fatty and soft; and 3. You can trim off all ugly pieces of fat (see no. 2) prior to cooking so that youre presentation meats will look much better. I saw Adam Perry Lang of Daisy May's Barbecue on one barbecue competition tv program where he did exactly this.

I cooked a small brisket two weeks ago on my XL BGE and had the same issue. The flat portion of my brisket was slightly overcooked and my point/deckle was undercooked. Personally, I would never eat the flat if I had a choice. :muahaha:
 

jmforge

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The guy I saw "cleaning" a brisket in Texas basically split he thing and used his knife to scrape away the fat before he sliced the meat. It was some nasty looking stuff. "Globules" was the term that came to mind. I still say that boneless, skinless chicken breast is one of the most unappetizing looking of the commonly used uncooked proteins, but brisket has to be up there as far as cooked product goes. That brisket fat is like an ugly fish.....something that a customer should never see. LOL
I'm sure it does baste the meat. However, I haven't done an experiment to see how the two parts cook separately. Jim or Warren probably know better since they're more experienced cooks.

However, IMHO, there would be a few advantages to cooking the muscles separately: 1. The flat and the point cook differently and to be able to have both cooked perfectly at the same time, or close to the same time, has not happened when I've cooked a whole brisket; 2. There is a thick layer of fat between the muscles, and this is one UGLY piece of fat; it looks more like tripe than back fat and you shouldn't serve it with any competition level brisket - it's way to greasy, fatty and soft; and 3. You can trim off all ugly pieces of fat (see no. 2) prior to cooking so that youre presentation meats will look much better. I saw Adam Perry Lang of Daisy May's Barbecue on one barbecue competition tv program where he did exactly this.

I cooked a small brisket two weeks ago on my XL BGE and had the same issue. The flat portion of my brisket was slightly overcooked and my point/deckle was undercooked. Personally, I would never eat the flat if I had a choice. :muahaha:
 
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