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View Full Version : Food and Drink NFT: Food - BBQ Competition


damaticous
08-18-2008, 02:42 PM
I will be competing in my first BBQ competition this weekend. With all BBQers on the board I'm sure some of you have participated in competitions so I wanted to pick your brains.

I have read the rules and know them by heart. I have practiced, practiced and practiced. There are really only two things I'm concerned about.

1. Timing. I still don't have my timing down pat.
2. Turn in Boxes. I know I should have practiced, but I haven't. :)

Anwyay, I was curious if anyone had any tips for a virgin BBQ Competitor.

Thanks in advanced.

first in with antifreeze. :)

Demonpenz
08-18-2008, 02:46 PM
step 1 is to make sure your ribs are properly boiled

damaticous
08-18-2008, 02:50 PM
step 1 is to make sure your ribs are properly boiled

Boiled. :) disqualified for boiling ribs per KCBS rules.

Fire Me Boy!
08-18-2008, 02:55 PM
Make sure you're stocked up on liquid smoke and the oven is pre-heated.

And whatever you do, do NOT reverse-BBQ anything.

Fire Me Boy!
08-18-2008, 02:57 PM
In all seriousness... never been in a competition. The one thing I'd say is don't listen to anyone who says that championship sauce is KC Masterpiece and Honey. That shit is nasty.

tooge
08-18-2008, 03:03 PM
In all seriousness... never been in a competition. The one thing I'd say is don't listen to anyone who says that championship sauce is KC Masterpiece and Honey. That shit is nasty.

We tried that a few years back at Shawnee and took 11th in ribs. Not my fav, but the judges dug it. Just sayin.

You could check my teams web site (google "porkubbq") and look at the pics. I will try to post a good one for ya. As far as times, try 3-2-1 for the ribs. Thats 3 hours smoked, 2 hours foiled, and one hour with sauce to carmelize without foil all at about 225 degrees.
For brisket and butt, use 195 degrees as a starting point, but use "fork tenderness" as the real test to see if it is done. If it feels like inserting the fork into room temp butter, then it is perfect.

tooge
08-18-2008, 03:05 PM
here is one recent turn in of brisket

tooge
08-18-2008, 03:08 PM
here is one recent turn in of brisket

Here is another of chicken. It was a bit dark, but scored in the top third

tooge
08-18-2008, 03:10 PM
why was that first one so small? Must.....try.....again.....

tooge
08-18-2008, 03:10 PM
why was that first one so small? Must.....try.....again.....

I suck!

keg in kc
08-18-2008, 03:13 PM
I suck!Well, that explains how you got into the top third. Anything to win!

damaticous
08-18-2008, 03:33 PM
We tried that a few years back at Shawnee and took 11th in ribs. Not my fav, but the judges dug it. Just sayin.

You could check my teams web site (google "porkubbq") and look at the pics. I will try to post a good one for ya. As far as times, try 3-2-1 for the ribs. Thats 3 hours smoked, 2 hours foiled, and one hour with sauce to carmelize without foil all at about 225 degrees.
For brisket and butt, use 195 degrees as a starting point, but use "fork tenderness" as the real test to see if it is done. If it feels like inserting the fork into room temp butter, then it is perfect.

I dont' do the 3-2-1 method for my ribs. From what I've seen it makes the ribs too tender for competition. I will start do this at home though.

Right now I stick my ribs in my smoker (Chargriller Smokin Pro) with foil under them (for easier cleanup) for about 6-7 hours until they look done and are past 165 degrees.

I don't use any sauce. My rub is pretty stout. I would like to make a sauce but it would have to complement and not over power my rub...which will be difficult.

I will use my WSM for my brisket and Pork butt. I will most likely only use one pork butt (I think it will end up being a mistake), and 1 brisket flat and one packer brisket. I'm a little nervous about having 2 available briskets but only one butt.

I have only smoked chicken legs and have only done it twice. Both times they turned out really well with a good color. I will do thighs for the competition though. Since it's my first competition I'm going to concentration more on the ribs and brisket than the other two.

If I do well I might do the Jesse James Festival competition too. lower payouts but it's more about the fun and love of BBQn anyway. :)

Your turn in boxes are nice. I hope mine look that good. That's the girlfriends job though. I think she'll do better at it than I would.

tooge
08-18-2008, 05:17 PM
Just a thought. We didn't use any sauce for the first two years or so either. We wanted to have "pure" bbq, and thought our homemade rub should carry the food. We scored fairly well. We then spoke to one of the national teams (squeal of approval) and they said that here in KC we should always use sauce, and a fair amount of it. Well, we started, and for the most part, the scores got better. You might try it next time out

damaticous
08-18-2008, 06:58 PM
Just a thought. We didn't use any sauce for the first two years or so either. We wanted to have "pure" bbq, and thought our homemade rub should carry the food. We scored fairly well. We then spoke to one of the national teams (squeal of approval) and they said that here in KC we should always use sauce, and a fair amount of it. Well, we started, and for the most part, the scores got better. You might try it next time out

I'm glad to hear that there are other people out there that has done the "no sauce" thing.

You are probably right. Sauce in KC is probably the way to go. I would really like to make some that complement and not over power my rub too much. That'll probably be my winter project. :)

Phobia
08-18-2008, 08:49 PM
I no-sauced my ribs as a guest cooker on tooge's team. They placed 183rd out of 6487 entries or at least somewhere near that many entries. All I know is they were 183rd and there were a lot of entries. They were definitely World-Class.

Seriously though, I like my ribs a little more tender than that but they were done "by the book" in terms of firmness and still didn't win. I've become convinced that the judges were tired when they got to mine or maybe a pretty girl walked by....

RJ
08-18-2008, 09:01 PM
Just a thought. We didn't use any sauce for the first two years or so either. We wanted to have "pure" bbq, and thought our homemade rub should carry the food. We scored fairly well. We then spoke to one of the national teams (squeal of approval) and they said that here in KC we should always use sauce, and a fair amount of it. Well, we started, and for the most part, the scores got better. You might try it next time out


When in Rome, huh?

Personally I prefer my ribs dry and with a sauce on the side. I guess what would do well in Memphis might not go over in KC.

RJ
08-18-2008, 09:03 PM
Also, out of curiosity, if the ribs are sauced should a less aggressive rub be used?

tooge
08-19-2008, 08:55 AM
Dont get me wrong, I'm no expert. In about 5 years of doing these comps, we have one 1 ribbon and 3 top 20 finishes. But in our experience, a somewhat spicy rub with a somewhat sweet sauce seems to have been how we scored well. Also, our scores have been better when the ribs were a bit "overdone" by judging standards. They really aren't supposed to fall off the bone at comps, but when they do they have scored well.

Stewie
08-19-2008, 10:05 AM
In all seriousness... never been in a competition. The one thing I'd say is don't listen to anyone who says that championship sauce is KC Masterpiece and Honey. That shit is nasty.

I've never used that combination, but I know teams that have and done well.

Rule 1) Don't let your own tastes/biases get in the way of what the judges are looking for. Just because your drinking buddies think your Q is great doesn't mean a thing in competition.

Fire Me Boy!
08-19-2008, 10:10 AM
I've never used that combination, but I know teams that have and done well.

Rule 1) Don't let your own tastes/biases get in the way of what the judges are looking for. Because your drinking buddies think your Q is great doesn't mean a thing in competition.

I know that what what I like has nothing to do with competition Q. But I stand by my assessment that that concoction of Masterpiece and honey is garbage.

And any judge that thinks that shit is good has NO place judging BBQ. :harumph:

Fire Me Boy!
08-19-2008, 10:11 AM
On a side note... I judged Q for three years in a row a while ago. LOVED it. What fun.

MOhillbilly
08-19-2008, 10:18 AM
offset heat,oil,cider vinegar and foil are your friends. chisel that in stone.

in my mind as long as it smokes your o.k. cause if its gettin close to eating time and its not done, you can ALWAYS add fuel to the fire.
if it turns into to much work you aint doin it right.

Stewie
08-19-2008, 10:25 AM
I know that what what I like has nothing to do with competition Q. But I stand by my assessment that that concoction of Masterpiece and honey is garbage.

And any judge that thinks that shit is good has NO place judging BBQ. :harumph:

You made your point. I don't really care about Masterpiece and honey. I was pointing out that it's been successful for some teams.

As for judges? They're mostly a joke. I know a few and they have no business judging competitions and one admitted that his scoring was very arbitrary. Of course, how could it not be?

boogblaster
08-19-2008, 10:32 AM
Smoke-Foil-Sause... make sure to cut your brisket thin, it should pull about 1/2 inch before it tears ....

MOhillbilly
08-19-2008, 10:38 AM
ive never done a comp. but for me as far as taste. if you get ribs to tender they can have a greasy texture to the touch. and for what i like and my clan seems to enjoy sweet heat with a vinegar base sauce is the way to go,but i dont like to much sugar to soon on the open flame for obvious reasons.

tooge
08-19-2008, 10:41 AM
You made your point. I don't really care about Masterpiece and honey. I was pointing out that it's been successful for some teams.

As for judges? They're mostly a joke. I know a few and they have no business judging competitions and one admitted that his scoring was very arbitrary. Of course, how could it not be?

That's right. I took the KCBS judging class. what they tell you to look for and what the judges really look for are two different things. For example, the comp we are doing this weeekend in Paola sent out an e mail asking if anyone wanted to volunteer a friend for judging cause they are short. So, some guys and gals are gonna judge my BBQ that have never been told exactly what we as contestants are supposed to be striving for. As a result, if it is sweet and falling off the bone, the judges like it. As for the KC masterpiece and honey, it isn't my favorite, but it does well at comps cause it is so sweet. I prefer a tomato and molasses base mixed about 50/50 with apricot or peach jelly

Dartgod
08-19-2008, 10:54 AM
That's right. I took the KCBS judging class. what they tell you to look for and what the judges really look for are two different things. For example, the comp we are doing this weeekend in Paola sent out an e mail asking if anyone wanted to volunteer a friend for judging cause they are short. So, some guys and gals are gonna judge my BBQ that have never been told exactly what we as contestants are supposed to be striving for. As a result, if it is sweet and falling off the bone, the judges like it. As for the KC masterpiece and honey, it isn't my favorite, but it does well at comps cause it is so sweet. I prefer a tomato and molasses base mixed about 50/50 with apricot or peach jelly
This is why KCBS sanctioned events should be limited. Every small town around now has a KCBS sanctioned "State Championship".

I was in Warsaw a couple of years ago with a friend and was asked to be a judge because they were short a few people. I had no idea what the criteria for judging was, so I passed. It cheapens the "product" (KCBS) IMO.

Stewie
08-19-2008, 11:01 AM
That's right. I took the KCBS judging class. what they tell you to look for and what the judges really look for are two different things. For example, the comp we are doing this weeekend in Paola sent out an e mail asking if anyone wanted to volunteer a friend for judging cause they are short. So, some guys and gals are gonna judge my BBQ that have never been told exactly what we as contestants are supposed to be striving for. As a result, if it is sweet and falling off the bone, the judges like it. As for the KC masterpiece and honey, it isn't my favorite, but it does well at comps cause it is so sweet. I prefer a tomato and molasses base mixed about 50/50 with apricot or peach jelly

Good luck with your BBQ this weekend. I'm hoping I'll be at Shawnee this year. The team will be, but I may be out of town.

The only thing we sauce is chicken just to give it a kick. The rest we just mop. It's not like we've done great in comps. We just don't compete enough to get the feel for what works and what doesn't in the judges' eyes.

I did notice one thing in our last competition. The top teams will not turn in against each other. One of the gals from Squeal of Approval was standing outside waiting to turn her food in. We watched her as she counted entries going in and sized up the competition. When she knew she'd be the sixth entry on a table of hackers she jumped in with her entry. Pretty sneaky... well, smart actually.

damaticous
08-19-2008, 06:20 PM
Smoke-Foil-Sause... make sure to cut your brisket thin, it should pull about 1/2 inch before it tears ....

I've been having problems with that. I don't have a "carving" knife. I only have a 8 " slender knife.

What kind of knife do you use to get thin slices? The little 8" knife I have makes it really difficult to get a good thin slice.

Fire Me Boy!
08-19-2008, 06:23 PM
I do just fine with my 8" chef's knife. The thing is you want to rest the mean, the knife needs to be VERY sharp, and you want to use as few strokes of the blade as possible. Use the entire length of the blade to slice and let the weight of the knife do the work - don't press down.

damaticous
08-19-2008, 06:25 PM
This is why KCBS sanctioned events should be limited. Every small town around now has a KCBS sanctioned "State Championship".

I was in Warsaw a couple of years ago with a friend and was asked to be a judge because they were short a few people. I had no idea what the criteria for judging was, so I passed. It cheapens the "product" (KCBS) IMO.

I agree. There should only be KCBS judges. I can understand when they are short handed. Sheesh there are so many competitions and only so many judges. but it would make it a lot more consistent with only qualified judges.

I had a friend that took a BBQ judge class about a month ago and gave me some pointers as to what the judges look for. Hopefully they are right????

Ribs - Should be able to take a bite and pull just that bite from the bone. The bone should dry almost immediately and be white.

Brisket - Should pull about 1/2 inch before breaking apart.

I forgot what the other requirements are...

Any tips for you past/present judges as to what you look for/at?

TopJet2
08-19-2008, 09:34 PM
I agree. There should only be KCBS judges. I can understand when they are short handed. Sheesh there are so many competitions and only so many judges. but it would make it a lot more consistent with only qualified judges.

I had a friend that took a BBQ judge class about a month ago and gave me some pointers as to what the judges look for. Hopefully they are right????

Ribs - Should be able to take a bite and pull just that bite from the bone. The bone should dry almost immediately and be white.

Brisket - Should pull about 1/2 inch before breaking apart.

I forgot what the other requirements are...

Any tips for you past/present judges as to what you look for/at?




My wife and I organize an event in Allen County and we are going to be sanctioned next year. We went and observed a contest in Burlington and went through all the motions with the judges and so forth. That events judging was taken pretty seriously. At one point one of the table leaders was joking around and making a ruckus and one of the other table leaders scolded them "Can we settle down, theres meat in the room!" I thought it was funny. Personal taste is not supposed to be taken into consideration when judging. I dont really see how that one is possible though. Some of the judges did say however that even though only six helpings are required if you get more in the box they typically will judge higher since they get to take home any leftovers.

shaneo69
08-19-2008, 09:44 PM
I did a competition a couple years ago in Hermann, MO, and after the team captains' meeting, one of the guys actually took his styrofoam turn-in meat container in the restroom at the park and was holding it in one hand as he pissed with his other hand.

No way I'll ever judge one of these contests after seeing that.

Phobia
08-19-2008, 10:55 PM
I did a competition a couple years ago in Hermann, MO, and after the team captains' meeting, one of the guys actually took his styrofoam turn-in meat container in the restroom at the park and was holding it in one hand as he pissed with his other hand.

No way I'll ever judge one of these contests after seeing that.

I'll bet it was that nasty Rufus Dawes. Did he pee in the box or something?

damaticous
08-24-2008, 02:41 PM
Was in Harrisonville for my first BBQ comp. Fun experience and plan on doing it again. totally f'd up my meat though. undercooked my ribs by 2-3 hours, and WAYYYYY overcooked my brisket and pork butt by about 4 hours. Girlfriend did really well with the boxes and made the meat look better than it was. She f'd up on the Ribs though. the box was upside down. lol.

I got my himen broke though and we both learned a lot.

1. I went and setup and cooked the meat all by myself. Pain in the ass. Next time I will have some help.

2. G/f got there around 9 AM Saturday and made boxes. Did a good job.

3. We both learned a lot.

4. I suck when bbqing and being awake for 36 hours. Was too tired to care. I think if I had someone there with me to help me cook and take turns sleeping it would have been a lot better.

5. Was the worse bbq meat that I have ever cooked. I wouldn't have fed it to my dog. But i did give a lot of it to my father. lol.

6. The only good thing that came out of it was my pork. Overcooked, way too tender, but scored better than anything else. Came in about 24th out of 52 teams. Best score I had.

Got DAL in total points. lol

It was a great experience and have learned a lot. I'm 100% positive that I will do better next time. I think if I cooked one of my average BBQ's I'd come in at least 30th (if not better) in total points out of the 52 that were there.

I don't use BBQ sauce but did this time. I'm glad i did. It gave me better scores than I would have otherwise. The GF and I will concentrate on making a good BBQ sauce this winter that compliments my rub.

Speaking of my rub. I knew it when I made it...but I made it too hot. I won't use that recipe for future competitions.

Overall had a great time, not too dissapointed in the score being my first time, learned a lot, more tiring than I thought it would be, wish I had help instead of just myself, wish I had more WSM's instead of 1 chargriller pro, and 1 WSM, interesting that there were other people cooking on Chargriller's I thought it was just used as a beginner smoker, lots of very nice smokers, lots of WSM's, fun, everyone is fun and interesting to be around, learned a lot, and will do it again. Hopefully I will learn better timing over the next year.

Thank you again for showing your turn in boxes. It helped my gf and I in making ours.

RJ
08-24-2008, 03:37 PM
damaticous, which meats did you cook on the wsm?

damaticous
08-25-2008, 10:40 AM
damaticous, which meats did you cook on the wsm?

I cooked 1 packer brisket and one flat, and 1 6 pound pork butt.

I wanted to put the big meat in the WSM since it keeps the heat better and longer. I cooked the Chicken and Ribs on the Chargriller.

Put the meat in the WSM at 8 PM and pulled it at 8 AM - Too long way overcooked.

Put the meat in the Chargriller at 3 AM and pulled at 10 AM. Way undercooked.

I accidently let the tempature get down to about 150 in the Chargriller at 6 AM cause I was sleeping. I was the only one there on my team at the time. It was a PITA. I know I will need more people next time so we can take turns watching the fires and sleeping.

tooge
08-25-2008, 11:20 AM
All that counts is you had fun. We ended up just into the top half overall at the Paola this weekend. I injected my butt and it was fairly salty. Still 37th out of 76, but too salty. Wont do that again. Always alot of fun though. I cant imagine trying one of these by myself. We have 6 guys, and sometimes you are still struggling to keep the fire right temp.

damaticous
08-25-2008, 01:34 PM
All that counts is you had fun. We ended up just into the top half overall at the Paola this weekend. I injected my butt and it was fairly salty. Still 37th out of 76, but too salty. Wont do that again. Always alot of fun though. I cant imagine trying one of these by myself. We have 6 guys, and sometimes you are still struggling to keep the fire right temp.

I did have fun, but was dissapointed that I didn't cook my meat to par.

I'm glad the gf came and did my boxes for me. Otherwise I probably wouldn't have been able to turn in only a couple meats. It was very hard doing it by myself and I hope I can get some help for the next one.