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    Chicken

    So let's start with a game of chicken. Many teams take thighs, and only thighs, put them in a pan, perhaps even cupcake pans, and poach or braise them in butter or margarine. Then maybe they will be taken out and finished over high heat on a grill. The results are absolutely wonderful. Soooooo, if KCBS is all about traditional Southern Barbecue, how does poached/braised thighs only demonstrate that skill? Could I take chicken and put it in a ziplock bag, suck out the air, place it in a pot of water at say 155, and sous vide it for an hour so it is safe, then take it out and give it a little exposure to flame to bake in the sauce, and enter that? Sounds legal to me. Bet it would KILL! Gas smokers are banned because they are not traditional and they are too easy (but pellet smokers are allowed). Has KCBS lost its way? Has KCBS lost its head?

    #2
    I agree 100%. KCBS has lost its way. It seems to be more about show than substance, with little consistnecy to it's sole purpose. Barbecue should be required to be intact pieces, except in the case of pulled pork or chicken, NO doctoring. Think about it- you get disqualified for shaping your meat like a star or a "1" in the presentation box, but you can square up your boneless thigh into a loaf and taxidermy the skin and blanket your chicken loaf with it, and it's considered not only legal barbecue, but A WINNER! I disagree. I would love to start a new BBQ society with old-school technique, rules & methods only.

    Comment


      #3
      Sterling Ball's King of the Smokers event comes close to an ideal set of rules.

      Comment


        #4
        Completely agree with the point on pellet smokers! If anything those are easier to cook on then a gas rig. All you need is a 120v outlet and an index finger. I would love to see kcbs change to charcoal or stick burners only. Be fantastic to see everyone at there pit at all hours of the night

        Comment


          #5
          Originally posted by Bigguns2705 View Post
          Completely agree with the point on pellet smokers! If anything those are easier to cook on then a gas rig. All you need is a 120v outlet and an index finger. I would love to see kcbs change to charcoal or stick burners only. Be fantastic to see everyone at there pit at all hours of the night
          I agree. I'm not trying to start hate mail from readers, but I'm not sure why pellet smokers are allowed at KCBS, like you say point, click & fill. But if I judge, and something tastes like it's oven-baked with a teeny amount of smoke, it's quite likely a pellet smoker. You can taste the difference. Some prefer that difference, but not this cowboy. Not at a BBQ competition anyway.

          Comment


          • Gunderich_1
            Gunderich_1 commented
            Editing a comment
            Aaron, let me ask you this: what about Weber's or WSM's with the Digi Q or some variation there of? Doesn't that do somewhat the same as a pellet smoker? Just asking because of a discussion locally between me and some friends talking about this very thing. I haven't got one because I'm not sure they are worth it, depending on which reviews you read.... Anyway, am I being too old school by wanting to control my fire the old fashioned way? And yes I do have good thermometers so I guess I'm not that old school. Looking forward to everyone's feedback especially since I am getting ready to get into some local competitions. Doing a lot of research. Thanks all.

          • Huskee
            Huskee commented
            Editing a comment
            I'd have to agree with you there Gunderich. The only difference is with the DigiQ and a kettle or a WSM you're still using charcoal & wood, not an entirely automated rig. Again, I don't mean to fuel the fire (pun intended) of debate among pellet heads, I'm just saying the satisfaction I get from doing it old school is what I prefer. If a knob and a dial is not allowed at a competition (gas smoker) why is a knob and a dial allowed on a pellet rig? Pellets aren't traditional. I say either make ALL cookers/fuels allowed and judge the finished product, or ONLY allow charcoal and wood chunks (no pellets).

          #6
          I think MH speaks with forked tongue on this. After all, how many lines of text has he devoted to telling us that BBQ is a very, very big umbrella?

          Comment


          • Meathead
            Meathead commented
            Editing a comment
            Yes, I admit there is some contradiction. I have no problem calling braised chicken in a smoker and then hot grilled "barbecue". What I am critical of is KCBS and their contradictions. No gas or electric because it is not traditional, but pellets are OK. Thermostat controllers are OK. And then the cooks all go around telling us they are upholding the great American age old tradition of barbecue. Competition barbecue is as far from traditional barbecue as is grilling hot dogs on a hibachi.

          • boftx
            boftx commented
            Editing a comment
            Personally, I think that if electricity is involved then it shouldn't be allowed with the arguable exception of thermometers. Hell, half the fun of BBQ for me comes from knowing I tended that fire the whole time to produce good food. When it comes right down to it, that's a large portion of the skill involved in good BBQ.

            I'd be willing to enter a competition where the rules state that the entry booth will take the temps and reject anything under a safe temperature if one wanted a really "traditional" BBQ cook off without the use of any modern gadgets such as a Maverick or Thermapen.

          #7
          I agree with MH here. Why pellets and not gas. I switched to gas because I could not afford a quality charcoal smoker when I started. I stayed because the results speak for themselves. I've won numerous backyard cook offs with my gasser. I know that does not compare to KCBS comps but my gas smoker has beaten WSMs, BGEs, as well as stick burners.

          Comment


            #8
            I am competing in November in my first KCBS (or any other sanctioned) event in Plant City, FL.

            http://www.plantcity.org/Plant%20City%20Pig%20Jam.cfm

            Am excited to compete; will be entering the backyard division. Hopefully, my brother from AZ, who has taken Harry Soo's class in CA will be there to help me. His daughter is due two weeks prior so if she is close to her due date, he will be able to attend. Will have my kids helping as well.
            I have a big cooker that I will be using for the event. My plan right now is to start the brisket and butts within an hour of each other. I am going to use my Weber with the Party Q and Smokenator for the ribs. I have done ribs twice on the big cooker and was not happy with the temp control and the hot spots. The Weber et al will give me perfect temp control. I will do the chicken at 325 after the brisket and butts are of the smoker resting. I plan on doing drumsticks just to be a bit different. I may just defer to my brother and have him do the chicken. Still up in the air at this point. We can sell food so I plan on doing 4-6 butts and doing sandwiches with an East Carolina sauce (my favorite).

            Should be interesting. Will be competing against a team of scout dads (in our troop) that I know; the trash talk has already started.

            Comment


              #9
              Sounds great, please document with pictures and SHARE!

              Comment


                #10
                Good luck and have fun. as Aaron said Pictures and commentary will be appreciated.

                Barry

                Comment


                  #11
                  We have competed in KCBS events and done well. Even got a perfect score on brisket at the WV KCBS a couple of years ago using Meatheads rub and recommendations! My BBQ mentor and another friend used to compete, however, none of us currently compete right now. Let me add that we all did very well, with a number of top 10's. I will say that we had a blast and met some of the finest people on earth as our competitors. We've made lifelong friendships. BUT, for the effort provided and the qualifcations of some of the judges, we put our competition on hold. As Meathead and others have said, we don't cook at home like we do in comps. No, I don't cook thighs in cupcake tins for my friends and family! My mentor took a KCBS judging class and was surprised to find that several in the glass don't even own a grill! So how can they be qualified to judge us, that spend $1000 plus on an event (Wagu brisket and such), stay up overnight to cook, and practice for several weekends prior? KCBS has recently required those that want to be master judges to cook with a team. My friend invited a husband and wife to do so in a recent event. They were required to stay up and mind the cooker, cook, make the presentation boxes etc. They also helped pick which brisket, etc would be turned in (they cooked multiple cuts as we usually do). In short, the master judges were very happy with what got turned in. They were floored when my friend finished mid pack at the comp. I think that this is a step in the right direction by KCBS that all judges shoud have to do. So I'll end this rant by saying, for now, if we're going to put $1K into a cook, we now invite all of our friends and family over, do our best, and let them all judge our food. We've never finished out of the top 10 yet! I will also add, for those wanting to compete, that we likely will compete again, and as I said above, made a ton of friends. Do it, but don't quit your day job! We cook for fun, not blue ribbons.
                  Last edited by Chillin' n Negrillin'; July 31, 2014, 11:37 AM.

                  Comment


                    #12
                    Great post! Thrilled to hear you did well with my rub recipe. Shocked to hear that some judges don't own grills, but now that you mention it, I can see it happening. There is so much KCBS does will and so much room for improvement. Look at how far it has come in 10 years. Where will it be in 5?

                    Comment


                      #13
                      I can see where it is reasonable that a judge might not own a pit. After all, you don't have to know how to cook to know what tastes good.

                      That said, it is perfectly reasonable to ask that a judge understand everything that goes into putting an entry into the box!

                      Comment


                      • Meathead
                        Meathead commented
                        Editing a comment
                        Good point! But one would wish they had some experience.

                      #14
                      I only know competition bbq from TV, but what always irked me was how much goes into the visual presentation. I get the whole eating with your eyes, but if I have 20 points to give to presentation and taste, 1 goes to presentation and 19 goes to taste.

                      I'll add that I don't care where that taste comes from, if you can make a winning taste on a gasser or a hotplate go for it.
                      Last edited by _John_; August 3, 2014, 07:22 AM.

                      Comment


                      • Meathead
                        Meathead commented
                        Editing a comment
                        When I set up the scoring system for the First Kingsford Invitational, the world's richest pot, I used a one number system. Food scientists know that if you add up points you don't get an accurate appraisal. You don't rate an orchestra by giving points to the woodwinds, strings, percussion, etc. It is the OVERALL impression that matters. So that's how we did it. One number for overall impression. If appearance means a lot to you, well then let that figure in your thinking. It is a well known system developed by the Army of all things for their procurement at the Natick Research Center. It is called the Hedonic scale. Again, a concept very well known to sensory scientists but unknown to BBQ judging events.

                      • _John_
                        _John_ commented
                        Editing a comment
                        What would you think of a scoring system along the lines of: for each protein you get 100 points to spend across entries, you are free to break them down as you wish.

                      #15
                      Originally posted by John View Post
                      ...

                      I'll add that I don't care where that taste comes from, if you can make a winning taste on a gasser or a hotplate go for it.

                      I concur

                      Comment


                      • Meathead
                        Meathead commented
                        Editing a comment
                        Ditto for me.

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