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OT - Cert. BBQ Judges? Our chicken practice

ForniaFornia Posts: 451
edited 6:15AM in EggHead Forum
Been away from the forum for a while, hope folks are doing well. From the pictures I saw on the forum today, I know HornHonk and the gang had a great time this past weekend in Texas!

We've been doing more and more competition bbq practice and planning over the past few weeks. Our team is planning to make the 10hr. trek to a first time Competition/Festival in Western Maine in July. Mucho planning, practice, and prep before then! :blink: We will be cooking on at least one Egg at the comps. Can't wait to trek my large 1,000 miles back and forth to Maine. :blush:

A few of us got together this weekend and cooked thighs. We ended up building turn-in boxes, and then juding amongst ourselves. We only had one KCBS CBJ in attendance, as the others are all taking the class in 2 weeks here in PA.

Your thoughts, please? ANY and ALL help greatly appreciated!

First box with mix of green leaf and curly parsley. We know, 5 is illegal.....we cooked a ton, just didn't factor a sixth when we each cooked/built 'our own' boxes.

Second with Flat Parsley

Third with Curly Parsely


  • Misippi EggerMisippi Egger Posts: 5,095

    As a CBJ (KCBS), I think the boxes with curly parsley ('putting greens') look the best. As you know, garnish is not required and we are not supposed to count off for lack of it, but human nature just seems to influence the appearance score.

    IMO, I would try to get 6 pieces that look as similar in size and color as you can from those you cook. The last box has several pieces of different sizes.

    It looks like you are on the right track, especially if your team is getting KCBS CBJ certified - great idea!

    Good luck !
  • Little ChefLittle Chef Posts: 4,725
    Jason: You're on the right track! The last box in particular, is too 'saucy' for my preference. We're usually looking to taste meat, and not a bunch of sauce. Also work on uniformity! You want every piece to look the same, so some extra trimming would be in order. (Be careful not to trim too much skin! You don't want the skin shrinking up and looking like a postage stamp!) Also note, 6 pieces in the box is the minimum, but NOT the maximum allowed! This allows you to think out the box with 'garnish'. I prefer the look of the curley parsley, and beware of tender lettuces, as they can go limp if the chicken is hot in there too long. (I also think box #2 is cilantro, and be super careful not to mistake cilantro for flat leaf parsley! Cilantro is very pungeant, and is traditionally one of those herbs people either love, or totally hate). Practice makes perfect! Keep up the good work! :)
  • CrimsongatorCrimsongator Posts: 5,795
    Here are the shots of our thighs from the last comp we did. We are looking for 6 identical pieces. You can see on the top, several odd sized pieces (after cooking) that didn't make the cut. I was also very critical of some marks on the top of the skin that looked like grid marks or pieces that were lighter/darker than the others. Trust me it matters!

    Your sauce is way too thick with brush marks and the pieces are inconsistent in size. Work on your trimming prior to cooking to size things very closely (even to the point of being picky with what thighs you purchase)

    Good Luck with the comp!


  • Nature BoyNature Boy Posts: 8,523
    Hey Jason
    I'm with Little Chef in keeping cilantro away from my comp meats. The sauce seems heavy as well...can be pretty,but don't forget it may coat the judges tongue and inhibit other flavors from coming through.

    Finally, think about the garnish as a backdrop for the meat. Your meat seems to be swimming in green.

    Good luck!
    Twitter: @dizzypigbbq
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  • i'm with the others (and i'm also a KCBS judge), uniformity counts....trim them up nice before cooking ...try to get 6 in the box that look the same...get the best 2 in the front....if they are small, go for 7 or even should be in the background....sauce evenly....the last box is the best looking one....but also, think of your green as a "frame"....your frame should be even all the way around (like in the second box) ....and like others said, what looks good, will taste good, its human nature. ...
  • thirdeyethirdeye Posts: 7,428
    I like the last box of the three and have found that photographs of turn-in boxes are not only hard to take, but they usually don't give total justice with respect to true colors, and gloss. In other words, photo's sometimes score lower than the actual box would. Plus, when looking at a photo you don't have the subconscious working for you, by that I mean the first contest smells of the day that are filling up the judges tent. I know they are not to be considered, but it gets all judges in the mood, and may affect some.

    That said, I would score appearance in the photo as a "6", but may have scored up to a "7" had it been viewed in person.

    Comments: A firmer putting green would have showed off the pieces better, they would have been sitting on it instead of in it.

    The size and shape could have been more uniform. It would have been great for all 6 to look like the top left, and middle left.

    I think the sauce is too thick, and not uniformly applied.
    Happy Trails

    Barbecue is not rocket surgery
  • dhuffjrdhuffjr Posts: 3,182
    I'd go all leaf or all parsely. Seems silly for a bbq comp but spend time on your boxes. My wife and I compete and she is a natural and the box boss. I would not go sauce free but a light coating is better than drenching. If you over sauce they'll probablly think what is he hiding. Try to have a sauce that complements your rub that you use.
  • HossHoss Posts: 14,600
    As stated.You need WAY tighter greens,the meat should "ride" the greens,the garnish should be seen,but not dominating.More even pieces of meat and lighten up on the sauce.Just being honest.Some teams spend up to an hour PER box just gettin the green rite before even starting to decide how to place the meat pieces.KCBS CBJ #55047. :) Best of Luck.
  • AzScottAzScott Posts: 309
    Jason, I'm not a judge but part of a team out in AZ. There are several things you want to pay attention to for chicken. Make sure the pieces are all roughly the same size, make sure your skin lays flat on the chicken and isn't rubbery, make sure that two bites have a ton of flavor, and make sure your sauce evenly coats the meat.

    Take a look at Crimsongators pictures. My chicken looks very similar prior to saucing but I wrap the skin around the thigh a bit more. Also take a gander at that little tool he has. Pigtails are awesome for grabbing the chicken and not creating a large hole in it. It's also great for dunking in your sauce. I'm also a fan of using parsley. I make a bed of chopped romaine and top it with parsley so that the romaine isn't visible. My final hint of the day is once it's in the box hit the chicken with a touch of ground rub or sea salt and then lightly spritz w/ warm water.

    Best of luck in your first competition. They are completely addicting.
  • AzScottAzScott Posts: 309
    Nature boy has good advice as well. You don't want meat "swimming in green". Try and fill your boxes with meat and use parsley along some or all the borders w/ a few between thighs.


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