Barbecue ( Discuss barbecue and grilling--southern style "low and slow" smoking of ribs, shoulders and briskets, as well as direct heat grilling of everything from burgers to salmon to vegetables.

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Old 12-07-2016, 08:45 AM posted to
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Default Competition BBQ

I recently took the opportunity to go to a BBQ competition (Fredericksburg,

The results surprised me. What makes the judges give a high score to (pork) BBQ?

The background: the "Peoples' Choice" had me going round tasting. Mostly pulled
pork on offer, but for one outfit that was offering a rib as a tasting option as
well. Kudos for that!

The folks who won the Choice did a good job of selling themselves: the offered
to mark your card for you, and they were pasting stickers on folks saying "I
voted for XYZ's BBQ!"

This really ****ed me off, because they were trying to stick their ad on me (and
everyone else) before I even got a taste of the BBQ. I find that obnoxious. And
no, it wasn't great, it was unremarkable BBQ. So, that win was all advertising
and no substance.

The ones I liked so much that I recall them came in in the last 25% in the
judging. Why?

There was one pulled pork that just tasted of pork. Good meat, meat flavor, meat
juice, juicy meat. Apparently not what the judges like -- ok, I could go with a
bit more sauce. But someone had put his handwriting on that bit of meat, and it
was good.

Another one had a homemade sauce that had a great taste of fresh tomatoes. These
folks were also a bit inept: part of the tent was hanging over the outfits name.
So, to vote for them, you'd have to go and look for or ask for the name -- that
probably lost them 50% of their votes...

The BBQs that did well with the judges all tasted pretty much the same to me:
good workmanlike job on the meat, and sauce that tasted like it came off a
pallet at Costco. Yeah, there were differences, some more vinegar, some less,
some sweet. But it seemed to me that anyone going out on a limb, even a little
bit, wasn't going to do well in the judging. So: get good meat, buy a pit
controller, buy a case of sauce, and win?

And the Choice was won on advertising. Bah.

OK, to qualify: we left before the prize awards, as there was a torrential
downpour late in the afternoon, with winds that shredded tents. So I looked up
the results online, and compared that to our voting cards with notes...

Thomas Prufer

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