Trusting Your Gut in a Competition

Well the third competition has come and gone. This was the first KCBS sanctioned event I’ve done, so it was just the Backyard for now until I can get into the swing of things. We didn’t do as well as I hoped, but 10th place overall is nothing to be disappointed with. Now its just trying to figure out what went wrong so it doesn’t happen again.

First, it’s about trusting your gut. Just before wrapping the ribs I noticed that some of the racks were quite floppy, which got me in a panic that they would overcook and fall apart. So, I opted to keep them off the smoke chamber for 30 minutes, which turned into the same effect when someone panics during the plateau of a brisket cook. End result: we averaged 8 on the appearance and taste, but only 6.5 on the texture because some bones were still not at that fine line where a judge expects the meat to cleanly pull away, but only in the spot where they bite. Lesson learned, trust your gut telling you to leave them in the cooker and hope some of the racks turn out spot on.

The second meat in the backyard was chicken. That dreadful chicken. I just haven’t found the magic in cooking it just right yet. However, I have the long drawn-out prep process down that I can turn out consistent rectangular chicken. The brining, basting and rub process is there too. It just all goes South once the smoker puts too much smoke on it and turns the skin black.

I think the technique for the next event in June will have to be skin side down for the first hour and then flip it for the last hour, while being careful to not add too many sticks while they are cooking.

That’s the best part about cooking in competitions. Your recipes keep changing and the technique keeps improving!

 

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