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I did my first practice cook today. I'm pleased with the results. This run really showed me a few things that I need to improve on.

Here is my chicken box. I think it would have helped a lot by cooking more chicken. The pieces that were the most uniform were on the large size and did not fit in well. Also I slopped sauce on the box. The skin wasn't quite as tender as I would have liked it, but the taste was excellent.

[Image: 011-1.jpg]

The ribs needed a lot more work. The flavorings needed more heat. My knife sharpener was unavailable and I didn't trim the rack down quite far enough. But the tenderness was excellent. For this one I went 7, 9,8

[Image: 012-1.jpg]

Any comments good or bad are welcome. As I said this was my first trial run.
Looking pretty good, did the color wash out on the chicken picture?

If not it might do with a little more color.
Thank you Chris. No the color is accurate. How would you get the pieces darker?
Perhaps increase the color in your rub, I use paprika for added red color, rather than for taste.

You can also use chili powder, tomato powder, anything with some more color.

Agree, chicken is a little too light in color. What temp did you cook at? I cook at 300-325 to get good color and to help with "bite-through" skin. Watch your internal temp and remove at 160 degrees. As you mention, take care on placement in the box and selecting pieces that are close in size/shape.

As for the ribs, you are correct about the slicing job. Also, color is a bit light and there's a little too much sauce IMO.

Hope this helps.
A little more time "in the smoke" could do a lot for color too. As Chris said a little paprika goes a long way for color too. Try adding 1 Tbsp to your shaker, you would be shocked how much it would change it. Also a little darker sauce can fix that too. It looks like maybe you used your fingers to get it into the box. If you do that try to keep your fingers on the bone only and not touch the skin.

I would try trimming the ends a little more square. That would fix a lot of the "size issue"

I like the color of your ribs. Have a nice sheen to them.

For a first practice cook it looks good! I would eat it with out a second thought.
Thanks Randy.

I cooked the ribs and chicken at the same time at a temperature of 250. The Chicken had an internal temperature of 160 when I pulled them.
Thank you Brad

I did use my fingers when placing the pieces. I'll be ordering pigtails soon. I'll try trimming them more next time also.

Keep the comments coming.
Good comments above (and I'm sure the the ones that will be below!). The last time I saw chicken that yellow, the comment on my table was that it must have come from the Willie Wonka factory, so adjusting the color would be helpful to make it look more BBQ-like.

The fingerprints in your sauce can be brushed a bit to cover but may get sauce on the garnish, in "garnished" contests. Holding by the "ends" would be a lot easier. The only blotches in the sauce that judges must ignore are those that occur if the top of the box touches the meat, because that could have happened anywhere along the delivery chain.

I don't really regard the thickness of the sauce as a score-able item (others may, however). If it's so much that it looks gloppy and I don't particularly look forward to tasting it, that would affect the score. 'Course, Appearance gets the least weighting factor, so how your sauce (thick or thin) enhances and complements the taste of your meat is the criterion to which I believe you should sauce. If the taste of your sauce overwhelms the meat, especially if it is so spicy that it affects my ability to fairly taste the next team's offering, it does not tend to get high Taste scores from me. Contrast this with fast food burgers, where the secret sauces are saviors so that you don't really have to taste the what-passes-for-meat there!
Thank you Mugsy
From my perspective I think You and the 4 YAhoo's above covered it pretty well. The "orange" looking chicken, trimming and a better cut on the ribs. Looks good though. The ribs look better than the ones I had at Sonny Boys in Cedar City last weekend. Good job on a first test run. I guess this means you're lookin at leaving the judges table and going back yard??
Thanks Gary. I'm thinking backyard for next year.
How about Backyard on the 5th October Goatter?
Sorry Chris it's is the opening of elk and duck seasons.
I'm still trying to register for the 5th, the link still don't work, is there any place else to register?
Backyard or Pro Speedyts?
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