Competition Pork - Pulled, Chopped, or Sliced - BBQ Central

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Old 09-10-2005, 08:03 AM   #1
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Competition Pork - Pulled, Chopped, or Sliced

Just wondering if there is any consensus out here on how you turn in your pork entry to the judges. I was watching a Paul Kirk video and he recommend sliced but then I watched as he had a heck of a time slicing it without it falling apart. I think it probably makes for a better presentation but with seven different muscle groups in the butt I can see how it would be difficult to cut. PK recoommended using a serrated knife.

Has anyone tried slicing the pork for comp and if so how did you fare with the judges (better or worse than pulled?). I assume that you would not cook it as long (170 perhaps).
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Old 09-10-2005, 08:07 AM   #2
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The comps in the Carolina's are much more likely to use chopped or pulled. You can find sliced in some joints, but for 99 percent of people
who eat, compete or judge here, it's chopped/pulled.

Sorry I don't have any better info.
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Old 09-10-2005, 08:19 AM   #3
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Thanks Captain. I'm just looking for an edge. It seems like slicing would have the following advantages and disadvantages:

Advantages

1. A little more creative presentation options
2. Doesn't take as long to cook

Disadvantages

1. Since all the fat hasn't rendered out, might be drier and fattier
2. Hard to slice without falling apart

I think a lot of this might be regional. I would expect pulled/chopped to dominate in the Carolina's. I did notice last year at the Ohio Championship that close to half the teams were slicing. Being new to competition BBQ at the time I didn't even know that was an option.

Just on a side note, I noticed that Kirk ccoks breasts (brined) in his competions and slices them two. Sauces them and fans them out for presentation. They looked great and different from the majority of entries.
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Old 09-10-2005, 08:30 AM   #4
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how to create a great presentation is a journey that will never end...just enjoy the traveling!
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Old 09-10-2005, 08:37 AM   #5
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Kloset, as much as it pains me to say this, Ray Basso's board has "Juggy's Surveys" from time to time that show presentations at past competitions ~ They may be of help to you guys..Then can be found in the archives. #-o #-o #-o
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Old 09-10-2005, 10:53 AM   #6
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Kirk didn't kiss Ray's ass, so he's persona non grata.
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Old 09-11-2005, 07:09 AM   #7
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IMHO it all depends on the cut you have cooked. A turn in box should represent all parts of anything that you have produced, presented classically in an orderly attractive presentation. Sliced butt seems to do well in the northeast and midwest. I don't like the fact that you almost have to show fat in a sliced butt presentation. There is no room for fat in a turn in box. IMHO, classically, shoulder is pulled, ham is chopped and loins are sliced. In a whole hog box I try to represent all styles and textures in an eye appealing way. If you only put pulled pork in a whole hog box, don't look for big money. The debate will go on.

Good Q!

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Old 09-11-2005, 07:24 AM   #8
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Jack,

I always been somewhat in awe of the guys that do whole hog. The work that goes into that is incredible and then to try and highlight the results in a turn in box is simply beyond belief! By far the toughest and definitely the most expensive of all competititon events in my opinion.

BTW what temp would you cook a butt to if you were planning on slicing it? How long should you let it rest after you pull it from the pit? Thanks for sharing your experiences with us.
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Old 09-11-2005, 04:20 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kloset BBQR
Jack,

I always been somewhat in awe of the guys that do whole hog. The work that goes into that is incredible and then to try and highlight the results in a turn in box is simply beyond belief! By far the toughest and definitely the most expensive of all competititon events in my opinion.

BTW what temp would you cook a butt to if you were planning on slicing it? How long should you let it rest after you pull it from the pit? Thanks for sharing your experiences with us.
That is an interesting question that I wouldn't mind an answer to myself. I've never presented nor tried to present sliced butt in a comp. I understand it to be in the 175 range. Resting is done to keep meat juices from running out when you slice. A specific time is not as relative as would be a state of being. I'm sure Jim Minion would know the answer.

Good Q!

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Old 09-16-2005, 03:12 AM   #10
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I went to a comp this year and was able to be a judge for the "peoples choice" award. I did taste several entries and to my surprise, I didnt care for a lot of them. One of the worst pieces of pork that has every been chewed was from an entry that was sliced. Not done enough for me, and the folks that made it were really happy with it. blech. I do know that good sliced pork can be made, but it has to be done just right. I did try one pulled P sample that was unbelievable. Better than I ever made which in turn keeps me searching for a better recipe.
yada yada yada..
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Old 09-16-2005, 08:26 AM   #11
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I have tried both, sauced and unsauced. I seem to score better sauced. The slicing thing, I haven't tried it but I plan on giving it a try this weekend in WV. I will bring the meat up to pulling temp and pull some and slice some. I will let you know how it turns out.
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Old 09-16-2005, 11:04 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Smokehouse
Dale
I've never been to a competition. When presenting pulled pork, they sauce it first, right?

Smokehouse
When you cook a compeitition you present the best possible entry to judges that you see fit. You are, after all competiting for cash prizes, tropheys, and of course, bragging rights to the best. I've seen boxes done in all kinds of different styles and fashions. The "best" judges will search for meat that will stand alone. How many of the "best" judges will be at a comp. is a crap shoot. If stand alone meat can't be found then the process of elimination takes over. That is to say that stand alone meat will win if it is the best on the table. I've been producing and judging for almost 10 years. I've personally witnessed it once. Sauce should be used as a compliment, not a focus.

Good Q!

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Old 09-16-2005, 12:24 PM   #13
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I talked to Jim Minion about this. He mention that he cooks several butts and will slice and pull the pork and turn in the one he thinks is the best product. If you are going to slice the pork you have to cook it to a lower finished temp probably around 170 and then let it sit awhile I imagine for the juices to settle in and the pork to firm up. I think the choice of knife may ultimately help in the slicing too, possibly a serated one? I don't know the answers but I'll experiment and report back. I also like the idea if you can get the sliced and the pulled to come out well to submit both. Might give you an edge in the compeition.
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Old 09-16-2005, 12:33 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kloset BBQR
I talked to Jim Minion about this. He mention that he cooks several butts and will slice and pull the pork and turn in the one he thinks is the best product. If you are going to slice the pork you have to cook it to a lower finished temp probably around 170 and then let it sit awhile I imagine for the juices to settle in and the pork to firm up. I think the choice of knife may ultimately help in the slicing too, possibly a serated one? I don't know the answers but I'll experiment and report back. I also like the idea if you can get the sliced and the pulled to come out well to submit both. Might give you an edge in the compeition.
When it comes to slicing you might want to reconsider the serated knife. It tends to cut unevenly and leave score marks. A very sharp slicing knife will produce a better product. Some of the guys use electric knives. I use one for brisket and it produces a clean even cut. Just my .02.

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Old 09-16-2005, 12:54 PM   #15
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Jack,

Aren't the electric knives serrated? That's what got me thinking that way. I use a 14" granton slicer for brisket and it works very well.
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Old 09-16-2005, 01:44 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kloset BBQR
Jack,

Aren't the electric knives serrated? That's what got me thinking that way. I use a 14" granton slicer for brisket and it works very well.
True, I don't know the science of it, probably the high speed alternating blades, but it works well for brisket and ribs. I used cut meat for a living a few years back. I'm lucky enough to get my pick of weapons. :biggrin:

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Old 09-16-2005, 08:57 PM   #17
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Kloset, the 8" graton slicer does a much better job than the 14". The Wustof has a thinner blade than the Forschner you have and produces a much cleaner cut without tearing the meat like your forschner does. My 8"slicer is the absolute sharpest knife I have ever used. Here's a little trick too. Spray the sides of the blade with a little pam and wipe it off.
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Old 09-16-2005, 09:17 PM   #18
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Granton blades for slicing pork would be my first choice. I do have serated 14" slicer that works very well on brisket but being super sharp is needed to do a clean job. Like a 14" blade on brisket so I can get clear through a large brisket with one pass. If you use a product like Fab B there is less shrinkage and the longer blade is even better.

Sliced works in some parts of the country and not as well as others. The Jack as an example has a lot of judges from around the country so slicing can work. You need to look at where you are and where the pool of judges are drawn from.

It used to on the west coast pulled would not score well but as the judges got more educated pulled has become a very good turn-in.

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Old 09-17-2005, 04:49 AM   #19
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I agree, haven't experienced any problems with tearing meat with the 14" granton. It's one of the best knives that I own and I have. 8" is not long enough IMHO but to each his own, use what works best for you.
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Old 09-18-2005, 12:13 AM   #20
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In Mich it did tear a little. That initial cut needs to be really delicate for a nice clean cut. You do need the length for Brisket...I was talking about what you were...slicing pork. 8" sucks for slicing brisket...that's why I had my wife get me the 12" ham slicer granton edge by Wustof...works great.
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