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In Reply to: Re: Injected Pork Butts posted by Raine on March 22, 2011 at 13:50:28:
We got quite the marathon going here!
Ok, the brisket vein: We've turned in brisket boxes for 17 years, some beautiful, some a mess, but not once did we have a problem with that vein. If you think the vein needs to be there, include it. If you don't, don't. But don't change judging rules because you can't build a good brisket box without the fat vein.
Why not tell them to ignore the fat? Because some people are repulsed by fat. That's not the same as messy parsley. If I put a hunk of brisket with a fat vein in front of my wife and said, "Don't judge down because of the fat vein," she'd either lie about it - because she wants nothing to do with that fat vein -or she'd still score it down, consciously or subconsciously. If a judge doesn't like fat, the judge doesn't like fat. We shouldn't tell judges to be dishonest about it just because some cooks don't know how to turn in a box without the fat vein.
I've posted repeatedly how "educating" judges can taint them. Tell them all about baby backs vs. spares, and the ones who like the sound of spares are going to score down baby backs. That's just how the human mind works. Educate them if it's to make them better barbecuers, but don't kid yourself that teaching them the difference between baby backs and spares is going to change their taste for the better, or that teaching them that the fat vein is natural is going to make someone who hates fat think it's delicious.
If a team is that worried about "natural occurrences" in the process, then I think the team needs to learn to cook better. Every one of these problems you've pointed out is more easily avoided by the cook taking measures to make their food more appealing than it would be to teach thousands of judges to ignore what they might think is a flaw. If it's too much for a team to put in the extra work to create barbecue that doesn't have little issues that the judges need to be told to overlook, then maybe that team shouldn't be competing.
I understand how to make bite-through chicken skin, and I like it better than rubbery chicken skin. The first time I sampled someone's chicken and got a perfect bite of meat and skin, I recognized that it was better than ours, and that we had to improve. It never crossed my mind to tell judges to pretend that rubbery skin is just part of the process, when I knew that there was a better way out there. Rather than make a rule that made our chicken better, we just made our chicken better.
People don't like crispy skin because they're supposed to - people like it because it's better.
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