Originally Posted by tbone30349
I'm new here. Greetings all. I understand comps are a different beast. I also understand a neighborhood, local type of cook off is different than these big time comps. But isn't the idea to make good food? Why would they make something at a big time contest that they wouldn't eat? Almost sounds as though, for whatever reason, competition food is nasty (for lack of better terms). It seems like they would cook stuff that people go away thinking "I wanna make that at home". So what is the judges thought process if u are a multiple time world champ, but wouldn't eat your own stuff, but the judges like it? Almost sounds like the judges like bad food, or these contests are fixed some kind of way.
It's not a matter of good, bad, or nasty food. It's a matter of winning, and doing so often. For those at the top of the game it's a very significant investment, and a driving goal is to get a return of that investment, and hopefully make a profit. In other words, it's a business.
Personally, I've never entered a major sanctioned comp, and don't intend to in the future. However, I do have a few friends with teams on the circuit that have been successful, and I've helped out a few times. It's been more social for me than anything else. Many will tell you that, if you're thinking of entering major comps, the first thing you should do is become a certified judge, do several comps, and closely observe your fellow judges, especially the experienced ones, to see what they consider winning entries. This gives an idea of what they're looking for, and in some cases, introduce you to your real competitors. It just might turn out that the winners are putting out a product that you personally would never consider doing.
The consistent winners have long mastered their cookers, meat selection, trimming, basic prep, and are in a sense, all on a pretty equal basis. Then you get to the specific individual stuff such as injections, rubs, mops, sauces, times, temps, foil/no foil, and a whole host of other items, or tricks. The really good ones also take into account regional variations in taste. What may be a hit in TX might easily bomb in TN. The end result is often something that they don't care for personally, but who cares if it's a winner.
Over time, I've eaten with a number of these individuals in a non-comp environment, and they all share a common trait. They keep it very, very simple.