Hey, I am about to go in to my first kcbs event, I did a practice run with different flavors but the problem is that no matter what combination of rubs I use, all I could taste was the bbq sauce and maybe a hint pepper on chicken or ribs.. Any advice? Does it all have to taste sweet for kcbs? Thanks
It's good you are working on flavor because 'Taste' carries the heaviest weight when scoring. Next is 'Tenderness' and 'Appearance' has the lowest weight. The flavor profiles in competition BBQ (for chicken, ribs and pork shoulder) are a combination of sweet and savory... and that can be a fine line. Brisket flavor usually leans more toward savory but some entries have a sweet back flavor. I have judged some non-sauced entries, but those are rare.
You will hear many cooks and judges say that the various flavors you use should compliment the meat, but not overpower the meat, which is easier said than done. Injections, brines, and/or injectable brines work to directly flavor the meat, and add some valuable moisture. This is very important and a good starting point for all the KCBS meats. Yes, some cooks even inject ribs. Rubs and sauces are used to enhance the flavor of the meat. Here is a good video that you might find interesting.