Monday, August 31, 2009

O.. M.. G.. Its the Pork Police!

(make your favorite siren noise)

Let me preface this with, I think the Kansas City Barbecue Society (KCBS) is doing a great job riding herd on all the contests it sanctions. However, a recent rule clarification, or interpretation, has a majority of the contest BBQers in a tizzy.

KCBS rule 16 g) After cooking, all meat:
   i) Must be held at 140° F or above OR
      ii) Cooked meat shall be cooled as follows:
         (1) Within 2 hours from 140° F to 70° F and
         (2) Within 4 hours from 70° F to 41° F or less
         (3) Meat that is cooked, properly cooled, and later reheated for hot holding and serving shall be reheated so that all parts of the food reach a temperature of at least 165° F for a minimum of 15 seconds.

All the competitors agree with and abide by this rule with no complaints.

KCBS rule 10) The Four KCBS Meat Categories:
    CHICKEN: Chicken includes Cornish Game Hen and Kosher Chicken.
    PORK RIBS: Ribs shall include the bone. Country style ribs are prohibited.
   PORK: Pork is defined as Boston Butt, Picnic and/or Whole Shoulder, weighing a minimum of five (5)   pounds. Pork shall be cooked (bone in or bone out) and shall not be parted.
   BEEF BRISKET: May be whole brisket, flat, or point. Corned beef is not allowed.

KCBS rule 15) Each contestant must submit at least six (6) separated and identifiable (visible) portions of meat in a container. Chicken, pork and brisket may be submitted chopped, pulled, sliced, or diced as the cook sees fit, as long as there is enough for six (6) judges. Ribs shall be turned in bone-in. Judges may not cut, slice, or shake apart to separate pieces. If there is not enough meat for each judge to sample, the shorted judge(s) will score a one (1) on all criteria, and the judges having samples will change the Appearance score to one (1).

Now comes the problem, I as a competitor pull and chop my pork after cooking and am bound by rule #16. I want to keep my chopped and pulled pork at 140 degrees. When you pull and chop the temperature of the meat drops quickly. We are prohibited from putting the meat back in the cooker to warm it up to serving temperature or the minimum of 140°.

If we comply with rule #10 and not part the butt, the clam shell container will not close. If it is pulled and chopped, we serve it cold or room temperature. A conundrum for sure.

Then again, if a cook butterflies his butt for cooking, could that be considered parting?

Is there an answer? Probably not right away. I understand the KCBS Board doesn't want to change rules or interpretations in then middle of a contest year.