Thursday, September 15, 2011

Award Ceremonies & Freudian Slips

I'm going to let you all in on one of my favorite award ceremony activities - paying attention to Freudian slips.

What are they? Well Wikipedia defines them thusly:

A "Freudian slip", is an error in speech, memory, or physical action that is interpreted as occurring due to the interference of some unconscious ("dynamically repressed") wish, conflict, or train of thought.

So how about an example? This past weekend in Hedgesville, WV I knew that Chix Swine and Bovine won the contest after their 2nd place chicken call. How? Easy, the announcer after calling the team up and waiting, said something like "geez, I really wish these repeat winners would just sit closer." Ahhem, at this point, no one was a repeat winner, because the awards just started!

How about another? This same announcer said to my teammate Chris, "its really ok if you don't want to keep coming up to take pictures...". How's that for a signal you didn't win?

Or, yet another. At the Annapolis Maryland contest we won earlier in the year, the announcer asked if we were getting tired walking up for all those awards during our 1st call of the day! A dead give away for sure.

Why does this happen? Well, I'm no psychologist, but I believe the announcers are looking ahead at the results and specifically who won. Armed with this information and the fact that there is down time while competitors walk to get awards, they try and say cute and witty comments to keep the crowds attention. And more often that not, out comes a Freudian slip!

So, enjoy your next awards ceremony and please let me know if you catch any slips!

Monday, September 5, 2011

Calibrating Competition BBQ

So a more thoughtful post today. Your a competition BBQ cook and your having trouble in a category. What do you do? Was it just the judges fault? Did you do something wrong? Or does your food just really suck? No one is going to answer those questions for you, your just going to see your name toward the bottom of the results sheet.

Well, the judges are judges and you can't change what they think or do. So, forget about them.

Did you do something wrong? Well, that for you and your team to analyze. If you did, fix it next time. If you didn't, sounds like its time for a change.

Sounds simple, just change something. Its not, because every change can be positive or negative. And if you change more than one thing, there is no way to know how each individual change impacted the overall dish. Which is why I usually only change one thing at a time. Maybe tweek a sauce, or a rub, or a marinade, or a brine. Then see how each individual change impacts the whole. That usually will get the job done, but requires patience since it may be the 1st change or the 30th that finally gets things dialed in.

Or, if you don't have patience or something is beyond tweeking slowly, just ditch it and change everything. Thats exactly what I did this past weekend. I used a completely different flavor combination, but one that I used in my very first KCBS competition ever. This got us a 6th place call in chicken and you would have thought we won the lottery.

Lets see what next week brings....