Building A Blind Box

BBQ Contests
blind box for competition bbq
March 1, 2011

Building A Blind Box

When building a blind box for Competition BBQ Contests – Specifically for KCBS BBQ Contests, Here is the steps that I take to build the best-looking blind box…

  1. I like to “pre-build” my boxes on Friday night so I can concentrate on the Meat Saturday morning.

    supplies for building a blind box

    To do this I start with fresh green leaf lettuce cut into 1″ strips. I pack the bottom of the boxes with these strips to serve as a base for my curly leaf parsley. It’s important to get fresh lettuce and parsley and keep them cold as much as possible. They will appear fresher this way. (keeps them really green)

    lettuce base in blind box

    Once you get the “lettuce base” into the box it’s time to start placing the curly leaf parsley.

    parsley in blind box

    I concentrate on the outer edges sort of like building a picture frame, then work in-ward.

    Building A Blind Box for competition bbq

  2. As I get each blind box assembled, I place them individually in a Ziploc baggie. I use the 2 1/2 gallon size. It is plenty big enough for the entire blind box.Then I place the boxes into an ice chest or refrigerator to keep them cold until I’m ready to place the meat inside the next day. Keeping them cold is really important. It will keep the greens looking just like the day they were bought. The judges really take notice of the garnish. They’re not supposed to judge on garnish but I’ll bet you that every one of them does.
  3. On Saturday morning about 1 hour before my first turn-in time, I take the boxes out of the ice chest and let them come up to room temperature. I don’t want to place hot meat in a cold turn-in box. I like to keep my entry as hot as possible to ensure that the judges are getting the warmest piece of meat that I can give them.
  4. When I’m ready to place the entries into the boxes. I choose the best pieces that I’ve cooked that day. I then place at least 6 pieces of meat in the box.Depending on the category it may be more, but always at least 6 identifiable pieces. I then take a squirt bottle with a combination of apple juice and water and give the meat a slight “spritz” This gives the meat a sheen that really pops when the judges open the box. You don’t want to drown the entry with the spritz and it shouldn’t affect the taste of the entry at all.blind box with kcbs thighs


  5. Now it’s time to fill-in any places where I think I could use more curly leaf parsley. This isn’t always necessary but sometimes you have to add a little extra to make the box appear even.Your goal should be to have an equal amount of parsley around the entire box. The eye shouldn’t be drawn to any particular area. The whole entry should appear uniform in size and shape. This will bring your appearance scores up I guarantee!

PS… Practice at home is the key to success.

You need to get down exactly how long it takes you to cook each entry from start to finish. Keep good records along the way for future reference. Then, on game day, you’ll be ready for any challenge that comes along.


Malcom Reed
Killer Hogs BBQ Cooking Team
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Building A Blind Box

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  1. Russ says:

    Malcolm, I am entering my first KCBS sanctioned event this summer. We will be cooking ribs and chicken. What kind of chicken can I expect?

    • Most people are cooking skin-on chicken thighs. You have a few people cooking chicken legs and doing well – but I wouldn’t suggest entering anything other than thighs or legs.

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