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bbally
03-06-2011, 07:50 AM
Since getting placed in the lower one tenth of my third competition I have been looking at the KCBS website and looking at the placings of teams and the scores from the comps on my barbeque.

Since the TASTE SCORE is multiplied by 2.28 this score is the one I keyed on for this research which led to my questions.

The judges video does not mention a style or taste profile of barbeque.

However, the cluster of winning teams, no matter the region they travel too, combined with the weighting system giving a preference to the TASTE SCORE that mathmatically cannot be overcome using the other two categories does indicate that a specific style and taste is being keyed on for the higher scores?
http://www.prochefblog.com/public_pics/misc/KCBSscores.jpg


So when you look at the weighted scores, it becomes obvious that mathmatically taste is all that counts to be competitive. (While the other scores do count they only come into play for those whom nailed the taste category. Nines in presentation and tenderness are wiped out by a 7 in taste.)

When analyzing the results of teams in placings the clustering of a normal distribution indicates (knowing that the tasting is blind) that "some how" a specific taste profile is being looked at as preferred, based on the cross region success by competitive teams?

Anyway looking at the judges scores it appears that average and above average scores are given out regularly, however to get to the 8 and 9 category it appears one style of barbeque is being keyed on for the taste category allowing for the clustering of consistant winning teams?

What say you?

Capn Kev
03-06-2011, 08:04 AM
In short, yes...your analysis is correct. I think the million dollar question you're looking to have answered is "what is the flavor profile that judges are looking for"...right?

I can't give you a specific magic bullet, however for KCBS contests, if you can find the right balance of sweet, heat, meat, and smoke...then you'll be onto something. Are you coming out to the eastern side of CO for any comps this year?

E-mail me directly and I can offer up some things that may help you with Colorado judging taste profiles.

Good luck!

Ron_L
03-06-2011, 08:28 AM
I agree that there is regional preferences, but the fact that teams like Quau and Pellet Envy win consistently all across the country also indicated that good BBQ wins regardless of region. With judges traveling around the country to judge I think the regional boundaries are blurring a little.

Unfortunately, I don't think there is a magic answer to what the judges look for. Talking to teams in the area where you will compete may help, but while a lot of us are helpful, we're probably not going to tell you everything :rolleyes:

Don't discount appearance and tenderness, however. Just nailing the flavor profile isn't going to get you a call. You need to be consistently 8's and 9's in all categories to get calls, at least around here. If you ever lost out on a first place call or a GC by .0001 points, you'll worry more about that darned judge who gave you an 8 in appearance :becky:

bbally
03-06-2011, 08:38 AM
Yes we entered the Sam's Club deal at Loveland on the front range. But based on the mathmatics of winning team clusters I am looking at scratching as I don't think what we make is what the judges are learned into keying on as winning.

I am doing the analysis is to decide whether our barbeque is going to be judged and competitive or whether this is more of a you change you style to meet what the judges expect type organization. I think your answer is one that indicates you change or don't get considered.

The normal distribution of the winnings teams suggested a learned trait for each of the meats. I don't know how that happens based on the judges video, only thing I can figure is judges are allowed to see scoring results or talk about scoring results which then begins to create a learned preference?

After 16 years of successful catering I am not changing styles or recipes, I am just trying to determine whether I am wasting my time going to these events based on a specific taste profile. It appears so from the mathmatics.

We will see what others with experience think, but the math sure says it pretty clearly.

Thanks for taking the time to share and the generous offer to help with modifications, unfortunately I want our recipes judged, it appears they do not meet the learned profile.

bbally
03-06-2011, 08:40 AM
I agree that there is regional preferences, but the fact that teams like Quau and Pellet Envy win consistently all across the country also indicated that good BBQ wins regardless of region. With judges traveling around the country to judge I think the regional boundaries are blurring a little.


Actually the fact the win across the country indicates there is a learned profile without regional preferences. Somehow they are learning to look for that teams type of barbeque... don't know how, but with the styles across the country changing a team that can travel and win consistantly is either very good at changing recipes, or using the same recipe cause they have the judge learned preference figured out?

Ron_L
03-06-2011, 08:48 AM
Actually the fact the win across the country indicates there is a learned profile without regional preferences. Somehow they are learning to look for that teams type of barbeque... don't know how, but with the styles across the country changing a team that can travel and win consistantly is either very good at changing recipes, or using the same recipe cause they have the judge learned preference figured out?

I think that you just re-enforced my point. The regional preferences are blurring and aren't as important as they were in the past. I''ll bet that the teams that win consistently regardless of location don't change their recipes. They are keyed into a routine and stick to it unless things start going bad for a few competitions.

I think you may be over-analyzing. I'm guilty of this at times :rolleyes:. If you can give the judges a perfectly cooked piece of meat that looks good and has a nice, balanced flavor (not too hot, not too sweet, not too salty, etc.) you will do well. Do this consistently and you'll win. If you want to know what the top teams are turning in, take one of their classes. The guys who have taught the classes that I have taken have been very open about what they are using and how they use it.

Capn Kev
03-06-2011, 08:49 AM
The flavor profile I use for catering and for home cooking is not the same profile I use for competition. In fact, I don't like sauce on all of my food. I prefer chicken without any sauce when I'm cooking for myself. However, I realized after two competitions that if you want to win in KCBS, you have to cook for the judges, not for your own personal preferences. The intensity of flavor is also a lot different in a competition as compared to home cooking. Judges are usually only taking one bite of the sample you turn in, so you have to pack a lot of flavor into that bite.

So, if you are cooking just for fun, and are not interested in winning money, then you don't need to change a thing. However, if you want to win, you will need to go for the profile that is achieving high scores from the judges.

Capn Kev
03-06-2011, 09:03 AM
Oh, and I just have to add one more thing.

BBQ competitions have made me a better cook, and I am now turning out a better product than I was before competing. I have learned that prior to competing, I was over-smoking my meat...something that is pretty common. I also learned techniques to improve moisture within my food, as well as how to balance the entire flavor profile. When I first tasted a winning entry, it didn't matter what "profile" the judges were looking for, I KNEW that was good BBQ. It had a resonating taste, was really moist, and was perfectly tender.

bbqfun
03-06-2011, 10:02 AM
I like the KISS method. That seems like a lot of analyzing for something that I do for fun.

Maybe your styles or recipes are what the judges are looking for and you wouldn't need to change much. If not and you are not willing to change for comps and compete for the fun then maybe its not for you. Have fun with it!

2Fat
03-06-2011, 10:10 AM
Oh, and I just have to add one more thing.

When I first tasted a winning entry, it didn't matter what "profile" the judges were looking for, I KNEW that was good BBQ. It had a resonating taste, was really moist, and was perfectly tender.

that is what makes it all worth while!!

G$
03-06-2011, 10:21 AM
I agree with much of what has been said by the OP.

Especially in the sense that TASTE truly is the overwhelming most important aspect of Competition BBQ, and yet it does NOT get the overwhelming amount of PUBLIC discussion on forums such as this (for obvious reasons). :icon_shy We are more likely to discuss, (AND SHARE) specific information relating to presentation and texture techniques than we are to specific taste profiles. :tape:

Now, what you decide to DO with that information is your choice as a BBQ cook, and speaks to your motives playing the game as much as anything. What I will say is, competition BBQ is like golf. Right or wrong, you are not going to improve your skill in either if you play three times a year. I am living proof of this in both.

G$
03-06-2011, 10:22 AM
. However, if you want to win, you will need to go for the profile that is achieving high scores from the judges.


Cool. Send me a PM with the details on what that profile is please. :heh:

Red Valley BBQ
03-06-2011, 10:37 AM
The emphasis may be in the taste category, but if you don't do well in appearance and tenderness you won't win. Anything food related is based on taste. If you don't put out a good tasting product you won't be in business long, or you won't win, etc. But the axiom that "you eat with your eyes" still holds true, especially with judging. Being a CBJ and a competition cook, I learned early on in competition, it's not about what you or your friends like, it's about pleasing the judges. You have to be willing to change what is necessary. Judging is a very subjective monster. There is no "correct" flavor profile to score well. The teams that do well have found a profile that a majority of the judges like regardless of region. It has less to do with mathematics and more with having a good product and hitting the right judging table. You could have a meat that 97% of the country likes, but if you get a table that has 2 people of that other 3% sitting at it, you won't do well.

As far as the judges seeing the scoring results, that has never happened at any contest I have ever judged. Unless of course a team lets you see thier score sheet. I have also never heard discussions between judges as to what scores they gave a certain entry (although, I'm sure it happens). There has been plenty of discussion of "I really liked the first entry, but not the fifth," but never a discussion of actual scores. Judges have a tendency to hide thier score sheets until they are handed to the table captain, as not to influence the judges around them. When I judged at the American Royal in 2010, I had the opportunity to sit with judges from all over the country. And still there was no discussion of scores.

Having placed in the lower tenth (and not knowing how you placed in other comps), and the unwillingness to change your recipes, I would have to say that maybe competition barbecue is not for you. After all, the majority of teams that compete are in it for the friendships they build, and eating barbecue, but are also there to win. That's why it's a competition and not a family picnic, they want to be able to say they were the best on that particular day.

bbally
03-06-2011, 10:41 AM
So, if you are cooking just for fun, and are not interested in winning money, then you don't need to change a thing. However, if you want to win, you will need to go for the profile that is achieving high scores from the judges.

while we are a long way from the amount of discussion I hoped this would generate.... somethings are clear on your posts.

I joined KCBS because it supposedly has a Certified Master Barbeque judge method.

That, to me, means if you put in Luau barbeque chicken the judges have enough knowledge to know it is a south pacific barbeque and what is considered good in the genre. If you put in a smoke rub and meat they know what the standard is for that and judge it to that standard accordingly. But if you are saying that to win a chicken has to be sauced, you are saying that a KCBS judges on a specific style of barbeque as best and the rest be damned no matter how well it is done?

What you are saying (I don't sauce at all, sauce it to cover up dry or burn barbeque only) is they are looking for sauce on chicken? So if they are taught that then they are probably looking for sauce on ribs as well?

So if they are looking for specific styles of barbeque and not judging the style of barbeque there is no real master judge program?

There is the profile that wins and all other barbeque?

Not trying to be a pain, I am just trying to understand if there are master barbeque judges in KCBS or masters of just a specific style that means everyone must conform to that style? And are you then just paying to find out that luau style or South carolina style barbeque is to be judged like Icky Sticky Sweet smoked Kansas City Style stuff and loses?

It appears to me from the answers that latter is true in KCBS? Or do the judges receive training in all styles of barbeque and how to judge them for the standard they are created under?

bbally
03-06-2011, 10:46 AM
The emphasis may be in the taste category, but if you don't do well in appearance and tenderness you won't win. Anything food related is based on taste. If you don't put out a good tasting product you won't be in business long, or you won't win, etc.


Actually when you look at the math, with a skew weighted of 2.28 the points for taste are all that matter.

The appearance and tenderness only function is to seperate the teams that have figured out the taste category. That is it... if the judges don't know how to judge different styles of barbeque against each other and instead look for one style of barbeque.... and taste is weighted at 2.28 there is nothing else that counts or can place you. Appearance and tenderness only seperate the people who figured out what KCBS judges are taught is the basketball hoop for taste.

Scottie
03-06-2011, 10:46 AM
I travel all over. Have cooked in 29 different states. I've never changed a thing. I've had a little success with scoring...

2Fat
03-06-2011, 11:08 AM
afaik the judging program is there to generate revenue/members for the KCBS--the good judges(whether certified or not) are the ones that judge as often as the cooks cook and are willing to look an an entry objectively. The KCBS judging class does a good job in teaching what a proper entry looks like but it is the judging experience that makes a decent judge---imo anyway

Jorge
03-06-2011, 11:15 AM
Or, maybe those that win consistently really are better cooks that produce a superior product.

bbally
03-06-2011, 11:28 AM
Or, maybe those that win consistently really are better cooks that produce a superior product.

Yes I looked into that possibility. And don't get me wrong, I give due to those that do this and win at it, they are good I am sure. I am just trying to find out if they do well because they have figured out what KCBS teaches is correct (IE sauce on Ribs) or if they do well because they have figured out how to expertly cook the barbeque specialty of each region they go to?

It looks to be the former rather then the latter from replies so far to me.

Which is OK, I just want to know, master barbeque judge all genre? Or master judge of what KCBS considers barbeque, sauce the chicken or lose?

bbally
03-06-2011, 11:32 AM
afaik the judging program is there to generate revenue/members for the KCBS--the good judges(whether certified or not) are the ones that judge as often as the cooks cook and are willing to look an an entry objectively. The KCBS judging class does a good job in teaching what a proper entry looks like but it is the judging experience that makes a decent judge---imo anyway

So I figure that KCBS puts on a judge training, they have someone cook what is consider bad, average, good, and great barbeque?

If so does the Chicken that is great always have a sauce on it?

Does the ribs they offer as great always have a sauce on it?

Pulled pork?

If so does the sauce model the icky sweet style of Kansas City Barbeque? or are there also what is consider great ribs presented with the coffee style of the southwest? Or the vinegar style of North Carolina? Or the dry spice rub of Memphis? Or the smoke and spice only style of Texas?


I agree with you on experience for judges, but are they told it must be sauced? Or presented sauced items as the perfect product?

bbally
03-06-2011, 11:34 AM
I travel all over. Have cooked in 29 different states. I've never changed a thing. I've had a little success with scoring...

So do you sauce Ribs? Chicken? Pulled Pork? Brisket?

Capn Kev
03-06-2011, 11:38 AM
Yes I looked into that possibility. And don't get me wrong, I give due to those that do this and win at it, they are good I am sure. I am just trying to find out if they do well because they have figured out what KCBS teaches is correct (IE sauce on Ribs) or if they do well because they have figured out how to expertly cook the barbeque specialty of each region they go to?

It looks to be the former rather then the latter from replies so far to me.

Which is OK, I just want to know, master barbeque judge all genre? Or master judge of what KCBS considers barbeque, sauce the chicken or lose?

Let me clarify. Using chicken as an example... I sauce my chicken, but that does not mean you have to sauce your chicken to win. I lightly sauce because it's another layer of flavor in the overall profile. I also leave the skin on...some do not. There are about 13 other steps in my chicken process that build up to what goes into the box. Same thing goes for ribs. I sauce because it blends with the spices/seasonings going into my flavor profile. Again, that doesn't mean you have to do so in order to win, and I have tasted some amazing ribs that do not use sauce.

One thing to note is that I compete in Kansas City Barbeque Society competitions. Kansas City is known for their amazing sweet sticky sauces. So, when I cook, I try to emulate what I know to be Kansas City BBQ. If were cooking in another organization's competition, I'd find out what the baseline profile is, and build from there.

Again, if you're unwilling to modify your recipes to achieve success with the judges, then competition is probably not for you.

Just my $.02

bbally
03-06-2011, 11:40 AM
When I first tasted a winning entry, it didn't matter what "profile" the judges were looking for, I KNEW that was good BBQ. It had a resonating taste, was really moist, and was perfectly tender.

I have tasted the winning barbeque at all three events. That is why I think they are after the icky sticky sweet sauce of Kansas City.

And I agree that it was excellent for the style that it was cooked under. I am not and never would infer that the winning barbeque is crap. I am just saying it looks to me after tasting what is placing that icky sticky sweet is some how being taught.

But I have not travel to a comp in North Carolina to see if vinegar based wins there or if KCBS judges demand icky sticky sweet there from a region that is vinegar based?

I taste barbeque for the style it is produced under, but after tasting some winning I am not convinced that KCBS judges judge it under the style it is produced under, I think they judge it under Kansas style barbeque no matter the genre it was produced under.

Capn Kev
03-06-2011, 11:45 AM
I agree with you on experience for judges, but are they told it must be sauced? Or presented sauced items as the perfect product?

No, they do not tell you that the product must be sauced. The entry is to be judged upon it's own merits. A perfect looking savory piece of chicken can score just as well as a sweet and sticky piece of chicken candy. It's all about balance. That's what is taught.

2Fat
03-06-2011, 11:51 AM
So I figure that KCBS puts on a judge training, they have someone cook what is consider bad, average, good, and great barbeque?

If so does the Chicken that is great always have a sauce on it?

Does the ribs they offer as great always have a sauce on it?

Pulled pork?

If so does the sauce model the icky sweet style of Kansas City Barbeque? or are there also what is consider great ribs presented with the coffee style of the southwest? Or the vinegar style of North Carolina? Or the dry spice rub of Memphis? Or the smoke and spice only style of Texas?


I agree with you on experience for judges, but are they told it must be sauced? Or presented sauced items as the perfect product?
The judging class doesn't teach taste--it shows you how a box should/could look and you sample the food of whomever volunteered to cook for the class--sometimes very good sometimes not.
If you cook a product that doesn't offend anyone(think middle of the road) flavorwise and is done to perfection you will have the winning secret figured out---it ain't complicated its bbq---and when it stops being fun spend the weekend at the lake!

bbally
03-06-2011, 11:52 AM
Having placed in the lower tenth (and not knowing how you placed in other comps), and the unwillingness to change your recipes, I would have to say that maybe competition barbecue is not for you. After all, the majority of teams that compete are in it for the friendships they build, and eating barbecue, but are also there to win. That's why it's a competition and not a family picnic, they want to be able to say they were the best on that particular day.

Honestly alway in the lower tenth, except brisket 9th one time. Brisket seems to be the only thing that is judged without sauce to the results I have seen. (and yes I know the data set is small that is why I asked the questions here as I know lots of people here hit many compeitions. I cannot once the wedding season starts up.)

I also compete for the same reasons, I have a great time at the three I have been to so far.

But the data set indicate that I should sign up for one meat, do the special classes and the public choice and skip the KCBS entry and use that money to give away more food.

And that is why I am asking the question. I am just trying to figure out if the comp part is geared toward sauce sweet stuff? If it is I have no problem with that I just don't want to waste time competing thinking a master barbeque judges is looking at the food thinking wow great southwest barbeque, if he/she is really thinking, this needs a sweet sticky sauce to place.

Not a problem with me, I am not complaining I am trying to verify what I am concluding is correct or not. So I can come to know if I need to change my entries to just do people choice tastings and the special classes and stay out of the KCBS meats.

bbally
03-06-2011, 12:00 PM
and when it stops being fun spend the weekend at the lake!

I have had fun at all of them, and have met great people at all of them. I am just trying to figure out if they are keying on a style so I can adjust what I do as entries going forward.

I do go to have fun and meet people, I just don't want to keep wasting money on full entries if it has to be sauced, because I don't do sauce, so I can enter chicken to get to the event and just feed people's choice and specials. Not a problem, I enjoy that too.

Scottie
03-06-2011, 12:03 PM
Take my class... ;) otherwise There is no magic pixie dust.... there are many different paths to create award winning BBQ. Some sauce, some don't. Probably somecofcyhe best ribsvthat I have ever tasted have no sauce on the ribs. This Guy is always in the ToY... you have to practice to see what the judges want. You only get that by experience... personally I wouldn't worry aboutvthe smallvetuff. Make excellent BBQ and it shows with your scores....

So do you sauce Ribs? Chicken? Pulled Pork? Brisket?

bbally
03-06-2011, 12:13 PM
I travel all over. Have cooked in 29 different states. I've never changed a thing. I've had a little success with scoring...

This is interesting. This would indicate that there is one specific style they are looking for and you have found it. But that is amazing when you consider all the regional preferences across the country for what is barbeque.

When I joined KCBS I figured that you had to be a master of all genre of barbeque to compete across the country, but it appears you have to figure out what genre they want and it stays the same across the country?

If that is true and it is Kansas City sweet... then all the meats but brisket are basically judged (due to two hundred twenty eight percent weighting) on the sauce? Or at least the sauce profile? Makes it seem more like a figure out the magic sauce contest instead of a barbeque contest?

But how do judges from across the different regional preferences end up on a sweet and sticky profile?

Jeff_in_KC
03-06-2011, 12:38 PM
Dude! You're gonna have a stroke overthinking all this. It's really simple... good food is good food, regardless of where it is. Just cook what you want, turn it in and if you don't score high, well then you have a choice to make - either you want to change only your competition recipes (doesn't mean you have to cater likewise - I don't think many of us do) and try to improve or keep doing what you're doing. As much as anyone, I hate finding out about judges who make comments like "I don't like spicy barbecue so I judged it down". But you know what? People have opinions and I have no doubt it happens all of the time. So what do you do? If you want to win, your cooking has to migrate more closely towards what a majority of the judges like right now. And when new things make an impression and the methods/flavors spread, what's popular and scoring well will change. Personally, I don't like my food - well just chicken and ribs mainly - because I prefer spicy barbecue myself. But I know if I light a judge's ass on fire with MY favorite, I've got a chance to be DAL that day. But I enjoy competing so I go with what's most likely to score well.

landarc
03-06-2011, 12:51 PM
BBally, I am no experience comp cook, but, last year I had the chance to sit down with some of the top BBQ comp guys in CA and got to ask them, as CBJ's, how the whole system works and why the emphasis on the appearance and tenderness scores, was this just a skewing because I see it on forums. To a man, they explained that is has to do with the fact that often a competition is decided by fractions, that often the taste score is so close, that the appearance and tenderness do make a difference.

I noticed that while there are regional and organizational differences, there are some teams that win consistently, when I asked these guys, they explained to me that these 'super' teams (if you will) all have one thing in common and that is the meat they cook tastes great, tastes like the meat they are cooking and just tastes a little better than the others they tasted. These guys have had the opportunity in many cases to taste what the teams cooked, non blind, when they worked as support and not judges. I have had the opportunity as well, and the meat the top teams in Northern California produce is better than most, and it tastes better as meat, not sauce or rub, it still comes down to the meat.

bbally
03-06-2011, 01:33 PM
Dude! You're gonna have a stroke overthinking all this. It's really simple... good food is good food, regardless of where it is.

Thanks... don't worry I am not going to stroke out over food. With 34 years of cooking professionally that won't happen by a long shot.

As I said before I am just trying to figure out if there is a profile as I took a Master Barbeque Judge to mean something a lot more in depth than it apparently really means in KCBS.

It appears so far the answer is:

Icky Sticky Sweet with heat or risk DAL placing. (Or roughly the Kansas Style barbeque)

Not a problem, not going to stroke out, though I see you got plenty of thanks for your comment to me so I guess others think the same thing, but I am just trying to find out if a Master Barbeque Judge is a master of barbeque genre or are they keying on one type. The answer indicate they are keying on one type of barbeque, so its more a master sauce judge? At least on three of the meats.

This is important as mathmatics wise a 3 in taste (according to KCBS guidelines two below average barbeque) beats a nine in presention and ties a six (one above average) in tenderness. Which means a below average sweet sauce on the meat will tie an above average piece of cooked meat. So picking or emulating the correct sauce is very important in KCBS.

Again, not stroking out, just trying to understand going forward what master barbeque judge means as it is different then what I thought.

landarc
03-06-2011, 01:53 PM
So, do you other guys agree with bbally that icky sticky sweet with heat is what the CBJ's are looking for? Is that the national profile? Honestly, I don't wholly agree with that contention. What say you hard core competitors?

YankeeBBQ
03-06-2011, 01:59 PM
Hmmm let me see if I can simplify this for you. The bbq sauce business is a multi billion dollar business in this country. Most people think if you put bbq sauce on the stuff you throw in your crock pot then bingo you have made bbq. It's not a KCBS preference it's national preference to have 'icky sweet sauce' your words not mine... On bbq. So in conclusion if your not saucing your bbq then you are putting yourself at a distinct disadvantage. That's not to say unsauced bbq cant do well but it better be damn good to beat sauced bbq.

Red Valley BBQ
03-06-2011, 02:08 PM
Might I suggest taking a CBJ class. It will really give the best idea of what the KCBS teaches judges and will help immensely if you want to do competitions. I became a CBJ over a year before I cooked my first comp. It really helped me understand what judges are looking for and shortened my learning curve. The only judging criteria that has "guidelines" is tenderness. Taste and appearance are purely subjective and can not be taught. Just because KCBS is the sanctioning body, they don't teach to look for "Kansas City" style barbecue.

In 2008 and 2010 our team finished first in ribs at the same contest. Each win was with a completely different sauce. One had quite a bit of heat to it, and the other was sweet by comparison.

Here are our scores:
Appearance
2008 88899
2010 78979
Taste
2008 98899
2010 98988
Tenderness
2008 96989
2010 99998
Total Score
2008 169.1430
2010 169.1428

As you can see, even with the emphasis on taste, every point is important.

Take a judging class, it will give you perspective.

Red Valley BBQ
03-06-2011, 02:13 PM
So, do you other guys agree with bbally that icky sticky sweet with heat is what the CBJ's are looking for? Is that the national profile? Honestly, I don't wholly agree with that contention. What say you hard core competitors?

I say NAY. I have had barbecue WITHOUT the sauce that was incredible. On the same judging plate, I have had sauced barbecue that was incredible. But because I judge each on thier own merit, both recieved high marks. BTW, this was at the American Royal...in Kansas City.

bbally
03-06-2011, 02:48 PM
I say NAY. I have had barbecue WITHOUT the sauce that was incredible.

Did it win?

If not what won?

I realize you probably won't know if it won due to the blind judging, but maybe you know if what won was sauced or not at the Royal?

I know barbeque without sauce tastes great, I make it that way, but will it win at a KCBS entry consistantly?

Are there any teams here that consistantly place high enough to walk without saucing chicken? Ribs? Pork?

I totally understand what you are saying you judge it very objectively, but are you the norm for a KCBS judge or an outlier cause you have more understanding of barbeque style and genre than most?

bbally
03-06-2011, 02:56 PM
In 2008 and 2010 our team finished first in ribs at the same contest. Each win was with a completely different sauce. One had quite a bit of heat to it, and the other was sweet by comparison.

Would you say ribs would have to be sauced to be in contention?

Or would you considering sending in Memphis dry rub style ribs?

Red Valley BBQ
03-06-2011, 03:17 PM
Would you say ribs would have to be sauced to be in contention?

Or would you considering sending in Memphis dry rub style ribs?

I would say with certainty that most ribs are sauced. If I could find a flavor profile with a dry rub that I thought was outstanding, I wouldn't hesitate to use it. I've experimented, but I haven't found that "winning" profile yet. I have however, used a dry rub on chicken wings in a grilling contest and taken 3rd. Unfortunately, that success hasn't carried over to the KCBS side. Whatever I think will give me the best chance to win, I will use.

Trainwreck
03-06-2011, 03:33 PM
I think what you are trying to figure out is what flavor consistently wins at BBQ comps. I am by no means an expert as I have not been doing this long enough and I only cook 4 to 5 comps a year. The most important thing that I have learned so far is that I am not cooking for my tastes but for what I think the judges like. As a few others have stated here as long as you cook your meat perfectly and your flavor profile is not offensive you will do fine. By not offensive I mean it is well balance. Nothing stands out and has the chance to be noticed by a judge. IMO you will do better if you sauce your meats. When I first started I to did not agree that I should sauce but once I started saucing I received much better scores and actually started getting some calls. As someone else mentioned KCBS does not teach what the taste is suppose to be (I have not taken the judges class yet so I can not say for sure). It was hard for me to grasp in the beginning that I was not cooking for my tastes but for someone else's. You have to look at what the majority of the country likes as far as tastes. Now I can not speak for different regions as I have not traveled and cooked much in the past but this year we are branching out. I do not plan on changing anything other then more practice to make sure I am consistent in how my meat comes out. I do not think you want anything to be too sweet but a perfect balance of heat and sweet. What that exactly means you will figure out as you compete and practice and get better and better, or as others have said take a class from one of the teams that are consistently winning and they will share what they are doing. Bottom line perfectly cooked meat with a well balanced flavor profile will win every time. Not sure if that helps or not.

Red Valley BBQ
03-06-2011, 03:44 PM
Did it win?

If not what won?

I realize you probably won't know if it won due to the blind judging, but maybe you know if what won was sauced or not at the Royal?

I honestly don't know what won. I would have had to talk to the specific team, and with the Royal being the mad house that it is at times, that can prove difficult.

I totally understand what you are saying you judge it very objectively, but are you the norm for a KCBS judge or an outlier cause you have more understanding of barbeque style and genre than most?

Based on my experiences, I would say this is the norm. As far as my understanding of barbeque style...up until 5 years ago when I took the CBJ class and judged my first contest, I had no knowledge of what real barbecue was other than what I had seen on tv. NW PA is not exactly a hotbed for quality barbecue. So I took what was taught to me in the CBJ class to heart. I essentially was a blank slate. I'm sure that doesn't go for the judges that have grown up around barbecue. They would have had a better understanding of what quality barbecue is and formulated thier own opinions. However, before judging any contest the judges recite the judge's oath:

I do solemnly swear to objectively and subjectively evaluate each Barbeque meat that is presented to my eyes, my nose, my hands and my palate. I accept my duty to be an Official KCBS Certified Judge, so that truth, justice, excellence in Barbeque and the American Way of Life may be strengthened and preserved forever.

After having the pleasure of judging with some great people from all over the country, I have faith that most judges believe in thier duties as a judge and take them seriously.

smokeyw
03-06-2011, 04:37 PM
I recently attended a CBJ class. We talked about sauces in some detail. The instructor specifically mentioned the different sauces; mustard base, vinegar base, ketchup base, sweet, spicy, etc. We were told to be subjective and objective and judge the samples on the taste, not the sauce. The sauce (if used) should enhance the taste of the meat. It should not mask it. It makes no difference which type sauce is used if the judge likes it. You as a competitor have to figure out what most of the judges like. That is a huge part of a competition and it is not easy.

bbally
03-06-2011, 05:49 PM
It makes no difference which type sauce is used if the judge likes it. You as a competitor have to figure out what most of the judges like. That is a huge part of a competition and it is not easy.

OK, than is it fair to say, since all the winning products I have tasted are sweet with a little heat, that Kansas style barbeque is what most judges are looking for? Or at least what the majority of judges like?

Since you say it makes no difference what sauce you use as long as the majority of judges like it; hence the stuff I have tasted from teams winning regularly seem to always be sweet and have a little heat. Which is classic Kansas style.

As you say, it is a large part of the competition, so really we are in the race to figure out the sauce profile that most judges would like?

And if that is true then most judges are really focused on a sauce style barbeque with a sweet background and a little heat? Hence Kansas City style will win most of the time?

I think we have established that you have to sauce all three Chicken, Ribs, and Pork to score well.

We know that substandard taste 3 (below average by 2 points) always beats presentation at a nine for points added to the team, and ties with above average tenderness based on the KCBS system for what it adds to the team. Hence tis better to spend a lot of time on the sauce cause that is what the judges are going to be evaluating that gives the team the most points with a two hundred twenty eight percent point weight?

Also know I appreciate everyone participatings willingness to continue to read and answer my questions. I am sure some are rolling their eyes and wondering when I will STFU, but it is the engineer in me that has to analyze and see it the data is correct. And I know I am asking questions that mess with the "sacred cows" of the competition circuit, but some of us want to know, not just "that is the way it is."

Red Valley BBQ
03-06-2011, 06:30 PM
OK, than is it fair to say, since all the winning products I have tasted are sweet with a little heat, that Kansas style barbeque is what most judges are looking for? Or at least what the majority of judges like?

Since you say it makes no difference what sauce you use as long as the majority of judges like it; hence the stuff I have tasted from teams winning regularly seem to always be sweet and have a little heat. Which is classic Kansas style.

I would say this is probably pretty accurate. :thumb: At least in my experience.

Spruce-Ridge-Smokers
03-06-2011, 06:44 PM
OK, than is it fair to say, since all the winning products I have tasted are sweet with a little heat, that Kansas style barbeque is what most judges are looking for? Or at least what the majority of judges like?

Since you say it makes no difference what sauce you use as long as the majority of judges like it; hence the stuff I have tasted from teams winning regularly seem to always be sweet and have a little heat. Which is classic Kansas style.

As you say, it is a large part of the competition, so really we are in the race to figure out the sauce profile that most judges would like?

And if that is true then most judges are really focused on a sauce style barbeque with a sweet background and a little heat? Hence Kansas City style will win most of the time?

I think we have established that you have to sauce all three Chicken, Ribs, and Pork to score well.

We know that substandard taste 3 (below average by 2 points) always beats presentation at a nine for points added to the team, and ties with above average tenderness based on the KCBS system for what it adds to the team. Hence tis better to spend a lot of time on the sauce cause that is what the judges are going to be evaluating that gives the team the most points with a two hundred twenty eight percent point weight?

Also know I appreciate everyone participatings willingness to continue to read and answer my questions. I am sure some are rolling their eyes and wondering when I will STFU, but it is the engineer in me that has to analyze and see it the data is correct. And I know I am asking questions that mess with the "sacred cows" of the competition circuit, but some of us want to know, not just "that is the way it is."

As a certified judge, I always appreciate it when teams do something that is different from the "pack" if you will; be that a dry-rub rib or a mustard-themed pork. But it still has to be pleasing to eat ... and if the entry doesn't "pop" flavor wise, game over. Sauce, in general seems to provide more of a winning flavor-layer than a pure rub-based entry. It is pretty tough with just a dry-rub to bring sweet/acid to the table for the single bite that most judges take (IMHO).

As a BBQ lover, I don't cook competition-style at home. Many winning rib entries (as observed) are fairly sweet. That is fine if you are tasting just one, but over the top if you are eating a whole slab. Plus, I like my ribs to (almost) fall off of the bone.

As a competitor, I am there to win. If it takes an "icky" sweet sauce to please the judges, wherever, I am there.

Just sayin ...

Brian

Ford
03-06-2011, 07:17 PM
First take a cbj class then you will understand what a train wreck judging is. It's a personal preference. In Lakeland I turned in ribs and took 4th with a high 170's. In Pensacola same ribs, same taste and tenderness and was 159 with 30 something place. Both Carolyn and I said they were the same, maybe Pensacola was even slightly juicier.

Then take a top level class. Lost of them out there if you want to invest the money. I won't give away secrets but like it's been said here you must cook for 1 bite by judges and it better have all the flavors you want in that bite. Most novice cooks who don't take a class never understand this. If you say I'd like to eat of slab of these ribs they are way under-spiced with both heat and sweet.

If you think you can enter a SAMS contest and compete you better already have a Grand/Reserve or real close under your belt. Most teams registered already made their bones. It's going to be a real tough field.

Last comment - taste across regions stays the same or pretty close. I just moved to Florida and am getting as many calls as in the upper Midwest without changing flavor. And once you get taste down then you need to understand that a lot of contests are won or lost by .0002 points. The one thing you truly can control is what the box looks like. Even then it's still a crap-shoot what the judges score. But in order to win you need to know that taste is what you want and so is tenderness and that box needs to look like a Kodak moment.

Alexa RnQ
03-06-2011, 07:19 PM
I would say that your focus on sauce is missing a huge part of the winning equation.
You can turn in slices of wooden brisket with sauce, but that won't win. The same thing goes for the other meats. The tenderness scores are important too, because an entry isn't perfectly cooked bbq unless it is, indeed, perfectly cooked.

Everything else is up for grabs. We've seen boxes innocent of garnish score well, no matter how many people claim that it's all about the parsley bed. If the meat is beautifully cooked, all else is to be judged as presented -- if it is a wonderful example of its kind, it will be rewarded.

There is no conspiracy, no "secret standard" or bias being taught -- the CBJ classes are open to any cook who wants to take them, and it's a good idea to do just that (says one who hasn't gotten around to it yet :icon_blush: ). The judging classes teach very concrete markers to help assess a very subjective thing -- things like what are the textural attributes of a perfectly cooked rib, or how a slice of brisket should pull.

The best quote on the subject came from a gentleman here in Phoenix who published much big talk about how he knew what good bbq was, and it wasn't what he found at a local contest. After actually entering a contest, though, he concluded "If you cook for your own palate, be prepared to make your own trophy."

The two best tools you have are in your hands -- your score sheets, and your willingness to get out and compete. Over and over, we've seen teams learn how to collect and interpret the raw data from their individual score sheet, and cook a few contests over a bit of a travel range, and with practice their results take a leap upwards. We see other teams that cook for years with little or no change. I would hazard a guess that the difference between the two is the willingness to learn, an openness to change, and the application of some introspection and practice.

HoDeDo
03-06-2011, 07:58 PM
Actually the fact the win across the country indicates there is a learned profile without regional preferences. Somehow they are learning to look for that teams type of barbeque... don't know how, but with the styles across the country changing a team that can travel and win consistantly is either very good at changing recipes, or using the same recipe cause they have the judge learned preference figured out?

I would say that each of the teams winning has a different profile. I can tell you, over the years, I have had several teams BBQ, and while they all win, and score well... they are all different flavor profiles.


while we are a long way from the amount of discussion I hoped this would generate.... somethings are clear on your posts.

I joined KCBS because it supposedly has a Certified Master Barbeque judge method.
KCBS Master Judge ranking is based on tenure/number of events you have judged... not on additional education in judging.


That, to me, means if you put in Luau barbeque chicken the judges have enough knowledge to know it is a south pacific barbeque and what is considered good in the genre. If you put in a smoke rub and meat they know what the standard is for that and judge it to that standard accordingly. But if you are saying that to win a chicken has to be sauced, you are saying that a KCBS judges on a specific style of barbeque as best and the rest be damned no matter how well it is done?
No one is saying a specific style is what wins... but whatever style you do, has to be flawless to win. An over smoked smoke rub and meat, or an unbalanced luau bbq will both get you beat.

What you are saying (I don't sauce at all, sauce it to cover up dry or burn barbeque only) is they are looking for sauce on chicken?
What folks are saying, is if you dont sauce your chicken, it still needs to pop with flavor, have sufficient moisture, color, smoke,etc.
Sauce may not have anything to do with it. For example... are you turning in breasts? thighs? wings? Dark meat holds up better than white meat if it is sitting on a table waiting to be judged, so most people turn in dark meat of some type, or both.

Do you brine? inject? marinate? Again, whatever style you are cooking, sauce or not... if it does not have lots of flavor, and is cooked perfectly, you wont win.

So if they are taught that then they are probably looking for sauce on ribs as well? nope, they aren't -- they are looking for a rib that is moist, tender, and bites cleanly from the bone. outside of that... again, flavor. if it has none, dont expect a good score... and a "dry" rib, does not mean a "gritty" rib. I have scored well with a sauceless rib. But I have tried saucesless ribs that have a gritty or hard surface... and it is a turnoff. other people may feel that way too. again, do any style you like, but do it flawlessly if you want to win.

So if they are looking for specific styles of barbeque and not judging the style of barbeque there is no real master judge program?

The "Master" judge program is based on tenure. The more you judge the better your palette becomes, the better judge you become. has nothing to do with training on all the differnt styles... since there are 100's of style nuances outthere, you are taught to judge each entry for what it is, you are not comparing to other styles, etc. The bottom line is.... crappy " sticky sweet" chicken will score just as poorly as weakly executed other styles.

There is the profile that wins and all other barbeque?

Not trying to be a pain, I am just trying to understand if there are master barbeque judges in KCBS or masters of just a specific style that means everyone must conform to that style? And are you then just paying to find out that luau style or South carolina style barbeque is to be judged like Icky Sticky Sweet smoked Kansas City Style stuff and loses?

It appears to me from the answers that latter is true in KCBS? Or do the judges receive training in all styles of barbeque and how to judge them for the standard they are created under?

OK, than is it fair to say, since all the winning products I have tasted are sweet with a little heat, that Kansas style barbeque is what most judges are looking for? Or at least what the majority of judges like? How do you know what you tasted won? Ate it in the sites of folks I take it? but aside from that, I would say that you probably haven't had enough winning bbq to make that judgement. I know lots of winning Que, that I would say isnt Kansas City Style, as you are defining it. Most styles of BBQ have some type of sauce compontent. Even TX BBQ -- although to a much lesser extent. Red sauces, Mustard Sauces, Sweeter KC sauces, Asian sauces... they are compliments to the meat, and a layer of flavor.

Since you say it makes no difference what sauce you use as long as the majority of judges like it; hence the stuff I have tasted from teams winning regularly seem to always be sweet and have a little heat. Which is classic Kansas style. That must be the style they have choosen to perfect... again, without a flawless delivery, it will be tough to win consistently.

As you say, it is a large part of the competition, so really we are in the race to figure out the sauce profile that most judges would like? Nope, if your meat is dry, or tough, or oversmoked, or any number of things... your sauce won't save you. I know there is a sauce out there called "Blues Hog" - I do not consider it a "KC" style sauce. It is very complex, and has alot of other non-KC components to it.... but I have heard it scores well at competitions... might try it out. But I dont think it helps if your que isnt up to snuff.

And if that is true then most judges are really focused on a sauce style barbeque with a sweet background and a little heat? Hence Kansas City style will win most of the time? Judges are not looking for a sauce style, it is a meat contest... with sauce being one flavor component of the meat.

I think we have established that you have to sauce all three Chicken, Ribs, and Pork to score well.

We know that substandard taste 3 (below average by 2 points) always beats presentation at a nine for points added to the team, and ties with above average tenderness based on the KCBS system for what it adds to the team. Hence tis better to spend a lot of time on the sauce cause that is what the judges are going to be evaluating that gives the team the most points with a two hundred twenty eight percent point weight? If it were only that simple...
Lets talk about how we work as humans... People eat with thier eyes first. So a poor presentation can lead to other lower scores, just because of how our minds work. We also eat with our noses. so if you have any offputting smells from a sauce (i.e. heavy vinegar for example, or heavy pepper) that can impact that initial take on the food. A meat can be tender (not chewy or tough), and still be dry, or overcooked and "mushroom" in your mouth... those things play into the taste score also... so getting a good sauce, does not get you a winning recipe. still have to be flawless on the cook, and the details. balance of flavors, etc.

Also know I appreciate everyone participatings willingness to continue to read and answer my questions. I am sure some are rolling their eyes and wondering when I will STFU, but it is the engineer in me that has to analyze and see it the data is correct. And I know I am asking questions that mess with the "sacred cows" of the competition circuit, but some of us want to know, not just "that is the way it is."

Having said all of that.... if you cater, and are a food biz guy... you arleady know that in general, people put sauce on thier BBQ. When Joe Blow gets his sandwich; 8 of 10 will put some type of sauce on it. BTW, this isnt something with just BBQ -- How many people put nothing on a hamburger or deli sandwich. Sauces add flavor and moisture. BBQ sauce, Katsup, Mayo, French Dressing, mustard... you name it.... so yes, if you turn in something without some layer of flavor that 8 of 10 folks usually partake, into the judges, it may not score as well. Do you have to have it? NO. But if you dont have it, your meat better be perfectly cooked, and still have loads of flavor.

bbally
03-06-2011, 08:10 PM
And once you get taste down then you need to understand that a lot of contests are won or lost by .0002 points. The one thing you truly can control is what the box looks like. Even then it's still a crap-shoot what the judges score. But in order to win you need to know that taste is what you want and so is tenderness and that box needs to look like a Kodak moment.

So with the point system, how does there start to be thousandsth and tenthosandsth points?

Are the judges allowed to give fractions of points?

It appears from the score sheets that they use whole numbers which when weighted under the current system would only produce results to the onehundreth level?

Red Valley BBQ
03-06-2011, 08:46 PM
So with the point system, how does there start to be thousandsth and tenthosandsth points?

Are the judges allowed to give fractions of points?

It appears from the score sheets that they use whole numbers which when weighted under the current system would only produce results to the onehundreth level?

From the KCBS rule book:

The weighting factors for the point system are as follows:
Appearance ‐ 0.5714, Taste ‐ 2.2858, Tenderness ‐ 1.1428.

Rule #6 under the Judging Procedures...
http://www.kcbs.us/pdf/2011_Rules_and_Regulations_12-10-2010.pdf

AZScott
03-06-2011, 09:47 PM
BBally, I think you are focusing on the flavor profile too much. I've cooked 5 comps so far and I have learned that taste is subjective to three things. Taste, texture, and appearance all influence the taste score. The appearance affects the subliminal, the texture allows for mouthfeel and unctuousness, and the flavor brings flavor. I incorporate a couple of flavors that shouldn't do well in KCBS but it works really well when my tenderness is spot on. If my tenderness is off, my flavor scores always are low even if the seasonings are perfect. If my meats are too dark my flavor scores drop as well. Things like color and texture shouldn't affect your taste score but there are more things that go into taste than olfaction and taste.

In the 5 comps we have done, we always analyze the numbers and look at each category and look for patterns. Our goal is 160+ points on each meat, not just 8's and 9's in flavor. You must have good appearance and tenderness scores in order to score > 640 points total or >160 individually. In fact, since I've been tracking the 160's, the teams that score 160+ in all categories win. Very, very few teams can do it. At this point, our single goal at each competition is getting the best tenderness scores we possibly can. If we can do that our scores will almost always be >160.

Rookie'48
03-07-2011, 12:22 AM
bbally - Dude, slow down a minute! Sit down, relax, pour yourself one of your favorite libations, put your feet up & take a deep breath. Now, don't you feel a tad bit better?
Ok, to start with I am a Master Certified BBQ Judge. Do I know all styles of BBQ and their various flavor profiles? Hell no! And I doubt if there is a person alive on this planet that knows ALL about BBQ. I'm a Master CBJ by virtue of having judged at least 30 KCBS sanctioned contests, cooking at least once with a BBQ team at a KCBS contest and taking a 100 question written test. By the way, I've judged almost 50 contests, cooked with a team about 10 times and got a 98% on my test - none of which means that I will ever be the ultimate BBQ expert - it just means that I have a reasonable amount of experience & that I understand and follow the guidlines set down by the KCBS.
This whole debate about flavor profiles or types of sauce really comes down to this: Serve me something that answers this question - is this a good example of what the cook was trying to create?
If you pour your sauce on half an inch thick then I wonder what you are trying to hide.
If you just throw the meat in the box helter-skelter then I figure that you've given up on this entry - why? Was the meat that bad?
You don't have to have sauce, icky sweet or otherwise, on the meat. If you've got the flavors jumping out at me and the flavors are well balanced then you're getting a good set of scores from me.
Remember this: At the average comp there is going to be two to three pounds of meat set on my judges' plate. I am only going to take two bites out of each entry on an average - any more than that and I'd weigh a lot more than the 300 pounds that I do now :-P. That means that you only have one or two bites to catch my attention. You can do this with heat, sweet, smoke, meat flavor, rubs, injections or whatever - but don't over do any one thing, make it a ballanced, tasty entry.

OK - I'm off of my soapbox & you can go back to your regular programing.

bignburlyman
03-07-2011, 07:47 AM
Andy (HoDeDo) had many great points that I agree with. I took the judges class 12 years ago, and just in the last month have assisted at 2 KCBS judging classes. At none of these classes has the instructor told anyone what "good" BBQ is. They try to emphasize that with all the different styles, to not use personal bias to score the entries. If you don't like spicy hot to not score down based only on the spice, although I think it is very difficult to remove the personal bias from the scoring method.

Also at the classes bbally asked if they give you examples of poor BBQ, good BBQ, and great BBQ. Not at any of the classes I have attended. More attention is what and how meat is presented. There is discussion about how everyone scored and why did you score that way. And in each class there are scores that range from 9 to 4 for the same entry, students are asked to justify why they scored high or low. You have to understand that in the class the cook is building 24 boxes of ribs for 48 judging students to score, they are not using JUST the best ribs as teams in competition do, they are just slicing and putting them in the box. Also some of the boxes are built in order to receive a DQ (a score of 1) just to show the students the process of disqualifing a entry.

Also, just my opinion, being a Master BBQ judge does not necessarily mean having a better pallatte than a first time judge, it just means they have judged more. There can be rouge judges in all levels of experience.

CBQ
03-07-2011, 08:18 AM
That, to me, means if you put in Luau barbeque chicken the judges have enough knowledge to know it is a south pacific barbeque and what is considered good in the genre.

There is no "KCBS Taste", however there is something else you need to consider here. Judging is not supposed to be relative to other entries in front of the judge, nor is it supposed to be against a genre.

Certified judges are told to judge against an absolute standard of what they consider to be good BBQ. This means that your south pacific chicken is facing off against all the pieces of BBQ chicken that judge has EVER tasted. It can't just be a good example of south pacific BBQ, it has to be good overall.

Think of it this way: A really good romantic comedy is never going to win an Oscar for Best Picture, no matter how good it is. You just know the nominees are going to be serious dramas. Same thing with BBQ. In theory you could win with anything that tastes good, but a classic flavor profile is going to have the best shot.

Capn Kev
03-07-2011, 08:30 AM
There is no "KCBS Taste", however there is something else you need to consider here. Judging is not supposed to be relative to other entries in front of the judge, nor is it supposed to be against a genre.

Certified judges are told to judge against an absolute standard of what they consider to be good BBQ. This means that your south pacific chicken is facing off against all the pieces of BBQ chicken that judge has EVER tasted. It can't just be a good example of south pacific BBQ, it has to be good overall.

Think of it this way: A really good romantic comedy is never going to win an Oscar for Best Picture, no matter how good it is. You just know the nominees are going to be serious dramas. Same thing with BBQ. In theory you could win with anything that tastes good, but a classic flavor profile is going to have the best shot.

Great analogy!

RedPig
03-07-2011, 08:55 AM
Being a rookie team in 2010 with only 3 comps under our belts, I am still learning a lot. Having said that, I feel that if you want to advance your bbq skills and knowledge in general, and seriously compete, you need to know what judging is all about. Do as I have done and a lot of other brethern have done...take a judging class. Wouldn't hurt to get a good class in as well. The teams that are consistently finishing at or near the top are the ones who have done their homework and are constantly honing their craft. They have everything dialed in and are firing on all cylinders, so to speak. I've read all the posts and as most have already said, taste, which is certainly the most inportant category, is subjective and a individual preference. Our palates are different. What tastes excellent to you might be so so to me. I think balance is the key. All the flavors come together and blend beautifully. Nothing dominates. Bbq nirvana! Don't neglect the tenderness and appearance aspect either. Competition scores can be extremely close and I don't want to leave any points on the table. Just try not to analyze everything so much. Have fun.

Smoke'n Ice
03-07-2011, 10:02 AM
For years I did not sauce my pork, even in NC. The results were hit and miss. At one comp, my partner and wife said, "quit being such a purist and put some damn sauce on the pork." I did and won and have actually done quite well the last few years (it's not Icky sweet either).

In TX, I found out the sauce/flavor profile for chicken, started finally using the sauce (for the chicken) and have walks (without falling down) since and only do 2 or 3 a year here.

You do what ya gotta do if you want braggin' rites. Only a few teams actually do break even or better and I'm not one of them, so it's a hobby. If I tire of it, I'll go back to sailing and start pouring my money into a hole in the water.

bbally
03-07-2011, 10:52 AM
Don't neglect the tenderness and appearance aspect either. Competition scores can be extremely close and I don't want to leave any points on the table. Just try not to analyze everything so much. Have fun.

I agree that these two categories are necessary.

My point on them is with a 2.2858 (basically a 229 percent multiplier) on Taste, until you guess the sauce the judges want, all else is for not!

However, with the information I have received from this thread I think we can modify that statement from Sauce to:

Without guessing the flavor profile that the judges are looking for all else is for not.

ALX
03-07-2011, 11:15 AM
Bob...maybe try doctoring a icky sweet in a couple categories and if your scores dramaticaly improve with cooking and appearance the same...then the KCBS may not be for your tastes...It would take more then 1 comp for results to hold up,but it would be interesting.

We compete against 2 teams in top 20 of TOY last few years and i know they make their own sauces...

Not uncommon for a entry to have 4-5 layers in the profile from an injection(marinade,brine etc.) thru a finishing rub on top of sauce....

RangerJ
03-07-2011, 11:37 AM
For years I did not sauce my pork, even in NC. The results were hit and miss. At one comp, my partner and wife said, "quit being such a purist and put some damn sauce on the pork." I did and won and have actually done quite well the last few years (it's not Icky sweet either).



Adding to the point above..

I was never a big fan of sauce on my chicken, I thought I made some darn fine bird with a dry rub and cooked just right. I did some research before I dove into competing and figured I had better keep up with the Joneses.

Initially, I had a pretty sweet sauce that my son and I found somewhere, it was hit or miss. Ironically, at some point my wife said.. "make that sauce you always make for me at home". I said " that will never fly".

I finally gave in and my chicken has hit top ten here recently and its not "icky sweet" at all.

Don't get discouraged. If you can consistently turn out a quality product cooked to perfection everytime, most will tell you that is the key, then you can become the mad scientist.

I'm still struggling with both.

Good luck!

carlyle
03-07-2011, 11:40 AM
What an interesting discussion!

HoDeDo had a lot of good points in his detailed and thoughtful response.

Rookie48 had a great explanation of the master judge program of KCBS.

What do I have to add? First it is a meat contest, not a sauce contest. Been said before but bears repeating.

Second, as others have stated, take a CBJ class so you understand the process

better.

Third, as a judge chair for our contest, I know that I will wind up with a spectrum of experience with the judges. From Master Judges to CBJ's judging their first contest.
We distribute the experienced and the inexperienced and encourage talking about
the entries after each class score cards are turned in as a way of mentoring each other.

Fourth, when I judge, I do not go into a contest with a preconceived idea of what I am looking for, a particular profile in mind, or any style that I would automatically score lower. It is judging each entry on its own merits.

Fifth, IMO KCBS is intentionally vague about taste to allow for individual creativity. Thank goodness!

Finally, sixth, it is the whole table of 6 judges with the lowest score thrown out that establishes the score. It is not just one person. Each person is just part of the mix.

Thanks for generating this robust discussion.

MoKanMeathead
03-07-2011, 12:15 PM
This is a great thread and a lot of good information.

bbally, you mentioned something back on the first page that got my attentions, you said "After 16 years of successful catering I am not changing styles or recipes". That is fine but expect that you will be judged consistently from one comp to the next if you do not change anything...ever.

When I look abck at the product we turned in when we started doing comp BBQ it is nothing like we turn in today - and we are still searching for the consistency thing that most of the good teams have figuered out. Not only do you have to find what the judes want but you have to be able to produce it the saem everytime.

Like it or not you are cooking for the judges and you do need to find what they want...not what you (or your catering customers) like. And your points about taste being so important is spot on...appearance and tenderness will not win you a contest but it sure will cost you a contest.

You can take all the judging and cooking classes you want but if you are not willing to change then I wouldn't expect any major changes in your scores.

bbally
03-07-2011, 12:53 PM
What do I have to add? First it is a meat contest, not a sauce contest. Been said before but bears repeating.

To my mind we have established that it is basically a sauce contest. As all the advice is to sauce or accept the perils. So if people want to believe it is a meat contest they are welcome to do that, but I won't be continuing to send in barbequed meat without sauce as it is pretty much settled that without the sauce profile to hit the judges you are done.

Call it a meat contest if you want, but the over weighting of taste and the lack of additional weighting for tenderness indicates it boils down to flavor, and the sauce has to be a component of the flavor or you are toast.


Second, as others have stated, take a CBJ class so you understand the process better.

I may do that at some point, but only if I decide to continue to work on the sauce to be competitive. I really may just decide to do the People's choice and the side categories and leave the saucing flavor contest to those that want to play that game.

Third, as a judge chair for our contest, I know that I will wind up with a spectrum of experience with the judges. From Master Judges to CBJ's judging their first contest.
We distribute the experienced and the inexperienced and encourage talking about the entries after each class score cards are turned in as a way of mentoring each other.

I figure this was going on and probably goes on a lot. As that is the only way to explain a Sweet with heat winning in a place like North Carolina, were traditionally a vinegar based should be picked by the local judges. The fact that regional differences become unnecessary indicates this must happen a lot with KCBS judges. Judges marking what they like high and what they don't like low can only have the regional preference removed from their mind by being told their scoring was wrong and this is what should have scored high.

Fourth, when I judge, I do not go into a contest with a preconceived idea of what I am looking for, a particular profile in mind, or any style that I would automatically score lower. It is judging each entry on its own merits.

I believe you, how many times did a dry memphis rub rib get 9s from you?

How many times do you pick sweet with heat?

Fifth, IMO KCBS is intentionally vague about taste to allow for individual creativity. Thank goodness!

Actually the cluster of teams winning across regional barbeque preferences with the same recipes indicate that creativity is not rewarded, that conformity is necessary.

The fact that teams can make a living teaching the method to be successful, followed on with the fact that many teams taking the class become successful across regional boundries also indicate a specific flavor profile becomes favored stifling creativity. (Which the discussion seems to indicate is now a sauce and an injectable.)

This is further enforced by new judging being told (after the fact so as not to influence results) what the good barbeque was by the more "experienced" (indoctrinated) judges. If discussions are hand about what was considered good and what was considered bad the less experienced are going to adopt the methods of the more experienced since it is percieved they are correct.

Finally, sixth, it is the whole table of 6 judges with the lowest score thrown out that establishes the score. It is not just one person. Each person is just part of the mix.

No arguement with me, I agree with you. A group of judges scores the meat.... then after turn in many times discusses which should be scored high and why?

This naturally lends itself to developing the bias that seems to exist for sweet with heat. Which is further reinforced by a points weighting system that would reward a substandard flavor profile of three, with the same points as the person who handled their pit correctly and produced an above average piece of meat in tenderness. This weighting really is the crux of the matter that it is not a meat contest at all. It appears from answers that it may not be a sauce contest, but we can conclude that it is a flavor contest and definately a targeted flavor that can be taught.

If it was a meat contest, someone handling the pit correctly and producing a piece of meat cooked to above average perfection would not stand on the same point placing as a flavor profile (taste) that is two steps below average and not to far from inedible.


Thanks for everyone that continues to participate and answer and offer opinions. I really do appreciate it. I know I am goring a sacred cow but all thesis should be allowed to be challenged.

Thanks for generating this robust discussion.

Bourbon Barrel BBQ
03-07-2011, 01:07 PM
So, do you other guys agree with bbally that icky sticky sweet with heat is what the CBJ's are looking for? Is that the national profile? Honestly, I don't wholly agree with that contention. What say you hard core competitors?

I think that sweet sauce wins a majority of the time but that doesn't mean that you HAVE to do a sweet sauce. I think it has to do with what the majority of the public has in their head on what BBQ tastes like. I guarantee that if you ask 100 people from all over the country what BBQ flavor is luau chicken and dry coffee rubbed ribs won't be mentioned that many times. Now ask that question in those regions and it may be higher. You don't have to cook sweet but you certainly have to cook a middle of the road style if you want to win on a consistent basis. If your dead set in your ways on a polarizing end of the scale style and don't plan on changing you are wasting your time IMO.

landarc
03-07-2011, 01:20 PM
I ask because I do know that Blues Hog is a very popular sauce for competition and I have had it on brisket at comps. If I was going to enter a competition, I am sure it would be one of two sauces I would bring, the other being Big Butz Original. These two sauces work for the style of BBQ that I prefer. They both come off as being sweet at first, but, end up being quite complementary to the meat.

I disagree with BBally's contention that we all agree it is a sauce contest, in fact, I am of the belief that it is a meat contest, if you do not nail tenderness, your taste score will go down. If the box looks bad, I suspect you also suffer on the taste end. From a culinary background, I think sauce is a part of cooking, I consider the 'dry' styles of BBQ to be the aberrant from the norm in terms of overall culinary presentation of meat. Sauce, jus or other methods of adding flavor upon presentation are classic techniques and as valid as any method for developing flavor. This gets back to the old argument that perhaps the only 'true' BBQ is without any rub or seasoning, let's see who can cook the best meat and meat alone.

Since I can't really walk well anymore, maybe I should become a judge, cause I can still sit, eat and form an opinion. :becky:

ALX
03-07-2011, 01:23 PM
If your dead set in your ways on a polarizing end of the scale style and don't plan on changing you are wasting your time IMO.

One thing i dont understand in thread is judging is set up where appearance and texture is discussed,but taste is supposed to be judged on what cook was attempting to accomplish as far as BBQ...Not gonna happen most times.

That said...What makes the judges not the General Public in most aspects...Well before we competed most folk thought our BBQ was great...Became obvious to win that judges needed MORE with 6 samples in front of them and one bite....

QansasjayhawQ
03-07-2011, 01:40 PM
So I figure that KCBS puts on a judge training, they have someone cook what is consider bad, average, good, and great barbeque?

If so does the Chicken that is great always have a sauce on it?

Does the ribs they offer as great always have a sauce on it?

Pulled pork?

If so does the sauce model the icky sweet style of Kansas City Barbeque? or are there also what is consider great ribs presented with the coffee style of the southwest? Or the vinegar style of North Carolina? Or the dry spice rub of Memphis? Or the smoke and spice only style of Texas?

I agree with you on experience for judges, but are they told it must be sauced? Or presented sauced items as the perfect product?
I'm sorry if someone has answered this already - but I don't have time to read all five pages of responses . . . :-)

KCBS judges are not trained to look for a particular style of BBQ. They are not told that it must be sauced or not. I've given high scores to chicken both with and without sauce. A KCBS judge should be able to objectively and subjectively evaluate each style of BBQ and be able to score fairly - even if that particular style is not their favorite.

Discussing what judges did and didn't like about particular entries is very common and even encouraged by some reps and organizers. However, the exact scores that everyone gives a particular sample are not. The table captain collects the score cards and checks for scores that are way out of step with all the other judges, but the specifics are not revealed.

Taking a KCBS judging class and actually judging at least ten contests would give you far more information about what the judges are looking for . . . but balance plays a key role in all aspects of taste, tenderness and appearance.

I hope this helps -

:-)

Bourbon Barrel BBQ
03-07-2011, 01:43 PM
To my mind we have established that it is basically a sauce contest. As all the advice is to sauce or accept the perils. So if people want to believe it is a meat contest they are welcome to do that, but I won't be continuing to send in barbequed meat without sauce as it is pretty much settled that without the sauce profile to hit the judges you are done.

Then just smear some Blues Hog on your food and walk up and get your trophy. I just told you the secret. Now you don't have an excuse on why you didn't win. :)

landarc
03-07-2011, 02:13 PM
I attended a very interesting event out here in the hinterlands of BBQ, the CBBQA put on an event in which two judging tables with CBJ's were to judge turn ins. These were done in the normal blind manner except for the fact that once the boxes were judged, the judges then called out the box number and the competitors were able to actually hear the judges comments and then alter discuss the scores with the judges.

This was incredibly helpful to the people competing, as you actually see and hear the comments in real time. The best part, since I was neither competitor or judge, I got to taste all sorts of BBQ. Which was also enlightening.

Spydermike72
03-07-2011, 02:34 PM
I will not agree that the comps I am in is Sauce contest. Most folks that I know and our team use sauce, but it is such a light amount that you really cant tell there is sauce on there for the most part (maybe not ribs).
The sauce is there to compliment the meat, not to be front and center. I have also judged about 5 comps and I personally judge each entry on it's own merits. I do not have an expectation of what it should taste like beforehand. If I get something that makes me say WOW, I will judge accordingly.

bbally - You are looking for the silver bullet that is not out there. Practice and experience (cooking in comps) will give you what you are looking for.

bbally
03-07-2011, 03:10 PM
Then just smear some Blues Hog on your food and walk up and get your trophy. I just told you the secret. Now you don't have an excuse on why you didn't win. :)

Love it..... I think it has been established that while it may not make you win, under KCBS smearing it with Blue Hog would definately improve the score over a Memphis dry rub.:becky:

bbally
03-07-2011, 03:18 PM
I disagree with BBally's contention that we all agree it is a sauce contest

Poor choice of words on my part, should have said based on what I am reading in this thread it has become apparent to me that it is a sauce contest.

Others are free to draw their own conclusion, but a 2.2858 multiplier, so many saying "no sauce" equals "no placing" all indicate to me it is really a sauce contest. (Which I am modifying to a flavor contest to allow for injecting all manner of stuff.)

I see what you are eluding to on the sauce deal. And certainly in many regional preferences I could see three of the five mothers covered.

However, I am not going to get in the middle of the sauce and dry debate. As far as I am concerned when the first caveman attracted the first lady to a barbeque (whether dry rub or sauced) the caveman across the canyon did the opposite (sauced or dry rub) to attract her across the canyon!!!!! And the great rub or sauce debate was started.:clap2::clap2:

bbally
03-07-2011, 03:26 PM
bbally - You are looking for the silver bullet that is not out there. Practice and experience (cooking in comps) will give you what you are looking for.

No sir, not looking for a magic trick to win. Just asking questions and gathering information to see if any style of barbeque gets judged correctly, or if a sweet with heat will be needed to be in the top quarter of the scoring.

I am only checking into this because I go to these for different reasons than most people and wish to modify how I participate pending the outcome of this great discussion.


Again thanks to all of you whom are participating in this. I really appreciate your time and effort to give me real answers and express your opinions based on experience far more than I presently carry.

Todd Ras
03-07-2011, 03:53 PM
BBally,

It seems to me you have a left brain type of thinking. So, let me see if I can explain my point in a more example type style as it seems you deal in “exacts” as you’re an engineer I think you mentioned earlier.

Here is why I disagree with you on why this isn’t a sauce contest:

Correct me if I’m wrong on the following on ways to get flavor into meat:

Smoke (several different kinds of woods)
Brines
Rubs
Injections
Better cuts of meat (more intense flavors)
Sauces
Butter (or the blue stuff for some of you all….J)

Your hypothesis is that if you don’t enter a sauced product you can’t win, which makes it a sauce contest. So, if you have a dozen or more basic ways to flavor meat why is it still a sauce contest?

Let me ask you, if you remove another flavor component like your brines or injections can you still win a contest? Of course, but I can tell you most people who win use some sort of injection or brine. So, considering that, is it an injection contest? Of course not, in the end it will always be a meat contest!! Anyway you can pack more flavor that completes the taste profile of your MEAT will help. Just like adding sauce!

I think your viewing sauce differently that most people who compete. I know there are a lot of KC Masterpiece people who think if you sauce anything its considered BBQ. I think this has given sauce a bad name. From the people and teams we have talked to they understand it’s an added layer of flavor to complement their total product. Just because it’s a KCBS judge or a KCBS sactioned event doesn’t mean the “KC” has to stand for sauce. Being from Kansas City I get sick of this argument.

Overall, in the law of averages you’re hypotheses is correct. Most people who score well win with a sauced product, but not all the time. So, if you want to score well, you have a higher probability to do so with sauced meat. (I think you have agreed to this)

In the end, if contests were only scored on taste they wouldn’t give scores on box appearance. Look at the amount of detail professional head chefs put into the coloring and plating of their food at top restaurants. People eat with their eyes first, then taste it. Apperance is a key to not losing a contest. I know this wasn’t your intension, but when you put so much focus on the sauce and pretty much tell a group of people who spend days and months competing it comes down to one thing, you kind of undermined the whole experience of competition BBQ.

carlyle
03-07-2011, 04:27 PM
This continues to be an interesting discussion.

I particularly like and agree with comments made by Qansasjayhawq and Spydermike 72.

Balance counts for a lot, with the meat front and center. Not the sauce.

I happen to like sweet, catsup is a food group to me. But I also will eat mustard straight out of the bottle and love malt vinegar on fish or french fries.

Memphis dry rub or vinegar based sauce stands just as much chance with me as sweet. I like 'em all.

I like heat but it must be in balance with everything else.

A heavily sauced entry that over shadows the meat will get marked lower by me.

Another factor in judging, that is brought out in CBJ training, is not to compare one entry to another, but rather judge each on its own merits. You don't have to mark one entry down because you mark another entry high.

Unless you are setting at the table scoring entries yourself, why one entry gets a higher score than another will remain a mystery. Even if you are at a table, why scores at the other tables rank the way they do will be a mystery. Each table scores a different group of entries.

Making generalizations about the results for any of us is not accurate.

ALX
03-07-2011, 05:36 PM
I just give Kudos to the folk who have won consistently and teach classes and see themselves beaten by students etc..That takes a heck of a lot more self-confidence then say a bobby flay competing a few times and criticizing a whole competition set up....

bbally
03-07-2011, 07:52 PM
Here is why I disagree with you on why this isn’t a sauce contest:

Correct me if I’m wrong on the following on ways to get flavor into meat:

Smoke (several different kinds of woods)
Brines
Rubs
Injections
Better cuts of meat (more intense flavors)
Sauces
Butter (or the blue stuff for some of you all….J)

Your hypothesis is that if you don’t enter a sauced product you can’t win, which makes it a sauce contest. So, if you have a dozen or more basic ways to flavor meat why is it still a sauce contest?

Because it appears from the answers received from the community of competitors that without the sauce your scores will be low.


One thing to note is that I compete in Kansas City Barbeque Society competitions. Kansas City is known for their amazing sweet sticky sauces. So, when I cook, I try to emulate what I know to be Kansas City BBQ. If were cooking in another organization's competition, I'd find out what the baseline profile is, and build from there.

So in conclusion if your not saucing your bbq then you are putting yourself at a distinct disadvantage.
In 2008 and 2010 our team finished first in ribs at the same contest. Each win was with a completely different sauce.
IMO you will do better if you sauce your meats. When I first started I to did not agree that I should sauce but once I started saucing I received much better scores and actually started getting some calls.
Sauce, in general seems to provide more of a winning flavor-layer than a pure rub-based entry. It is pretty tough with just a dry-rub to bring sweet/acid to the table for the single bite that most judges take (IMHO).
For years I did not sauce my pork, even in NC. The results were hit and miss. At one comp, my partner and wife said, "quit being such a purist and put some damn sauce on the pork." I did and won and have actually done quite well the last few years.

In TX, I found out the sauce/flavor profile for chicken, started finally using the sauce (for the chicken) and have walks (without falling down) since and only do 2 or 3 a year here.
We compete against 2 teams in top 20 of TOY last few years and i know they make their own sauces...

Not uncommon for a entry to have 4-5 layers in the profile from an injection(marinade,brine etc.) thru a finishing rub on top of sauce....

I was never a big fan of sauce on my chicken, I thought I made some darn fine bird with a dry rub and cooked just right. I did some research before I dove into competing and figured I had better keep up with the Joneses.

I think that sweet sauce wins a majority of the time but that doesn't mean that you HAVE to do a sweet sauce.

If I was going to enter a competition, I am sure it would be one of two sauces I would bring, the other being Big Butz Original. These two sauces work for the style of BBQ that I prefer. They both come off as being sweet at first, but, end up being quite complementary to the meat.

Most folks that I know and our team use sauce



Let me ask you, if you remove another flavor component like your brines or injections can you still win a contest? Of course, but I can tell you most people who win use some sort of injection or brine. So, considering that, is it an injection contest? Of course not, in the end it will always be a meat contest!! Anyway you can pack more flavor that completes the taste profile of your MEAT will help. Just like adding sauce!

But the body of responses indicate that sending in barbeque done with all the other components minus the sauce will reduce your scores. Hence the sauce becomes the hinging point toward competitively creating barbeque.

Now we can discuss why? Such as the sauce ties the other components together? Maybe. Or the sauce blends and mellows the other components to make it pleasing? Maybe. But it seems apparent with very few, if any, exceptions the sauce is required, and the correct sauce at that!


I think your viewing sauce differently that most people who compete. I know there are a lot of KC Masterpiece people who think if you sauce anything its considered BBQ. I think this has given sauce a bad name. From the people and teams we have talked to they understand it’s an added layer of flavor to complement their total product. Just because it’s a KCBS judge or a KCBS sactioned event doesn’t mean the “KC” has to stand for sauce. Being from Kansas City I get sick of this argument.

While I agree reading the rules for KCBS does not require KC style barbeque, but what is winning sure indicates it to be necessary, by design maybe not, by fact and do a great many members think so... apparently yes.


Overall, in the law of averages you’re hypotheses is correct. Most people who score well win with a sauced product, but not all the time. So, if you want to score well, you have a higher probability to do so with sauced meat. (I think you have agreed to this)

Of course I agree with the fact it has to be sauced, it is a sauce contest by my view. And I think above you just agreed as well? Or at the very least you are saying sauce is required.

However, I think you have averages confused with normal distribution. Normal distribution would indicate that sauced products will create a population of winning that far exceeds the winnings of non-sauced products. (We would call this gathering of non-sauced "in the tails of the bell curve" in statistics) And that is why I started this thread to find out if everyone thinks that you must sauce to compete. It appears the answer is yes. It appears you scores will rarely if ever be in contention without that application of sauce. Light or heavy, sweet or tart, that is a different thread, but for sure sauce is the component that makes your barbeque compete.

Not sauce alone of course, but without it you do not stand a chance. So the sauce becomes the component that moves you up.

In the end, if contests were only scored on taste they wouldn’t give scores on box appearance. Look at the amount of detail professional head chefs put into the coloring and plating of their food at top restaurants. People eat with their eyes first, then taste it. Apperance is a key to not losing a contest. I know this wasn’t your intension, but when you put so much focus on the sauce and pretty much tell a group of people who spend days and months competing it comes down to one thing, you kind of undermined the whole experience of competition BBQ.

Actually my point is the box only comes into play to seperate the people whom have figured out the flavor profile which must include sauce.

This is why the presentation is discounted so severly.

Tenderness, (The cooking of the meat) is also severly discounted. It represents only 40 percent of the total points available.

So you want me to agree that this is a meat contest when the way the meat was cooked and the pit handled (for us that still manage a pit) is only 39.99 percent of the total score?

Not by a long shot... Tenderness and Texture are so discounted that a 3 (three) in taste will tie the points a team receives for a 6 (six) above average tenderness? So the cooking of the meat and the prepping of the meat in a meat contest only account for 39.99 percent of the points a team can receive?

If you don't like the words Sauce Contest, would you consider the words Flavor Contest?

Thanks for taking the time to respond, I do appreciate it. I also wonder if anyone besides me sees this 500 pound gorilla sitting in the judges tent and why they wish to ignore it?

gooose53
03-07-2011, 08:20 PM
I don't think a contest is a sauce contest anymore than you can call it a rub or brine contest. All of it has to work together to produce a great quality product.

landarc
03-07-2011, 09:14 PM
Bbally, it strikes me that you have made a determination and no end of discussion will sway you from your belief that a KCBS contest is a sauce contest. Now, you are welcome to that belief, and you may be right. But, you keep pointing out that if you do not sauce, your chance of scoring well is nil. This may be true, I have no evidence to prove otherwise. But, you logic is flawed, as if you do not rub the meat, you have little chance of scoring well, if you do not cook it, well, you are gonna lose, if you do not have tenderness, you are not going to score well either. You are missing the point because you have already determined the answer.

The real answer IMO, if you do not do everything well, you are not going to score well. You may well need sauce, but, turn in meat rubbed with just salt, or injected with just water, or cooked with no smoke, well, you remove anything from the end product and you will not score well. What is I removed salt, I would suppose that I would likely not score well, by adding it, I might win, by your logic, it is then a salt contest. I only argue this point as none of the BBQ I have tasted that was cooked by good comp cooks was what I would describe as icky sweet.

bbally
03-07-2011, 09:41 PM
Bbally, it strikes me that you have made a determination and no end of discussion will sway you from your belief that a KCBS contest is a sauce contest.

I am/was trying to determine if sauce is required to score well.

I believe that is probably correct based on member input.

I agree with you that all the components are required before the sauce can do its job. Hence the reason that flavor profile comes up in the discussion.

At this point I was only posing questions and reviewing member answers for in contest to those indicating it is a meat contest. The input has been great, all of it, and I have learned a lot, plus all the Phone Calls, Emails and PMs with information to help us do better in Loveland Colorado has been wonderful. I hope the scores go up, I don't have dilusions of winning, but I would like to be above the bottom 10 and think with the discussion here and the Phone Calls, Emails, and PMs, we may just increase above the 154.2856 in Chicken, the 134.2858 in Ribs, 130.8572 in Pork, and the 132.5714 in brisket. Not DAL but you can smell it well from where we are!!!!:becky:

Anyway I appologize if this is aggrevating you, not my intention, but if someone is going to state what they think; they ought to be able to and want to explain why.

I appreciate everyone that reached out and offered help, I know you cannot give it all away but thanks for the "forget professional cooking, remember one bite has to tell the whole story."

landarc
03-07-2011, 09:50 PM
It is not aggravating me, just pointing out that the path may well be sauce, but, that is not all. And I was part of a team that turned in a brisket with no sauce (not my choice, stubborn Texan on team) and we took a 4th in brisket. You just never know.

ALX
03-07-2011, 10:12 PM
either way...I like think me glaze/finishing sauce seals that baby...Just saying........:thumb:

Jeff_in_KC
03-07-2011, 10:35 PM
Let's just sum up six pages of trying to convince you with this:

Yes, you need to turn in barbecue with sauce on it, sweet or not, turn it in. If you don't like your results and yet you want to win, adjust it til you find out what works. You'll be leaning in the sweet direction if you haven't already figured that out.

And jack your flavor up to knock their socks off with ONE BITE.

This thread can now be scrubbed down to about four posts. :laugh:

Rookie'48
03-07-2011, 11:14 PM
Let's just sum up six pages of trying to convince you with this:
And jack your flavor up to knock their socks off with ONE BITE. This thread can now be scrubbed down to about four posts. :laugh:

And even then you'll probably get another argument Jeff. After reading this whole thread twice I am positive that our friend bbally isn't listening to anything that doesn't fit in with what he already "knows" to be true. But then again, I'm one of those "indoctrinated" judges. I give up :rolleyes:.

ALX
03-08-2011, 02:50 AM
Yep...Same old same..My cht donna stink...Why they donnna love me..BS

Dale P
03-08-2011, 04:10 AM
We have won 1st in chicken with and without sauce so Im going with it's a best taste contest.

Hub
03-08-2011, 06:06 AM
Bottom Line: Style has nothing to do with it. BALANCE has everything to do with it. Consistent winners CONSISTENTLY produce a harmonious balance of meat, method (smoke, appearance), and spice (rub, sauce, injection, mop, etc.) and no one thing overpowers the others. It is the total impact that wins.

What works to sell in chain restaurants and in catering may or may not bear any resemblence to competition BBQ. Everyone I've ever fed competition style food to has preferred it greatly to the quick-fix, red-dyed, mushy slop they thought was barbeque before they got the real thing!

Trainwreck
03-08-2011, 06:20 AM
I stated that when I started using sauce my scores increased. I don't think I said it was required. I believe the sauce started increasing my scores because when combined with my other flavors the sauce adds another layer of flavor which helps everything else rise up and taste that much better. I do not use enough sauce to overpower any of the other components so I would not say sauce is required, but added in the right amount it wont hurt :thumb:.

bbally
03-08-2011, 08:51 AM
Let's just sum up six pages of trying to convince you with this: Yes, you need to turn in barbecue with sauce on it, sweet or not, turn it in

Yes all of you convinced me of this. Has to have sauce.

And thanks to Rookie48 and others it is also understood that one to two bites must have a ton of flavor.

Bourbon Barrel BBQ
03-08-2011, 11:12 AM
Yes all of you convinced me of this. Has to have sauce.

And thanks to Rookie48 and others it is also understood that one to two bites must have a ton of flavor.

Now the question is ARE YOU going to sauce from now on?

bbally
03-08-2011, 11:42 AM
Now the question is ARE YOU going to sauce from now on?

Well I am going to sauce at Loveland at the Sam's club competition and see if I move out of the lower 130's more into the high 140s or low 150's. If that happens they I will sauce in competitions.

Lake Dogs
03-08-2011, 12:09 PM
Bbally, without getting into the how this thread got to this point, if you compete in
competitions sanctioned by different sanctioning bodies you may find that they're very
different in their expectations of sauce (or not). For example, in this neck of the woods
most everything in KCBS is pretty much expected to be sauced, whereas for MBN you
may see only 40% or less of ribs, pork, or whole hog sauced at all, and those that do
sauce tend to sauce VERY little. Same region; different sanctioning bodies, VERY
different CBJ training and certification.

As to which win, KCBS judges tend to expect sauce, so sans sauce generally doesn't
fair well, even if it's the perfectly done Memphis ribs. Contrary, in MBN that perfectly
done Memphis rib has every bit as good a chance to win as the perfectly sauced rib.

Further, the expectations of judges continue. MBN actually defines characteristics
of the perfectly cooked rib, where it should pull from the bone cleanly with only a
slight resistance. KCBS of course needs bite-through ribs and the MBN ribs would be
considered over-cooked. As a result, most of your winning KCBS ribs will be St Louis
Spares, and most of your winning MBN ribs will be Baby Backs (tendencies & all).

Not that one sanctioning body is right and the other is wrong, and not that one is any
better or worse than the other. They're just different, with different definitions and
expectations as to what constitutes perfect BBQ.

I personally prefer MBN, but that's because I like the ribs to be pull from the bone and
prefer BBQ un-sauced when it's done really well. To repeat, that's my personal
preference. We have competed in both and as funds permit we will continue to
compete in both.

NRA4Life
03-08-2011, 12:49 PM
Well I am going to sauce at Loveland at the Sam's club competition and see if I move out of the lower 130's more into the high 140s or low 150's. If that happens they I will sauce in competitions.

If you don't move out of the lower 130's after applying sauce, then maybe the lack of sauce hasn't been the driving factor in your low scores.

bbally
03-08-2011, 01:01 PM
Bbally, without getting into the how this thread got to this point, if you compete in competitions sanctioned by different sanctioning bodies you may find that they're very different in their expectations of sauce (or not). For example, in this neck of the woods most everything in KCBS is pretty much expected to be sauced, whereas for MBN you
may see only 40% or less of ribs, pork, or whole hog sauced at all, and those that do sauce tend to sauce VERY little. Same region; different sanctioning bodies, VERY different CBJ training and certification.

Thank you for the information. When I mentioned I like Meat, Smoke, and Spice barbeque I did get a few PMs indicating I should look at IBCA.

They indicated an interesting concept fifty percent of the barbeque at a judging tables moves on to the next judging table to be judged again. No weighting to make flavor count so much more than cooking the meat.

Thanks so much I will look into MBN rules, for now I think I will try the flavor game at KCBS and see if the guidance does improve scores.

bbally
03-08-2011, 01:08 PM
If you don't move out of the lower 130's after applying sauce, then maybe the lack of sauce hasn't been the driving factor in your low scores.

I am aware of that as a possibility, but I know what I put out, I know how long I have been doing it, so I am confident that the sauce will improve the scores. And I am prepared for the crushing blow of reality if it does not!

The closest thing to wet I make is my Chicken thighs. That is scoring 154 or so. Combining that semi wet performance with the posted stories on this thread and the PM stories of great improvements after I applying sauce I am predicting a positive thesis on the addition of the sauce.

But the test will be Loveland and the results will be public so everyone will know.

I don't want to get into the data set stuff again, but the normal distribution does support what many of the members said about sauce.

NRA4Life
03-08-2011, 01:40 PM
I can tell you, I've judged and cooked. Based on what I've seen judging, I haven't seen any ribs or chicken without sauce. And I don't turn in chicken or ribs without sauce when cooking. I can also tell you that competition bbq is an entirely different thing from what I like to eat or what I sell.

I read the entire thread and I think you have made some unsubstantiated assumptions about what goes on at a judging table at a contest, in the judges tent, and at certified bbq judge training class. Your box of bbq may land on a table that has 3/6 judges that are new judges judging their first contest. They may have no experience other than eating Baby Backs at their local Chili's. There is no requirement for a judge to know what bbq is, and there is no training provided that tells a judge in training what good bbq is, or what it is supposed to be. A bbq judge doesn't have to know how to cook bbq, or know how to cook anything for that matter...to become a CBJ. What really drives me nuts is when my entry scored for taste gets an 8 or 9 from several judges, and a 6 from another. The lack of consistent scoring is insane. Good luck, I hope it works out for you. Crown Royal usually works for me.

bbally
03-08-2011, 02:10 PM
I can tell you, I've judged and cooked. Based on what I've seen judging, I haven't seen any ribs or chicken without sauce. And I don't turn in chicken or ribs without sauce when cooking.

Seems to be the consenses I picked up on.


Comeptition bbq is an entirely different thing from what I like to eat or what I sell.

I got this out of the thread as well. My understanding is I am making a Barbeque bullion cube! every flavor packed into a tight tight area.

I read the entire thread and I think you have made some unsubstantiated assumptions about what goes on at a judging table at a contest, in the judges tent, and at certified bbq judge training class. Your box of bbq may land on a table that has 3/6 judges that are new judges judging their first contest. They may have no experience other than eating Baby Backs at their local Chili's. There is no requirement for a judge to know what bbq is, and there is no training provided that tells a judge in training what good bbq is, or what it is supposed to be. A bbq judge doesn't have to know how to cook bbq, or know how to cook anything for that matter...to become a CBJ. What really drives me nuts is when my entry scored for taste gets an 8 or 9 from several judges, and a 6 from another. The lack of consistent scoring is insane. Good luck, I hope it works out for you. Crown Royal usually works for me.

Well I was really interested in whether everyone thought saucing as required. And further interested if it had to be icky sticky sweet.

I believe the member guidance suggests Sweet with heat, or at least neutral balanced with heat.

I did not want to gore the sacred cow that is Judging. I have no real basis to take that on as I have never been in a judges tent so I don't know what goes on. Although I have plotted the standard deviation of the scores from three contests... it raises question, but I don't have the inside information to pose the correct questions... to many assumption would be made on my part.

Lake Dogs
03-08-2011, 05:06 PM
I can tell you, I've judged and cooked. Based on what I've seen judging, I haven't seen any ribs or chicken without sauce. And I don't turn in chicken or ribs without sauce when cooking. I can also tell you that competition bbq is an entirely different thing from what I like to eat or what I sell.

I read the entire thread and I think you have made some unsubstantiated assumptions about what goes on at a judging table at a contest, in the judges tent, and at certified bbq judge training class. Your box of bbq may land on a table that has 3/6 judges that are new judges judging their first contest. They may have no experience other than eating Baby Backs at their local Chili's. There is no requirement for a judge to know what bbq is, and there is no training provided that tells a judge in training what good bbq is, or what it is supposed to be. A bbq judge doesn't have to know how to cook bbq, or know how to cook anything for that matter...to become a CBJ. What really drives me nuts is when my entry scored for taste gets an 8 or 9 from several judges, and a 6 from another. The lack of consistent scoring is insane. Good luck, I hope it works out for you. Crown Royal usually works for me.

What you say is gospel, but mainly for KCBS. KCBS, as evidenced from
above reality, is largely a victim of it's own success. Success breeds more
and more competitions with ever-fewer trained and experienced/seasoned
judges. It's just what it is... Another reason that I personally prefer
the MBN sanctioned competitions is that this is seriously reduced. In those
that I compete I usually recognize many/most of the judges from many
years of judging. They dont become a CBJ until they've passed the test
at the end of the all day judging class and after they've judged 2 comps
with positive feedback from teams. By the time they're a Cbj they have
a minimum of those 2 comps under their belt. Most, from what I've seen,
judge 8+ comps per year and try very hard to be selected as a judge in
Memphis In May. The smaller growth of MIM/MBN has allowed/facilitated
this. The result is, as you mentioned, generally a significantly smaller
variance in scores. I think GBA does similar. I'm not certain about FBA
or others.

More than anything else, the variance will drive 'ya to drinking. I'm usually
in for straight tequila myself. :-D

bbally
03-09-2011, 08:08 AM
Thanks, I have been through this twice now.... an incredible amount of data and ideas to work through.

Thanks very much for indulging my questions.