View Full Version : Taste/Texture: Hard To Separate The Two???

04-04-2011, 03:26 PM
Hey all. I mentioned this in another thread, but didn't want to hijack it so here goes.

There are folks out there for whom texture of food means very little. I know guys who will chomp down on anything and say that its great as long as it is seasoned the way they like it. Tough, tender, chewy, stringy, rubbery, mushy, doesn't matter.

Then I know people(usually ladies) for whom texture is absolutely everything. For these folks something could be utterly bland and it wouldn't matter as long as the texture is to their liking.

I may be wrong, but I believe most people notice and enjoy a nice combination of both. Now obviously not everyone has the same taste. Grandpa always said that if everyone liked the same thing, he'd have had alot more competition for Grandma. But there is a texture range that the majority of people are going to find enjoyable. I am a greenhorn when it comes to competition, so I am not basing this on competition experience, but merely on personal experience, the words of others and common sense.

I would love to hear from some of you judges out there to know if judges are taught to judge taste and tenderness together or separate. Do you bite into it and try to ignore the taste as much as possible until you have written your texture score or all at the same time. If its at the same time I just can't imagine personally being able to separate the two.

Any thoughts on this other than to tell me that I'm overthinking the issue? ;)

04-04-2011, 03:42 PM
I am also a firm believer in the taste / tenderness link. Our best taste scores come when our tenderness is spot on and vice versa. I believe that the top teams in competition bbq know how to cook meat to the proper tenderness consistently w/o offending flavor profiles.

Lake Dogs
04-04-2011, 03:45 PM
Yes, separate. Absolutely. And much more than just bite and try to tell. MBN we're
taught to touch it, squeeze it between your fingers, pull it, etc. Then bite it and chew before scoring tenderness.
I've had PLENTY that had great tenderness with a not so great flavor, and I've had a few that had great
flavor but were tough or just mushy...

04-04-2011, 03:45 PM
I'm not a judge, but I think from my experience, that texture and taste can and does effect each other.. both together make a synergistic effect on how well your taste and tenderness scores are. Having said that, I think flavor stands out a bit more.

04-04-2011, 03:46 PM
From the all definitive Wikipedia...some additional sensations shown to be detected by the tongue other than the standard 5 flavors (sweet, salty, sour, bitter, umami)...


Further sensations

The tongue can also feel other sensations, not generally included in the basic tastes. These are largely detected by the somatosensory system.

Recent research has revealed a potential taste receptor called the CD36 receptor to be reacting to fat, to be more specific, fatty acids.[51] This receptor was found in mice, but - it is presumed - exists among other mammals as well. In experiments, mice with a genetic defect that blocked this receptor did not show the same urge to consume fatty acids as normal mice, and failed to prepare gastric juices in their digestive tracts to digest fat. This discovery may lead to a better understanding of the biochemical reasons behind this behaviour, although more research is still necessary to confirm the relationship between CD36 and the perception of fat.

In 2008, geneticists discovered a CaSR calcium receptor on the tongues of mice. The CaSR receptor is commonly found in the gastrointestinal tract, kidneys, and brain. Along with the "sweet" T1R3 receptor, the CaSR receptor can detect calcium as a taste. Whether closely related genes in mice and humans means the phenomenon may exist in humans as well is unknown.[52][53]

Some foods, such as unripe fruits, contain tannins or calcium oxalate that cause an astringent or rough sensation of the mucous membrane of the mouth or the teeth. Examples include tea, red wine, rhubarb, and unripe persimmons and bananas.
Less exact terms for the astringent sensation are "dry", "rough", "harsh" (especially for wine), "tart" (normally referring to sourness), "rubbery", "hard" or "styptic".[54]
In the Indian tradition, one of the 6 tastes [55] is astringency (Kasaaya in Sanskrit, the other five being sweet, sour, salty, bitter, and hot/pungent).
In wine terms, "dry" is the opposite of "sweet," and does not refer to astringency. Wines that contain tannins and that cause astringent sensations in the mouth are not necessarily classified as "dry," and "dry" wines are not necessarily astringent.

Main articles: Piquance and Scoville scale
Substances such as ethanol and capsaicin cause a burning sensation called piquance, spiciness, hotness, or prickliness by inducing a trigeminal nerve reaction together with normal taste reception. The sensation of heat is caused by the food's activating nerves that express TRPV1 and TRPA1 receptors. Two main plant-derived compounds that provide this sensation are capsaicin from chili peppers and piperine from black pepper. The piquant ("hot" or "spicy") sensation provided by chili peppers, black pepper, and other spices like ginger and horseradish plays an important role in a diverse range of cuisines across the world—especially in equatorial and sub-tropical climates, such as Ethiopian, Peruvian, Hungarian, Indian, Korean, Indonesian, Lao, Malaysian, Mexican, Southwest Chinese (including Szechuan cuisine), and Thai cuisines.
If tissue in the oral cavity has been damaged or sensitized, ethanol may be experienced as pain rather than simply heat. Those having had radiotherapy for oral cancer, thus, find it painful to drink alcohol.[citation needed]
This particular sensation is not a taste in the technical sense, because a different set of nerves carry it to the brain. Though foods like chili peppers also activate nerves, the sensation interpreted as "hot" results from the stimulation of somatosensory (pain/temperature) fibers on the tongue. Many parts of the body with exposed membranes but without taste sensors (such as the nasal cavity, under the fingernails, or a wound) produce a similar sensation of heat when exposed to hotness agents. In Asian countries within the sphere of mainly Chinese, Indian, and Japanese cultural influence, Piquance has traditionally been considered a sixth basic taste.

Some substances activate cold trigeminal receptors. One can sense a cool sensation (also known as "fresh" or "minty") from, e.g., spearmint, menthol, ethanol, and camphor, which is caused by the food's activating the TRPM8 ion channel on nerve cells that also signal cold. Unlike the actual change in temperature described for sugar substitutes, coolness is only a perceived phenomenon.

Both Chinese and Batak Toba cooking include the idea of 麻 má, or mati rasa the sensation of tingling numbness caused by spices such as Sichuan pepper. The cuisine of Sichuan province in China and of North Sumatra province in Indonesia, often combines this with chili pepper to produce a 麻辣 málà, "numbing-and-hot", or "mati rasa" flavor.[56]
Heartiness (Kokumi)
Some Japanese researchers refer to the kokumi in foods laden with alcohol- and thiol-groups in their amino acid extracts, which has been described variously as continuity, mouthfulness, mouthfeel, and thickness.

Temperature is an essential element of human taste experience. Food and drink that — within a given culture — is considered to be properly served hot is often considered distasteful if cold, and vice versa.

04-04-2011, 03:47 PM
As a brand-new judge I can say we were taught to treat them separately.

04-04-2011, 03:50 PM
To me they are separate. It is entirely possible to have a rib that tastes great, but is overcooked. The same with any of the meats. It is also possible to have meat that is cooked perfectly, but say too salty, for example.

04-04-2011, 04:59 PM
I agree with most of these comments - they are separate attributes and I can easily separate the two. I always score tenderness first before focusing on the flavors.

Good question -

early mornin' smokin'
04-04-2011, 05:03 PM
Let me start out with saying I am not a judge. But taste and tenderness are on total opposite ends of the spectrum. Taste's whether they be sweet, savory, spicy, or a combination stand out, something may have the right taste, but you might have missed on the tenderness aspect. Whether it be overdone or underdone, mushy or just right. I see no real comparison between the 2.

04-04-2011, 05:16 PM
The OP asked about "texture". Several responses are about "tenderness".

Not interchangeable terms in my opinion.

04-04-2011, 05:25 PM
Surprised no one has said this already, Take the judges class and become certified.

That will eliminate some of your guesswork. The rules and instructions will tell you of the specifics of what CBJs are taught to look for, KCBS standards.

I do judge both separately although in either order if a characteristic of one or the other is front and center in the bite I take.

Yes, linked. But separate.

Take the CBJ class, you will not be sorry.

04-04-2011, 05:43 PM
The OP asked about "texture". Several responses are about "tenderness".

Not interchangeable terms in my opinion.
That's an excellent thought.

I believe that any problem with texture (mushiness, for example) is taught to be scored as part of the tenderness attribute.

I definitely understand what you're saying here - but when judging I take texture into consideration when scoring tenderness.

04-04-2011, 05:47 PM
I agree with Carlyle. Take the KCBS CBJ class. The knowledge gained there is very valuable.

We are instructed to evaluate and judge the separately, but it takes some discipline to do so since one can definitely impact the other. The brisket pull test is a classic tenderness test that was gone over in my class as was the rib and chicken bite test. Pork is a bit tougher to gauge, but you will see a lot of judges squeezing the pulled chunks and MM slices before tasting.

04-04-2011, 06:49 PM
Surprised no one has said this already, Take the judges class and become certified.

That will eliminate some of your guesswork. The rules and instructions will tell you of the specifics of what CBJs are taught to look for, KCBS standards.

I do judge both separately although in either order if a characteristic of one or the other is front and center in the bite I take.

Yes, linked. But separate.

Take the CBJ class, you will not be sorry.

It is on my wish list of things to do, but I can never seem to catch one close enough when I'm not busy with something else.