PDA

View Full Version : Brisket and Chicken Boxes - Opinions Please


Mister Bob
04-19-2011, 08:44 PM
This first box took 2nd place at an approximately 80 team competition last year. the brisket was a Wagyu from Snake River Farms and the rub was my own, Mister Bob's Blue Ribbon Spice Rub. It was injected with 10oz of Butcher's Injection, mixed with water, per the instructions. I used Royal Oak lump charcoal with 3 chunks of cherry added with each chimney while the brisket was in the cooker. I cooked at 275 degrees. The brisket was wrapped at 165 IT and taken to 202 degrees then rested for about 3 hours in the Cambro. The sauce was a beefy brown sauce (secret recipe), mixed with 1/4 cup of the cooking liquid from the brisket. These were the scores:

Appearance: 9,9,8,9,8,9
Taste: 9,9,8,8,9,9
Tenderness: 9,9,9,9,8,9

Here's what it looked like:
.
http://i894.photobucket.com/albums/ac150/Bobsarno/Brisket00004.jpg

This next box was turned in recently at a competition with a few more than 100 competitors. I will withhold the name of the competition because I don't want to give any negative feedback on what I consider to be a great event run by really great people. I just would appreciate some comments on the turn-in and discuss the inconsistency of the judging at many contests lately.

This brisket was also a Wagyu from Snake River Farms, approximately the same size as the first. Once again the rub was the same, my own Mister Bob's Blue Ribbon Spice Rub. I injected with the same amount of Butcher's injection, used the same Royal Oak charcoal and cherry chunks. Again I cooked at 275. I wrapped again at 165 and pulled it at 202. The sauce was the identical recipe from the first. The only difference was the burnt ends. These I took from the point, soaked in the sauce and put back in the cooker for about an hour. Last year I just made some cubes from the flat and put them in the box.

Here's a picture of the box (please ignore the shadow):
.
http://i894.photobucket.com/albums/ac150/Bobsarno/Brisket00003.jpg

I tasted it and did the pull test. It was in my opinion as good or better in every way than the first one. I'm also a CBJ, and I like to think I know what I'm talking about.

The brisket came in 76th overall, these were the scores:

Appearance: 9,8,7,7,9,9
Taste: 8,6,6,7,6,8
Tenderness: 8,6,6,8,7,7



This first chicken box is from the same 80 team event last year. They were Bell and Evans air chilled thighs, meticulously trimmed as you can see. I used the 'butter bath' method and the sauce was a mixture of one part each of Blues Hog Original, Blues Hog Tennessee Red and my own sauce. No marination. The chicken was cooked at 275 one hour uncovered and one hour covered. Sauced and put back in for fifteen minutes to set the sauce.

This was the box:
.
http://i894.photobucket.com/albums/ac150/Bobsarno/IMG_2091.jpg

It came in 4th overall. These were the scores:

Appearance: 9,9,8,8,9,8
Taste: 9,8,9,9,9,8
Tenderness: 8,8,9,8,8,9

So this year, the chicken was once again Bell and Evans. The method was identical, same temperature, same time, same brand margarine (I Can't Believe It's Not Butter) and the sauce was exactly the same mix. I cooked once again at 275, an hour uncovered and an hour covered. Set the sauce for 15 minutes at the end. I believe I did the same careful job of trimming and arranging, you tell me.

Here's a picture of the box:
.
http://i894.photobucket.com/albums/ac150/Bobsarno/Chicken0002.jpg

This chicken came in 63rd place. These were the scores:

Appearance: 9,9,8,8,9,9
Taste: 8,8,8,6,8,6
Tenderness: 5,7,9,6,8,8

Taste scores from 8 down to 6 can happen, but tenderness from 9 to 5?

I'm not a sore loser, I'll take the scores and move on. I'm just a little disappointed and felt the need to vent my frustration, and I'd like to hear some comments.

gooose53
04-19-2011, 08:52 PM
Mr Bob, you have to remember we are dealing with people and anytime people get involved you are not going to find any real consistancy. I've found that out in our contests hear in SC. While I don't do alot of KCBS contests I feel the same frustration you do at times. Will it get any better....I doubt it. But I enjoy cooking and I understand there will be contests where I will do well and those I won't. It is what it is. Good luck in the future and I hope this won't deter you from future comps.

BTW those are some great looking boxes you put together!!!
Doug

Arlin_MacRae
04-19-2011, 09:02 PM
OK, the five to nine on this year's chicken is BS. Wow. Obviously I can't grade anything but appearance, but my wife and I both agreed that both brisket boxes were solid nines and the chicken boxes would go eight or nine. But we're fledgling judges.
Weird.

Alexa RnQ
04-19-2011, 09:18 PM
Again, this is a VERY good reason for mandatory comment cards for anything under a 6. If a judge is of the opinion that an entry is below average, they'd better be able to articulate in one or two words WHY they think it's below average. I'd also wish for the TC/rep interviewing the judge to find out why they have a 4-point swing away from the table. Then again, with a median of 7.16, maybe the 9 was equally wrong?


On that beautiful, beautiful brisket above, let me relate a story. Shortly after Smokin' Triggers got a 180 in brisket last year, we were at another contest with them. While chatting with Miss Trish, I congratulated them on the achievement, but then said "Let me ask you -- do you know, without a doubt, that that 180 brisket was the best you ever cooked?" Miss Trish immediately replied "Oh hell no!"

And that's the way it happens sometimes. Sometimes, you can turn in what you *know* is the best product of your cooking career, and for whatever reason, the judges don't reward it. Other times, we look at each other and say "We're going to need some serious luck in that tent," and yet come away with a high placement. All you can do is keep cooking consistently and go to the next contest, because it shakes out over time.

Ron_L
04-19-2011, 09:29 PM
OK, the five to nine on this year's chicken is BS. Wow. Obviously I can't grade anything but appearance, but my wife and I both agreed that both brisket boxes were solid nines and the chicken boxes would go eight or nine. But we're fledgling judges.
Weird.

Well, we really don't know that the 5 too 9 swing is BS since it was in the tenderness scores. It is entirely possible for one judge to have a thigh that is tender and juicy and has perfect skin while another judge's thigh may have been dry and had rubbery skin. While I doubt it, it is possible. Just as it is possible for one piece to have too much seasoning or too little seasoning and not score the same as the rest on taste. Unfortunately, we really have no way to know this because we didn't taste or bite into all of those pieces. We also have no idea why the judges scored as they did without comment cards.

What drives me crazy, however, is that kind of score swing in presentation. I can see a point or two swing, but too many times we've received swings like that on presentation. As an example, at one competition we received the following presentation scores: 999955. How can 6 people look at the exact same box and 4 of them thinks it looks excellent and two of them think it looks below average? That is where i really want a detailed comment card telling me why the box was a 5.

Arlin_MacRae
04-19-2011, 09:50 PM
I missed part of my point, Ron, sorry. Unless there were seven judges at the table (and I guess there could have been - but with 100+ teams, I doubt it) why was the five counted at all??

goodbuddiesbbq
04-19-2011, 10:40 PM
This is coming from a human being acting as a judge.

Briz is a 9 (no matter what I've seen that day)
Chicken is a 9 unless I've seen some awesome boxes prior to yours, in which case I would mark it an 8.

Again...I know this isn't how judges are told to score, but we know that as humans we are flawed and have our own "unwritten rules".

You got a raw deal, brother!

Rstone
04-20-2011, 12:20 AM
I was at the contest Trigg got the 180. Just after turn ins he told me his brisket was burnt! You just never know!

roksmith
04-20-2011, 06:24 AM
I missed part of my point, Ron, sorry. Unless there were seven judges at the table (and I guess there could have been - but with 100+ teams, I doubt it) why was the five counted at all??

Unless I'm mistaking, the 5 was counted because that judge scored it a 9,8,5 which would be higher than the 8,6,6 from judge 4.

It's just a guess, but the second brisket is glistening much more than the first which MIGHT have been due to more fat? Just a guess, but if it was, it may have started to harden prior to being scored. If that's not the case, I have no idea.. I'd turn in the second brisket entry over the first entry every time assuming everything else to be equal.

As far as the chicken, I do like the appearance of the first entry better than the second because of the color. That doesn't explain the difference in tenderness scores.

Butcher BBQ
04-20-2011, 06:48 AM
Last year we cooked in Mississippi and cooked a brisket that was so mushy I was mad at myself for letting this happen. It was so soft and mushy I couldn't keep the slices together. We were set up right beside Mr. Trigg and he tried it and said that was crap ( nice to hear that when your already upset, but the truth). We ended up getting 2nd. Trigg and I laughed about it for 5 minutes after the awards.

Smokin' Hicks
04-20-2011, 07:23 AM
please please please can we some how get the KCBS to have their judges fill out comment cards....i believe it would offer a ton of help if not at least narrow your focus of anger :-D

smokeyw
04-20-2011, 07:35 AM
At the judging class I attended, we were instructed to fill out comment cards only if we could give constructive criticism that would help the cook in the future.

please please please can we some how get the KCBS to have their judges fill out comment cards....i believe it would offer a ton of help if not at least narrow your focus of anger :-D

Lion Bout The Q
04-20-2011, 08:03 AM
I feel your pain..Last 2 contests in the St louis area our chicken was 175 and first place, next contest 155 26th and it was exactly the same chicken.Both times the best I ever turned in.

JayAre
04-20-2011, 08:22 AM
Chicken is a 9 unless I've seen some awesome boxes prior to yours, in which case I would mark it an 8.



No offense intended to Mr. Goodbuddiesbbq....but I think we found the problem^^^^

When someone invents a computer that smells, tastes and see's we'll have some consistant results. Until then it is what it is.

roksmith
04-20-2011, 08:28 AM
Ahh yea.. that's a problem.. You are not judging against the other entries. All entries are to be judged against the standard.. not each other.
A 9 is a 9 regardless of what the previous entries looked like.

smalls65
04-20-2011, 08:35 AM
Dude all of those boxes would get 9's from me HANDS DOWN!!!!! I don't care what I saw before those!!! Any judge that would give u less that a 9 on those boxes should be SLAPPED!!!! :thumb:

Red Valley BBQ
04-20-2011, 08:40 AM
I'm going to guess that we were at the same competition. It is my belief that once a contest gets over 50 or so teams, it becomes a real crap shoot. The judging pool seems to be some what dilluted. So I wouldn't take the scores to heart, just take it for what it's worth and move on. See how your scores compare at the next competition.

HawgNationBBQ
04-20-2011, 08:56 AM
I'm going to guess that we were at the same competition. It is my belief that once a contest gets over 50 or so teams, it becomes a real crap shoot. The judging pool seems to be some what dilluted. So I wouldn't take the scores to heart, just take it for what it's worth and move on. See how your scores compare at the next competition.


Bob – I agree with RVB^. I was sitting behind you and could see the frustration on your face. I like to look around at the crowd. Those boxes are beautiful – in fact I would tell you they were better than what I turned in. The only thing I can think of is the difference in the burnt ends. You went from the flat to the point this year per your comment. Were they fatty? I’m assuming not. You must have drawn the bad table. Good luck.:thumb:

Bourbon Barrel BBQ
04-20-2011, 10:04 AM
I feel your pain..Last 2 contests in the St louis area our chicken was 175 and first place, next contest 155 26th and it was exactly the same chicken.Both times the best I ever turned in.

I've gone from a 173 to a 141 the next contest. I felt the chicken in the second contest was better than the previous. Needless to say we were scratching our heads.

NRA4Life
04-20-2011, 11:55 AM
Both boxes are 9's in my book. I feel your pain, I hate the variance in scores and especially hate when chicken $#!t judges can't even take the time to fill out a comment card.

Jacked UP BBQ
04-20-2011, 12:04 PM
9's all day in appearance. The brisket box is perfect. If you re talking about last weekend. We had very inconsistent scoring as well. Our brisket box scores went as follows 999, 999, 667, 989, 989, 877. I just want to meet the guy who gave us a 6 on appearance and ask him what he is looking for!

Yakfishingfool
04-20-2011, 12:17 PM
This is coming from a human being acting as a judge.

Briz is a 9 (no matter what I've seen that day)
Chicken is a 9 unless I've seen some awesome boxes prior to yours, in which case I would mark it an 8.

Again...I know this isn't how judges are told to score, but we know that as humans we are flawed and have our own "unwritten rules".

You got a raw deal, brother!


Every box is judge no matter what you have seen. This is not a cpmetition of my chicken to yours, this is a competition of is my chicken the best you have ever seen eaten or whatever. You never, ever, judge ne box to another. When you finsihed the last box, erase the entry and move on. If the last box was all 9's and my box is all 9's then so be it. DO NOT JUDGE BOX AGAINST BOX!!

This weekend we had 8 pieces out of a brisket, right in a row, 9 plus, and one judge fives. They ar ehumans and some of them stink. low scores get droped and that eliminates that kind of handicapped judge. Scott

carlyle
04-20-2011, 12:18 PM
Interesting thread. Thanks for bringing this to the Brethren for your good and ours.

Lots of good comments previously.

No one but the judge knows what goes on in their minds.

If the KCBS system is working as intended, the table captain should have seen the spread of scores and brought it to the reps attention, or the rep should have seen it.
Hopefully the rep would have talked to the judges whose score was inconsistent with the rest of the table. Or there should be talk among the judges at each table after scores are turned in. One of these ways should make the judge aware that they are not consistent with the rest of the table. Maybe there was a good reason, maybe not.

That won't help the score that was turned in, but should help with the education for that judge.

Demanding comment cards for low scores is a two edged sword. It can result in constructive comments back to the cook. It can also set an artificial floor in the scoring system - as in - don't give any 6's cause you have to do a card.

KCBS appears to be addressing this concern with plans for ongoing or refresher classes for CBJ's and the new software they are planning has the capability to track judges scoring. All of this aimed at improving the system.

Time will tell if they implement what they are talking about. Time will tell if it makes any difference in the problems.

I do take issue with the idea of diluting the CBJ pool with contests over 50.
Our contest has been close to 50 but not over. This year I started taking judge applications in January, 6 months from contest. By early February there were over 70 applications. Now I have over 90 applications from 6 states and Canada.

So I say IMO, that the judge pool in the upper midwest is robust with dedicated judges who are willing to travel long distances for no pay to judge contests.

Maybe other regions of the country are different.

As a CBJ, the boxes in the pictures are solid 8's and 9's for appearance.

ModelMaker
04-20-2011, 12:22 PM
In reference to the second chicken, Judge #1 obviously kows what a good score is (9,8) so I'm guessing he got a bite that was truely unpleasent. Judge 4 (8,6,6)is just a low scorer. The rest are just normal.
I think all your boxes rate between a 8.5 and 9, your doing it right, just got a couple less than perfect tables.
Continue on.
Ed

Alexa RnQ
04-20-2011, 12:22 PM
Demanding comment cards for low scores is a two edged sword. It can result in constructive comments back to the cook. It can also set an artificial floor in the scoring system - as in - don't give any 6's cause you have to do a card.
Which is why I advocate for mandatory cards for 5 or below. If that entry has an attribute that makes it below average, it should be easily articulated.

If anything, a judge who thinks that way will then give a 6, which is perfectly sufficient to knock an entry out of contention.

ModelMaker
04-20-2011, 12:26 PM
This is coming from a human being acting as a judge.

Briz is a 9 (no matter what I've seen that day)
Chicken is a 9 unless I've seen some awesome boxes prior to yours, in which case I would mark it an 8.

Again...I know this isn't how judges are told to score, but we know that as humans we are flawed and have our own "unwritten rules".

You got a raw deal, brother!


You sir are as big a problem as any stupid judge I've ever encountered.
You do not understand the concept of judging as layed out by KCBS.
If you are not willing to follow the rules as taught you should stop judging immediatly and never judge again.
Ed

Lion Bout The Q
04-20-2011, 12:32 PM
[QUOTE=Bourbon Barrel BBQ;1616037]I've gone from a 173 to a 141 the next contest. I felt the chicken in the second contest was better than the previous. Needless to say we were scratching our heads.[/QUOT

Yeah , its had to imagine 20 or 30 points difference . especially in chicken that I feel I can cook the same most consistanly every time.

This guys brisket boxs are 9's for sure. Looks great. Chicken a strong 8 IMHO

Full Draw BBQ
04-20-2011, 01:22 PM
Both of those boxes are 9's in my book as well. We have left a contest scratching our heads after not getting a call in say chicken, when we took 4th in chicken the year before with the exact same chicken....or even what we felt was better! ya just never know when human beings with opinions are in the mix.

paydabill
04-20-2011, 05:23 PM
I feel your pain last wek at a contest - we did very well in everything except chicken, it killed us. I was very upset when I saw all the scores putting me in the 888 range except for two - 944 and 866. I did not get a comment card on either one.

I checked the chicken they were all above 180 temp, and they were all treated the same way. Just goes to show you, you never know!

fishinchef
04-20-2011, 08:37 PM
Finney can relate to this thread, last week @ Kings Mtn, he got 2 comment cards, 1 for great brisket, the other for poor brisket

Big Stogie
04-20-2011, 09:00 PM
:-PI agree!!!

rookiedad
04-21-2011, 12:11 AM
i might have missed if this was covered or not but what was the CBJ percentage at each contest?

slowerlowerbbq
04-21-2011, 09:15 AM
i might have missed if this was covered or not but what was the CBJ percentage at each contest?

According to KCBS, the most recent contest was 100%. But it was a large contest and I can vouch for the scoring being all over the place

Alexa RnQ
04-21-2011, 09:47 AM
There's a great deal of practical difference between "100% CBJ" and 100% experienced CBJs.
Anyplace that can throw a class shortly before a contest can claim 100% CBJ, and the result will be just as wonky as if they'd pulled random members of the public in off the street and given them some instruction.

Sawdustguy
04-21-2011, 09:53 AM
Unfortunately I can't taste over the Interweb, I certainly wish I could because both your brisket and chicken sound and look delicious. This CBJ would give 9's for appearance. Nice job.

Fat Woody
04-21-2011, 09:58 AM
Ch!t happens man - last year at a KC area comp we cooked what I thought was the best pork I've ever made. Scored 62nd out of 65 teams. Cooking next door to us was a rookie team doing there first comp that finished 63rd overall, but their pork came in 16th (chicken 56th, ribs 61st, brisket 65th). Any chance that our turn ins got mixed up? Maybe, but we'll never know.

Hopefully your post will generate more interest in accurate scoring, but judging is an imperfect science at best, so don't let it eat away at you. Obviously you know what you're doing, so file it away under strange scores and move on - it's not worth losing sleep over.