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rweller
10-12-2011, 08:47 AM
I hear you cooks complaining :-P all the time about judges and there comment cards. So after being a table captain this last weekend I have to admit I hear where your coming from.
Here are two cards I received this last weekend.
1st one said chicken was good but SKIN was not bite through so I gave it a 6. This is a meat contest not a skin contest and the REP even told the judges about this before judging. By the way this was an experienced judge and certified table captain.
2nd one I got said ribs were good but lacking flavor. But he gave the ribs an 8 acroos the board. How could it not have flavor if you gave it an 8, theres only one notch up to being excellent. Doesn't make since to me.
There was a couple more but you get the idea. I did turn these in to the Reps, not sure if they made it back to the teams or not.

bbq.tom
10-12-2011, 08:56 AM
As the Table Captain, shouldn't you "talk" with the judges submitting these comment cards and explain to them what you are stating here??? THAT was your PERFECT opportunity to try to 'nip it in the bud' so to speak.
Maybe it's just me, but I don't see the point of bringing this up here other than to further distance the cooks and judges. Can't we ALL just get along?!?

tdwalker
10-12-2011, 09:29 AM
Ralph, first off let me thank you for being a table captain. As a judge yet to table captain, I always appreciate the extra effort that the captain's put out. I have always done my best to help out where I could.

Can you tell me what was wrong with the "chicken" judge - the score or the comment (or both)? I'm making a big assumption that the six was for tenderness, not taste. In that case, wouldn't it have been right and proper to score down an entry that did not have "bite through skin." Most cooks that I am aware of put alot of thought and effort into achieving this. I know this is a "meat" contest, but we must judge the meat "as presented." I personally wouldn't mark down to a six if lack of bite through skin was the only issue, but I would likely deduct a point.

If I were to give an entry a six in tenderness, I would feel obliged to fill in a comment card explaining that score. I have ona couple of occasions filled a comment card "great flavor, but entry was dry [or tough, or didn't have bite through skin, etc.]. I think this would be appropriate for a 9,9,6 score. I would imagine a cook would prefer that comment to a card that simply stated "dry."

Your second, judge, "Good, but lacking flavor" with a 8 in taste just baffles me. A comment card was obviously not necessary and not helpful.

My final comment on this lengthy response is this; I really don't think that contest reps should be throwing away comment cards. In most of the contests that I judge this year, the reps specifically stated that they would be throwing away comment cards, that they [the reps] did not think would be helpful to the cooks. Really? I kind of understand where they are coming from, but do not agree with it all. If a comment card states "this entry tasted like yesterday's a$$," let the cook decide what they want to do with that information.

CBQ
10-12-2011, 09:38 AM
I also disagree on the chicken comment. If it's a KCBS contest, bite through chicken skin is one of the objectives. Note that you don't have to offer skin-on chicken in KCBS, but if you do judges are told they should taste it.

Jeff_in_KC
10-12-2011, 09:42 AM
I'd have to check to be certain but I don't believe it is within the rep's authority to just throw away comment cards, ridiculous and pointless or not.

walrus79
10-12-2011, 10:10 AM
If the chicken score referenced in the original post was for taste, I agree that the 6 score was off if the the judge liked the taste so much that he put "chicken was good" on the comment card. However, I think the assumption can be made (since it wasn't clarified in the post), that the score was for tenderness. I could see marking at least one point for not bite through skin (skin wasn't too bad, just pulled off with the first bite), and up to 2 points if it's just bad skin, rubbery or over cooked/near burnt. Of course who knows how the tenderness of the actual meat was...could have been spot on or a little chewy/overdone. There simply isn't enough information on that card to determine if it was inappropriate or not in my opinion.

In my opinion as a relatively new judge, I think comment cards should be mandatory for 5s and below and highly recommended for 6s and optional for anything above (7s and up pretty much speak for themselves). Also as a relatively new cook, I welcome any and ALL feedback. As invested as many of us are, you know if you get a comment card this BS vs. one that is actually good info or at least explains why that particular judge gave that particular score.

My two cents.

Smokin Hoggz
10-12-2011, 10:14 AM
The problem with the "chicken" judge is that they judged the skin.. I thought that is a no no. When I took the judging class, the instructor said that the skin was NOT supposed to get judged, that if the chicken was presented with the skin on, to taste it but not to judge it(regardless if it was bite thru, crispy or whatever), only the meat was supposed to get judged.

Jeff_in_KC
10-12-2011, 10:21 AM
The problem with the "chicken" judge is that they judged the skin.. I thought that is a no no. When I took the judging class, the instructor said that the skin was NOT supposed to get judged, that if the chicken was presented with the skin on, to taste it but not to judge it(regardless if it was bite thru, crispy or whatever), only the meat was supposed to get judged.

I don't see the point of asking judges to taste it if it isn't gonna get judged. Out of curiousity, who were your instructors? In the same manner, if I'm turning in burnt ends and they suck because the fat is not fully rendered, they should ignore those because I have slices in the box and it's a meat contest, not a fat contest.

fnbish
10-12-2011, 10:27 AM
The problem with the "chicken" judge is that they judged the skin.. I thought that is a no no. When I took the judging class, the instructor said that the skin was NOT supposed to get judged, that if the chicken was presented with the skin on, to taste it but not to judge it(regardless if it was bite thru, crispy or whatever), only the meat was supposed to get judged.

I don't remember it exactly that way when I took the class a few months back. I do specifically remember they said to not score down if there wasn't skin. Just judge what is presented. But there was discussion that skin tenderness plays a roll in the overall tenderness.

Warthog
10-12-2011, 10:28 AM
I was never told not to judge the skin if it was presented with the chicken.

rweller
10-12-2011, 10:29 AM
The problem with the "chicken" judge is that they judged the skin.. I thought that is a no no. When I took the judging class, the instructor said that the skin was NOT supposed to get judged, that if the chicken was presented with the skin on, to taste it but not to judge it(regardless if it was bite thru, crispy or whatever), only the meat was supposed to get judged.

Bingo, thats how I was taught also. I know the Cooks try there best to get bite through skin but they should not be marked down if it is not. JMO

Jeff, you might be right about the comment cards but I know for a fact that certain reps will trow them away if they don't think there constructive.

Rookie'48
10-12-2011, 10:33 AM
.....the instructor said that the skin was NOT supposed to get judged, that if the chicken was presented with the skin on, to taste it but not to judge it.....

I'm only praying that you are remembering this wrong :pray:.

It scares the fark out of me to think that a whole class of judges is being told to violate the "as presented by the cook" rule :shocked:.

Yes I know that some of the comment cards are beyond worthless, but to me that is the fault of the judges not being properly instructed / trained in their use.

I also know that some Reps don't like the comment cards. Some say that the cards don't really help the cooks. I think that one of the reasons might be that it causes a bit of extra time and work. Another is cards like the ones in the OP.

What would it cost KCBS to do an e-mail blast to all of the judges explaining the proper use of the cards? And one to the Reps saying to turn them over to the cooks?

Jeff_in_KC
10-12-2011, 10:36 AM
Thanks for the clarification, Dave! It has been awhile but I could have sworn it was inaccurate to NOT judge the skin as presented! If this is a prevailing belief among judges, something needs to be done ASAP by KCBS.

Rookie'48
10-12-2011, 10:47 AM
As part of the Master CBJ test it asks a question something like:

You don't like chicken skin. An entry is presented with the skin on. Are you allowed to remove the skin before tasting? Y or N ?

Without giving up the answer here I will say that the CD that each judge must listen to before each contest plainly states that you should "at least taste" the skin.

rweller
10-12-2011, 10:56 AM
Thanks for the clarification, Dave! It has been awhile but I could have sworn it was inaccurate to NOT judge the skin as presented! If this is a prevailing belief among judges, something needs to be done ASAP by KCBS.

Dave and Jeff you guys both make very valid points.

Maybe I'm the one that is totaly wrong here but I was taught it was a meat contest and that is what you judge. It does say on the CD if skin is presented you must at least try it, thats all.

Jeff_in_KC
10-12-2011, 11:33 AM
Ralph, it's sure not about anyone being wrong - it just needs to be made clear, either way, by KCBS if, in fact it is not already. Thanks for bringing up the issue for discussion.

walrus79
10-12-2011, 11:40 AM
Seems to me that if the skin is part of the entry provided, it must be judged and that crisp bite through skin meets the highest standard. It would be great if an official KCBS representative could clarify this becuase it seems there's a lot of folks not judging skin and a lot of folks judging skin.

Jeff_in_KC
10-12-2011, 11:45 AM
Seems to me that if the skin is part of the entry provided, it must be judged and that crisp bite through skin meets the highest standard. It would be great if an official KCBS representative could clarify this becuase it seems there's a lot of folks not judging skin and a lot of folks judging skin.

Crisp or bite through? :becky: I've never known where this idea of crisp skin comes from. It certainly isn't fried chicken and I've never seen chicken that isn't fried have crisp skin unless it's overcooked on the backyard grill.

walrus79
10-12-2011, 11:58 AM
You know, I'm inclined to agree...how about "not rubbery"! ;-)

Fat Freddy
10-12-2011, 11:59 AM
I might but crazy, but for some reason it seems that in a majority of judging questions or issues always seem to be about chicken. Skin/no skin, crispy/bitethrough,cupcake pan/natural looking, and in my posting about same type of pieces/or 6types of same meat Like I say it always seems to be on chicken.:confused:

Jeff_in_KC
10-12-2011, 12:04 PM
You know, I'm inclined to agree...how about "not rubbery"! ;-)

LOL! Agreed!

deepsouth
10-12-2011, 12:44 PM
not a judge, but it doesn't take a judge to tell that bbq judges seem to be on different pages all the time.

is this why you guys discuss bbq judging so much?


i can only compare it to beer judging, which doesn't seem to have any of these problems with 28 different beer styles and well over a hundred beers within the styles. i dunno, just sparked my curious nerve.

Arlin_MacRae
10-12-2011, 01:55 PM
not a judge, but it doesn't take a judge to tell that bbq judges seem to be on different pages all the time.

is this why you guys discuss bbq judging so much?


i can only compare it to beer judging, which doesn't seem to have any of these problems with 28 different beer styles and well over a hundred beers within the styles. i dunno, just sparked my curious nerve.

One of the biggest differences I've seen between BJCP judges (I am not one, but I have judged beer) and KCBS judges is the talk that can and does take place between judges regarding entries. You can imagine the effect on scores, good or otherwise.

Here's a link to the BJCP Judge Procedures Manual, if you're interested:

http://www.bjcp.org/judgeprocman.php

deepsouth
10-12-2011, 02:08 PM
One of the biggest differences I've seen between BJCP judges (I am not one, but I have judged beer) and KCBS judges is the talk that can and does take place between judges regarding entries. You can imagine the effect on scores, good or otherwise.

Here's a link to the BJCP Judge Procedures Manual, if you're interested:

http://www.bjcp.org/judgeprocman.php


i'm well aware of all the bjcp stuff. i've been studying it to take the test for about a year now and have also judged beer for contests. whereas most of the beer judging sheets have been in the same ballpark, it seems that some bbq judges are not clear on what to score and what not to score.

are bbq judges given any guidelines (like the bjcp ones) when judging contests?

forgive me, just trying to understand all this more.

Rookie'48
10-12-2011, 02:21 PM
This is one of the things that I would address if elected to the BoD. There should be some type of continuing education for the judges, whether it be by classes (optional / required???), volunteering to help out at a judging class, online education, regular e-mail blasts or whatever works the best in a cost effective manner.
Personally, I think that volunteering to help out at a local CBJ class is a good way to do this. I've helped out at two classes since I took the class in early 2007 and both times walked out either learning something that I might have not caught the first time or something that I forgot.
There's an awful lot of info that's tossed at you in the class, I'm not sure that anyone can remember all of it :wink:.

tdwalker
10-12-2011, 02:33 PM
[QUOTE=deepsouth;1815402]
are bbq judges given any guidelines (like the bjcp ones) when judging contests?
QUOTE]

On their website, you can download the KCBS CBJ instructions played at each contest. The mp3 file is under "Resouces" then "Downloads".

Stoke&Smoke
10-12-2011, 03:16 PM
From my judges training booklet, circa 2007

"If you do not eat chicken skin, at least taste it, if presented that way, and then discretely discard"

And..."Chicken may be presented with or without the skin. It may also be presented with a combination of white meat and dark meat or all one or the other. The type presented should not in any way affect the way it is scored."

I see nothing saying anything about not judging the skin. Still, I've tasted enough rubbery skin at the events I've judged that I would say, if it isn't good, don't present it. If it's in the box, it will be judged.

bover
10-12-2011, 03:38 PM
This is one of the things that I would address if elected to the BoD. There should be some type of continuing education for the judges, whether it be by classes (optional / required???), volunteering to help out at a judging class, online education, regular e-mail blasts or whatever works the best in a cost effective manner.
Personally, I think that volunteering to help out at a local CBJ class is a good way to do this. I've helped out at two classes since I took the class in early 2007 and both times walked out either learning something that I might have not caught the first time or something that I forgot.
There's an awful lot of info that's tossed at you in the class, I'm not sure that anyone can remember all of it :wink:.

I'm a strong believer that all CBJs should be required to complete an online course on an annual or biennial basis in order to retain their status. For those that can't do the online thing :crazy:, a workbook with a quiz should be available for them to fill out and send back in.

You're exactly right in stating that it's nearly impossible to remember all of the information doled out during the CBJ class, and unless judges are actively participating in forums such as this or taking the time to re-read their manual a couple of times per year they are most definitely going to forget some of those details. At that point the letters 'CBJ' are merely a title and not really indicative of the qualifications the title-bearer should hold. Is continuing education a guarantee that every CBJ will be able to recite the rules and regulations by heart? Heck no, but it's a lot better than the system in place today.

Plowboy
10-12-2011, 04:27 PM
Maybe now that Ed Roith is no longer on the board we have a shot and having online CBJ materials (videos) that removes the CBJ instructor X-Factor.

Slamdunkpro
10-12-2011, 05:39 PM
I'd have to check to be certain but I don't believe it is within the rep's authority to just throw away comment cards, ridiculous and pointless or not.

"Comment cards are returned to the cooks at the rep's discretion to weed out unhelpful or derogatory comments" is the way it was explained to me by a BoD member. I've seen reps do it at every event I've worked the judge's tent.

Matt_A
10-12-2011, 05:57 PM
Crisp or bite through? :becky: I've never known where this idea of crisp skin comes from. It certainly isn't fried chicken and I've never seen chicken that isn't fried have crisp skin unless it's overcooked on the backyard grill.

It's very possible to get crisp skin on a grill without overcooking.... I put my chicken in a 500F covered grill for about 10 minutes and then move it to a 375F grill, indirect heat to finish cooking. The skin fat renders quickly at 500 and the skin gets crackling crispy. You'll lose that crispness if you slather a ton of sauce on it; use very little sauce if any at all.

Granted, my method would be very different from the traditional turn in and probably wouldn't place very high because Judges seem to be pre-conditioned to want Chicken Candy, but it's damned good chicken none the less!

ModelMaker
10-12-2011, 06:03 PM
Send some of that non gooey chicken my way and I'll give it what it deserves.
Not all judges want candy chicken.
Ed

walrus79
10-12-2011, 06:06 PM
As a first year judge and head cook on a team, please take my opinions with a newbie grain of salt. I agree that requirements for judging need to be more stringent than a four hour class with no kind of test. There needs to be minimal information that must be retained to be a decent judge that is consistent with their peers based in minimal KCBS standards. With that said, what the higher standards are is the $64K question. Cooks and teams put too much on the line to be judged by someone that is primarily there for the free bbq. Please do not misconstrue this to mean that I think this happens a lot or is a problem. However, we all know there are a few folks there that don't really have the best interests of the teams and integrity of bbq at heart. Mildly tougher standards would weed some of these folks out.

From my experience, there's plenty of KCBS judges to do most events and waiting lists for a lot of them, so to make it a bit more serious and tougher to get and maintain your CBJ wouldn't, in my opinion, sacrifice most events still getting 100% CBJs judging that teams so desire.

If the casual judge spent a night in the heat or cold (or an early morning with a raging hangover...ok self induced and off topic ;-)), and knew the lengths cooks go to to provide a turn in that pleases the masses, they might respect the certification a bit more and take the responsibility more seriously. In my albeit short time in this community, I find that in my conversations, that cooks seem to know more about bbq standards than most judges.

The information and rules at the KCBS class are great and I really like the way KCBS competitions are set up. But I agree with others that it is too much information for a four hour class. With technology becoming more and more easily accessible and even the older generation getting connected these days, there needs to be a better way to pass the necessary knowledge on to all judges. This will only make what is already great in my opinion even better.

Please don't take this as a knock on judges. Most of the ones I've engaged with around the judging table have been absolutely wonderful and knowledgable and soooo helpful to new judges. But, as with any circle of folks, there's a few in the bunch that may not have the best interests of the overall mission of bbq at heart.

Sorry for the long post...I admit it's possible I may be way off, but that's my early opinion of what's going on out there in my area

Matt_A
10-12-2011, 06:08 PM
Maybe now that Ed Roith is no longer on the board we have a shot and having online CBJ materials (videos) that removes the CBJ instructor X-Factor.

I was considering making an e-learning course (it's what I do in my Real Life) about KCBS judging based on the judges CD, but so much of the judging criteria is subjective and very hard to quantify and present in a course.

Matt_A
10-12-2011, 06:13 PM
Send some of that non gooey chicken my way and I'll give it what it deserves.
Not all judges want candy chicken.
Ed

I'm a CBJ, but I may just have to jump into competing next year. I'd like to open some of the judges eyes to what real-world BBQ looks and tastes like... I'll probably wind up DAL, but you never know until you try.
:crazy:

walrus79
10-12-2011, 06:17 PM
Do it Matt! You may surprise yourself and I know you'll have a blast. My team finished 10 out of over 20 teams and got a 2nd place chicken call in our first event. Our second is this weekend and we're pumped (but still trying hard to keep low expectations!).

Rookie'48
10-12-2011, 08:20 PM
I was considering making an e-learning course (it's what I do in my Real Life) about KCBS judging based on the judges CD, but so much of the judging criteria is subjective and very hard to quantify and present in a course.

Now see, that's what I'm talking about! :thumb:

We need more ideas like that. I'm interested in hearing what changes YOU want. Will I agree with each and every one of them - - - probably not.

But I do want to hear them.

Plowboy
10-13-2011, 01:38 PM
I was considering making an e-learning course (it's what I do in my Real Life) about KCBS judging based on the judges CD, but so much of the judging criteria is subjective and very hard to quantify and present in a course.


95% of the course could be done online. Look at the BBQ Critic website as an example. Pictures of boxes can cover all of the appearance pieces. You can't taste, obviously, but any instruction about what and how to taste can be covered consistantly through an online course. All judges and cooks can know first hand what is being instructed, eliminating these "I was told this in my CBJ couse" horror stories we get from time to time.

rweller
10-13-2011, 02:28 PM
95% of the course could be done online. Look at the BBQ Critic website as an example. Pictures of boxes can cover all of the appearance pieces. You can't taste, obviously, but any instruction about what and how to taste can be covered consistantly through an online course. All judges and cooks can know first hand what is being instructed, eliminating these "I was told this in my CBJ couse" horror stories we get from time to time.

This is true but first you would have to get some difinative answers from KCBS on certain subjects like this one. Is SKIN to be judged or not? Like Dave said judge what is presented. Like I said it is a meat contest not a skin contest. I have also had at least one CBJ instrutor and two reps tell me judge the meat not the skin. Personally I think this does nothing but help the cooks (at least the ones that don't get bite through skin every time) and that is the impression I got from the reps that made these comments.
There are some more that needs difinative answers that judges differ on. But I'm sure not going there right now :shock:.

Jeff_in_KC
10-13-2011, 02:36 PM
This is true but first you would have to get some difinative answers from KCBS on certain subjects like this one.

Did you say this out loud when you typed it to hear how it sounds before posting it? I'm guessing not! :laugh:

rweller
10-13-2011, 03:24 PM
Did you say this out loud when you typed it to hear how it sounds before posting it? I'm guessing not! :laugh:

Well, you got a laugh out of that!! :becky:

Plowboy
10-13-2011, 03:53 PM
This is true but first you would have to get some difinative answers from KCBS on certain subjects like this one. Is SKIN to be judged or not? Like Dave said judge what is presented. Like I said it is a meat contest not a skin contest. I have also had at least one CBJ instrutor and two reps tell me judge the meat not the skin. Personally I think this does nothing but help the cooks (at least the ones that don't get bite through skin every time) and that is the impression I got from the reps that made these comments.
There are some more that needs difinative answers that judges differ on. But I'm sure not going there right now :shock:.

But that's exactly the reason to do it, to have continuity from CBJ instructor to CBJ instructor and CBJ to CBJ. Otherwise, you have the CBJ instructor X-Factor.

Mo-Dave
10-13-2011, 10:04 PM
From my judges training booklet, circa 2007

"If you do not eat chicken skin, at least taste it, if presented that way, and then discretely discard"

And..."Chicken may be presented with or without the skin. It may also be presented with a combination of white meat and dark meat or all one or the other. The type presented should not in any way affect the way it is scored."

I see nothing saying anything about not judging the skin. Still, I've tasted enough rubbery skin at the events I've judged that I would say, if it isn't good, don't present it. If it's in the box, it will be judged.

WINNER, WINNER, CHICKEN DINNER.:clap2:
Dave

wormdrink67
10-14-2011, 08:42 AM
Anyone on this forum want a bite of chicken with the whole piece of skin? No. If you're turning in chicken with skin on, it better be bite through, period.

Rookie'48
10-14-2011, 04:46 PM
If the skin ends up smearing my beard with sauce - guess what happens to your tenderness score? Some days you just can't get the skin to come out right, so why not leave it off if it's that tough?

BBQ Critic
10-16-2011, 02:55 AM
95% of the course could be done online. Look at the BBQ Critic website as an example. Pictures of boxes can cover all of the appearance pieces. You can't taste, obviously, but any instruction about what and how to taste can be covered consistantly through an online course. All judges and cooks can know first hand what is being instructed, eliminating these "I was told this in my CBJ couse" horror stories we get from time to time.

Great suggestion, Todd. Online courses have crossed my mind, too. KCBS is kind of cloudy on some issues with regard to judging BBQ for Appearance, Taste & Tenderness. So as long as they can define a judges duty in three areas in a THOROUGH, creative and concise way it will work.

Very little is taught on appearance and judges can really differ in this area as we can see on BBQ Critic. So yeah, with some improvements - an online process would be great.

BBQ Critic
10-16-2011, 03:08 AM
The problem with the "chicken" judge is that they judged the skin.. I thought that is a no no. When I took the judging class, the instructor said that the skin was NOT supposed to get judged, that if the chicken was presented with the skin on, to taste it but not to judge it(regardless if it was bite thru, crispy or whatever), only the meat was supposed to get judged.

An instructor told you not to judge the skin on the chicken? Really? Wow. I was told that if skin comes with the chicken, we are REQUIRED to taste it and yes - it does factor into the score. It is up to the cook as to whether or not they want to leave the skin on. Some cooks go to great lengths to make sure the skin is BITE THROUGH. Judges will score down if they can't bite through. I definitely would NOT give it a 9. I'd deduct at least one point and that's it.

Are you sure you are remembering this correctly? If you are, this needs to be fixed. How long ago was your class?