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Southland
05-20-2012, 09:24 PM
Being from the Memphis area, I realize that if anything can be screwed up, we can do it.

Was reading the local rag listing the top winners and have a question.

In the whole hog, shoulder and ribs the paper listed the top three in each.
The whole hog won the grand champion, her business partner won top in ribs and a former team member won top shoulder.

There were 247 teams entered and only two teams out of the winners listed were from out of the area.

I know we have good que in the area but with 247 teams competing, it seems that we are heavy in the winners dept..

As someone that has never been to a comp. cook, my question would be is it possible to throw the contest even if it was a blind judge.

msavard
05-21-2012, 07:56 AM
Onsite Judging certainly opens the door for impropriety, however with 3 separate judges the odds of getting all 3 with a bias toward a "local" team is pretty slim... particularly when many of the judges themselves aren't from the area.

Blind box is simply impossible to "Rig" in this event given there is zero garnish, zero marking on the boxes, etc. I suppose there is a chance to "Signal" judges through a predetermined arrangement of meat....however, again, you'd have to someone communicate this to all the judges or be lucky enough to have your table be completely biased and informed.

Basically, no. :)

Lake Dogs
05-21-2012, 08:08 AM
Of course Melissa and Pete are from Yazoo Mississippi. While the competitors and judges are from all over creation, the price of entry and the additional costs to stay for that many days, etc. pretty much skews the field of participants somewhat to a local a bit closer to home.

Swinebuck
05-21-2012, 08:33 AM
Another fact is they are just that good.
All three have won Grand Champion before. I have judged Yazoo before and there is no doubt they deserved my 10.

Lake Dogs
05-21-2012, 08:48 AM
And, Pete's a brethren! :-)

msavard
05-21-2012, 09:24 AM
Another fact is they are just that good.

Exactly. There are some very solid teams scattered all over the country, but the majority of teams that truly master this TYPE of bbq are generally found within a few hundred miles of Memphis, TN.

Slamdunkpro
05-21-2012, 09:39 AM
In the whole hog, shoulder and ribs the paper listed the top three in each.
The whole hog won the grand champion, her business partner won top in ribs and a former team member won top shoulder.

I choose to think that this type of result validates the judging process. You have three people who have cooked together for a while and probably have similar techniques and flavor profiles. Their samples went to different judges and all three were judged superior by three different groups.

Southland
05-21-2012, 09:59 AM
Thanks for the answers. Was not trying to stir the pot but just looked a little strange that three winners had a close relationship plus over the years I have noticed repeat winners several times. Know it would be hard to "rig" but found it odd with 247 teams that the top winners were all local. Altho Horn Lake is on the other side of the "hood" from me, might have to drive down to the winners rest. and check the food.
Thanks

Lake Dogs
05-21-2012, 10:37 AM
Also, refer to sanctioning bodies. MiM is more MBN centric, and the teams that "specialize" in MBN competitions tend to do better at MiM (tendencies). Then look to where MBN has their competitions. Mostly TN, GA, MS, AL, some LA, NC, and VA. Your more practiced MBN style teams will more than likely be from these states.

bama
05-21-2012, 07:53 PM
msavard is correct... this TYPE of bbq is usually mastered by teams in/around the Memphis area for the simple reason that it is Memphis style bbq that the judges are trained to sample/judge. Even if the judges aren't from the area, they are trained to judge by Memphis Barbecue Network standards.

I have judged Yazoo in the past, in the rib division. They honestly deserved my 10 that day. (I judged two other excellent teams that day, and the decision was close, but they honestly earned the 10.)

Fact of the matter is: Each of these teams has been doing this style of bbq for long enough to know what the judges are looking for, and to cater to those tastes. They're just that good.

Nesbitreb
05-21-2012, 10:46 PM
Thanks for the answers. Was not trying to stir the pot but just looked a little strange that three winners had a close relationship plus over the years I have noticed repeat winners several times. Know it would be hard to "rig" but found it odd with 247 teams that the top winners were all local. Altho Horn Lake is on the other side of the "hood" from me, might have to drive down to the winners rest. and check the food.
Thanks

Ride down and try them out. I've been there at least 5 times and had ribs, brisket and pulled pork. We even got a whole butt to go one night. All good.

...and you will get see their impressive MIM trophy shelf. Lots of wins.

Iamarealbigdog
05-22-2012, 10:00 AM
I think I have the ability to pass on some input about the judging process at MiM. The Black Pig BBQ took 5th in the whole hog division. We are a small little team from Canada, with a small budget and small little cookers. Our blind scores were fantastic, we missed finals by just .9 of a point. Our short coming was due to the onsite judging. When a judge walks on site the impression scores count, atmosphere adds to the scores. This is often the tipping point. Big cookers, big (exclusive) set design, fancy floors, gates and history at the event will tip the scales when the pork is perfect. One judge can back and told us he had to give his three 10’s to another team (who did final) not of the pork or presentation but overall impression. Here all of the details count.

I'm not saying that we were any better then we were judged, what I'm saying is that this is not a double blind contest; there are "other" contributing factors.

With that being said, my daughter noted that we are a patio porker team that competes with the big rigs and big budgets, so if you have great pork, you can take grand, but it's not going to be that simple.

Kudos for all that were called, and to those who were not, just throw in some ABT's next year…:mmph:


Mike
The Black Pig BBQ
Go Canada

Southland
05-22-2012, 04:32 PM
Great answers, thanks. Almost didn't ask question for fear of being slammed. My take now is that even tho judges may be from other areas, they know the favorite style for the area they are in. I also think that it would be correct to assume that whenever a team goes to a cook, they need to cook in the style of that area. Years ago a chili cook told me whenever he went to different areas, his recipe had to change. Think that woud apply to Que as well.
Jerry

Lake Dogs
05-22-2012, 04:55 PM
^^^ Not at all. However, the different sanctioning bodies define what is and isn't perfect BBQ differently. MiM judges are MBN judges. I judged MiM way back in 2006. I saw the same product in Memphis as I had in Milledgeville, and Macon, and Stone Mountain, and Vienna, and, and, and. BUT, in MiM (now MBN), you wont see nearly as much sauce as you'd typically see in KCBS cookoffs, or others for that matter. Also, the teams practice things like on-site (which KCBS and most others dont have), and finals (which only some have). It's a different animal altogether. Even without onsite, I see many KCBS cooks get frustrated with what it takes just to do something like GBA, which has a finals without the on-site.

All I was saying is that they're different, and the cooks and teams that practice that tend to do better. Yazoo's, and Gwatney, and Bubba Grills, and and and ... tend to do more MBN cookoffs than other types, so they're more practiced at those. Bub-Ba-Q, Quau, Cancer Sucks, etc. tend to cook more KCBS style so they tend to do better in the Royals and the Jacks...

I mean, KCBS for GC rewards consistency and consistent great Q, where MBN you could be DAL in everything but one category, win it and GC with one superior Q, the best BBQ overall on that day. Neither is right nor wrong, just different. The skills that it takes to put out consistently awesome barbecue on 30 minute time windows (one each of chicken, ribs, pork, and brisket) is different than the skills to put out an awesome Q on hourly intervals with an initial blind turn-in and a visitor on-site every 15 minutes judging not only your barbecue but the cleanliness of your camp and your presentation of your barbecue. Neither right nor wrong, just very different.

CivilWarBBQ
05-22-2012, 08:06 PM
I think I have the ability to pass on some input about the judging process at MiM...

...Our blind scores were fantastic, we missed finals by just .9 of a point.

I'm not saying that we were any better then we were judged, what I'm saying is that this is not a double blind contest; there are "other" contributing factors.



Not trying to put you down in any way here, but .9 is a ton on the MBN scale, and everybody knows the onsite judging is the key part of the competition going in.

I love the Memphis format, but there is no doubt it requires a much higher commitment of money and energy than most any other type of sanctioned contest short of the mega rib burn-offs, especially 800lb gorilla that is MIM. Kudos to you for having the gumption to take a stab at it! I bet your pork was awesome. :thumb:

Yazoo's
05-22-2012, 08:10 PM
Thanks for the votes of confidence guys! We were VERY surprised we made the finals (we had a very good hog but not a great one)- but by the time finals rolled around and "Sam" had rested for a while I felt very good about our chances. To answer the OP's question directly- no, there was no subterfuge, conniving, etc. If there had been I don't think we would be dumb enough to include both us AND our business partner.

For some other questions, the flavor profiles on our hog and and his ribs couldn't be farther apart. They are both very good, just different.

Mike- as we were probably the neighbor your judge was talking about, I don't know if our rented tent/floor and 6 foot table that we were judging on was the swaying point. In fact, if you looked around at who actually made finals, you wouldn't see any "big rigs". Our partner John cooked on 2 old hickory ultra que's- Red Hot Smokers (won shoulder) cooked on a homemade grill that is probably 9 years old, etc. What you would see is CLEAN, ORGANIZED areas- just like yours (I walked by your area and I don't think any judge would mark you down). It's about getting lucky with the line-up of judges liking your flavor profile. It's about cooking to absolutely perfect texture. To show up and get 5th without having cooked much in Memphis style contests is a great accomplishment, but you didn't get beat because of a rig.

We had a great time, we had good food, and we got pretty damn lucky. And that's about the long and short of it.

Again, thanks for the kind words y'all. I can never express how proud we are to win MIM. It's even better than the first time.

Pete

Ulcer Acres
05-22-2012, 08:41 PM
Pete, I agree 100% with you. We have cooked KCBS for several years and have moved over to MIM/MBN with no problem at all. We do not have the fancy set up, We do the onsite under the awning on our trailer. Its nothing fancy but it has worked fine for us. Matter of fact we have made the top ten in ribs the two years we have competed at MIM. We placed 5th last year and 7th this year and proud of our outcome. And correct me if I am wrong but doesnt 60% if of your score come from the blind box? I truly enjoy doing MBN/MIM and plan on doing more each year. By the way, congrats!

QN
05-22-2012, 09:33 PM
The only thing I will say here is that Memphis in May is what it is. If you don't have a good blind box you can forget finals no matter what the on site judges may do. I have been involved with MIM for a number of years. It is not MBN; it is a one of a kind contest as the Houston Livestock contest is a one of a kind. I have been consulted by teams due to my experience at MIM specifically. While I did not and have not judged them myself, a team I have tried to help did make finals for the first time this year and did finish 2nd place in ribs overall. And yes, I did judge Slab Yo Mamma on site for ribs this year, but that had no bearing on what happened with other rib teams and judging. MIM is very different from KCBS as it is based on comparative judging.

Iamarealbigdog
05-23-2012, 08:09 AM
Mike- as we were probably the neighbor your judge was talking about, I don't know if our rented tent/floor and 6 foot table that we were judging on was the swaying point.


Our Judge would not offer a name and thus I can not presume, he would only note that his overall impression score had to go to the other team.

Pete, you are too humble and too kind. I went by your site and a few other sites incase after our judge’s feedback and all I can say is WOW. You guys do have it figured out; just walking into your site extrudes warmth, professionalism, history and success without being pretentious or gaudy, kudos to you and your team.

Somebody who had GC at memphis told me MiM is all about the details. Good pork will get you in the top ten but the details will get you into the finals. You my friend are there, on the other hand we are only 1/2 way there, (get it 5th place :heh:...)

Dont get me wrong, we are proud of the results for our first time doing whole hog and I feel we were judged accordingly. Next year we hope to hold our own and maybe move up a notch. Perhaps we will even get a floor as well.

The greeter at the front stays as well… :clap:


Mike
The Black Pig

Pigs on Fire
05-23-2012, 10:39 AM
Even without onsite, I see many KCBS cooks get frustrated with what it takes just to do something like GBA, which has a finals without the on-site.


For me, the finals in GBA would be a lot less "frustrating" if the purses were higher. We did most every GBA contest last year, got a lot of calls and several checks. Most people think the GBA is "Triple A ball" or "JV". Get out there and cook one....let me know what you think about it after preparing 4+ butts, 2+ loins and 4-6 slabs of ribs, cooking basically 2 contests worth of meat with a 2-hour shift.

I also do not like the turn-in and judging process in GBA. I don't care what anyone says, it is not fair to leave boxes sitting around for 20+ minutes waiting on every team to turn in, then organize them into trays, then place them on the tables, open and allow the judges to walk around and decide what table they want to sit at.

Yeah, yeah, I know...it's comparative judging.

For that, I prefer KCBS.

Yazoo's
05-23-2012, 11:48 AM
The greeter at the front stays as well… :clap:

I did a double take several times- lol

Lake Dogs
05-23-2012, 12:59 PM
Congrats Pete!!!!

Not meaning to hijack, but regarding:

> I also do not like the turn-in and judging process in GBA. I don't care what
> anyone says, it is not fair to leave boxes sitting around for 20+ minutes waiting
> on every team to turn in, then organize them into trays,

Most every GBA and MIM and MBN competition I've judged does it this way. As a
cook I knew it and made certain that we werent even starting our turn-in until that
15 minute window started. Takes us about 10 minutes to get the box right, and 2 or
3 minutes to run it over, leaving a margin of error of about 2 minutes. Turning in early
does no service... KCBS does it differently, no doubt.


> then place them on the tables, open and allow the judges to walk around and
> decide what table they want to sit at.

I've never seen this personally, not in MIM, MBN, nor GBA. Mind you, is it possible
that this happened? Sure, I guess it's possible. The clam shells are never opened
until everyone is at the table and ready to go, score sheets labeled, their names on them, etc.

Is it possible that someone mistakenly thought that because the judges go to different tables to
sit that someone thought they'd choose the table based upon open clamshells?

Pigs on Fire
05-23-2012, 01:24 PM
At Perry there were 30+ people in line at the turn-in table at any given time during the 10-minute turn-in window. Everybody knows GBA had never experienced a 55+ team competition and it showed there. I stood in line for a minimum of 5 minutes for 2 categories (GBA Categories). Both times, I could see into the judging area and on the right side there were several tables with the boxes turned in before me just sitting there. At least 30 boxes.

That means there were nearly another 30 to go and I didn't see anyone shuffling those previously turned in boxes to tables where judges were waiting.

My statement about the judges walking around with open boxes on the tables is what I have heard occurs. If that is not the case, it would be good to know.



My point is- it was clearly taking a LONG time to get the boxes to the tables and the judging started.

This whole process of turning in and judging where it is not organized in a fashion where the boxes go from the cooks' hands to the judges tables as quickly as possible has me wondering...as a BBQ judge, why the heck would you want to continue showing up and eating cold BBQ, when there's a better way?

It's kinda like the Food Network show 'Chopped'....where these "esteemed" chefs sit there and watch the competitors cook duck feet in corn flakes and use Cheeze Whiz in a dessert. Why? There's better stuff to eat than that.


This whole judging process from turn-in to scorecard turn-in could be solved in less than 3 minutes at each Cooks' meeting every Friday. The reps could tell the cooks exactly what happens when the box is laid on the table until the scoresheets are turned in.

Instead of telling us that pork collars are illegal.

Lake Dogs
05-23-2012, 02:05 PM
I was a judge in Perry; one of the gazillion there... Definitely the organizer and the GBA reps were more than a bit overwhelmed. The organizer definitely needs more help; she did that all by her lonesome...

The boxes did stay stacked there together, in the cold, for FAR too long. But, that I saw none were opened before every table had judges sitting, signed in (their names on their sheets), judging cards labeled properly, etc. The open clamshell roulette didnt happen there.

As to your rhetorical question about why judges would want this, when there's a better way... I compete as well as judge. Each system has its strengths and its weaknesses. In comparitive judging it's nearly impossible to seat and start judging tables as entries come in because you dont know how many legal entries are coming in. They need to be evenly distributed so that you dont have a bunch of tables with 5 entries on them, and then one last table with 2 entries on it...

LOL at the cooks meeting. I know, it could be better, for sure. I've seen both sides. For this reason and a thousand more I've always been of the opinion that cooks should spend some time judging so that they complete understand how/what goes on, in every sanctioning body.

I hope to see you down the road at other GBA events. I'm fairly certain that I'll get my GBA Master CBJ this year. It's quite possible we'll compete, in Tennille. I enjoy that as much as judging, more really...

Pigs on Fire
05-23-2012, 02:24 PM
I appreciate yours and the other experience judges' insight. Please don't take my words as criticism to the judges. As a cook, you know it's the desire to get the best tasting food to the judges. And we all know hot (at least warm) BBQ tastes a whole lot better than when cold and congealed.

And my posts should indicate that there's a mixture of 'rumors' out there in the cook sites as to what exactly goes on in the judging tent. Yeah, I know. You could tell all 40 teams exactly what does go on at the cooks meeting and ask each one 5 minutes after it was over and you'd have 41 different stories.

Yazoo's
05-23-2012, 09:55 PM
I learned a long time ago....

If your food doesn't taste good cold, you won't win.

If it's warm when the judges get to eat, think of it like a bonus.

We are normally one of the very first teams to turn our boxes in at a contest. As a 2 person team at 99% of the contests we enter, we don't have the time or people to run to the last minute or even close. I've seen too many good teams dq'd because of a last minute snafu cost them. We started building our boxes with a different philosophy regarding samples/warmth/etc. Seems to do ok. It's all in your hands....

Pete