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Candy Sue
02-12-2014, 01:09 PM
Do you judge the food yourself?

Have you burnt your family and friends out on BBQ?

Do you make major seasoning or saucing changes or are you just working on technique?

NONE of my family or friends will eat barbeque anymore! After cooking it, I can't judge it worth a dime (nothing tastes good). It's expensive to "practice" at a contest, but at this point (starting my 11th year competing), that's what I do.

I've heard rumors of a "play contest" where real CBJs will judge just like a real contest and talk to cooks about the entries. I would assume this would have to be after each category, how would judges remember otherwise? I find the idea really intriguing.

Scottie
02-12-2014, 01:16 PM
Practice? Who has time for that!! 8) I'll try it and force my kids to try it. The rest goes to my neighbor who plows for me. I owe him a lot after this winter!!!!

cpw
02-12-2014, 01:19 PM
My family is 100% tired of my BBQ, because I'm always practicing something. A lot of times it's just to practice new techniques, sometimes it's a new recipe.

The only thing the wife and kids enjoy anymore is when I smoke whole chickens. It's the only thing I don't cook on a regular basis.

Which reminds me...I need to cook some practice chicken this weekend in the new Superior.

Bentley
02-12-2014, 01:25 PM
Always wish you had CBJ's as neighbors, only way I could see using anyone but myself...but I guess like you, have no feel for it anymore, and it is real hard.

Long ago...

Going on 13th season...all that is left is to find the right sauce, and that seems to change about every 2-3 years...pretty hit and miss with us!

Mom is only one left who likes it...

Sometimes us too...

Do you judge the food yourself?

Have you burnt your family...out on BBQ?

Do you make major seasoning or saucing changes or are you just working on technique?

NONE of my family...

It's expensive to "practice" at a contest, but at this point (starting my 11th year competing), that's what I do.

Gowan
02-12-2014, 01:58 PM
Candy, we've done practice runs with judges before.

What we did was essentially invite folks over for a cookout, except the guests were all KCBS cooks and judges. Three or four cooks turned out with their gear, and each of us prepared boxes just as in a real contest.

Here's where the similarity to an actual contest ended. Each box was presented to the entire group of both judges and cooks for scoring, tasting and commentary. No score cards, just a verbal assessment of what each person would score the entry and why, so the feedback was immediate. Naturally discussion followed on ideas for improvement.

You must carefully select the participants for this to work - you need both cooks who can take criticism and judges who aren't afraid to be honest. As long as everyone knows each other well and you emphasize that in order for the exercise to be useful the scoring must be exactly as you would do at a live contest it can be quite helpful, especially as a tune-up run prior to the first event of the season.

If nothing else, it's a good excuse and theme for a party!

-GF

EDIT: Oh, and there is no need to make more than one box per team. Everybody scores for appearance on the single box, then samples can come either from the box or the pit. When we did it we'd have many more than six folks to sample, so there was no waste or giant amount of leftovers to deal with.

Podge
02-12-2014, 02:09 PM
My wife is the brains of the operation. I cook, she tries.. if it's good to her, we use it. Mostly, I just practice to tweek and perfect, and practice until I can't get it wrong.

BruceB
02-12-2014, 02:12 PM
My wife is the brains of the operation. I cook, she tries.. if it's good to her, we use it. Mostly, I just practice to tweek and perfect, and practice until I can't get it wrong.

Seems to be working out for you!

JerryA
02-12-2014, 02:23 PM
My wife is the brains of the operation. I cook, she tries.. if it's good to her, we use it.

Same here, if she doesn't spit it out, I know I've got something going..

MikeJ65
02-12-2014, 02:36 PM
My wife and other teammate are the only ones I can trust to tell me something sucks. And I mean that in the best possible way. :grin:

For practice, I generally start with my current recipe and look at a couple of changes. For example, I might try a different rub combination and a different sauce. I will cook all four combinations and do blind tasting by myself and whoever else is around.

MikeyBfromTN
02-12-2014, 02:54 PM
If you are a KCBS member you can find all the CBJs in your state, then look for those by town, etc. Maybe find some people that are close to you.

But, I can't find a way to then "contact" a member. It would be good if there was an option to allow other members to contact you. Maybe "opt in". That way you could invite some people to test competition.

arrowhead
02-12-2014, 03:00 PM
a cook team friend of mine wanted to have a practice run, so he invited 6 judges to help him out. each judge paid $30 to cover the price of the meat and after we finished, the judges split up the leftovers and took them home.

The_Kapn
02-12-2014, 03:09 PM
If you are a KCBS member you can find all the CBJs in your state, then look for those by town, etc. Maybe find some people that are close to you.

But, I can't find a way to then "contact" a member. It would be good if there was an option to allow other members to contact you. Maybe "opt in". That way you could invite some people to test competition.

Candy Sue is the Chairman of the Board for KCBS. 8)
Maybe she could figure out a way to line up some CBJ's. 8)

When we competed, we never had any input on practice cooks except us and neighbors.
Kinda flying by the seat of our pants and it showed sometimes. :oops:

TIM

MikeyBfromTN
02-12-2014, 03:42 PM
Candy Sue is the Chairman of the Board for KCBS. 8)
Maybe she could figure out a way to line up some CBJ's. 8)

TIM


That would be a great option for both the competitor and the Judge. We all need practice. :hail:

Fat Freddy
02-12-2014, 04:02 PM
I've heard rumors of a "play contest" where real CBJs will judge just like a real contest and talk to cooks about the entries. I would assume this would have to be after each category, how would judges remember otherwise? I find the idea really intriguing.

Up here in April Smokehouse 72 puts on that very kind of contest. Talk to Dave Compton or the guys from Smokehouse 72 about how exactly they do the judging but from my perspective last year it was judged as a typical contest but the scoring cards were more into detail. I dont know if the judges made their own notes beyond the score cards or not. But after the blind judging they called each team individually to the table and the judges started with chicken, told what and why they scored, then ribs etc etc.

It was informative enough last year for me that I chose to do it again this year in April to try some different flavors and techniques.

Lake Dogs
02-12-2014, 05:03 PM
For me it started with chili. The first 4 years or so we both adjusted our recipes and constant fed everyone we could find for feedback. We'd usually cook our "existing" recipe and cook our "new" recipe to contrast them. After 4 years or so most everyone around us was sick of chili; us too. We adjusted our recipes a little, but not much. We did chili 12 years hard and another 3 on and off... To this day I make chili once a year; that's PLENTY for me.

I didnt want BBQ to get like that. I'm blessed with a ton of friends that are CBJ's and many fellow competitors. Before we started these we had our recipe pretty close; needing a few MINOR tweaks but really didnt have a sauce that paired well. We've done these types of cooks now 3 times, with a minimum of 12 CBJ's testing 3 different injections across a ton of sauces. The first time we did this was eye opening, particularly with the sauces. Of the 16 base sauces, some 12 were really NOT GOOD with out BBQ, but 4 weren't bad. Ends up we mixed 3 of them in various quantities and now have (and have had for many years) the recipe. We've done this same thing another 2 times, but always end up with the same sauce now. I've probably tested 50+ base sauces and countless combinations; we come back to the same one.
We competed some 5 years in BBQ; haven't been able to compete the last 3. I miss it fiercely, but time and money are scarce. We do a fairly large 4th of July party where I do the whole shebang, and I always have multiple sauces. Shack Attack is coming into favor, but our "old" competition sauce still rules... I'm still flattered; most prefer the BBQ without sauce at all. I usually cook another 2 times a year for us and when I do I make a ton. I use leftovers for brunswick stew...

Anyway, for us, I tried hard to get CBJ's and have them judge multiple recipes, one against another.

buttburnersbbq
02-12-2014, 05:12 PM
I can say myself and my family are our worst critic. How I practice is on other people's meat. I put out a email to friends and neighbors that I am smoking that weekend and for them to drop off meat to my house. I always get butts, brisket and ribs everytime. I cook for the technique and tweaking my flavors. Never a huge difference , a little at a time. Then I get the feed back from everyone. So cooking everyone meat only cost for the wood. Which is nothing compared the cost of the meat.

Q-Dat
02-12-2014, 05:32 PM
With very few exceptions, I have found using friends and family pretty much useless in terms of seeing where I'm at in KCBS. For the most part they always LOVE everything I cook.

Now for IBCA on the other hand. The judges there are predominantly just regular folks who like BBQ, so that will be a bigger help there.

Ackman
02-12-2014, 07:48 PM
I struggle a bit in that my wife does not even eat meat. Most of my practice cooks go to the office and if I served them smoked dog food I think they would like it...

I know earlier they tried to run a practice comp on Long Island with CBJ -- but logistics did not come together. I thought their underlying ideas were good,,,,you could submit say 2 chicken boxes and get feedback. Wish it had come to pass

saseekutz
02-12-2014, 09:59 PM
Luckily my family and friends don't get tired off some BBQ as long as I switch up meats. The wife is honest about the cooks. At work one of my bosses is a CBJ, I have to say it's helped a ton

Rookie'48
02-12-2014, 11:40 PM
I've heard rumors of a "play contest" where real CBJs will judge just like a real contest and talk to cooks about the entries. I would assume this would have to be after each category, how would judges remember otherwise? I find the idea really intriguing.

Up here in April Smokehouse 72 puts on that very kind of contest. Talk to Dave Compton or the guys from Smokehouse 72 about how exactly they do the judging but from my perspective last year it was judged as a typical contest but the scoring cards were more into detail. I dont know if the judges made their own notes beyond the score cards or not. But after the blind judging they called each team individually to the table and the judges started with chicken, told what and why they scored, then ribs etc etc.

It was informative enough last year for me that I chose to do it again this year in April to try some different flavors and techniques.


Yes, up here in the frozen waist (?) land of Iowa we have a contest called "The Frostbuster" which is put on by Ray and Jay from Smokehouse 72. Its limited to 12 teams, 12 CBJs and 2 Table Captains.

The judges are allowed, encouraged actually, to come out and fraternize with the teams Friday evening AND Saturday morning until its time for the judge's meeting. There's a pretty good chili feed / pot luck Friday night and a thing called "Crappy Beer Night" (details available).

Anyway, there are two judging tables and all of the meats from 6 teams go to table A and the others go to table B. All judging is double-blind KCBS style with the scores using the 2 through 9 system. In case of a DQ we call Ray or Jay to act as Reps.

The judging slips are about the size of a legal pad turned sideways. The left side is pretty much a KCBS scorecard but the right side is a giant comment card with letter codes like "A = too salty" or "B = overcooked" along with plenty of room for the judge to write comments. The judges are instructed to be very critical on each entry - not chicken **** but be a very tough judge.

As usual, each category gets a new card and the process is repeated for all four meats. When the judging is finished we all take a short break while the scores are being totaled, then comes the fun part.

Each team comes in one at a time and sits at the table that judged their food. The judges each tell the team what they scored and why - this goes around the table with the team free to ask any judge why they gave a certain score. That's the reason for the large comments / notes area on the score sheet - so that the judge can remember every score and why he/she gave it. There's a lot of "What could I do to change that 7 to an 8 or a 9?" And the judge should be able to tell the team what is needed.

As judges, we aren't going to tell the teams how to cook - that's not our job. But if three judges tell you that your chicken is "Bland / no flavor" or "Too spicy / hot" that should tell you something about your flavor profile or the lack thereof.

There's not much of an entry fee and not much of a prize purse, if I remember right last year's GC got $50. This is a learning experience for the cooks and the judges, both get to ask questions and answer questions that just aren't allowed or possible at a normal contest. Every team that I've talked to has learned something from this "contest" and all of the judges feel the same, it's got to be the most informative comp going!

sweetracks
02-13-2014, 06:23 AM
Practice? Who has time for that!! 8) I'll try it and force my kids to try it. The rest goes to my neighbor who plows for me. I owe him a lot after this winter!!!!

I pay my neighbor for plowing in ribs. I'm guessing that is satisfactory since he keeps doing every year.

sweetracks
02-13-2014, 06:30 AM
Michigan also holds a "Winter Thaw" to allow teams a chance to try out new recipes on judges and help new teams get their feet wet. I tried doing a little play comp with a few teams last year but schedules got in the way. I try to my dress rehearsal with at least a couple CBJs and some very honest cook teams. Helped us tremendously last year.

bruno994
02-13-2014, 07:51 AM
Practice for me is really just minor tweaks in both techniques and flavors. Nothing major happening in my brisket and rib methods, mainly just trying to find a hit in chicken.
This past year I really cut down on the BBQ only family feasts, throwing in a some steaks and fish fry gatherings to keep everyone wanting my Q. Seems to be working, got a big crew coming out to a local comp this weekend to eat. I still like to eat it, but not in the huge portions I would have several years back, but I am only on season 3 of competing.

Fat Freddy
02-13-2014, 09:36 AM
There's not much of an entry fee and not much of a prize purse, if I remember right last year's GC got $50. This is a learning experience for the cooks and the judges, both get to ask questions and answer questions that just aren't allowed or possible at a normal contest. Every team that I've talked to has learned something from this "contest" and all of the judges feel the same, it's got to be the most informative comp going!

Trust me, last years champ did NOT get $50. But I know for an absolute fact that one half of the GC team learned enough that then his team :mrgreen: was able to get for the first time in a category a first place ribs at Mason City, and at another contest get 4 calls. Calls at other contests too but those were the ones that stood out.

So that team feels they got waaaay more experience value that a $50 prize.

Candy Sue
02-13-2014, 10:17 AM
Candy Sue is the Chairman of the Board for KCBS. 8)
Maybe she could figure out a way to line up some CBJ's. 8)

When we competed, we never had any input on practice cooks except us and neighbors.
Kinda flying by the seat of our pants and it showed sometimes. :oops:

TIM

No longer president! Board meeting tomorrow night elects a new one.

I fly that way all the time!

Axemanco3
02-13-2014, 08:01 PM
When you go to a competition, remember judges are mostly somewhat local. Tell them what you are looking for and ask them if they would be willing to give you their opinion on something sometime. Get contact information and let them know when you need their assistance.
Most judges I know would be willing to try something and give you their opinion.

Jack Daniels
02-13-2014, 10:40 PM
Luckily my wife is a CBJ and doesn't yet tire of my BBQ. And she's not shy about being very honest with me. But that's what I want. I do give BBQ to the neighbors and such but they all love it every time no matter what so that's not really helpful. But knowing I can count on the wife to let me know from a CBJ perspective is great.

jimbloomfield
02-13-2014, 11:29 PM
Part of the issue is judging is usually a one bite taste. Most cooks make sure that the flavor is a little strong so that one bite is not flavorless. That strong flavor profile is what could be the cause of burning out the family. I like the idea of a practice cook with judges . This may still need to be where a face to face is not part of the equation and boxes still have numbers not names.

Lake Dogs
02-14-2014, 08:43 AM
What I found early on, when we would cook for friends, is like Q-Dat said, it's all good... You have no idea whether it's better than something else or worse. Quickly we realized this and began competing, in essence, against ourselves; different recipes. It took a lot more effort, but all of a sudden the feedback was more precise, one judged against another... Later, with BBQ, when we did this, also we made sure the BBQ was ready to be judged early so that folks were dead-cold sober the way they are in a sanctioned contest.

Bourbon Barrel BBQ
02-14-2014, 09:16 AM
As a few others have said family and friends are generally useless when practicing for comps because they will all just tell you they love it. If you are super lucky one or two will tell you the ribs aren't quite done because they aren't falling off the bone.

Scottie
02-14-2014, 09:52 AM
No longer president! Board meeting tomorrow night elects a new one.

I fly that way all the time!



Who will be the next president?

Enjoy voting now!!!:-P

dano
02-14-2014, 10:10 AM
My family is 100% tired of my BBQ, because I'm always practicing something. A lot of times it's just to practice new techniques, sometimes it's a new recipe.

The only thing the wife and kids enjoy anymore is when I smoke whole chickens. It's the only thing I don't cook on a regular basis.

Which reminds me...I need to cook some practice chicken this weekend in the new Superior.

I am in pretty much the same boat except the family has been really liking beef ribs lately. I try and make sure at least one team member samples whatever I am practicing too.

dosvans
02-14-2014, 04:28 PM
At the beginning of last year, we invited 6 Judges (4 MCBJs & 2 CBJs) over the house to critique our BBQ. It worked out well and we did get some very useful feedback. Wanted to do it again this year, but just haven't had the time to organize. The bottom line is that there are a lot of Judges out there willing to help teams out and do this type of thing.

JD McGee
02-15-2014, 01:18 PM
We get in 3 technique practices per off season with our BBQ classes. Great opportunity to teach and learn at the same time. Our flavors change very little ( if at all) from season to season. :cool:

JD McGee
02-15-2014, 01:25 PM
At the beginning of last year, we invited 6 Judges (4 MCBJs & 2 CBJs) over the house to critique our BBQ. It worked out well and we did get some very useful feedback. Wanted to do it again this year, but just haven't had the time to organize. The bottom line is that there are a lot of Judges out there willing to help teams out and do this type of thing.
Same here...sorta...we try to have a PNWBA/ KCBS CBJ sit in on our classes to teach the students what the judges are looking for. The class is comp style and each student gets to evaluate the 4 meats per the judges instructions...:cool: