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Smokin Diablo
03-15-2008, 06:46 PM
I have been a competition cook for 4 years and finally decided it was time for me to see what the judges are looking for, that was my # 1 goal for the class, I ended up getting much much more. I attended the CBJ class in Arthur Illinois on March 7th, Mike Lake was our instructor and let me say that I thought his knowledge and teaching technique was excellent. Of course this is coming from a 1st timer, but you have to respect Mike's status and experience in the KCBS. I very much appreciated the time, detail, and his ability to directly involve the students in his class. I would also like to thank George Fritz and the CIBR group for putting on the class for us ILFO's.
Now on to some of my questions and observations.
My first observation was that the class of 26 or so was split pretty much 50% competition teams and 50% people that had never seen or tasted competition BBQ.
My next observation was that the turn in boxes I was judging were something I would not turn in to a judge. I did not see or taste one box that was at a competition level turn in. To me that does not give the nubie CBJ's anything to be prepared for. The boxes were bare, thrown together, most not sauced, and hardly any of the pieces in any box were uniform. I just didn't think it was fair to the nubies. maybe even some pictures of real competition turn ins would have given them some idea of what they were in for.
The information I learned on ribs, brisket, and pork was worth every minuet and $ I spent.
The KCBS does not compare BBQ from one to the other. Each turn in is judged on its own merit
There is a new scorecard this year that provides the judges more direct corolation between the number they are marking and the meaning of that number. 2 = inedible , 5 = below average, 7 above average, ect........
Here is my biggest observation and question for all of you cooks, one thing I did not know was that at nearly every competition the event is short on CBJ's and has to pull people off the street or they have uncertified judges that have been involved from the beginning and they continue to ask them to come back. After spending the day in a CBJ class I now understand why our scores are all over the board from competition to competition and table to table. People are not using the same standards to judge the box and what they are tasting. I know that taste is subjective but appearance and tenderness to someone that has not gone thru CBJ class is at their discretion and not what CBJ's are scrutinizing and critiquing.
If I spend $800.00 to go compete by the rules of the KCBS and follow KCBS and CBJ criteria for turn ins, am I expecting too much to be judged by a majority of CBJ's?
Is it my right to ask the event coordinator at the cooks meeting how many CBJ's are confirmed for turn in?
Am I being to judgmental and over reacting? I don't think so but would like your input on the subject.All I want to do is make excellent Que and be judged by people that know what excellent Que is and not some one off the street that is comparing every box to the "Whiskey River BBQ and beer joint" they go to down the street. Oh yea, and my ultimate goal is to have fun and meet as many Brethren as I can in person. Smoke on!

Sawdustguy
03-15-2008, 09:39 PM
My next observation was that the turn in boxes I was judging were something I would not turn in to a judge. I did not see or taste one box that was at a competition level turn in. To me that does not give the nubie CBJ's anything to be prepared for. The boxes were bare, thrown together, most not sauced, and hardly any of the pieces in any box were uniform. I just didn't think it was fair to the nubies. maybe even some pictures of real competition turn ins would have given them some idea of what they were in for.

Am I being to judgmental and over reacting? I don't think so but would like your input on the subject.All I want to do is make excellent Que and be judged by people that know what excellent Que is and not some one off the street that is comparing every box to the "Whiskey River BBQ and beer joint" they go to down the street. Oh yea, and my ultimate goal is to have fun and meet as many Brethren as I can in person. Smoke on!

Yes I do think you are being too judgemental. You claimed the boxes were bare, with no sauce and the pieces are not uniform. Where in the rules does it say that you must sauce, use garnish and make all pieces exactly the same size? If you marked down for no garnish you are no different than the newbies because Garnish is optional. The same holds for sauce and size uniformity. It is a meat contest and the MEAT should be judged for APPEARANCE, not for uniformity of cut, if it was sauced or not or if it had garnish.

Sorry to rant and I mean no ill will against you personally but I see cookers complain about judging when they are not great judges themselves. This goes for me also. I know I am not God's gift to CBJ's but I am working on it.

MilitantSquatter
03-15-2008, 09:48 PM
I think part of the KCBS judging class curriculm calls out that the boxes be prepared exactly a certain way.

The goal here is to get the judges to identify the infractions they learned about , not necessarily taste good food.


Sure, in a perfect world all the judges at a contest would be certfied, well experienced and also have a good idea what good BBQ is about.

At the end of the day, competing in a BBQ contest is a crapshoot. You never know you you are gonna go up against or who is judging your food. As long as everyone is on an even playing field all is fair.. then it's just up to the teams to determine if they are getting value out of the $800 in expenses.

That's why it all comes back to having fun.

Irrad8
03-15-2008, 10:00 PM
I just took a CBJ class today. I feel I learned a lot today but it will take me awhile to get experienced at it. I enjoy these posts and discussions, they are great opportunities to learn from each other.

Smokin Diablo
03-16-2008, 10:06 AM
Sawdustguy, I agree with you about the garnish and sauce, that's why I put my disclaimer in about being to judgmental. Out of the entire class that was just the one thing that kept sticking in my mind. Even though it was said 100 times during the CBJ class that it is a meat competition and not sauce or garnish (believe me I understand that) I don't think that a newbie and especially not some one off the street is going to understand that and they are not going to get it after some one tells them that 2 hours before they sit down at the judges table. So you take a chance that 1/2 your tables are going to get it and the other 1/2 are not, I guess MS is right it's just a crap shoot. Up until last week I wasn't aware of that and it just makes me a little uneasy about the time and effort part of competing. Does that make sense?

Roo-B-Q'N
03-17-2008, 02:23 PM
You can certainly ask the organizer how many cbj's they have signed up. In another post I was just lamenting that there are to many CBJ's. I don't believe just about every contest is short handed on CBJ's either. The organizer may not place priority on getting them, but the ones we cooked last year I am fairly certain had all cbj's. ( I could tell as they all like to wear their little blue shirts.) But I have been at tables where they had to pull them off the street and at those time they were paired with CBJ's and without any input beyond here is what you are to do and how you are to do it, read the rules and regulations brochure and listen to this tape they were judging the same way the rest of the table was.
You do not have to be rocket scientist to judge good BBQ, most people can follow directions and judge accordingly. Heck I have seen CBJ's that should have been removed from a table more so than non CBJ's. I wouldn't get my panties tied into a knot over the CBJ vs. Non CBJ thing. They only went through a free class without the option of tasting food or seeing boxes. But as you mentioned taste is subjective but so is appearance and tenderness.

just my 2 cents.