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thunter
06-18-2008, 04:04 PM
Well, at the risk of creating a commotion I decided to write an article that expresses my concerns and observations about how KCBS judging is done. Please note that these are only my opinions; however, I am passionate about them.

Fairness In KCBS Judging (http://docs.google.com/Doc?id=ddd6dkzs_12g2jnb3fr)

Just Pulin' Pork
06-18-2008, 04:37 PM
Tony: I read your article and you bring up some good points. My first suggestion is if you really feel this strongly about it, I would run for the board and see if you can make changes. I am all for making changes in this sport to make it better. I am not going to agree or disagree with what you have to say in your article other than you really bring up some great points. This I hope will make an interesting thread to read. You will get those that have discussed this a million times and say your crazy for even bringing this up "again" and you will have those that may comment and bring some interesting deabate to the table.

Countryhb
06-18-2008, 04:42 PM
Great idea and well-presented!

thunter
06-18-2008, 05:02 PM
Tony: I read your article and you bring up some good points. My first suggestion is if you really feel this strongly about it, I would run for the board and see if you can make changes. I am all for making changes in this sport to make it better. I am not going to agree or disagree with what you have to say in your article other than you really bring up some great points. This I hope will make an interesting thread to read. You will get those that have discussed this a million times and say your crazy for even bringing this up "again" and you will have those that may comment and bring some interesting deabate to the table.

Well, I got the idea of writing something down because I have been in the middle of some debate about how judges view entries. Maybe some good discussion will come out of this and hopefully, something that may benefit us all in the KCBS.

watg?
06-18-2008, 05:05 PM
Well thought out and well written, some great points made. A good read.

Dale P
06-18-2008, 05:09 PM
Tony, I can see that you are serious about your ideas and imho you have some good ideas. But I also see some flaws in some of them too. Simple things like choosing what you put in the box. You can put in chicken feet if you want, pulled, pieces, whatever but it has to look better than the competitions. How are you gonna fit 6 whole chickens in that little box? :rolleyes: Plus if you turn in whole or halves, which part does each Judge get? Leg or breast?

Garnish. I used to think it was a waste but now I think if done right, it looks better with it. JMHO

I dont feel that the system is that flawed now because the same folks usually win. That tells me what I really need to know.

Tony, that was a good read and I appreciate your opinion..

Ford
06-18-2008, 05:26 PM
Well first off there's no use in suggesting changing the scoring system unless you get a lot of new people on the BOD. Believe me people have been beating this dead horse for a long time now.

Besides I think your main complaint is not with the scoring system but how the judges apply it. So before throwing out the system lets try to educate people. Now that takes time and even then there will be wild cards out there. Always have been. Now if you can get judges to put aside personal preferences then that's great but I think unrealistic. Rather than cooking what you want why not try to cook what the judges might like. And pulled chicken isn't it.

Garnish - it's optional so why do teams spend 2-4 hours making all parsley boxes? Because when that lid opens and you have a full box of meat showcased with perfect garnish to frame the meat they say wow I want to eat that. It's a Kodak moment. And that means you already have above average to excellent scores for taste and tenderness. Or lay it flat in the bottom of the box so it's harder to see and has no contrast with the green color and see what you get. Question - why do high end restaurants use garnish on their plates?

And I do like your logic - well done - send it to the KCBS and see what happens. Posting on Forums doesn't get very far.

Jacked UP BBQ
06-18-2008, 06:13 PM
I like red, you like yellow. This becomes a lottery not a competition. What I think would be great is if everyone had to use the same meat, rub ingredients, and sauce ingredients and everything had to be made on sight. I love the people at competitions and the fun that is why we go, but there aren't true competitions, there are too many teams and judges. It is hard to say this teams is better than this teams when we had two different pallets eating our food and there are sixty teams. You make a great point, lets turn these into competitions not lotteries.

Entry fee should include
two racks
one brisket
one shoulder
dozen thighs

Basic rub ingredients, let teams mix and measure themselves.

Basic sauce ingedients and let the teams mix and measure themselves.

Limit the comps to 15 teams, this will show who can really BBQ.

If there are sixty teams that want to enter, make brackets and run four different comps at one sight.

chris1237
06-18-2008, 07:40 PM
I like red, you like yellow. This becomes a lottery not a competition. What I think would be great is if everyone had to use the same meat, rub ingredients, and sauce ingredients and everything had to be made on sight. I love the people at competitions and the fun that is why we go, but there aren't true competitions, there are too many teams and judges. It is hard to say this teams is better than this teams when we had two different pallets eating our food and there are sixty teams. You make a great point, lets turn these into competitions not lotteries.

Entry fee should include
two racks
one brisket
one shoulder
dozen thighs

Basic rub ingredients, let teams mix and measure themselves.

Basic sauce ingedients and let the teams mix and measure themselves.

Limit the comps to 15 teams, this will show who can really BBQ.

If there are sixty teams that want to enter, make brackets and run four different comps at one sight.


You cannot be serious?:?:

MilitantSquatter
06-18-2008, 09:58 PM
Tony - Well thought out even if some agree that small tweaks might be necessary to tighten it up a bit..

Hopefully, time permits for you to submit this article for consideration to appear in the KCBS Bullsheet and National BBQ News. Although it may not have an immediate impact, sending along to the BOD of KCBS can't hurt either.

ZBQ
06-18-2008, 09:59 PM
Limit the comps to 15 teams, this will show who can really BBQ.

If there are sixty teams that want to enter, make brackets and run four different comps at one sight.


I think I saw this episode of "Organizer's Worst Nightmares".:wink::lol:

ZBQ
06-18-2008, 10:16 PM
Well thought out and written Tony.

This speaks volumes:

In other words, some judges score entries based on what the entry is not, instead of scoring the entry for what it is!

One thing that I have always thought is that there should be a requirement that to become
a judge, you have to have cooked at least one comp, maybe more.

It's a pet peeve of mine when I hear judges talking about things after the entries are scored
and cards turned in and you know right away that they have never cooked a comp because
they have no idea just how much money, hard work and time goes into getting that
box in front of them.

Jacked UP BBQ
06-18-2008, 10:26 PM
Is that much to much to ask, to cook?

ZBQ
06-18-2008, 10:59 PM
Is that much to much to ask, to cook?

I don't think so. Not at all.

In my judging class, there was less than 50% that were cooks.

BlueHwyBBQ
06-18-2008, 11:59 PM
Tony,

I like what you wrote and agree with much of it... with one exception...

"garnish is 1) optional and 2) used to help score an entry “up”, not to score it “down”"

I've seen boxes where the bbq was obscured by the garnish. When I have a hard time seeing the meat because of the garnish - that is a negative - and likely to be scored down.

Garnish or not, I don't care but does the garnish enhance or hide the meat?
Sauce or not, I don't care but does the sauce enhance or hide the flavor of the meat?

Scott

Ford
06-19-2008, 04:19 AM
One thing that I have always thought is that there should be a requirement that to become a judge, you have to have cooked at least one comp, maybe more.

Time out. First the contest is put on by the organizer not the KCBS. The KCBS has no control over who judges. An organizer can use zero CBJ's if they want.

The Reps now check to see how many CBJ's are there (membership cards) and will start to publish this so so can choose a contest with all CBJ's if you want.

So my question to you is how do your verify that a CBJ has cooked a contest? Do they have to be the head cook or like for MCBJ just work with a team. I have a number of good friends that mainly judge and some have cooekd with me but I don't think that really makes them appreciate just how much a cook puts into a contest.

Bottom line is you pay your money and take your chances.

thunter
06-19-2008, 06:05 AM
Tony,

I like what you wrote and agree with much of it... with one exception...

"garnish is 1) optional and 2) used to help score an entry “up”, not to score it “down”"

I've seen boxes where the bbq was obscured by the garnish. When I have a hard time seeing the meat because of the garnish - that is a negative - and likely to be scored down.

Garnish or not, I don't care but does the garnish enhance or hide the meat?
Sauce or not, I don't care but does the sauce enhance or hide the flavor of the meat?

Scott

Scott,

You are absolutely right, the garnish/sauce should enhance, not hide or obscure. The meat should be the focus not the other stuff.

thunter
06-19-2008, 06:21 AM
...Besides I think your main complaint is not with the scoring system but how the judges apply it. So before throwing out the system lets try to educate people.

...Rather than cooking what you want why not try to cook what the judges might like. And pulled chicken isn't it.

Garnish - it's optional so why do teams spend 2-4 hours making all parsley boxes?

And I do like your logic - well done - send it to the KCBS and see what happens. Posting on Forums doesn't get very far.

Ford,

You are 1000% correct about educating the judges better which is one of my solutions.

But I have to disagree about cooking what the judges might like. I think this limits the atmosphere of competition, here's why... Judges primarily look for one thing (at the moment) and that is chicken thighs. Well, what if I make a very tender and juicy chicken breast? I don't want my entry scored down because its not what the judge is used to seeing - I want the judge to score my entry for what it is rather than what it is not.

As for garnish, it is optional - as such, there should be no impact to scoring if there isn't any. Yes, the entries should be presented well, but the meat is the focus. If garnish is that important to the KCBS then they should create a scoring category for "Use of Garnish" or something like that.

Lastly, I have submitted this to all the KCBS board members and I have gotten several very good responses. Nothing that indicates any changes will be made or even be considered, but they are classy enough to respond to a member and that is one reason I like the KCBS! :-D

Thanks for your input and debate - keep it coming! :-D

thunter
06-19-2008, 07:43 AM
...You can put in chicken feet if you want, pulled, pieces, whatever but it has to look better than the competitions.

How are you gonna fit 6 whole chickens in that little box? :rolleyes: Plus if you turn in whole or halves, which part does each Judge get? Leg or breast?


Well, I am passionate but not crazy... therefore, I will not be turning in chicken feet! :lol: I think the point is that the cooks should have some latitude for meat selection (within reason of course), and their selection/entry should be judged for what it is rather than what the judges are accustomed to seeing. To me, this enhances the spirit and atmosphere of competition.

As for what will fit in the box, the KCBS rules are clear that there must be at least six (6) separately identifiable pieces of meat. Now, chicken wholes or halves just don't seem reasonable for obvious reasons; however, if I decided to turn in all breasts or, all wings or, all legs, why should they be scored down because they are not thighs or what the judges are used to seeing? In fact, the rules state that Cornish Hens are legal, but cooks don't turn them in because the judges will score the entry down because of what it is not - thighs! That is just plain wrong and it stifles the atmosphere of competition. what if someone makes a Cornish hen that absolutely rocks? Well, because the judges want to see thighs, it is instantly out of the running! That again is just plain wrong!

As a cook, my job is to make great BBQ for the judges to sample. As a judge, my job is to fairly judge the legal entry that is put in front of me without bias and to do otherwise is a disservice to the cooking teams and the spirit of competition.

Big George's BBQ
06-19-2008, 07:57 AM
Nicely written. You made a lot of good poins. I do think that the scoring metod would greatly increase the time to judge each category. Your ideas are definately worth consideration. Why don't you present it to the board

Roo-B-Q'N
06-19-2008, 07:58 AM
Tony, good luck with this. I don't want to rain on your passion here, but don't hold your breath with the KCBS Board. Comment cards were beta tested last year and met favorably by the judges, teams, organizers and the several of the reps that tested them. It was apparent that the membership wanted this type of program implemented. The Board ignored the membership and voted it down.

In my opinion KCBS is out for only one thing when it comes to CBJ's and that is increased membership. They push for classes to be held, and "graduate" scores of CBJ's with very little to no follow up or oversight of them. In fact they demand that the organizers of contests ensure they are truely CBJ's. To me this is like a lot of people that bring children into the world and expect society raise them.

The current system is not broken when it comes to judging, but it is by no means perfect either. Your ideas have merit and hopefully someday they will be looked at seriously and implemented. Until then Candied Thighs anyone?

pigpen269
06-19-2008, 07:59 AM
I have a quick question that is sort of on the same topic. Does every catagory a cook turns in get judged by the same table? The same group of judges.

Sawdustguy
06-19-2008, 08:09 AM
It does not.

Wizards of 'Que
06-19-2008, 08:11 AM
No. As long as you have 24 teams your products should not end up on the same table.

MrSmoker
06-19-2008, 08:33 AM
I am a CBJ and the first time i judged a KCBS contest we were told not to give a lot of nines. They didn't want judges scoring to high. This affected my judgment a lot, especially in the taste category. The first piece was very good but i didn't score to high because if i give it a eight and the next five are better then what, they don't want nines and they can't be all eights.I think we need to taste all the entries and maybe even take another taste to be sure before we score them. I did judge one more time after that and still did not feel comfortable with my choices and i don't think i will judge again.

pigpen269
06-19-2008, 08:41 AM
I am a CBJ and the first time i judged a KCBS contest we were told not to give a lot of nines. They didn't want judges scoring to high. This affected my judgment a lot, especially in the taste category. The first piece was very good but i didn't score to high because if i give it a eight and the next five are better then what, they don't want nines and they can't be all eights.I think we need to taste all the entries and maybe even take another taste to be sure before we score them. I did judge one more time after that and still did not feel comfortable with my choices and i don't think i will judge again.
Isn't this exactly what you are told not to do while judging is compare each entry to the next. I thought you where suppose to judge each entry on it's own. Therfor if you judge six ribs and each one is excellent than each one would get a nine no matter what the other one's where like. That is also bogus that they would tell you not to give out very many nine's and in my oppinion is complete crap.

chris1237
06-19-2008, 09:23 AM
I like red, you like yellow. This becomes a lottery not a competition. What I think would be great is if everyone had to use the same meat, rub ingredients, and sauce ingredients and everything had to be made on sight. I love the people at competitions and the fun that is why we go, but there aren't true competitions, there are too many teams and judges. It is hard to say this teams is better than this teams when we had two different pallets eating our food and there are sixty teams. You make a great point, lets turn these into competitions not lotteries.

Entry fee should include
two racks
one brisket
one shoulder
dozen thighs

Basic rub ingredients, let teams mix and measure themselves.

Basic sauce ingedients and let the teams mix and measure themselves.

Limit the comps to 15 teams, this will show who can really BBQ.

If there are sixty teams that want to enter, make brackets and run four different comps at one sight.


Is that much to much to ask, to cook?

I do not think that is too much to ask to cook. But I feel it creates and even more unfair situation than the one currently in place.

The first problem I see is with the meat
1. Not all meat is created equal. So even though the cut of meat comes from the same packer and case there will still be inferior pieces. The pork butt may have a huge gash in it. The brisket may may be super thick on one end and paper thin on the other.
2.Certain pieces are just better than others. I may mean more marbling or fat and when I got to the store to select my meat it is up to me to get the best cut it is not up to the contest organizer to pick the meat.
3.People also have personal preference on what cuts that buy and what brand they use. For example I like to cook baby back ribs with the methods I use I find I get better results. Not that there is any thing wrong with other choices it is just what I like to do. When the contest organizer hands out meat people are deprived from choosing what results in the best product for their methods.
4.Also I am not sure if you are familiar with competitions but many team cook greater amounts of what is listed so they can select the best product.

Next is with the sauce and rub ingredients
1. Many people have a wide array of items they put in there rub and sauce when only given a limited selection they may not have the ingredients needed to produce the best product.
2.What do you do about injections and marinades there is a wide array of things that fall into this category.
3.With a limited selection of ingredients teams cannot shine to there full potential.
This is a bbq comp not iron chef

Last the brackets
1. KCBS has does not do comparative judging therefor who ever had the best score wins.
2. Also how do you divide the brackets that it is fair? Would it be fair if in one bracket there are a bunch of big name teams and in another there a bunch of no names.

If comps were run like the way you suggested I know I would not participate,

Chris

radmanct
06-19-2008, 10:05 AM
These are just questions for me, I don't compete. Does a judge have any annual or bi-annual classes or test they need to do? Is it where they get certified in say 1990 and try to remember all the rules today? Can they take 5 years off then come back like nothing happened? I work in the medical field and we have continuing education we have to do every year.

Roo-B-Q'N
06-19-2008, 10:12 AM
These are just questions for me, I don't compete. Does a judge have any annual or bi-annual classes or test they need to do? Is it where they get certified in say 1990 and try to remember all the rules today? Can they take 5 years off then come back like nothing happened? I work in the medical field and we have continuing education we have to do every year.

As long as they keep their KCBS Membership up to date, they are CBJ's. No further training is needed or even offered. Althought they can "audit" any CBJ class they want.

BBQ_Mayor
06-19-2008, 10:29 AM
Well, I am passionate but not crazy... therefore, I will not be turning in chicken feet! :lol: .


Add what is wrong with chicken feet? :mrgreen:

16728


I like what you have proposed for changes so far.
I would say as far as garnish, get rid of it. There is no need for it so if all teams didn't use garnish then it should even out the playing field as far as appearance goes.
Taste and Tenderness will always be a subjective issue anyway you put it. IMO. I started cooking what the judges wanted and started doing better. I'm not saying its right, but if you want to win you better be willing to make adjustments.
I guess I see it as, either you change or they change and you can do something about one of those.

Sir Smoke A Lot
06-19-2008, 10:34 AM
Your article brings up some very good points, and things that I feel I have experienced as a competitor. I am judging my first comp in a month and I am very much looking forward to seeing how things happen in the tent. I have taken the judging class and I learned a few things, but thought it could have been better. There will, and always should be, some subjectivity to the scores but I am really looking forward to my experience inside the inner sanctum in July!

StLouQue
06-19-2008, 11:17 AM
One thing that I have always thought is that there should be a requirement that to become a judge, you have to have cooked at least one comp, maybe more.

It's a pet peeve of mine when I hear judges talking about things after the entries are scored and cards turned in and you know right away that they have never cooked a comp because they have no idea just how much money, hard work and time goes into getting that box in front of them.

I don't buy the argument that being a competition cook produces a better judge. Don't insult me. I've been cooking backyard barbecue for years, and only last autumn became a CBJ. While I learn something each time I judge, I defy anyone to challenge my ability to determine what constitutes an entry done well.

Competitors choose to compete. I marvel at the talent and experience necessary to produce four quality entries on time; I'm not sure I could do it. I also appreciate the hours and money spent to compete. However, when I judge, I consider nothing but the quality of the piece before me.

A couple times, earlier this season, I've heard contest reps implore us judges to consider the less-than-desirable weather conditions cooks have had to endure, and to score perhaps more generously than normal. Baloney! Every team at these comps dealt with the weather. In the end, the best that day won. Their entries may or may not have been as good as the week before or after, but do not expect me to grade on a curve...this ain't elementary school. Furthermore, please note that the harshest weather I witnessed this season was at the Capital City Cook-off in Jeff City. Ironically, it was at this very competition that I sampled more top-notch entries than any other contest I've judged in '08. In my mind, scoring artificially higher would have been an insult to everyone who endured the cold winds.

When I judge, I consider only what the anonymous team has put before me,
not my preference for dry rub over sauce,
nor my disdain for parsley that I invariably must pick off before sampling,
nor my boredom with sugary-sweet sauces.
I judge not the teams' choices, rather whether they were successful in implementing those choices.

Anyone want to try to convince me that being a competition cook would make me a better judge? Invite me to join your team for a weekend, maybe I'll change my mind.

Jacked UP BBQ
06-19-2008, 11:37 AM
Chris,

I understand your point and idea. The whole goal of my idea would be getting the judges away from personal taste. If everyone had the same ingredients for the basics it would come down to who can BBQ. I understand your thought on the meat process, but if you get a good purveyor to come in, you will limit these problems. The problem I see in competition is that when fifty teams turn in pork for example, there are fifty different items being judged, that usually taste nothing alike. If everyone has the same base ingredients, it would become an all around BBQ comp that involves cooking. I go to a lot and compete in some comps and everyone makes great food. I had what I consider horrible brisket that I made at my last comp, and my neighboring teams was perfect, I got 15th place and he got 34th place. Only because they probably liked my sauce better.

As far as the teams go, it would be picked out of a hat, it wouldn't matter if all the good teams were in the same bracket or not, you end up against them anyway as it goes now. You have know control at this point who enters the comp. I also believe anyone who enters is a good team with a good chance.

I will stop babbling and get to my point. If everyone is cooking with the same ingredients, it would be a better comp, because it would come down to who can actually cook.

Remember my opinion is like an a$$ hole, everyone has one! LOL

Sawdustguy
06-19-2008, 11:42 AM
I am a CBJ and the first time i judged a KCBS contest we were told not to give a lot of nines. They didn't want judges scoring to high. This affected my judgment a lot, especially in the taste category. The first piece was very good but i didn't score to high because if i give it a eight and the next five are better then what, they don't want nines and they can't be all eights.I think we need to taste all the entries and maybe even take another taste to be sure before we score them. I did judge one more time after that and still did not feel comfortable with my choices and i don't think i will judge again.

I would love to know who the Contest Rep was. You are supposed to call it as YOU see it. If you feel it's a 9 you should circle 9 on your card. I think the instruction you got from that Rep was very wrong and should be corrected immediately.

CajunSmoker
06-19-2008, 12:49 PM
Well, I am passionate but not crazy... therefore, I will not be turning in chicken feet! :lol: I think the point is that the cooks should have some latitude for meat selection (within reason of course), and their selection/entry should be judged for what it is rather than what the judges are accustomed to seeing. To me, this enhances the spirit and atmosphere of competition.

As for what will fit in the box, the KCBS rules are clear that there must be at least six (6) separately identifiable pieces of meat. Now, chicken wholes or halves just don't seem reasonable for obvious reasons; however, if I decided to turn in all breasts or, all wings or, all legs, why should they be scored down because they are not thighs or what the judges are used to seeing? In fact, the rules state that Cornish Hens are legal, but cooks don't turn them in because the judges will score the entry down because of what it is not - thighs! That is just plain wrong and it stifles the atmosphere of competition. what if someone makes a Cornish hen that absolutely rocks? Well, because the judges want to see thighs, it is instantly out of the running! That again is just plain wrong!

As a cook, my job is to make great BBQ for the judges to sample. As a judge, my job is to fairly judge the legal entry that is put in front of me without bias and to do otherwise is a disservice to the cooking teams and the spirit of competition.

In the comps I have judged we have had legs, thighs, breasts and leg quarters turned in that I remember for sure. I haven't heard anyone say anything about judging down because it's not a thigh. In fact I have heard just the opposite. People commenting on their desire to see more than just thighs.

I think that as far as the garnish issue goes, if you use garnish in your box then you should expect the garnish to be an issue in the judging. If it makes your box stand out then it's to your advantage and if it detracts from your box or covers your meat up then obviously it's to your disadvantage. That's why making practice boxes is so important to me. Make lots of boxes and get lots of feedback and the garnish will work for you instead of against you.

Personally, I joined the KCBS knowing the rules of the game and I am not unhappy with the judging experience either from my cooks standpoint or from my Judging standpoint. I would take exception however if I had a rep or table captain that told me not to give too many 9's as I feel that it is up to each judge to decide what is the correct score for a sample. I would report that behavior to the KCBS quickly.

ZBQ
06-19-2008, 01:00 PM
I don't buy the argument that being a competition cook produces a better judge. Don't insult me. I've been cooking backyard barbecue for years, and only last autumn became a CBJ. While I learn something each time I judge, I defy anyone to challenge my ability to determine what constitutes an entry done well.

Competitors choose to compete. I marvel at the talent and experience necessary to produce four quality entries on time; I'm not sure I could do it. I also appreciate the hours and money spent to compete. .

I didn't say, and didn't mean, that it would make a better judge.

All I meant was that they would at least understand the processes
that go on to get the entry in front of them.

I heard a CBJ once laugh and say, "How hard can it be to cook chicken and
throw it in a box?" in response to a team getting DQ'd because they missed turn in time by
seconds.

He also said, "I'll take Damons over this stuff any day, but hey, it's free eats!"

I can see that you at least understand and appreciate the process and
are serious about how you judge. There are CBJ's that can't say that.

Ford
06-19-2008, 01:02 PM
If everyone had the same ingredients for the basics it would come down to who can BBQ.

Not true - how much rub you use makes a big difference, so does trimming and exposign surfaces.

And I agree with the point that all meat is not created equal. Take a case of butts and each cryovac is cut different and with different size butts. So it will also cook differently.

Ford
06-19-2008, 01:07 PM
Judges primarily look for one thing (at the moment) and that is chicken thighs.

Not true -and I spent the 2005 season cooking boneless, skin on breasts. I nailed them one contest for a call but otherwise they just were not as good as thighs. Bottom line is thighs stay moister longer. My test of chicken is leave one piece out and don't touch it until 12:15 and see how it held up. White meat, especially cut usually fails the test. That's why it's scored down and not because a judge wants to see a thigh.

ZBQ
06-19-2008, 01:14 PM
Time out. First the contest is put on by the organizer not the KCBS. The KCBS has no control over who judges. An organizer can use zero CBJ's if they want.

So my question to you is how do your verify that a CBJ has cooked a contest? Do they have to be the head cook or like for MCBJ just work with a team. I have a number of good friends that mainly judge and some have cooekd with me but I don't think that really makes them appreciate just how much a cook puts into a contest.

Bottom line is you pay your money and take your chances.

I totally understand that the organizer is the one who controls who the judges are, not the KCBS.

I just meant to earn the title of CBJ there should be more requirements.

To weed out the "Free Food" crowd and such......

A thought that I had was that the class of prospective judges would have to be there and watch or participate in the prepping and cooking of the meat that is being cooked for the class to evaluate. I realize this is more "labor intensive" and might not be completely feasable but at least they could then understand and appreciate the processes involved and not think that Q is just slapped on a plate and served in 10 minutes.

StLouQue
06-19-2008, 02:07 PM
I didn't say, and didn't mean, that it would make a better judge.

All I meant was that they would at least understand the processes
that go on to get the entry in front of them.

I heard a CBJ once laugh and say, "How hard can it be to cook chicken and
throw it in a box?" in response to a team getting DQ'd because they missed turn in time by
seconds.

He also said, "I'll take Damons over this stuff any day, but hey, it's free eats!"

I can see that you at least understand and appreciate the process and
are serious about how you judge. There are CBJ's that can't say that.


The example you cite is unfortunate. Given this explanation, your previous remarks are more understandable.

I hope you understand that my initial was response was not intended as a personal challenge. I've been a member of this and other bbq forums for several years, and can't tell you how many times I've read ...judges should have to compete because... That is the argument I take exception to. Give it up folks – it'll never happen.

I can let this point rest knowing that you and I better understand each other.

As to Tony's original points: He has a worthwhile position. In my opinion, however, I agree with the posts that maintain it is the mindset of some judges that needs adjustment, not the scoring system. Personally, I'm there to judge, not eat for free. That is why you will never see me bring a cooler; but that's a whole 'nother can of worms...

CharlieBeasley
06-19-2008, 02:14 PM
Tony Great read. As I agree with most of what you say and think you did a great job of saying it. Positive change is how an organization grows and improves I hop we have a lot of intelligent conversations throughout the BB!Q community on this topic.

Ford on the other hand this is not a dead horse just because some of use are old cranky and set in our ways I question what you mean about cooking what the judge likes (which of the 42 or more judges do we cook to impress?)

Garnish is optional and the only reason people spend hours making something look like a salad is old farts want give up the notion that it looks better and as far as I am concerned if I do not put it on my BBQ why should I put it on a turn in other that against the judging rules some judges will mark down on it. One of the absolutely beautiful pork displays had no garnish and was a great display of pork pulled, sliced, and chopped.

Tony keep the faith and maybe some day we can overcome the need for garnish and be judged fairly on the meats we cook. Thanks

Podge
06-19-2008, 02:15 PM
i fully appreciate the work you've put into this report, and you're obviously an intelligent person.

Having said that, good bbq is good bbq, and play the game as it is. (some) Judges like garnish, most think differently about pulled chicken, etc.. I think most of us know what to do in a contest and what not to do. We can't change this games unspoken rules, so we just do what is expected and do the best we can.

Jacked UP BBQ
06-19-2008, 05:33 PM
Ford,

completely uderstood, that being said by you, you would understand that if you were given a piece of meat right before you needed to start cooking, it would take a better bbq'er to adjust. Anyone (almost anyone, not my brother!) can by a peice of meat three days before a comp, google how to cook it and get rub recipes and show up and cook it. It takes talent to be able to adjust to any raw product thrown your way. All pork butts are able to be used, size and shape doesn't matter if you can adjust. If you the cook cannot adjust, I am not sure they should consider themselves professional?

As far as the rub goes, they are not rubbing your meat for you, they would give you the ingredients and you would need to measure, mix, and rub yourself.

I do a lot of cooking comps bbq and other kinds and that is just my opinion on how you can tell who really knows the art of BBQ, if everyone started equal.

With that said I love KCBS events and meeting everyone and partying for three days, so I hope to see you there!

Ford
06-19-2008, 07:18 PM
Ford,

completely uderstood, that being said by you, you would understand that if you were given a piece of meat right before you needed to start cooking, it would take a better bbq'er to adjust. Anyone (almost anyone, not my brother!) can by a peice of meat three days before a comp, google how to cook it and get rub recipes and show up and cook it. It takes talent to be able to adjust to any raw product thrown your way. All pork butts are able to be used, size and shape doesn't matter if you can adjust. If you the cook cannot adjust, I am not sure they should consider themselves professional?

As far as the rub goes, they are not rubbing your meat for you, they would give you the ingredients and you would need to measure, mix, and rub yourself.

I do a lot of cooking comps bbq and other kinds and that is just my opinion on how you can tell who really knows the art of BBQ, if everyone started equal.

With that said I love KCBS events and meeting everyone and partying for three days, so I hope to see you there!

OK - so can we use our own cookers? Personally I think it's much harder to build a fire or let's go all the way and give each team some cement blocks and sheets of tin. I seem to remember a show that did that. Now there's a test of who is really a "true" bbq'r. And how about a burn barrell so we only use preburned coals for cooking. That's the true art of BBQ. But it doesn 't mean it's the best BBQ and that's what KCBS is about.

Head out to the mid west sometime and I'll buy you a beer. I did my East Coast trip a few years back.

watertowerbbq
06-19-2008, 07:20 PM
Two years ago at the BBQlossal, I was at a table where one judge told me that she scored down a pork entry because it didn't have any sliced pork in the box. I gave her an earful, but the table captain really let her have it.

I'm a judge and an cook and I absolutely hate it when we are at the judging table and the judges are more interested in the "doggie bag" to take the food home than in the judging itself. I'd like to see them do away with the "doggie bags" so the judges can focus more on the entry than what they'll be eating later that night.

I wish they would do away with the garnish. It's supposed to be a meat contest, not a parsley contest.

StLouQue
06-19-2008, 07:55 PM
I'm a judge and an cook and I absolutely hate it when we are at the judging table and the judges are more interested in the "doggie bag" to take the food home than in the judging itself. I'd like to see them do away with the "doggie bags" so the judges can focus more on the entry than what they'll be eating later that night.

http://www.bloodydecks.com/forums/images/smilies/appl.gif

stlgreg
06-19-2008, 08:41 PM
I agree with Ford on how to "fix" the juding problem.
Education, education, education

I was judging last weekend at Mt. Vernon. one of our chicken entries was breast meat. I liked the way it looked - i found out after we turned in our cards - everyone at our table judged it the same way as it was presented to us. I thought that was great! It gave me a warm and fuzzyy :)

I sat next to St. Lou Que at Jeff City and it was without a doubt the best food i had all year too. (except for the third rib entry, yikes! remember those Steve?) and it was flipping cold. I didnt like hearing the reps say to give the teams a break. What if some judges didnt do that. Sigh.

BTW, I too would like to see it be required for judges to cook more than once and sitting with a team and watching them for a weekend should not count. But then judges like Steve come along and he really doesn't need to compete. He is out there giving his honest opinion and trying real hard, judging the way he is supposed to be doing. If the judges we had out there would just do what they are told to do then we would all be better off.

Another thing I get tired of reading is get rid of the garnish. It WON'T happen. Spend you time wishing for something that might happen, like $2 a gallon gas.
It is part of what makes KCBS, KCBS. If you dont want garnish do a FBA contest. I did a contest recently where there was no garnish, it was a LOT harder to put that box together. I can hide some "mistakes" with garnish. It is easier to keep the box clean with garnish too! I like that we have garnish, I like what the garnish does and what it means.

Also last weekend at Mt. Vernon we had a chicken entry where the garnish covered up the chicken about half way. EveryONE at the table scored it down because we could not see the meat.

I also sat at a contest this year and the person on my right was there for the take home bag and I still dont know how he was able to judge the chicken he had. I dont understand taking home food to eat and share with others. You ate off of that , why someone else would want to is beyond me.
I have taken home food once and it just wasnt the same. You better believe I told the organizer of the contest but I did not tell anyone else. The other odd thing was the judge ate most of the other three categories but the chicken looked so untouched it was ridiculous.

That same judge really came across as a backyard cooker who "knows" good BBQ. I dont think he knows his ears from his nose.

I have judged four times this year and that judge is the only judge at my table or any other table that I did not want juding my food at a contest. There are just a few bad judges out there there that are giving all of us/them a bad rep.

Although as Ford will tell you , this year it doesnt seem to matter which judges gets my food, the food just isnt turning out like i want it too. :(

Bottom line is as far as i can tell it isnt as bad out there as you think it is

StLouQue
06-20-2008, 02:30 AM
Thanks for the compliment, Greg.

A CBJ at my table once complained that the chicken sample received wasn't "done." "It wasn't bloody, this judge admitted, it just... didn't look done."

That's the stuff you cooks are up against, and I feel your pain. Competitors are too often faced with the occasional judge's resistance to accept barbecue that may be different from what he/she is accustomed to eating at home. I witness stubborn adherence to habits, every day. That's too bad, in my opinion, because when we refuse to open our minds (and tastebuds) to the unfamiliar, we deny ourselves greater knowledge, better understanding and more varied experiences.

Maybe CBJ classes should include a dvd, with close-ups detailing what defines the KCBS standards?

But, all the responsibility for wacko scores does not fall solely upon the judges. There are two cooking negatives witnessed repeatedly at each of the four tables I've sat down to, this year. Pork shoulder that is mushy, and brisket that tastes like injection fluid. Why these items turned out as they did is interesting to me as a cook. When your meat tastes off, I learn what to avoid in my own barbecue. If you want higher scores, don't give me reasons; give me better barbecue.

thunter
06-20-2008, 11:44 AM
...I did judge one more time after that and still did not feel comfortable with my choices and i don't think i will judge again.

That is too bad! :sad: It sounds like you are conscientious judge and that is what we need to begin making things better! I would strongly urge that you go back to judging and just do what you know is right regardless of what they say!

jminion
06-20-2008, 11:54 PM
Tony, good luck with this. I don't want to rain on your passion here, but don't hold your breath with the KCBS Board. Comment cards were beta tested last year and met favorably by the judges, teams, organizers and the several of the reps that tested them. It was apparent that the membership wanted this type of program implemented. The Board ignored the membership and voted it down.

In my opinion KCBS is out for only one thing when it comes to CBJ's and that is increased membership. They push for classes to be held, and "graduate" scores of CBJ's with very little to no follow up or oversight of them. In fact they demand that the organizers of contests ensure they are truely CBJ's. To me this is like a lot of people that bring children into the world and expect society raise them.

The current system is not broken when it comes to judging, but it is by no means perfect either. Your ideas have merit and hopefully someday they will be looked at seriously and implemented. Until then Candied Thighs anyone?

That was a strange vote, we ran the test and the south really fought the score cards but would use the judging comment cards. When the vote was taken the vote it went the other way. Can't explain why.

Jim

jminion
06-20-2008, 11:59 PM
I know that KCBS is working with the Unv of Missouri to improve the judging train program. It should be interesting to see what they come up with.

thunter
06-21-2008, 12:13 AM
I know that KCBS is working with the Unv of Missouri to improve the judging train program. It should be interesting to see what they come up with.

Jim,

This is excellent news! I would be willing to participate in any pilot classes or beta programs associated with this.

Big George's BBQ
06-21-2008, 05:06 AM
I would too. I think judges should have to take refresher classes. Especially if they do not do it often. I plan on doing that

Slamdunkpro
06-21-2008, 12:24 PM
The issue isn't with the judges, it's with the standards - there aren't any.

Here's my perspective as a judge:

I don't care how much money competitors spend, how far they travel or how much work goes into what's in front of me at judge's table. I know it's a lot but none of that matters. I look at each entry the same regardless of whether the competitor drove 5 miles or 500, spent $100 or $10,000.

When that box is opened, I judge:

Appearance:
Is it legal under KCBS rules?
Overall, how appetizing does the meat look?
Does it look dry or greasy?
Is the overall presentation clean?
If portioned, are the portions even?
If garnished, is the box balanced or does the garnish overwhelm or take away from the meat?
How much do I want to eat this entry based on what I see?

Tenderness:
Is it undercooked? (tough)
Is it overcooked? (ribs fall off the bone, brisket falls apart, pork mushy, chicken rubbery)

Taste:
Do I get the taste of the product itself?
Is it over/under salted?
Is it over/under seasoned?
Is it greasy?
Is it dry?
If pork, it it over cured (Hammy)?
If sauced, does the sauce compliment the product or overwhelm it?
How is the overall balance of flavor/sweet/heat?
How is the finish flavor?
Is there an aftertaste?

I do this for every sample put in front of me and score based on these criteria.

carlharper
06-21-2008, 07:44 PM
Slamdunkpro,

Thank you, thank you!

Your description of the things you consider in judging each entry placed before you is outstanding. After reading it, I realized that this is what many of us do without thinking about it to come up with the scores we award each entry. This is the first time I have seen these criteria listed in such a logical and complete manner.

I have attended CBJ classes held by two different trainers and neither one provided nearly this complete, concise and informative explanation of the things we should be considering when evaluating each entry. This should be made part of the CBJ training.

Your comments regarding the fact that the finished product as submitted to the judges is what matters, rather than the money and effort expended to produce that finished product is also right on target.

Thanks again, Mike

Rookie'48
06-21-2008, 11:38 PM
I'd like to know why a lot of cooks will remove the skin from the chicken thighs, do their magic on the meat then wrap a tender, tasty, juicy piece of meat with a chunk of rubber masquerading as skin? KCBS rules state that chicken may be skin on or skinless but if presented with the skin then the judge should take at least one bite if the skin. If I take a bite of skin and it is so rubbery that I can't tear a bite of off it, then rest assured your score will suffer.
A few of us in the tent at State Center had this conversation today. Almost all of us agreed that (at least in some cases) the entry would have done a lot better if it was turned in skinless.
I know that I'm not an experienced judge (one year & 7 comps) but it seems as if some other CBJs feel the same.

By the way, we had an entry of drummies that did pretty well.

Dale P
06-22-2008, 10:06 AM
...judges should have to compete because... That is the argument I take exception to. Give it up folks – it'll never happen.

I wont argue but it might help Judges appreciate the process more and that cant be too bad of a thing. IMHO a Master Judge should cook at least once but that is my opinion.

That is why you will never see me bring a cooler; but that's a whole 'nother can of worms...

After cooking all 4, I dont want any BBQ. Bring your cooler, sign a waiver and I will load you up, after Judging of course.:razz:

MrSmoker
06-22-2008, 10:57 AM
That is too bad! :sad: It sounds like you are conscientious judge and that is what we need to begin making things better! I would strongly urge that you go back to judging and just do what you know is right regardless of what they say!
After reading Slamdunkpro's tread i think I will try again.Since I stopped competing I miss being involved with the contest. Thanks for the encouragement.

HoDeDo
06-22-2008, 08:32 PM
Well, I am passionate but not crazy... therefore, I will not be turning in chicken feet! :lol: I think the point is that the cooks should have some latitude for meat selection (within reason of course), and their selection/entry should be judged for what it is rather than what the judges are accustomed to seeing. To me, this enhances the spirit and atmosphere of competition.

As for what will fit in the box, the KCBS rules are clear that there must be at least six (6) separately identifiable pieces of meat. Now, chicken wholes or halves just don't seem reasonable for obvious reasons; however, if I decided to turn in all breasts or, all wings or, all legs, why should they be scored down because they are not thighs or what the judges are used to seeing? In fact, the rules state that Cornish Hens are legal, but cooks don't turn them in because the judges will score the entry down because of what it is not - thighs! That is just plain wrong and it stifles the atmosphere of competition. what if someone makes a Cornish hen that absolutely rocks? Well, because the judges want to see thighs, it is instantly out of the running! That again is just plain wrong!

As a cook, my job is to make great BBQ for the judges to sample. As a judge, my job is to fairly judge the legal entry that is put in front of me without bias and to do otherwise is a disservice to the cooking teams and the spirit of competition.

I think the reason most cooks turn in thighs is because they (a) tender up nicely (b) are likely to stay moist (c) take seasoning/flavors well. It is the best cut of meat to put in the box, if the box is going to have to sit and wait to get to a judges table, etc. Breasts can get rubbery, and dry out very quickly/easily. Legs have lots of connective tissue that does not get tender... wings, well, they are wings - I eat them with lots of cold beer.
I'm all for turning in other parts of the chicken - but the other parts are less likely to end up as good, or consistent as the thighs. I don't think it has as much to do with what a judge "expects" to see - as what tastes good when it makes it to the judge... and what fits nicely looks good in the box.

ModelMaker
06-23-2008, 07:43 AM
There ladys and gentlmen is a man wise beyond his years.
There are six different taste buds at each table and don't assume all enjoy thick sauced candied thighs.
The first box of big, well cooked, seasoned dry wings gets a row of 9's from me.
ModelMaker

Big George's BBQ
06-23-2008, 08:02 AM
Nice write up Slamdunkpro