View Full Version : The Judge That Would Be Cook

09-23-2008, 11:49 AM
Being a judge now for three years I decided it was an appropriate time to see how the other half lives on the weekends.
Team HART BURN (me, my wife Julie, and life long freind Cindy) was born and Brew-B-Que in Independence IA was the target.
I got to the park at 8 am Friday and set the trailer and tent up. Team N-2-Que arrived about 8:30 and set up right behind us. Later Shotgun BBQ showed up and was at the other corner of the park along with Buster Dog.
Our plan was working to perfection, the Brethren had 'em surrounded.
The organizer inspected our meat and we were ready to go!
I had to go back home at noon to pick up my vast array of cooking equipment, my $96 EDS (Ed's Drum Smoker), a $35 Wal-Mart grill and a table and my wife.
We spent the rest of the afternoon just chillin and visiting teams I knew from judging and meeting some new ones. Great fun. There was a potluck at 6 pm and I made up a crock pot of goulash. The cooks meeting at 5 pm was a new experience and being a newbie we had to stay after while rep Ken Nelson made sure we understood all matters and answered any questions. The potluck was great and many cooks were commenting how
nice it was not to have any Fri night stuff going on and could just hang and chat with each other.
Due to lack of cooking area all I was cooking was 1-8 lb butt, 1-12 lb packer brisket, 2 racks of St. Louis cut spares, and 12 chicken wings.
That's right I was jumping way out of the box and making dry chicken wings.
I should have prepped my meat earlier as it was kinda a pain to do at 8 pm when I should have been done and drinking by then, oops!.
Others were slappin their meat on around 8 or 9 and by design the EDS is more of a microwave smoker and I did'nt even have to start my fire till 1:30 am. I sent the gals to bed around 10 and it was hard staying functional till 1:30. By 2:30 I had the butt on and was good to go till 6 am. I set the alarm for 5:30 (so I thought) and tried to get a snooze. About every 1/2 hour I'd wake up and look at the Maverick setting on the footstool to see if it was working (newbie mod).
I finaly drifted off and woke up at 5:40 seems I forgot to push the alarm button, crap!!
Brisket went on and I made a pot of coffee and was waiting to put ribs on at 9 am. The park started buzzing about then and realized I had forgotten to go smoozing though the night, dang.
Sent some coffe over to Bill & Diane next door and started that waiting crap ( I hate waiting).
Before long it was ttime to make up my very first official turn in box. We had decided to use curly leaf lettuce instead of parsley and I left that up to the women. The chicken was just as I wanted it. It was seasoned and looked like it could have been fried. I was pumped.
I gave samples to N-2-Que and 2 empty bottles. Bill said ok I could have chicken.
Next was ribs, they came out pretty good just a smidge over done.
The butt was in the cooler now for a couple hours and it pulled just right, the $ muscle was almost impossible to find clearly and wasn't very big but it came out ok.

Insert picture of pork box here.

Damm, rookie mistake forgot to take pic.

Last entry brisket I thought was tough but had pretty good taste, the bunrt ends were nice and tender but I thought might have been too saucy, who knows...

Now just wait for the awards. I had very high hopes in chicken, Shotgun stole my trophy, we got a 8th.
I thought ribs had a decent chance for a top 10. And Pork I thought should be a walk also (can't help it it's just my mindset, I don't think lose).
We watched everybody else walk and took our lumps. We got the sheets and I have a much better understanding now of how you see us as judges. I'll wait a bit before posting our scores so go ahead and share your thoughts on our boxes.
I will say one thing, I tasted evry one of N-2-Ques entrys and they really took one in hiney. Their meat was nowhere indicative of the scores they received and I hope they don't just pack it in. It was a pleasure sharing the weekend with them and it would have been not near as much fun without them. Just write it off as a bad weekend kids.
Like I said I'll post scores later and have some choice words for them dang judges.......
Oh here's a pic of Team HART BURN with their cute little ribbon and the $25 bucks that I hear is going to be mounted in a frame.
We came in 17th out of 33 so we only beat half of 'em, not acceptable to me!!!!
I said this is a one time thing but I also never say never.

09-23-2008, 11:59 AM
Congrats for the call in your first comp!:biggrin:

butts a fire
09-23-2008, 01:10 PM
Congrats on getting a walk at your first contest as a cook.

I think your pork box looks incredible:-D

Actually I do think the boxes you posted look really good especially for a first timer I can tell you did your research.

09-23-2008, 03:21 PM
thats some cool chit.. I love reading about first time experiences under the tent. I remember the excitement and butterflies pullling in at that first contest and seeing all the big names.. congrats on not only your success, but your attitude and learning experience.. keep em coming.

09-23-2008, 03:29 PM
Ya done good!

Gutsy call on the wings, box is an 8. Ribs, would be hard pressed not to give them a 9. Brisket, ahh, a 7, dont like your wavey brisket.

Nice job on your 1st contest! Look forward to results.

Smokin' Joe
09-23-2008, 04:28 PM
Congrats on the call Ed...trust me you will be back:wink:

09-23-2008, 04:29 PM
Nothing like that first time out. As I remember, we turned in pulled chicken at our first comp. How quickly we learned!

Getting everything turned in with no DQs and finishing middle of the pack is a fine showing for a virgin team. You did well my friend, and I'm sure you'll be moving up as you gain experience.


09-23-2008, 07:12 PM
Congrats on the call. It's a bit harder cooking than judging, isn't it?
So what would you score your entries?

09-23-2008, 07:32 PM
Congrats Ed, that's a pretty good start with that field.

17th of 33 in Indy must be a Brethren thing - that's where we finished last year!

09-23-2008, 09:09 PM
Congrats! Nice showing for your first contest!

09-23-2008, 09:38 PM
Congrats on your first walk!

Your story brings back memories of our first contest and whatta nightmare from hell that contest was.
3 back to back thunderstorms, water way over our ankles running down off a steep hill, lightning cracking all around us, ect.
We did take a walk in chicken and that was pretty cool for our team.
We didnt take any pictures that year but it was definately one of the things that our team will never forget.

BBQ Grail
09-23-2008, 09:44 PM
Very nice job. Great write up. Enjoyed your story.

Buster Dog BBQ
09-23-2008, 10:01 PM
Now you might have the dilemma of cooking or judging. I took the judge class but have too much fun competing to sign up to judge. Nice job on your call.

Big George's BBQ
09-23-2008, 10:21 PM
Congrats on your first call, and your first Comp too- not bad. It sounded like you had fun which is most important

09-23-2008, 10:56 PM
OK, Ed, here goes - but remember I've only been judging 1 1/2 years :rolleyes:.

Chicky - strong 8 or 9. Wangs is different, I hope you did well with them. Good color, not drowned in sauce, looks like good ol' down home eats. I like it :-D.

Ribs - 8 (?). Looks kinda dark, right side of box looks empty.

Pork - Farkin' table captain musta ate it all before it got to me :sad:.

Brisky - 7 or 8 (?). It looks like there is good color & texture but maybe a little dry. I feel that the presentation would have been better if all of the pieces were matching / symmetrical.

Over all I like the looks of the curly lettuce vs parsley, but its not a salad contest so I paid absolutely no never mind to that :roll:.

09-23-2008, 11:28 PM
Nice job MM and Team Hart Burn!

09-24-2008, 07:39 AM
chanting ~ HART BURN . . . HART BURN . . . nice job MM and crew!

definitely frame the $$$ ... AND the ribbon!

isn't it fun to jump the cook/judge fence ?

09-24-2008, 09:15 AM
Great job!