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trohrs123
03-07-2009, 10:39 PM
Hi All
After taking the KCBS judging class in MD in 2008 and being instructed to judge appearance of the box on the meat and not the garnish and...
After reviewing some of the threads in the competition section I was wondering?:
1: there seem to be a lot of comments regarding judging turn in boxes regarding garnish, specifically, not symmetrical, 1 leaf overhanging the box, not enough parsely on one side etc etc

Q: Are these comments and suggestions based on how you judge if you are a KCBS judge OR just what you want your box to look like when you turn it in?

The class I took they were emphatic about judging the MEAT appearacne and not the asthetics of the garnish and artistic presentation of the box?

thanks for your help

MilitantSquatter
03-07-2009, 10:52 PM
No matter what the rules say.. it's part of the game.

Top notch garnish arrangement will make the meat standout.. Attention to detail w/garnish can also positively affect the taste score before it is even sampled (as wrong as that may be). A judge may be more apt to have pre-conceived idea that it will taste good and will have a harder time scoring it down if it looks like it should taste good.

As much as most might say they don't judge the garnish, it has to have some subliminal effect for some judges.. and that's all that might be needed to get a better score/placing.

Also remember - not every contest has 100% CBJ's..

CTSmokehouse
03-08-2009, 12:59 AM
Also remember - not every contest has 100% CBJ's..

Amen!

Yours in BBQ,

Cliff

HoDeDo
03-08-2009, 07:31 PM
Along the lines of what Vinny said... Even if you arent judging the garnish per se, Sloppy garnish can make the meat seem sloppy too. Pale or yellowed leaves, can also give the appearance of subpar meat. If you are putting garnish in the box, it is to enhance how your meat looks, and make it look more appitizing. That is why we are generally anal about garnish in the boxes, and how it looks. :)

HeSmellsLikeSmoke
03-08-2009, 07:39 PM
Gotta remember that the boxes are passed by each judge pretty quickly so first impressions are very important. All other things being equal, a well garnished box - one that presents the meat to the best advantage, makes a better first impression.

Roo-B-Q'N
03-09-2009, 08:32 AM
I was judging a contest and do everything in my power to avoid looking at the garnish. I was doing prettty darn well until I had a question on the cut of meat turned in and aske dth table captain to ask a rep about it. The rep cam over and DQ's the entery because they had red tip in the box and then started talking down a few judges asking how stupid were they they couldn't tell red tip from a leagal garnish. Wouldn't let up and kept degrading them, until I asked if the meat was legal. Broke his chain of thought and he looked at me with disgust and walked away.

Learned two things that day, 1. you have to look at the garnish for legality reasons and 2. that rep was huge d#$k that I have lost all repsect for.

Divemaster
03-09-2009, 08:41 AM
Both Vinny and Andy are right... It's not so much that you are trying to get a score on the garnish, but that the garnish is at the very least not taking away any points from the meat.

Don't we already know it's all the judges fault???
Amen Brother!!! Testify!!!

U2CANQUE
03-09-2009, 08:48 AM
also, along those lines, from the mental standpoint, if the garnish is neat, it shows that care went into the box/meat/presentation....and, if I can get a judge thinking positive based on what is put in front of them, then, so be it....besides, working on the boxes gives me some relaxation...yeah, I know, I am sick like that, but, it is a good break from stress, to just sit down, have the music going, and play with some greens......
But, that being said, please, everyone, dont take time to work boxes.....it is the best advice I can give.....:twisted:

trohrs123
03-09-2009, 09:39 AM
Thanks for all the input so far. I totally get the first impression thing, the care that went into the box thing etc.
I guess different judging class instructors will focus on slightly different things, but I remember our instructor saying that the appearance should make you want to dive in that box and go to town on it. The more delcious the meat looks the higher the score. if you look at the box and your thinking that you dont want to taste it it should score low.
With that being said, some threads in the competiton section that ask for people to judge their turn box have gotten suggestions like, " the burnt ends arent facing in all the same direction", etc
Based on the criteria stated above, I am not so sure that if the burnt ends are all facing the same way, it makes the judge want to "dive into the box and go to town" on the meat.

The Giggler
03-09-2009, 09:49 AM
besides, working on the boxes gives me some relaxation...it is a good break from stress, to just sit down, have the music going, and play with some greens......

I agree. It's pretty mindless work if you prep garnish boxes ahead of crunch time. You can zone out, or hang out and talk with members of your team or friends from another team.

Bottom line on garnish - it enhances the meat.

For added fun, have a bunch of black bears run through camp while you're doing this at night. Now THAT is relaxation!

Divemaster
03-09-2009, 10:35 AM
With that being said, some threads in the competiton section that ask for people to judge their turn box have gotten suggestions like, " the burnt ends arent facing in all the same direction", etc

Based on the criteria stated above, I am not so sure that if the burnt ends are all facing the same way, it makes the judge want to "dive into the box and go to town" on the meat.
While I would tend to agree with you, I can also see getting a quick glance at a box and thinking that it was put together quickly and without the attention to detail... What other details did they miss when cooking the brisket?

U2CANQUE
03-09-2009, 10:45 AM
For added fun, have a bunch of black bears run through camp while you're doing this at night. Now THAT is relaxation!
No, remember, SOMEONE said that it was just someone putting things in their trash.....me, Montana life says, hmmmmm, bear in woods, food all around, not a good combo.....but, then again, no picture, didnt happen....:biggrin:

Lakeside Smoker
03-09-2009, 03:18 PM
... What other details did they miss when cooking the brisket?

Your assuming they cooked the brisket wrong because the parsley wasn't neat? That's a new one.

MilitantSquatter
03-09-2009, 07:03 PM
Thanks for all the input so far. I totally get the first impression thing, the care that went into the box thing etc.
I guess different judging class instructors will focus on slightly different things, but I remember our instructor saying that the appearance should make you want to dive in that box and go to town on it. The more delcious the meat looks the higher the score. if you look at the box and your thinking that you dont want to taste it it should score low.
With that being said, some threads in the competiton section that ask for people to judge their turn box have gotten suggestions like, " the burnt ends arent facing in all the same direction", etc
Based on the criteria stated above, I am not so sure that if the burnt ends are all facing the same way, it makes the judge want to "dive into the box and go to town" on the meat.

I think the suggestions you will typically see mentioned on this forum as opposed to a judging class are the very minute details. Some may be meaningful and others less so.. but every little bit helps even if a team only remembers a few of them as a final "check list"

Meat Burner
03-09-2009, 07:41 PM
Tim, the garnish threads are always interesting. I do understand why you posted the question. This part of the judging is on presentation only. Since KCBS allows garnish, most competitors use it even thought it is not a requirement. Any food presentation can be better with appropriate garnish as long as the garnish only makes the meat look better, which I think is why KCBS limits what garnish can be used. It will be obvious is the garnish is overpowering and doesn't accent the meat, and should be marked down on presentation. A proper garnish really does draw your attention to the meat and not the garnish. Hope that makes sence.

The Pickled Pig
03-09-2009, 08:46 PM
In KCBS scoring, every single point matters. So even if one of the six judges gives you an extra appearance point for a tight looking box, it could make a difference. We did a contest last Saturday where the top 4 rib scores were 169.1430, 169.1428, 169.1426, and 169.1426. Places 2-4 are probably kicking themselves for being 1 piece of parsley away from a win.

watertowerbbq
03-09-2009, 09:00 PM
While I would tend to agree with you, I can also see getting a quick glance at a box and thinking that it was put together quickly and without the attention to detail... What other details did they miss when cooking the brisket?

This is the kind of thinking that drives me nuts. Why do you assume that they missed something when cooking their brisket? Don't insert you own set of rules when judging. It's not fair and it's not allowed.

I was judginig a couple of years ago at the BarbeQlossal in Des Moines. One of the judges at the table downrated a pork entry because the box only had pulled pork in it. She said if they wanted a higher score they had to put in sliced pork in her opinion. WTF?

Don't assume because the garnish is not up to your standards that there is something wrong with the meat. Just judge the meat on it's merit.

Nitrofly
03-09-2009, 09:57 PM
Your assuming they cooked the brisket wrong because the parsley wasn't neat? That's a new one.



Maybe they mistook the parsley for brisket :icon_blush:

Meat Burner
03-09-2009, 10:23 PM
Like I said, these threads are always interesting! I like to see what folk think to help me when I judge and think about what I turn in when I do competition. The more information from both sides helps with both.

trohrs123
03-10-2009, 05:52 AM
I guess my point or need for clarification is this: are the suggestiosn offered for boxes the opinions of competitiors or judges and if those offering suggestions are judges and using the criteria examples given, parsley placement, brush strokes etc, how do they reconcile that with the fact that those are not the instructions, for the most part, by KCBS reps? The judges class was clear that we may judge on what we like or dont like as judges but there are clear guidelines that i fear judges may be slowly getting away and instituting there own criteria
Thoughts?

MilitantSquatter
03-10-2009, 06:39 AM
As much as the cooks want a perfect judging pool based on a standard set of rules it's impossible to happen. It's still a reliable system but ultimately based on subjectivity and a person's senses (sight, taste, touch etc). Judging is a hobby not a paid position. Especially if a contest has only 50-75% certified judges, you've got to think about pleasing the remaining 25-50% who have never seen a turn in box before and making your box standout.

Most of the suggestions seen here come from the competitors (some of whom are also judges) and a smaller % come from judges only. Coming from a the competitor, it makes perfect sense that their suggestions are focused on the details to try to gain an extra a point or two as mentioned above.. From a judge, it would only be valuable if that's what they know about how other judges think and not what they do themselves.

Divemaster
03-10-2009, 08:41 AM
While I would tend to agree with you, I can also see getting a quick glance at a box and thinking that it was put together quickly and without the attention to detail... What other details did they miss when cooking the brisket?

Your assuming they cooked the brisket wrong because the parsley wasn't neat? That's a new one.
What I was trying to get across is that a lack of attention to detail in one area often leads to a lack of attention to detail in another.

If a box looks like the meat an garnish were just tossed in, then yes, I'm not going to score it well on appearance, and I'm going to be more critical when it comes to taste and tenderness. Like it or not, we do "eat with our eyes".

I'm not saying that a single piece of parsley out of place is going to make me knock off points left and right... What I'm saying is that a well put together box is going to make me want to score it higher... Like it or not, that's the way it is...

This is the kind of thinking that drives me nuts. Why do you assume that they missed something when cooking their brisket? Don't insert you own set of rules when judging. It's not fair and it's not allowed.
These are not "my rules"... This is what I was taught in my CBJ class... If it makes you want to jump in and grab a piece of meat, score it higher, if not, score it lower...

I was judginig a couple of years ago at the BarbeQlossal in Des Moines. One of the judges at the table downrated a pork entry because the box only had pulled pork in it. She said if they wanted a higher score they had to put in sliced pork in her opinion. WTF?


She was wrong... Plain and simple... What does that have to do with garnish?

Don't assume because the garnish is not up to your standards that there is something wrong with the meat. Just judge the meat on it's merit.
If it looks good to you and not to me, who is right? Who's "Standards" should be imposed?

Again, I didn't say that there was any thing wrong with the meat... Again, it's the attention to detail...

If a box looks good, well put together, scoring it up is easier... There's an anticipation to trying the meat and because of that I'll be more open to the flavors put before me.

If a box looks like crap, it's going to take more for me to score it up and to be honest, in the back of my mind I'm going to be thinking, "They didn't care about presentation, what else didn't they care about?"

If presentation didn't matter, why do we score on appearance?

watertowerbbq
03-10-2009, 04:41 PM
What I was trying to get across is that a lack of attention to detail in one area often leads to a lack of attention to detail in another.

If a box looks like the meat an garnish were just tossed in, then yes, I'm not going to score it well on appearance, and I'm going to be more critical when it comes to taste and tenderness. Like it or not, we do "eat with our eyes".

I'm not saying that a single piece of parsley out of place is going to make me knock off points left and right... What I'm saying is that a well put together box is going to make me want to score it higher... Like it or not, that's the way it is...


These are not "my rules"... This is what I was taught in my CBJ class... If it makes you want to jump in and grab a piece of meat, score it higher, if not, score it lower...



She was wrong... Plain and simple... What does that have to do with garnish?


If it looks good to you and not to me, who is right? Who's "Standards" should be imposed?

Again, I didn't say that there was any thing wrong with the meat... Again, it's the attention to detail...

If a box looks good, well put together, scoring it up is easier... There's an anticipation to trying the meat and because of that I'll be more open to the flavors put before me.

If a box looks like crap, it's going to take more for me to score it up and to be honest, in the back of my mind I'm going to be thinking, "They didn't care about presentation, what else didn't they care about?"

If presentation didn't matter, why do we score on appearance?

Let me clarify what I was trying to say. It is human nature to look at a poorly put together box and think that maybe it won't taste good. It's also human nature to look at a good box and assume that it will taste good. I get that. However, a judge should make every effort to taste the meat and judge taste and tenderness it on that alone and try to remove the appearance from the taste and tenderness. I've judged entries that looked great and tasted like crap and vice versa. I'm sure you have too.

The point I was making about the other judge was in response to the comment about "They didn't care about presentation, what else didn't they care about?" In that instance, she was injecting her own personal beliefs into the scorinig. I think assuming that the cook did something else poorly because the garnish looks bad is injecting your own rules into the system. Deduct from the appearance score if it is warranted, but try to start with a fresh mind on taste and tenderness.

Presentation does matter and sometimes the garnish doesn't look as good as it could. I'd also say what looks good to you as garnish, may not be to my liking. Maybe I think all garnish should look like putting greens and maybe you think differently. To some, big leafy lettuce might be appealing. To others, that may look sloppy.

I'm a cook first and sometimes when I'm judging, it's hard to look past the garnish and focus on the meat. However, I've gotten to the point where I remind myself every time before the box is opened to focus on the meat. I think it's helped me be more consistent with the appearance scores I write down.

Think of it this way, you should get the same or very nearly the same score for an entry as far as taste and tenderness are concerned whether you were blind folded or not.

smoke showin'
03-10-2009, 08:08 PM
if your judging meat why is there green stuff in the box???????

Meat Burner
03-10-2009, 08:36 PM
Jeff and Matt, you both have good insight. Both are trying to be fair and more opinions are always good: however, I do believe that the appearance does influence, to some degree, the other scores. Not saying that's right or wrong but I think it is just the way it is.

Divemaster
03-11-2009, 08:39 AM
Let me clarify what I was trying to say. It is human nature to look at a poorly put together box and think that maybe it won't taste good. It's also human nature to look at a good box and assume that it will taste good. I get that. However, a judge should make every effort to taste the meat and judge taste and tenderness it on that alone and try to remove the appearance from the taste and tenderness. I've judged entries that looked great and tasted like crap and vice versa. I'm sure you have too.

The point I was making about the other judge was in response to the comment about "They didn't care about presentation, what else didn't they care about?" In that instance, she was injecting her own personal beliefs into the scorinig. I think assuming that the cook did something else poorly because the garnish looks bad is injecting your own rules into the system. Deduct from the appearance score if it is warranted, but try to start with a fresh mind on taste and tenderness.

Presentation does matter and sometimes the garnish doesn't look as good as it could. I'd also say what looks good to you as garnish, may not be to my liking. Maybe I think all garnish should look like putting greens and maybe you think differently. To some, big leafy lettuce might be appealing. To others, that may look sloppy.

I'm a cook first and sometimes when I'm judging, it's hard to look past the garnish and focus on the meat. However, I've gotten to the point where I remind myself every time before the box is opened to focus on the meat. I think it's helped me be more consistent with the appearance scores I write down.

Think of it this way, you should get the same or very nearly the same score for an entry as far as taste and tenderness are concerned whether you were blind folded or not.

See, I knew you would see it my way and agree with me... lol... Just kidding.... Ducking for cover....

In actually, I think we are both very close on this subject. Both of us can see where if a judge is not careful, the appearance can affect the other two scores. The simple fact that both you and I have had to remind ourselves that appearance should have no bearing on taste or tenderness proves this out.

It is for that reason that we all have posted photos of test boxes to see where things can be improved not only for the appearance, but also for the carryover with less careful judges.

(Oh, and for my money, the putting green looks much better.)

Dale P
03-11-2009, 10:57 AM
In these hard economic times, the KCBS could sell us green washable food grade putting green looking things that fit perfect in the box. We wouldnt have to keep buying parsley/lettuce, and ice to keep that stuff cold saving our team about $20 a contest total.
Saves us all money and makes all garnishes equal. :razz:

hahaha
I kinda like it!

Dave98
03-11-2009, 11:40 AM
Jeff and Matt, you both have good insight. Both are trying to be fair and more opinions are always good: however, I do believe that the appearance does influence, to some degree, the other scores. Not saying that's right or wrong but I think it is just the way it is.

I totally agree, appearance does influence a score. It does in anything else we do in life. It would seem to follow then that if the garnish was removed, the resulting scores would be more standard or more consistently indicate the quality of the MEAT.

You don't suppose there are parsely farmers sending PAC money to the KCBS do you................:lol:

rbinms33
03-11-2009, 01:12 PM
With that being said, some threads in the competiton section that ask for people to judge their turn box have gotten suggestions like, " the burnt ends arent facing in all the same direction", etc
Based on the criteria stated above, I am not so sure that if the burnt ends are all facing the same way, it makes the judge want to "dive into the box and go to town" on the meat.

Considering I made a statement like this on Diva Q's Brisket Turn-in post, maybe I need to clarify a little more. There was nothing wrong with that box that would make me give it anything less than a 9 in the 4-5 seconds that I first looked at it. It was very appealing to me and if it was actually presented to me at a comp, I would look forward to tasting it. And yes, when people ask me to judge their box, I do click on it and give it a once over the first time, make a judgment and then go back and look at it in detail. A little strange but it's the only way to judge it just like I would at a comp. I didn't notice the symmetry of the burnt ends the first time but when I studied the pic later, I saw it.

Now when I made that comment, I prefaced it with "If I HAD to find something wrong...." It was not meant as anything other than constructive criticism. While I didn't catch it the first time around (even if I had, I seriously doubt it would have affected my scoring), someone else may have caught it on that initial glance. And even if the overall appearance made them want to go to town on the box, if they were a stickler for details, it may have made them have to debate between a 9 or an 8. This is why a lot of folks here go back and really critique turn in boxes posted here to help catch little glitches like that. This way things are addressed so that the judge who is a stickler for details doesn't have to debate. :wink:

Meat Burner
03-11-2009, 06:07 PM
Richie, that's a good post. Good honest approach.

StLouQue
03-18-2009, 08:26 AM
Brethren Disclaimer
Thoughts from a second year CBJ.
I judged 11 or 12 comps in 2008.
I've yet to compete.

Judging garnish, I look at:
Is it nicely done? Is it neat?
Does the green favorably complement the meat?
Is it legal?
Period.
Next box.
For me, that is the end of the visual influence.

Think about it, in the next step, each judge picks a piece from the passing boxes. In doing so, that presentation is being dismantled. By the time all of the entries are on my judging "plate" that first impression association has vanished. Hence, in my experience, at the judges' table, appearance has zero influence on taste, texture.

Jeff_in_KC
03-18-2009, 08:55 AM
AGTBBTD

"Another garnish thread beaing beaten to death"

Bentley
03-18-2009, 10:23 AM
top 4 rib scores were 169.1430, 169.1428, 169.1426, and 169.1426. Places 2-4 are probably kicking themselves for being 1 piece of parsley away from a win.


In a farking MEAT contest...Great point!

BBQ Grail
03-18-2009, 10:45 AM
Hey did you guys know that Thermapens are on sale?

Muddy River Boy
03-19-2009, 06:43 AM
I have competed for several years now. Although I know the importance of garnish in a KCBS contest, I find it funny that in other culinary competitions garnish is supposed to be FUNCTIONAL. Or in other words, bring something to the party from a taste standpoint. You should be able to eat the garnish and it enhances the dish. But for some reason in KCBS contests garnish is nothing more than a picture frame. Dont understand it but we all do it and spend a LOT of time on it.

Just my $.02

FatBoyz
03-19-2009, 07:40 AM
this is all will say can you judge the meet and not judge the sauce on it because your not suposed to judge the sauce just the meet .... same thing with garnish its there so you judge it!!! as for me i think every one who uses sauce is a cheeter ... and should be flogged thank you for your time...lol

ihbobry
03-19-2009, 07:46 AM
Vinny, you should have locked the thread right after your first reply and made it a sticky. :-D

Divemaster
03-19-2009, 08:18 AM
this is all will say can you judge the meet and not judge the sauce on it because your not suposed to judge the sauce just the meet .... same thing with garnish its there so you judge it!!! as for me i think every one who uses sauce is a cheeter ... and should be flogged thank you for your time...lol

Dang it Billy, Don't get me started on that subject!!!!

bbq ron
03-19-2009, 08:42 AM
all of this is good information, and i will see how we are taught this saturday in columbia mo at the kcba class i will be taking:-P

FatBoyz
03-19-2009, 06:44 PM
Dang it Billy, Don't get me started on that subject!!!!
sorry dude you know i have to try to be funny lol

Divemaster
03-20-2009, 07:51 AM
Dang it Billy, Don't get me started on that subject!!!!

sorry dude you know i have to try to be funny lol
I know you were kidding... I would take you much more serious if you didn't cheat with that pooper of yours....

all of this is good information, and i will see how we are taught this saturday in columbia mo at the kcba class i will be taking:-P
Good luck at the class!