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View Full Version : Judging area experiment in Rocky Mount


Tarheel
10-12-2009, 11:53 AM
This weekend in Rocky Mount we tried something new in an effort to promote a little more dialog and good will between judges and cooks. The judges were not allowed to take food out of the judging area, in return, the teams provided goodie bags of meat for them to take home. After judging they drew a team name out of a hat and went to that team for there goodies. It was a time for cooks and judges to meet each other. The cooks were instructed not to turn it into a complaint session about there scores from the last contest, rather a time to meet them and so they could see what the cooks do for a contest and so that both could further there education. It was well recived by both cooks and judges, we met a couple that were both cooks and judges and had a chance to talk to them a little. I talked to several other judges who really liked the idea. So I hope this will continue with other contest in an effort to improve the relationship between cooks and judges.

Roy:roll:

Jorge
10-12-2009, 12:09 PM
Interesting idea. Were teams allowed to opt out, and if so were any judges left without a goodie bag?

I ask because I know of more than one team that has a deal with a sponsor or two for their leftover comp meat. While it's probably not an issue for a team that has the space in their cooker(s) to cook a couple of butts, briskets, multiple racks of ribs, a couple of dozen thighs....It might be more of an issue for a team on a tighter budget that doesn't have the cooker space.

That's just one example.

I understand the rationale. I'm just wondering if there has been any thought given to make sure a cook that has a valid reason to opt out isn't singled out or ends up looking like a bad guy, as well as insuring that a judge isn't left with nothing and feeling as if they have been stiffed or shunned.

crd26a
10-12-2009, 12:17 PM
It's a better idea, but not sure its the solution to the problem. By the time judges would roll around (at least 30 mins after last turnin), we'd be in the middle of tear down / clean up in an effort to be ready to go by the time of awards or with little left to do after the awards. I'd welcome the judges more before judging and turnins and have us drop off a "goody" bag with the last turn in of the day. By having us "wait" to talk to judges, keep them seperate and cold "if" they show up, could just be more of a headache. Even at the Royal this year, we had three full trays of food left for Harvesters and they no-showed after turnins.

Plus Jorge brings up a great point on sponsors and meat. All just depends on how things are organized.

Skip
10-12-2009, 12:20 PM
Doesn't this blow the double blind? Maybe I'm wrong but a judge can now put "a face to the food" so to speak. They hang out, chat, have fun and learn what these nice people turn in. Then next event when that food hits their table.....?????

Scottie
10-12-2009, 12:21 PM
:icon_shy


Oops... this was meant for Skip's post.

Skip
10-12-2009, 12:31 PM
:icon_shy


Oops... this was meant for Skip's post.

Huh??? :tongue:

Scottie
10-12-2009, 12:37 PM
Huh??? :tongue:


I didn't hit "Respond" to your post... Then when I went back to correct, I couldn't make it look like I was responding to your post. In a nut shell, I agree with everything you are saying... So i am not sure if that is a good thing or not??? :shock:

Just kidding, but on another Forum, your point was one of my initial concerns....

Tarheel
10-12-2009, 12:53 PM
I like the idea of turning in a goodie bag with your last turn in, this would address the blind issue, but I would still like to see more interaction with teams after the judging as a time for them to see just what we do. Packing it all up is part of that process. Most of the judges came thur from about 2 to 2:30. We still had it packed up before awards at 4pm.

CivilWarBBQ
10-12-2009, 01:18 PM
I don't think there is much problem with "taking off the blindfold" here, since the teams are randomly assigned and they aren't going to be seeing meat in a box. That's if the judges arrive AFTER all judging is complete. Showing up before could cause problems, and obviously no meat would be ready for them at that time so it would negate the whole purpose.

The question of timing could be an issue for teams that like to bolt immediately after awards in that it would put a damper on the show and tell, but I don't see why it would prevent a team from providing take-home meat. Honestly, how long does it take to put a few pieces of each meat in a sandwich bag and then tuck those bags into a larger ziplock?

It's fairly common for contests to enforce a "no take home" policy in my area, so this is not a big deal here. I do like the effort to mingle teams and judges though. Kudos to you, Tarheel, for thinking outside the box.

Jorge
10-12-2009, 01:28 PM
I don't think there is much problem with "taking off the blindfold" here, since the teams are randomly assigned and they aren't going to be seeing meat in a box. That's if the judges arrive AFTER all judging is complete. Showing up before could cause problems, and obviously no meat would be ready for them at that time so it would negate the whole purpose.



If there are a few judges that are as consumed with BBQ, as much as some cooks are, and they are in the same area....It's not much of a stretch to accept that their paths will cross more than once at the judging table. If a cook has been consistent, there is no reason to assume that their flavor profile will change.

Dustaway
10-12-2009, 01:38 PM
If there are a few judges that are as consumed with BBQ, as much as some cooks are, and they are in the same area....It's not much of a stretch to accept that their paths will cross more than once at the judging table. If a cook has been consistent, there is no reason to assume that their flavor profile will change.



do you realize what the chances of the same team & the same judge hitting the same table would be? unless you do 15 team cook-off's all the time

give me a break

Ron_L
10-12-2009, 01:39 PM
I don't think there is much problem with "taking off the blindfold" here, since the teams are randomly assigned and they aren't going to be seeing meat in a box.

I have to disagree here. Yeah, if the judges show up after the judging is complete it won't affect that competition, but what about future comps? It isn't about the appearance, it is about the taste. If a judge received some of your food, and then at the next comp where you are competing and he is judging it is entirely possible that he will recognize the taste and give you better scores because you were nice to him or because he liked your food. We see the same judges at many of the events within a few hours drive of Chicago and we compete against the same teams quite often, so while I would hope that a CBJ wouldn't let this happen, it is possible. Unlikely, but possible.

I would much rather contribute some meat right after the last turn in that goes into a blind pool and let the judges grab what they want from that pool.

Jorge
10-12-2009, 01:54 PM
do you realize what the chances of the same team & the same judge hitting the same table would be? unless you do 15 team cook-off's all the time

give me a break

Cooking IBCA and/or TGCBCA events over Texas where the judges come off the street, I'd agree.

In KCBS in areas with a higher density of cooks, contests, and judges I wouldn't. Is it likely a judges will get a box or two per contest from the same cook? No. It is possible that once or twice over several contests that they could get one and allow a personal relationship to impact judging.

Using a double blind system protects the integrity of the judge, as well as ALL of the competitors. While the odds are slim, the proposed program does place cooks that only do one event or two events at a potential disadvantage.

Skip
10-12-2009, 01:54 PM
do you realize what the chances of the same team & the same judge hitting the same table would be? unless you do 15 team cook-off's all the time

give me a break

Hmm. I disagree. Here in the northeast we get 15-50 teams per contest. With team turn ins needing to rotate tables for categories I think it is highly probable that a judge who tasted your food last comp will now judge one of your foods this comp. As Jorge implied if you are consistent and your flavor profile doesn't change a good judge could recognize your food. If he/she does mark on that is another argument. But the double blind is there to help prevent that opportunity.

Skip
10-12-2009, 01:57 PM
In a nut shell, I agree with everything you are saying... So i am not sure if that is a good thing or not??? :shock:

Thanks brother that gave me a good laugh. I hope its a good thing. :wink:

Dustaway
10-12-2009, 02:08 PM
Hmm. I disagree. Here in the northeast we get 15-50 teams per contest. With team turn ins needing to rotate tables for categories I think it is highly probable that a judge who tasted your food last comp will now judge one of your foods this comp. As Jorge implied if you are consistent and your flavor profile doesn't change a good judge could recognize your food. If he/she does mark on that is another argument. But the double blind is there to help prevent that opportunity.


So you are saying that a judge is not smart enough to figure that out on their own if your flavor profile is placing high enough or winning.

Alexa RnQ
10-12-2009, 02:10 PM
We compete over a seven-state range and run into certain judges many times over the course of the season. While we love to have them stop by and visit after, the idea of regularly exposing them to our flavor profile in a not-blind situation is ethically problematic. I agree that contributing to a general pool of goodie bags is a situation with which I'd be more comfortable.

Lake Dogs
10-12-2009, 02:12 PM
Doesn't this blow the double blind? Maybe I'm wrong but a judge can now put "a face to the food" so to speak. They hang out, chat, have fun and learn what these nice people turn in. Then next event when that food hits their table.....?????

99.99999% chance they wont recognize it, unless they're doing something
very special/unique in their box arrangement that would make it stand out...
Otherwise, by taste, they'd never be able to tell, not with any predictability.

Skip
10-12-2009, 02:17 PM
So you are saying that a judge is not smart enough to figure that out on their own if your flavor profile is placing high enough or winning.


I am very sure that is possible as well but not in as timely a fashion or with such little effort. For a judge to track a particular flavor profile they would need to identify a particular flavor profile. Then confer with other judges to see how they are marking. Then attend each awards ceremony and figure who won that day. At that point it would become a game of Clue. It was Pork Pullin Plowboys at the Royal with the chicken. Or Smoke on Wheels at the Chest to Chest with the Brisket. Now with the after judging party the judge could be sure in just one event. I know my team is a lot of fun. We could be ourselves and unknowningly bias a judge.

Dustaway
10-12-2009, 02:18 PM
Cooking IBCA and/or TGCBCA events over Texas where the judges come off the street, I'd agree.

In KCBS in areas with a higher density of cooks, contests, and judges I wouldn't. Is it likely a judges will get a box or two per contest from the same cook? No. It is possible that once or twice over several contests that they could get one and allow a personal relationship to impact judging.

Using a double blind system protects the integrity of the judge, as well as ALL of the competitors. While the odds are slim, the proposed program does place cooks that only do one event or two events at a potential disadvantage.

yea just like the double blind at the royal invitational this year they used the same # as your space open was different.

I do think that could be the case I do think that there are honey hole locations for cook that do well in a particular area of another. I think it would be far easier to have a box that could be considered marked for a judge to pick out that it would be for taste?

Skip
10-12-2009, 02:24 PM
99.99999% chance they wont recognize it, unless they're doing something
very special/unique in their box arrangement that would make it stand out...
Otherwise, by taste, they'd never be able to tell, not with any predictability.

I have to completely disagree. I have had people stop by and pick out 5 of 8 rub ingredients. Tell me what commercial sauce and what it was cut with and comment on the way the chicken was trimmed. A discerning palate is an amazing thing.

Jacked UP BBQ
10-12-2009, 02:28 PM
I'd rather give them $25 bucks and tell them to hit the local restaurant on the way home.

Jacked UP BBQ
10-12-2009, 02:30 PM
I was at a comp one time and I was standing there when a judge walked up to two teams and told them they were not happy with their food. Told the one guy his ribs are not as good as usual and told the other team, for such a good team, the pork wasn't that good.

Jorge
10-12-2009, 02:31 PM
yea just like the double blind at the royal invitational this year they used the same # as your space open was different.

I do think that could be the case I do think that there are honey hole locations for cook that do well in a particular area of another. I think it would be far easier to have a box that could be considered marked for a judge to pick out that it would be for taste?

Fair enough, I wasn't there and hadn't heard that.

The bottom line is that there are other ways to accomplish the same goal, that the OP is talking about. The meat could be sent up with the final turn-in, and if there were teams that chose to opt out I'm sure there would be enough teams to fill the gap to make sure no judge went home with nothing. Teams could opt in to host a judge after judging as well.

Those that choose to participate can, and those that choose not to participate don't have to, and the judging system is at no risk of being tainted.

Alexa RnQ
10-12-2009, 02:33 PM
A discerning palate is an amazing thing.
True dat. And one would hope that we'd be lucky enough to have discerning judges.

This might not be such an issue with teams that are using commercial sauces and rubs. We don't, though, we've spent two years refining our own distinctive flavor profile.

And once the judges visit us directly to pick up food, what's to keep us from "garnishing" each goodie pack with Benjamin or one of his friends? :icon_cool Most teams wouldn't be likely to, but you know there are areas where SOMEbody would get that kind of bright idea.

So central contribution/distribution seems best, and visiting after without food involved.

motoeric
10-12-2009, 03:09 PM
This is an excellent thread.

I'm very happy to see a discussion where a solution is sought-after instead of just kvetching about the angst some teams have over the judges lack of appreciation for their efforts.

I wish that the thread was started a bit earlier so we had time to implement some of the suggestions at the Battle of the BBQ Brethren.

Eric

Dustaway
10-12-2009, 03:43 PM
Fair enough, I wasn't there and hadn't heard that.

The bottom line is that there are other ways to accomplish the same goal, that the OP is talking about. The meat could be sent up with the final turn-in, and if there were teams that chose to opt out I'm sure there would be enough teams to fill the gap to make sure no judge went home with nothing. Teams could opt in to host a judge after judging as well.

Those that choose to participate can, and those that choose not to participate don't have to, and the judging system is at no risk of being tainted.

I agree it's all ok until you start to win then everything is open for someone to say something, and it's really never a good idea to have judges and cook mingle around the same time as an event. I think it would be better that if you have left over food that was kept at the correct temps and they had a drop off point then that would be ok I guess.

crd26a
10-12-2009, 04:02 PM
I was at a comp one time and I was standing there when a judge walked up to two teams and told them they were not happy with their food. Told the one guy his ribs are not as good as usual and told the other team, for such a good team, the pork wasn't that good.


I might have just flipped my sh*t right then and there if I heard that crap.

CivilWarBBQ
10-12-2009, 06:48 PM
I've fed judges after turn-ins are complete, and I'm willing to bet that the majority of other teams have as well. I also don't think flavors are as unique as some might think, especially for teams that consistently finish in the top 10. The reality is that getting there means meeting a flavor expectation, and anyone who deviates from that greatly gets hammered on the score cards.

I'd also be willing to put my money down that if you blindfolded the cooks that finished in the top half at a contest and gave each a bite of every rib entry that less than 20% would be able to pick out their own stuff. I've personally judged contests where four out of six of the ribs tasted identical (Blues Hog).

What I'm trying to say here is that being familiar with the appearance of a turn-in box may give away the identity of a team, I think tasting rarely does.

SaucyWench
10-12-2009, 07:30 PM
I've fed judges after turn-ins are complete, and I'm willing to bet that the majority of other teams have as well. I also don't think flavors are as unique as some might think, especially for teams that consistently finish in the top 10. The reality is that getting there means meeting a flavor expectation, and anyone who deviates from that greatly gets hammered on the score cards.

I'd also be willing to put my money down that if you blindfolded the cooks that finished in the top half at a contest and gave each a bite of every rib entry that less than 20% would be able to pick out their own stuff. I've personally judged contests where four out of six of the ribs tasted identical (Blues Hog).

What I'm trying to say here is that being familiar with the appearance of a turn-in box may give away the identity of a team, I think tasting rarely does.

While I have gotten Blues Hog sauced ribs more than once, I have a hard time believing that 4 out of 6 entries, sauced identically, would taste exactly the same (if so, good on those cookers!) Though a bad sauce can ruin the overall taste of the meat, the rib meat should prove itself, no matter what sauce is used. It has to do with the proper cooking of the ribs.

swamprb
10-12-2009, 07:39 PM
do you realize what the chances of the same team & the same judge hitting the same table would be? unless you do 15 team cook-off's all the time

give me a break

And you see the same 6 or 8 judges show up!

I'm more inclined to put meats in an extra turn in box for the Table Captains and Head Judge.

CivilWarBBQ
10-12-2009, 11:28 PM
While I have gotten Blues Hog sauced ribs more than once, I have a hard time believing that 4 out of 6 entries, sauced identically, would taste exactly the same (if so, good on those cookers!) Though a bad sauce can ruin the overall taste of the meat, the rib meat should prove itself, no matter what sauce is used. It has to do with the proper cooking of the ribs.

With a sauce as strong and unique as BH, it's mighty hard to set an entry apart under a heavy layer of the stuff. Do your own experiment and see for yourself.