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Butcher BBQ
10-14-2009, 09:31 PM
I have had some recent contest that I feel that the judges need to be recognized as being very good. We haven't won the contest but, we did get reserve twice and 4th once. You only hear about how the judges are all over the scale. Well, we (cooks) never get on the boards and say good job judges. I feel this summer we hit a stretch of bad judges and not really because when you realize the smallest thing has changed in your flavor profile and you change it back the score you expect come right back. WOW its not brain surgery. It was me after all. Again thanks for doing what you do and allowing us to to what we do.

motoeric
10-14-2009, 09:35 PM
Nice post. Thanks for sharing.

Eric

Divemaster
10-15-2009, 07:06 AM
I agree. It's always easier to complain about them when you get those strange scores that make no sense than thank the ones that do it the right way.

Thank you judges (and please, all the good ones out there, please be at my tables this weekend!)

ModelMaker
10-15-2009, 12:24 PM
Thank You,
I always try to give my very best, because I know you all do too.
ModelMaker

BBQ Grail
10-15-2009, 12:34 PM
Not much Judge love here...

Meat Burner
10-15-2009, 09:41 PM
:biggrin:Larry, bro, we compete and judge so don't hate me half the time.:biggrin:

Rookie'48
10-15-2009, 11:21 PM
Thank You,
I always try to give my very best, because I know you all do too.
ModelMaker

I think that Ed summed it up pretty well.

BBQ_Mayor
10-16-2009, 06:51 AM
For the most part this year, I think the judging was "fair" to us. We didn't win anything but I'm sure thats cause we have quit found what their tastes are. There was only one contest that I can think of that I new we did better than that.
Anyway, great post BB and thank you judges for being fair with us cooks.

BBQ Grail
10-16-2009, 06:56 AM
:biggrin:Larry, bro, we compete and judge so don't hate me half the time.:biggrin:

Getting hated half the time is better than getting hated all the time!

I thought the starting post on this thread was fantastic and thought more would pick up on the opportunity to compliment and thank all the judges who work hard. I was surprised so few responded.

Lake Dogs
10-16-2009, 07:16 AM
Glad to see kudos go out to judges, but don't expect much judge-love here. This
is a very cooking team centric site. Should be, that's what its here for. However,
many team members have no love for judges. Just doesn't happen...

I'm another 50/50 judge/cook guy. I can't speak for every judge, but 98% are as
honest and fair as anyone I've ever seen. Only on one occasion did I ever see a
judge screw someone, and it was in an ancillary category that she should have never
agreed to judge. Otherwise, all judges at every table somehow magically determine
the best tasting Q. Very VERY few times I've been at tables where we disagreed on
which one was best, and on those tables we had 2 fabulous entries and a few
preferred one for reasons and the others preferred the other for other reasons...
Again, all agreed both were best, just disagreed on which of the 2. Also, we talk
about this AFTER the judging has been placed/finalized. Not during.

Go figure, on the days where I've put out very good Q, I scored well. Days I didn't,
I didn't score well. Go figure...

Skip
10-16-2009, 09:56 AM
I will have to say that the judges, for the most part, are wonderful. They come out each weekend and try their best to judge the food as objectively as possible. I don't think anyone here HATES judges but just like any portion of society you are going to have bad judges. I've heard comments from judges like, "if it has grill marks I will NEVER mark well...this is BBQ not grilling." Or how about "I never give 9's to anyone because nothing deserves a perfect score." Or how about "babybacks are cheater ribs and don't impress me I give straight 6's when I see them."

These are the ones we complain about and the ones that should be found out and expelled. I know other sanctioning bodies tract judging performance and try to "level" the tables so that every cook gets a fair shot.

I've been a helper at a number of judging classes. I have seen each one graduate people you'd really like to ask to go home and never think of judging BBQ again because you obviously don't like it. We all saw them when we took our class. The room is asked how they voted on chicken and you get a few 9's a bunch of 8's a majority of 7's a couple of 6's and then no 5's and the proctor asks "Anyone under a 5?" Yep you know it; you saw it at your class. One or two people raise their hands and basically say they just ate dog food. Then the ribs and guess who didn't like them either. The pork? Yep they hated that too oh and then the brisket. Geez you wonder if it was actually meat from the way they carry on. Unfortunately when I get good marks from most and then get that one terrible mark all I can think of is these haters and their comments. I heard one state that the pork "just tasted too much like pork". SERIOUSLY! Yeah the class laughed but this person took the pledge! I know some will say a forget that one mark its dropped anyway. Well the fact is had that person not been judging my marks might well have been better.

swamprb
10-16-2009, 10:23 AM
I've done my share of judge bashing, but it was mostly for the lack of CBJ's that failed to show up to support some of the events in the PNW.
We cooked a few first year events with big payouts and great teams and not enough trained judges to go around.
I always wondered if it worked in our favor or not? We got 180's in Chicken and Ribs, and had a very successful season, so I'm not complaining.
When I judge, I don't feel the love, but I do take it as seriously as I'll cook.

Lake Dogs
10-16-2009, 02:58 PM
I will have to say that the judges, for the most part, are wonderful. They come out each weekend and try their best to judge the food as objectively as possible. I don't think anyone here HATES judges but just like any portion of society you are going to have bad judges. I've heard comments from judges like, "if it has grill marks I will NEVER mark well...this is BBQ not grilling." Or how about "I never give 9's to anyone because nothing deserves a perfect score." Or how about "babybacks are cheater ribs and don't impress me I give straight 6's when I see them."

These are the ones we complain about and the ones that should be found out and expelled. I know other sanctioning bodies tract judging performance and try to "level" the tables so that every cook gets a fair shot.

I've been a helper at a number of judging classes. I have seen each one graduate people you'd really like to ask to go home and never think of judging BBQ again because you obviously don't like it. We all saw them when we took our class. The room is asked how they voted on chicken and you get a few 9's a bunch of 8's a majority of 7's a couple of 6's and then no 5's and the proctor asks "Anyone under a 5?" Yep you know it; you saw it at your class. One or two people raise their hands and basically say they just ate dog food. Then the ribs and guess who didn't like them either. The pork? Yep they hated that too oh and then the brisket. Geez you wonder if it was actually meat from the way they carry on. Unfortunately when I get good marks from most and then get that one terrible mark all I can think of is these haters and their comments. I heard one state that the pork "just tasted too much like pork". SERIOUSLY! Yeah the class laughed but this person took the pledge! I know some will say a forget that one mark its dropped anyway. Well the fact is had that person not been judging my marks might well have been better.

From a judges perspective, I couldn't agree with you more. There are just
some who shouldn't. This is in most cooking competitions, BTW (we also
compete in chili cookoffs (CASI), and see the same crapola. Why on
earth someone who doesn't like pork BBQ, or brisket, or chili, or whatever
would go judge this is just beyond me. In my example above, the lady
was judging (and she was certified for a LONG time) an ancillary chili
contest; open chili, most anything goes. Someone presented a great
tasting chili that was made with black beans in it. I'm not here to debate
whether this fits your or my definition of chili. However, she thought it
looked like (these are her words exactly) deer poop, and wouldn't touch
it. Happens that on this day, that was easily in the top 2 chilis, but it
placed at the bottom due to her score. Why do this (judge) if you're
not fully prepared to JUDGE is just beyond me. But, they're there...
I personally ran into an occasion where I got all 8's and 9's on a chili,
then one lady gave me a 1. Yes, a 1. 10 people judging, I get 5 8's,
4 9's, and a 1. How on earth does this happen? Ok, she doesn't like
cumin; I get it. But a 1?..... Anyway.....

Otherwise, most judges are as impartial as anyone can be, and I for
one really appreciate it.

motoeric
10-16-2009, 03:40 PM
I think that it is extremely important to continually emphasize that apocryphal stories of horrible judges and judging experiences are anecdotal at best.

It strikes me as very odd that while I hear stories more often than I would like about judges that are less than optimal, I never heard the reciprocal. I am in fairly regular contact with many, many judges. Although a judge will certainly discuss the food that they have judged, I have never heard them speak negatively about a team. I have never heard any derision, any attempt to lessening of the importance of their contribution, any degradation of the energy they put in or any claim that teams don't appreciate what judges go through.

For the upcoming Battle of the BBQ Brethren, there are numerous judges who are traveling hundreds of miles, paying for gas/tolls and staying in hotels in order to participate in the event. These are clearly not people who 'just want a free lunch'. They are passionate about our hobby and deserve a seat at the table (no pun intended).

Eric

Skip
10-16-2009, 03:59 PM
I think that it is extremely important to continually emphasize that apocryphal stories of horrible judges and judging experiences are anecdotal at best.

In my case I have to disagree with your comments. Since I was privy to a number of classes given for judges and saw the results in each class I think a viable conclusion can be drawn from it. Had I only commented on what I saw on my sheets then yes it could be considered anecdotal evidence. This is why a team should know which table they hit on all categories and be able to converse with others to see who was where and what happened. Other sanctioning bodies do this without being asked. A bad judge is a bad judge and is just like the rotten apple when it comes to the preceived integrity of the other judges.



For the upcoming Battle of the BBQ Brethren, there are numerous judges who are traveling hundreds of miles, paying for gas/tolls and staying in hotels in order to participate in the event. These are clearly not people who 'just want a free lunch'. They are passionate about our hobby and deserve a seat at the table (no pun intended).

Eric

Monetary outlay and distance of destination really aren't a litmus test for integrity. I welcome them all equally and thankful they are willing to participate but will not offer them a free pass because they drove for a while.

motoeric
10-16-2009, 04:23 PM
Monetary outlay and distance of destination really aren't a litmus test for integrity. I welcome them all equally and thankful they are willing to participate but will not offer them a free pass because they drove for a while.

??

No one is asking you to. Judges should be held to a standard and they should be as educated as possible.

There is a constant refrain of judges being 'there for the free lunch' or judges not appreciating or understanding the efforts of the competitors.

They are clearly not their for the 'free lunch' and a comprehensive or even fairly detailed understanding of what competitors go through isn't necessary for them to render a score in the categories of taste, texture and appearance.

There is a continual undercurrent amongst some Ia distinct minority) teams that consider judges to be a necessary evil and not a valued partner in the process. There is an undeniable rancor amongst a minority of teams that is (to me) absolutely ludicrous and this attitude is completely one sided.

The two primary motivations for most judges (from my perspective) are:

1) To be a part of an event that celebrates something that they are passionate about.

2) To enjoy that particular day, which includes great food and camaraderie.

Eric

Coz
10-16-2009, 04:29 PM
Well I will see how I feel about judges more after the weekend.I am taking the plunge to judge a contest after doing a few contests.I have heard the horror stories but I am going in with an open mind.I am expecting some great BBQ as I know theres several teams competing that are going to the Jack so I would expect this to be a all out deal.I have only really had 1 time when I questioned the scores.I can understand when some one is pissed when they have an awesome score from 4 judges and the other 2 are way off the reservation.

QN
10-16-2009, 05:22 PM
You should be a table captain where you get to review all of the cards/scores before turning them in to the rep. You will see some that make you want to ask the judge WHAT THE FARK ARE YOU DOING...????

Coz
10-16-2009, 05:50 PM
You should be a table captain where you get to review all of the cards/scores before turning them in to the rep. You will see some that make you want to ask the judge WHAT THE FARK ARE YOU DOING...????

In the class I took the guy next to me was always saying that the samples were dry and was scoring a fair amount lower than I was except one pulled pork sample that was drowned in sauce which he scored higher.I honestly thought 2 of the 3 chicken samples were better then I have ever turned in.The ribs were ok but not dry in any way.Where he was from its possible he could be judging this weekend.it was interesting hearing the comments from the others in the class and trying to compare to what we do.

Rich Parker
10-16-2009, 06:23 PM
I took the judges class a month or so ago and Mike Lake did an excellent job teaching it and Dr. Chuckie did an excellent job cooking the food.

I think some people are looking for the mistakes rather than appreciating the good food and effort it took to make it.

Our first chicken came out in a bed of red tip lettuce, and I scored the chicken a 9. I could care less if it is red tip, purple tip, or pink tip the chicken looked and tasted awesome.

I only got to judge at one contest this year, but I had a great time and can't wait to do it again.

chambersuac
10-16-2009, 11:55 PM
I don't compete (yet???) and I don't judge (yet???) but I know that the job of a judge must be hard and under appreciated - or at least feels like it.

I know those who compete have hard jobs, too.

As a Lutheran, I teach that we should always put the best construction on things. That's what made me appreciate the thread. Judges are fallible humans, just as we all are - when they don't judge the way one would expect, remember that they may be having an off day - or the cook - or whatever...but, remember they are (most likely) doing their best, even if that may change from day to day.

Judges and competitors, my hats are off to you all!

Meat Burner
10-17-2009, 12:22 AM
Getting hated half the time is better than getting hated all the time!

I thought the starting post on this thread was fantastic and thought more would pick up on the opportunity to compliment and thank all the judges who work hard. I was surprised so few responded.

:biggrin: Yea Larry, I am a little surprised as well. Judges are really not the enemy...really they aren't. Judged last weekend and my sample had 3 pieces of brisket hooked together and all came out on my plate. That isn't the judges fault and the scoring is very specific when that happens. As a competor, I also understant some of the off the wall scores. Hey, chit is chit and it happens when our events are this big.

Rich Parker
10-17-2009, 10:08 AM
I don't compete (yet???) and I don't judge (yet???) but I know that the job of a judge must be hard and under appreciated - or at least feels like it.

I know those who compete have hard jobs, too.

As a Lutheran, I teach that we should always put the best construction on things. That's what made me appreciate the thread. Judges are fallible humans, just as we all are - when they don't judge the way one would expect, remember that they may be having an off day - or the cook - or whatever...but, remember they are (most likely) doing their best, even if that may change from day to day.

Judges and competitors, my hats are off to you all!

Well said!

I have only judged one comp, never competed and have never seen the animosity you read here between judges and cooks, and I hope I never do.

Coz
10-17-2009, 07:39 PM
Well ,I judged today and I know it was tuff conditions this weekend so I guess I shouldnt be surprised with the turn ins.I for the most part was pretty disappointed with what hit our table.I did get a new look on the way judges go about their part of the game.I was fortunate to sit with some great people that love their BBQ.I did get some insight as to an occaisonal out of the line score.I bit into a piece of meat and had a lump of rub that was just covered in sauce .I wonder how many times thats happened to me.The discussions were another thing that was cool to me.I hope it will help me to improve some of what I do.As I said it was pretty crappy conditions for the cooks.

HoDeDo
10-17-2009, 08:58 PM
I've been a helper at a number of judging classes. I have seen each one graduate people you'd really like to ask to go home and never think of judging BBQ again because you obviously don't like it. We all saw them when we took our class. The room is asked how they voted on chicken and you get a few 9's a bunch of 8's a majority of 7's a couple of 6's and then no 5's and the proctor asks "Anyone under a 5?" Yep you know it; you saw it at your class. One or two people raise their hands and basically say they just ate dog food. Then the ribs and guess who didn't like them either. The pork? Yep they hated that too oh and then the brisket. Geez you wonder if it was actually meat from the way they carry on.

I have to laugh twice as hard at the low judges... esp. since 9 out of 10 times... the food they eat box to box is cooked exactly the same. lol I love it when they say, #5 was an 8 but #6 was a 5... Well those slices were next to eachother in the same brisket LOL.... so you have to laugh.

In my case I have to disagree with your comments. Since I was privy to a number of classes given for judges and saw the results in each class I think a viable conclusion can be drawn from it. Had I only commented on what I saw on my sheets then yes it could be considered anecdotal evidence. This is why a team should know which table they hit on all categories and be able to converse with others to see who was where and what happened. Other sanctioning bodies do this without being asked. A bad judge is a bad judge and is just like the rotten apple when it comes to the preceived integrity of the other judges.
Monetary outlay and distance of destination really aren't a litmus test for integrity. I welcome them all equally and thankful they are willing to participate but will not offer them a free pass because they drove for a while.

I'd like a free pass! pleeeeeeease? And for what it is worth... the stories are not apocryphal -- Many times, the 'low table' was/is the difference between 1st and 5th or 10th... And you can go look at the tables scores by calling the KCBS folks.... and see that the scores at a given table are lower.

I know folks (including myself) who have been hit by that bad judge. Of course, every one has that shot.... so scoring is still fair. I won't complain. The judges do what they do. Can't control that....but the stories of the horrible judging are valid.... and in many cases they do matter. Heck some joker put toooooo much garnish in his box this year and got graded down for it. That was by a CBJ who knows you dont score the garnish in a box... you score the meat. Ah, but I digress... :-P:twisted:



cant wait to see everyone this weekend.

Plowboy
10-18-2009, 12:52 AM
Cooks often have a love/hate relationship with judges it seems. I wanted to share what happened to me this weekend at the Fountains contest in Independence, MO. This is one of those cases where you wish you knew who your table judges were to give THEM a comment card.

Working on my chicken box, I had some big thighs and was able to stuff the box so full, you couldn't see any garnish. It SEEMED a moment of creative genius! I thought, this is going to be impressive just from the basis of the amount of meat that was there. Then, I made a rookie mistake... the box wouldn't close!!! The combination of the amount of meat, the slope of the box lid and the height of my garnish created a huge problem with just minutes before the turn in window was about to close. I couldn't take anything out or I'd have a huge saucy mess. My best option at the time seemed to be to push the chicken down as far as I could to try and get the box lid closed.

Well, it closed, but the sides closed right down on the chicken. Opening the box back up, I had sauce all around the perimeter of the box lid. Time was wasting, and there was nothing I could do at this point. Judges are SUPPOSED to look past that... right? They are supposed to judge the meat and not the garnish, or in this case, the Styrofoam. Right? It went in as is and was out of my control at that point. If they judged it down, it was really my fault for not being careful.

Scores came back for appearance: 9,8,8,8,8,8. The box didn't deserve all 9's. Just on meat alone, that was fair and maybe even generous. But one thing is certain, each judge looked past the lid and looked to the meat and the meat alone. When I got those scores back, it was a good testament to the six judges at that table. Each one did their job the way KCBS defines it for judging appearance.

Again, I wish I could give THEM a comment card to pat them on the back. If you judged Independence today and got a chicken box that was a saucy mess, thanks for living by the KCBS rules and process. I am proud of you!!!!!

SmokeInDaEye
10-18-2009, 01:03 AM
Great story, Todd! I couldn't get my chicken box closed to save my life at the royal a couple weeks ago. Ya'll grown your meat way too big down there. Same issue with the ribs.

Coz
10-18-2009, 07:52 AM
Cooks often have a love/hate relationship with judges it seems. I wanted to share what happened to me this weekend at the Fountains contest in Independence, MO. This is one of those cases where you wish you knew who your table judges were to give THEM a comment card.

Working on my chicken box, I had some big thighs and was able to stuff the box so full, you couldn't see any garnish. It SEEMED a moment of creative genius! I thought, this is going to be impressive just from the basis of the amount of meat that was there. Then, I made a rookie mistake... the box wouldn't close!!! The combination of the amount of meat, the slope of the box lid and the height of my garnish created a huge problem with just minutes before the turn in window was about to close. I couldn't take anything out or I'd have a huge saucy mess. My best option at the time seemed to be to push the chicken down as far as I could to try and get the box lid closed.

Well, it closed, but the sides closed right down on the chicken. Opening the box back up, I had sauce all around the perimeter of the box lid. Time was wasting, and there was nothing I could do at this point. Judges are SUPPOSED to look past that... right? They are supposed to judge the meat and not the garnish, or in this case, the Styrofoam. Right? It went in as is and was out of my control at that point. If they judged it down, it was really my fault for not being careful.

Scores came back for appearance: 9,8,8,8,8,8. The box didn't deserve all 9's. Just on meat alone, that was fair and maybe even generous. But one thing is certain, each judge looked past the lid and looked to the meat and the meat alone. When I got those scores back, it was a good testament to the six judges at that table. Each one did their job the way KCBS defines it for judging appearance.

Again, I wish I could give THEM a comment card to pat them on the back. If you judged Independence today and got a chicken box that was a saucy mess, thanks for living by the KCBS rules and process. I am proud of you!!!!!

I dont know if all Table Captains are like the fellow I had yesterday but he knew I was a first time judge and specifically told me that the the sauce on the box was to be ignored and that most of the time its from handling during the process of renumbering and getting them to the tables.