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mobow
12-18-2009, 02:02 PM
I am still learning as a kcbs judge and do not have as much experience as many but thought I would share some of my thoughts and experiences in KCBS sanctioned events with hopes of being helpful and to encourage other judges to add to the topic.

1. Always use garnish. It is legal to not but it is easier to 9's with than without it.

2. Never send a box of cold meat. Room temp will not hurt you badly but still cold from the ice box/cooler will kill your score.

3. If you mix your meat make sure it is all good. Thigh meat with Breast meat is wonderful but they both better be spot on. If not it is best to just send the better of the two.

4. Watch the salt. Too much salt is a 6 waiting to happen.

5. Watch the heat of your spices. I think most judges like some heat when eating at home but if your heat is going to make it difficult to taste the next entry you will lose points.

6. Make sure you get enough flavor in your chicken. It needs smoker flavor not grilled. If you can the flavor just grillen great but if it taste like grilled chicken it will lose points

7. You do not have to sauce but if you don't it better be a good piece of meat. Sauce can give you some points you would not get without it. But too much sauce will cost you points also.

8. When saucing get a good coverage. By this I mean if brushing it on don't leave a obvious bare spot.

9. I think skin on chicken scores better than skin off but this could probably have a lot of debate.

10. Get some flavor in your brisket. The ones that I have at table that scored the best had a great deal of attention given to get some extra flavor into the meat through injections or a baste after slicing.

hope this sparks some thought and is helpful. keith

Skip
12-18-2009, 02:52 PM
Please define what you mean in comment #1. Being a meat contest you should mark on the meat. From what you said it appears you are marking up on garnish. I will not assume this is what you meant but do ask that you explain what you mean please.

Lake Dogs
12-18-2009, 02:56 PM
Oh, Skip, you pot stirrer you!!! His point is exactly why I'm of the opinion that KCBS
should do away with garnish altogether. That it needs clarification at all is what I
base my opinion upon.

Mind you, I dont recall ever getting less than a 7 on appearance, and even a 7 were
few and far between. I set my meat upon the most wonderful lush dark green putting
surfaces; we sweat those details... However, as color has a huge influence on how
we judge the appearance of anything, it is humanly impossible to filter out the green
background and not be influenced.

cmcadams
12-18-2009, 03:03 PM
I don't know any cook that sends cold meat. it gets cold sitting around, maybe, but I've never seen anyone chill it to send in.

Judging should judge the turn in for what it is. There's such a narrow band of 'allowed' flavors because judges prejudge what should be turned in. If chicken has a bit of a grilled flavor but it's done well, it should score well. I was judging chicken once, and someone did skinless chicken breast that had a SW flavor profile. it was cooked very well and tasted good. Judges scored it down because it wasn't what they wanted it to be, but it should have done well because it was very well executed.

Smokin' Gnome BBQ
12-18-2009, 03:12 PM
6. Make sure you get enough flavor in your chicken. It needs smoker flavor not grilled. If you can the flavor just grillen great but if it taste like grilled chicken it will lose points


I dont understand this at all. arent you to judge meat on its own merrit? if I present you with grilled bbq chicken shouldnt it be judges as that? dont alot of teams finish their chicken on a grill. do you take away points if it has grill marks?

Rookie'48
12-18-2009, 03:39 PM
I am still learning as a kcbs judge and do not have as much experience as many but thought I would share some of my thoughts and experiences in KCBS sanctioned events with hopes of being helpful and to encourage other judges to add to the topic.

1. Always use garnish. It is legal to not but it is easier to 9's with than without it.
I dissagree - you're suppossed to be judging the meat.

2. Never send a box of cold meat. Room temp will not hurt you badly but still cold from the ice box/cooler will kill your score.
Yes on this one - hot BBQ tastes much better!

3. If you mix your meat make sure it is all good. Thigh meat with Breast meat is wonderful but they both better be spot on. If not it is best to just send the better of the two.
Yes, absolutely!

4. Watch the salt. Too much salt is a 6 waiting to happen.
Too much off anything is not good - flavors should be ballanced, not overpowering.

5. Watch the heat of your spices. I think most judges like some heat when eating at home but if your heat is going to make it difficult to taste the next entry you will lose points.
I like quite a bit of heat but I've heard other judges beotch about too much heat when I could barely taste any.

6. Make sure you get enough flavor in your chicken. It needs smoker flavor not grilled. If you can the flavor just grillen great but if it taste like grilled chicken it will lose points
As far as I know grilling is a legal entry & should be judged on it's merits as presented by the cook.

7. You do not have to sauce but if you don't it better be a good piece of meat. Sauce can give you some points you would not get without it. But too much sauce will cost you points also.
See #1 above. The sauce should compliment the meat, not overpower it.

8. When saucing get a good coverage. By this I mean if brushing it on don't leave a obvious bare spot.
Agreed. But by good coverage I mean even, not thick, coverage.

9. I think skin on chicken scores better than skin off but this could probably have a lot of debate.
Yes, but if I can't bite through the skin, if I have to wipe sauce off of my beard, you're going to loose points. If the skin is too rubbery - toss it.

10. Get some flavor in your brisket. The ones that I have at table that scored the best had a great deal of attention given to get some extra flavor into the meat through injections or a baste after slicing.
Yes - 100%. As long as the flavor is briskie, not pot roast!

hope this sparks some thought and is helpful. keith

I put my answers in red, but these are only my $0.02 worth - YMMV :biggrin:

pigmaker23
12-18-2009, 04:34 PM
thanks for tips... and dont forget your cooler


I am still learning as a kcbs judge and do not have as much experience as many but thought I would share some of my thoughts and experiences in KCBS sanctioned events with hopes of being helpful and to encourage other judges to add to the topic.

1. Always use garnish. It is legal to not but it is easier to 9's with than without it.

2. Never send a box of cold meat. Room temp will not hurt you badly but still cold from the ice box/cooler will kill your score.

3. If you mix your meat make sure it is all good. Thigh meat with Breast meat is wonderful but they both better be spot on. If not it is best to just send the better of the two.

4. Watch the salt. Too much salt is a 6 waiting to happen.

5. Watch the heat of your spices. I think most judges like some heat when eating at home but if your heat is going to make it difficult to taste the next entry you will lose points.

6. Make sure you get enough flavor in your chicken. It needs smoker flavor not grilled. If you can the flavor just grillen great but if it taste like grilled chicken it will lose points

7. You do not have to sauce but if you don't it better be a good piece of meat. Sauce can give you some points you would not get without it. But too much sauce will cost you points also.

8. When saucing get a good coverage. By this I mean if brushing it on don't leave a obvious bare spot.

9. I think skin on chicken scores better than skin off but this could probably have a lot of debate.

10. Get some flavor in your brisket. The ones that I have at table that scored the best had a great deal of attention given to get some extra flavor into the meat through injections or a baste after slicing.

hope this sparks some thought and is helpful. keith

Brew-B-Q
12-18-2009, 05:15 PM
6. Make sure you get enough flavor in your chicken. It needs smoker flavor not grilled. If you can the flavor just grillen great but if it taste like grilled chicken it will lose points


I dont understand this at all. arent you to judge meat on its own merrit? if I present you with grilled bbq chicken shouldnt it be judges as that? dont alot of teams finish their chicken on a grill. do you take away points if it has grill marks?

I've heard that from some of the judges walking around after an event - chicken didn't have any smoke flavor. I don't think he's alone with this thought.

Bbq Bubba
12-18-2009, 05:39 PM
How many contests judged?

mobow
12-18-2009, 05:44 PM
I will try to reply to most of the responses but I can't reference them once I hit reply so I am going by memory.

I have had cold meat turned in usually pork or brisket. This has happened more than once. I understand it not being turned in piping hot due to the nature of the contest but I am telling you I have judged meat that was obviously just removed from refrideration of some sort turned in and my advice is not to do that.

On garnish. I do not disagree that the apperance of the meat is the main focus of the apperance but my expereience is that a good garnsih can help a presentation that might not have done as well without out it.

By the grilled chicken remark I did not mean to imply that the judging table cares how you cooked it. Grill marks do not enter into anything. What I mean is there is a difference in flavor from a one hour grilled chicken and 3 hour bbq chicken. If you are gonna go with the one hour grilled you better get some flavor into it somehow.

I'll go back and see if I caught them all.

Again. I am just givng my opinion in hopes of being helpful and promoting discussion. keith

CajunSmoker
12-18-2009, 05:45 PM
Now that's farkin funnythanks for tips... and dont forget your cooler

Skip
12-18-2009, 05:54 PM
I will try to reply to most of the responses but I can't reference them once I hit reply so I am going by memory.

I have had cold meat turned in usually pork or brisket. This has happened more than once. I understand it not being turned in piping hot due to the nature of the contest but I am telling you I have judged meat that was obviously just removed from refrideration of some sort turned in and my advice is not to do that.

On garnish. I do not disagree that the apperance of the meat is the main focus of the apperance but my expereience is that a good garnsih can help a presentation that might not have done as well without out it.

By the grilled chicken remark I did not mean to imply that the judging table cares how you cooked it. Grill marks do not enter into anything. What I mean is there is a difference in flavor from a one hour grilled chicken and 3 hour bbq chicken. If you are gonna go with the one hour grilled you better get some flavor into it somehow.

I'll go back and see if I caught them all.

Again. I am just givng my opinion in hopes of being helpful and promoting discussion. keith

Ok I think you responded well to the question of you.

Its your opinion that smoked chicken does better on a whole then grilled due to flavor profile?


Next time you can hit the button on the bottom right that looks like " marks. Hit that in every post you want to quote and hit quote on the last you wish to quote.

Yakfishingfool
12-18-2009, 06:17 PM
Funny, I thought this was BBQ, not a Saturday grilling comp. Want to grill your chicken, grill it, but when it sucks and lacks flavor don't beotch about the judging. Or compete on Saturday instead!

Want to make your meat pop in the box??? Put greens under it, enough said. By the way, I'd much rather KCBS went to a green judging box and did away with the garnish all together. But don't sit and beotch that your greenless box built the same as the greened box will score the same. They won't, a dirty lambourghini(sp?) doesn't look as good as a clean lambourghini.

I thought as KCBS Judges we were to develop our flavor profile for BBQ. Ever go to grab a glass of tea and it was coffee instead. Your mind was set for tea, the flavor change threw you. Was great coffee, but it wasn't tea. Your grilled chicken may be great, but it may not be great BBQ'd chicken

mobow
12-18-2009, 06:21 PM
skip. Yes I think smoked chicken scores better on taste most of the time.

Bbq Budda. I am fairly new to judging/ I have 10 contest under my belt.

I think another perspective as to my thoughts is I am presented with the possibility of judging the best piece of meat at a contest with a equal opportunity to get the worst. Some thoughts come from that perspective.

mobow
12-18-2009, 07:05 PM
pigmaker23: I rarely forget my cooler but sometimes I have to leave it in the car because I just can't stand to throw out a perfectly good beer. keith

This Is How We Que It
12-19-2009, 12:57 PM
I liked the muffin pans so much, I'm gonna start cooking my brisket in a pie pan.

QansasjayhawQ
12-19-2009, 04:53 PM
Funny, I thought this was BBQ, not a Saturday grilling comp. Want to grill your chicken, grill it, but when it sucks and lacks flavor don't beotch about the judging. Or compete on Saturday instead!

Want to make your meat pop in the box??? Put greens under it, enough said. By the way, I'd much rather KCBS went to a green judging box and did away with the garnish all together. But don't sit and beotch that your greenless box built the same as the greened box will score the same. They won't, a dirty lambourghini(sp?) doesn't look as good as a clean lambourghini.

I thought as KCBS Judges we were to develop our flavor profile for BBQ. Ever go to grab a glass of tea and it was coffee instead. Your mind was set for tea, the flavor change threw you. Was great coffee, but it wasn't tea. Your grilled chicken may be great, but it may not be great BBQ'd chicken
Excellent thoughts!

The overall beauty of a turn-in box is made up of many elements . . . and yes, the contrast of the greenery with the amber/red/brown of the BBQ makes an excellent sensation in my brain. Kind of like just the right balance between malt and hops in a beer. I think the bottom line on appearance is first and foremost to be able to tell that the cook at least made an effort in appearance. You wouldn't believe how many entries come in looking like the samples were just chucked into the box from three feet away and the box was turned over a couple times on the way to turn in.

Sometimes I like those surprises when they are pleasant surprises. Some cooks take what I think are insane chances with their entries. I once had a distinct OYSTER flavored sauce! I had to first decide if sauces carrying an obvious oyster flavor were to be considered BBQ - and since the vast majority of the rest of the product was BBQ - I decided that it was acceptable and that the cook actually did a good job of introducing an unusual element in a tasteful way.

It wasn't what I expected . . . but I was able to be objective and appreciate what the cook was trying to accomplish.

QansasjayhawQ
12-19-2009, 04:58 PM
skip. Yes I think smoked chicken scores better on taste most of the time.

Bbq Budda. I am fairly new to judging/ I have 10 contest under my belt.

I think another perspective as to my thoughts is I am presented with the possibility of judging the best piece of meat at a contest with a equal opportunity to get the worst. Some thoughts come from that perspective.
You will eventually find that you need to judge each entry on its own merit.

Comparing one sample with another causes all kinds of complications.

Do you ever go back and taste , say, the first sample in order to compare it to to last? You shouldn't have to do that if you are judging each sample on its own.

Use the water and crackers to 'reset' your brain in preparation for judging each entry on its own.

I appreciate the fact that you started this thread because it shows that you intend to become a serious judge who does a good job. Congratulations and thank you!

QansasjayhawQ
12-19-2009, 04:59 PM
I liked the muffin pans so much, I'm gonna start cooking my brisket in a pie pan.
Hey - you can't steal my method!

:wink:

Spydermike72
12-20-2009, 08:39 AM
I can honestly say I have never heard of any Comp Team putting refrigerated meat into a turn in box, and I am sure that we all would have heard about it through the rumor mill...

Grafixgibbs
12-20-2009, 02:26 PM
Fairly new to the competition BBQ scene but I understand the garnish. One of the first things a chef learns is that you eat with your eyes first. If it don't look good you won't eat it. The meat in a box by itself can look good but the green just helps to enhance the look of it.

QansasjayhawQ
12-20-2009, 03:13 PM
I can honestly say I have never heard of any Comp Team putting refrigerated meat into a turn in box, and I am sure that we all would have heard about it through the rumor mill...
I have also judged samples that were turned in cold (as in clearly refrigerated). It happens every once in a while but not very often.

KC_Bobby
12-20-2009, 05:09 PM
Or just sauced with ice cold sauce that was just taken out of the cooler?
And put in a box that was also in the cooler all night

Rich Parker
12-20-2009, 05:17 PM
I have also judged samples that were turned in cold (as in clearly refrigerated). It happens every once in a while but not very often.

Mmmmmm cold ribs are almost as good as day old white castle. :cool:

Spydermike72
12-21-2009, 06:35 AM
Or just sauced with ice cold sauce that was just taken out of the cooler?
And put in a box that was also in the cooler all night

My thoughts as well Bobby. I know most of us (that I have seen) try and wait until as late as possible to box up the food so it stays warm...

QansasjayhawQ
12-21-2009, 07:54 AM
My thoughts as well Bobby. I know most of us (that I have seen) try and wait until as late as possible to box up the food so it stays warm...
Well, sure - and I do too! I believe that the vast majority of cooks know that food tastes best right off the cooker.

But I have judged samples that . . . well, you know what food tastes like right outta the fridge! It was that cold!

I am beginning to wonder if it might be a single team out there that is serving up samples from their fridge or cooler . . .

QansasjayhawQ
12-21-2009, 07:57 AM
Mmmmmm cold ribs are almost as good as day old white castle. :cool:

:eek:

Hmm. I think I'd rather have the cold rib . . .

TN_BBQ
12-21-2009, 08:37 AM
I liked the muffin pans so much, I'm gonna start cooking my brisket in a pie pan.

Cook your butts in a bundt pan (sorta rhymes :-P)

Fellow competitors...it is VITAL that you get into the heads of the judges. Don't knit pick over the exact interpretation of the rulebook...that's an argument you won't win except in principle and they don't give out checks and trophies for that.

Shifting gears just a tad.
On Pitmasters...Pablo (young chef from Texas that ain't doing so well) asked a cliffhanger question on the last episode about how he's questioning whether he belongs and doesn't know what he's doing wrong. My response to him (and anybody else trying to make a go at some calls and trophies) would be to take a judging class and/or be a judge. That would help him get into the heads of the judges and find out what they are looking for. You might find that their interpretation of the rulebook is a lot different than yours.

Falcon 83
12-21-2009, 10:11 AM
Relative to the first line of MOBOW's comment, I hope I never stop learning as a judge. I have 34 comps under my belt, literally, and want to keep learning if that number gets as high as my colesteral number.

I hope the cooks keep learning also. My fantasy is to judge a comp and give nothing but 9s. I know, I'm getting old if my fantasies are about BBQ.

Divemaster
12-21-2009, 01:57 PM
First of all I would like to thank you for your comments. I too am a CBJ but took the class more to determine what they were looking for rather than just to judge contests.

Secondly, I would like to thank you for judging the contests you did judge. Far more times than not we hear that the Rep is "searching for judges" on Saturday Morning.

I am still learning as a kcbs judge and do not have as much experience as many but thought I would share some of my thoughts and experiences in KCBS sanctioned events with hopes of being helpful and to encourage other judges to add to the topic.

1. Always use garnish. It is legal to not but it is easier to 9's with than without it.

I agree. I also agree that it is a meat contest, when you add the garnish, it not only looks better for the 'Appearance Score' but also makes it more inviting for the tasting score.

2. Never send a box of cold meat. Room temp will not hurt you badly but still cold from the ice box/cooler will kill your score.

While I don't think any of us would intentionally send cold meat, I'm sure it does happen. All it takes is a box full of parsley that has been in a 32* cooler for the last 12-14 hours and meat that was sauced with a cold sauce. Heck, my first year you may have been talking about one of my boxes!

3. If you mix your meat make sure it is all good. Thigh meat with Breast meat is wonderful but they both better be spot on. If not it is best to just send the better of the two.

I agree. The same thing goes for brisket slices and burnt ends. There have been contests I've been tempted to turn in burnt ends only!

4. Watch the salt. Too much salt is a 6 waiting to happen.

As was said before, balance is the key.

5. Watch the heat of your spices. I think most judges like some heat when eating at home but if your heat is going to make it difficult to taste the next entry you will lose points.

Again, balance is the key. I'm not a big fan of heat for heats sake.

6. Make sure you get enough flavor in your chicken. It needs smoker flavor not grilled. If you can the flavor just grillen great but if it taste like grilled chicken it will lose points

While I agree that you can use either a grill or a smoker to produce some mighty fine chicken, I also feel a need to cook to what the judges are expecting. This holds true on all that I turn in. I do not serve the food I would turn into a judge at comps to my friends. Just like I don't serve the food I would serve to my friends to judges at a comp. If you are not trying to hit the flavor profile that is expected, you are not going to get the walks.

7. You do not have to sauce but if you don't it better be a good piece of meat. Sauce can give you some points you would not get without it. But too much sauce will cost you points also.

Personally, I get the feeling that if it's not sauced, many (not all, but many) feel it's not 'real' BBQ.

8. When saucing get a good coverage. By this I mean if brushing it on don't leave a obvious bare spot.

Agreed, but remember, a thin coating is much different than a thick slathering.

9. I think skin on chicken scores better than skin off but this could probably have a lot of debate.

I agree to a point. I would rather get a piece of chicken that has no skin over one that has a thick, rubbery skin that still has a thick layer of fat on it.

10. Get some flavor in your brisket. The ones that I have at table that scored the best had a great deal of attention given to get some extra flavor into the meat through injections or a baste after slicing.

Again the key is balance. You can pump all kinds of flavor into a brisket and have it the worst thing you've ever tasted. Yes get the flavor in but don't loose sight that this is a meat contest and it should taste like a slice of brisket and not a turkey leg.

hope this sparks some thought and is helpful. keith

As you can see, it did...

Thank you again

mobow
12-21-2009, 05:40 PM
Thanx for everyones perspectives and encouragement. My wife and I enjoy going to competiotions and judging very much. We take the responsibility that we are entrusted with very serously. We know that the competitors have a great deal of time and money attached to the competition and I/we want to be as fair and thorough as we can be. We are signed up for several contest already. The smoke on the water contest in Little Rock matches up with my wifes school being on break so we are signed up for it as our first adventure in the 2010 season. Maybe we will run into some of you there. keith