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daedalus
05-30-2010, 08:44 AM
I was judging a contest yesterday, and found myself in an interesting conversation with my table captain. We were discussing judging philosophy, specifically how an entry should be judged if there is more than one cut of meat in the box. In the case of pork for example, where we typically will see sliced, and chunked, and pulled all together, or in chicken, where the cook gives us both thighs and breast meat.
My tc(who has been doing this for over 15 years) said that he thinks that a judge should take a sample of all types of meat offered, and then score based on the best one only. So if they give us a really tender thigh, and a breast which is dry, we should give them they score they deserve for the thigh and ignore the dry breast. The theory seemed to be about trying to give the cook the highest score possible.
I have always felt that the score should be more of an aggregate of whatever is in the box. In the case of the tender thigh and the dry breast, the overall score would be slightly lower than if they had only turned in the thigh. I think that if the cook chooses to put it in the box, then it should be judged.
To me, this is a pretty major and fundamental difference in approach, and I think it merits some discussion. I would love to get as many insights and opinions as I can from both judges and cooks. What do y'all think?

SaucyWench
05-30-2010, 09:28 AM
Daedalus, I'm with you on this. If a cook puts, say, pulled pork, slices & chunks in the box and the pulled is an 8 but the slice & chunks are a 6, my score will be an aggregate, probably a 7. As you say, if the cook puts everything in the box, all should be tasted, hopefully bringing the score up for the cook, but often I think they would be better off picking one version, because a bad bite can send them the other way too. In almost 10 years as a CBJ, I've never heard your TC's method of "throwing out the low score" during judging!

bigabyte
05-30-2010, 09:41 AM
I sample one of each and do an aggregate score as well. If they don't want the score to reflect that piece of meat, don't turn it in.

bottomsupbbq
05-30-2010, 09:46 AM
I sample one of each and do an aggregate score as well. If they don't want the score to reflect that piece of meat, don't turn it in.

Agree 100%

Smokesman
05-30-2010, 10:28 AM
With you 100 percent!!! How's that for a consensus. If it is in the box then the entire entry should be judged together.

eurycea
05-30-2010, 10:39 AM
In my CBJ class the instructor said that he personally will base his score on the better piece but that it is up to each judge to decide how they want to score multiple entries. I generally base my score on everything I eat, but I don't give each one a numerical score and then average them out. But if I have something that is out of this world I'm going to give the team a 9.

Yesterday when I judged - half the chicken entries had multiple types, and almost all the pork and briskets did as well - I wonder how long it will be before teams start turning in spares and baby backs?

worthsmokin
05-30-2010, 11:04 AM
I took a class last weekend at the Great American BBQ in Bonner Springs, KS. The instructor told us the score should reflect the best piece of meat.

buttrubbersbbq
05-30-2010, 11:21 AM
and we wonder why there is no consistent judging....instructors teaching their own prefrence and the saying do want you want

if its turned in judge it, score it

daedalus
05-30-2010, 11:27 AM
In my CBJ class the instructor said that he personally will base his score on the better piece but that it is up to each judge to decide how they want to score multiple entries.

See, I find this to be problematic. I do not believe that something like this should not be left to the discretion of the judges because it is more of a procedural issue. It completely changes the approach to judging. The biggest reason for sanctioning through the KCBS is so that the teams can be sure that the judges are on the same page. Having judges that have been trained differently defeats the purpose of having trained judges at all.

I would hate to be a cook, thinking that the standard operating procedure is to judge only the best pieces, and then find out that half of the judges are handling differently. In my opinion, the KCBS should figure out how they want this situation handled, and them make sure that their CBJ's know what their position is. All it would take is to add a blurb to the judging CD that talks about how to handle this scenerio.

bigabyte
05-30-2010, 11:45 AM
I agree. I also think this is something that should be covered by KCBS and mentioned on the CD and the rules handbook. The cooks are going through great efforts to do as much as they can to get the highest scores from the judges. They already look for the most uniform and consistent pieces of meat. If having multiple cuts of meat can affect their scores as well, they should know ahead of time what they need to do to get the most out of their entry, and not just leave it up to chance on how that judge decides they are going to score that particular day.

Ford
05-30-2010, 11:49 AM
Agree that it should be ascore based on everything.

Now as to the different teachings and non recertification of CBJ's - I got mine in 2002 and still haven't judges as a CBJ. There needs to be a CBJ manual created with all this type of info in it. Maybe even pictures of excellent boxes and others of poor boxes. But mainly it needs to explain all these variables so that each CBJ can download a copy. And then somebody needs to send out update notices every year.

And instructors need to follow the script not add their opinions and thoughts as part of the class. Off soap box now.

eurycea
05-30-2010, 01:18 PM
See, I find this to be problematic. I do not believe that something like this should not be left to the discretion of the judges because it is more of a procedural issue.

I think it is too complicated for a rule to be written about it. What if there are four thighs and 2 legs on a bed of pulled chicken? Does nobody average them, do 2 judges take a thigh, a leg, and some pulled and average those, the next 2 take a thigh and pulled and average those, and the last 2 just score the pulled, or does each judge take either a thigh or a leg and some pulled and average those? There are just too many options that can be put in a box.



Having judges that have been trained differently defeats the purpose of having trained judges at all.

That is a problem. A couple of years ago I read a comment from a rep and CBJ instructor that said

Judges are told to score each type of meat presented separately and divide by the number of types. If you do great pulled pork and a judge gives you a 9 but then he judges your sliced a 5 you are going to end up with a 7. Since I was taught something different I emailed KCBS and asked what was right. The response I got was that it is up to each judge to decide. If that is the current policy then instructors and reps shouldn't be teaching something different.

In my opinion, the KCBS should figure out how they want this situation handled,

I think they have



and them make sure that their CBJ's know what their position is. That would be nice.

Lake Dogs
05-30-2010, 01:24 PM
Think of the NFL with referee's enforcing rules as they desire. It would be chaos.

Ford, I cannot agree with you any more! ABSOLUTELY. Talk about where KCBS
should spend the money, THIS is where they should spend the money. Every
CBJ should have/possess this book, without any exception. It should be their
judging bible. In it should be an exact "judges charging" section so that at ever
competition they're charged (ala. tasked) exactly the same. If judging is consistent,
then frankly, IMHO, there's no reason to participate in a sanctioned cookoff.

Lake Dogs
05-30-2010, 01:28 PM
> Since I was taught something different I emailed KCBS and asked what was right.
> The response I got was that it is up to each judge to decide. If that is the
> current policy then instructors and reps shouldn't be teaching something different.

Wow. Up to each judge to decide... And now wet get to the heart of the problem.
They have no clue there is a problem. That, or they want to embrace inconsistency.

Not good.

sharks_guy
05-30-2010, 04:51 PM
Great Thread!

I was quite surprised when I took my CBJ class that the interpretation of good BBQ and scoring was left up to the judges discretion as has been mentioned here. I also cooked in my first competition last weekend and got to see this discretion first hand as I had a box that got a 24(6,6,6) and a 36(9,9,9). I am sure you all see this all the time, but that disparity bugged me a lot. 12 points was the difference between 1st and 80th, so a few points can matter SIGNIFICANTLY. The judges need to be careful with their scoring.

I look forward to the day that KCBS takes a more active roll in training judges what is good, though I would guess they hesitate to do so, because then the evolution of competition BBQ may be limited as all judges will be looking for what was good as of the latest training class/material date. I would hope that they can find a nice middle ground that will allow for more consistent scoring yet still allow the flexibility that I assume they are trying to maintain.

Q-Stream
05-30-2010, 05:35 PM
I have started to see more teams submit varied samples of chicken and pork over the last two years. I agree that if it is in the box, it should be sampled and scored.

Although I tend to average the scores, more often than not I give the same score to all pieces. I have not seen many boxes that have good and poor pieces in them.

I think some direction from KCBS wouldn't hurt, but I have not seen widely varying product turned in very often.

Laird
CBJ

bigabyte
05-30-2010, 05:52 PM
Great Thread!

I was quite surprised when I took my CBJ class that the interpretation of good BBQ and scoring was left up to the judges discretion as has been mentioned here. I also cooked in my first competition last weekend and got to see this discretion first hand as I had a box that got a 24(6,6,6) and a 36(9,9,9). I am sure you all see this all the time, but that disparity bugged me a lot. 12 points was the difference between 1st and 80th, so a few points can matter SIGNIFICANTLY. The judges need to be careful with their scoring.

I look forward to the day that KCBS takes a more active roll in training judges what is good, though I would guess they hesitate to do so, because then the evolution of competition BBQ may be limited as all judges will be looking for what was good as of the latest training class/material date. I would hope that they can find a nice middle ground that will allow for more consistent scoring yet still allow the flexibility that I assume they are trying to maintain.
I don't think the topic here is what DEFINES good BBQ, but simply how to score in the event more than one cut of meat is available for judges to sample.

sharks_guy
05-30-2010, 07:14 PM
I don't think the topic here is what DEFINES good BBQ, but simply how to score in the event more than one cut of meat is available for judges to sample.

I agree, and I apologize I may have gone off topic a bit. Though I am still a newbie to this forum, my concerns are two fold:

1. It appears that instructors are not teaching the same thing(How to properly score a combo box... What is good BBQ...etc..)
2. Too much is left to judges discretion. We, as cooks, have to deal with personalities, egos etc. and not necessarily just make great BBQ as judging criteria is too loose.

Combined together, these two items can lead to large inconsistencies, that go beyond combo-box judging. Combo box judging is only 1 discrepancy, but I believe the problem to be larger than this.

Thanks for getting me back on track and keeping the thread focused.

Dan D.

SaucyWench
05-30-2010, 07:21 PM
This is a good discussion, and I want to thank those who have recently taken classes and have helped educate me. I did audit a CBJ class last fall & the issue wasn't raised while I was in the room (I spent part of the class helping assemble sample boxes, which didn't include pulled and sliced and...)

To Ford, we used to get a yearly manual/pamphlet, but for whatever reason, it went by the wayside. I have searched the KCBS website and cannot find a download specifically for judges other than what is read on the CD before each comp. It would be extremely helpful to judges, old & new, if there was a yearly update in the Bullsheet, or mailed to us, or easily found on the website! (did find the pamphlet from 2001, too funny-it says if a judge gets too full or doesn't like a particular meat, they will bring in an alternate!)

To Shark Guy, while this thread is about how to judge multiple varieties of one meat, I'd like to take a shot at why there can be such variation in scoring. Since you didn't say what meat it was, I'm going to use chicken thighs for my example. Appearance? Sooo many options, not identical, too identical, too much sauce, sauce too red, sauce too brown, sauce too orange, sauce too saucy:wink: Taste: could be one judge got the piece that the salt shaker went crazy on, or they don't like spicy, or they want it more spicy, they like more smoke, they don't like smoke...Texture/tenderness: please don't forget that the 6-legged chicken is a rare bird, so the texture/tenderness of the 6 samples of thighs will rarely be the same! I don't know how a cook could be sure how every entry should be scored without taking a bite out of each piece, and that's probably against the rules!

I would love to be giving everyone 999s, but that just isn't possible-sometimes bad is bad.

(And phooey! I just got reminded that I've only been a CBJ since August 2001, so I'm going on 9 years, not 10.)

sharks_guy
05-30-2010, 08:52 PM
[QUOTE=SaucyWench;1296667]
To Shark Guy, while this thread is about how to judge multiple varieties of one meat, I'd like to take a shot at why there can be such variation in scoring. Since you didn't say what meat it was, I'm going to use chicken thighs for my example. Appearance? Sooo many options, not identical, too identical, too much sauce, sauce too red, sauce too brown, sauce too orange, sauce too saucy:wink: Taste: could be one judge got the piece that the salt shaker went crazy on, or they don't like spicy, or they want it more spicy, they like more smoke, they don't like smoke...Texture/tenderness: please don't forget that the 6-legged chicken is a rare bird, so the texture/tenderness of the 6 samples of thighs will rarely be the same! I don't know how a cook could be sure how every entry should be scored without taking a bite out of each piece, and that's probably against the rules!

QUOTE]

Thanks. I understand and appreciate all that you are saying, and perhaps that is what makes KCBS so interesting. Things may change in the future, but in the meantime, my focus is to learn to cook the best BBQ I can, and hope for the best. Ultimately, even the pickiest judges can be pleased. We see it when many of the same teams are at the top week after week.

Thanks to all for all the great information on this forum.

daedalus
05-30-2010, 10:47 PM
I think it is too complicated for a rule to be written about it. What if there are four thighs and 2 legs on a bed of pulled chicken? Does nobody average them, do 2 judges take a thigh, a leg, and some pulled and average those, the next 2 take a thigh and pulled and average those, and the last 2 just score the pulled, or does each judge take either a thigh or a leg and some pulled and average those? There are just too many options that can be put in a box.

I respectfully disagree. I do not think it would be complicated at all. IMHO, the rule needs to be two-fold...
1. A judge should try to sample each different type of meat in a box as long as it does not create a situation where a judge will not receive a piece of meat to score.
This is pretty much the way it is already handled, and I have not heard any contradictory information to my first point. Still though, I think it needs to be on the CD.
2. When judging multiple cuts of meat from the same entry, the judge should...(and this is where they say either score the best piece, or use an aggregate.)
The key here is that I really don't care which way it is. I will be just as happy doing it either way, but I think that the KCBS should first figure out how they want it handled and tell us. Then, if we as member judges disagree with their decision, we can have a much more tangible debate/discussion over that, but in the mean time, the cooks are being treated fairly which is not happening now.

I think they have

I appreciate your point of view, but in this I could not disagree more. The KCBS has not said how they wanted it handled. They have completely ignored the issue by saying that it is at the discresion of the individual judge. That is nothing but a cop-out in my opinion because, as I mentioned before, this is a PROCEDURAL matter. Issues such as this are exactly the sort of thing that the KCBS should be giving guidence on.

> Since I was taught something different I emailed KCBS and asked what was right.
> The response I got was that it is up to each judge to decide. If that is the
> current policy then instructors and reps shouldn't be teaching something different.

Wow. Up to each judge to decide... And now wet get to the heart of the problem.
They have no clue there is a problem. That, or they want to embrace inconsistency.

Not good.

Ok, so the question then becomes...How to we get them to see that there IS an issue, and then to take it seriously. To be honest, apart from the few threads I have read here, I don't really know much about how things work(or don't) in the BOD. Does anyone have any good ideas as to the best process to get these ideas heard?

Talk about where KCBS
should spend the money, THIS is where they should spend the money. Every
CBJ should have/possess this book, without any exception. It should be their
judging bible. In it should be an exact "judges charging" section so that at ever
competition they're charged (ala. tasked) exactly the same.

I agree, but I think it needs to go even deeper than that.
When we go through judging class, we are given a book(at least I was) that was meant to give us everything we needed to know as judges. While I think the book is pretty good, it basically is a transcript of the CD. I think that this book needs to be expanded to deal with issues like the ones we are talking about here. I also think that this book should be available online as a downloadable PDF or something. Then, whenever changes are made to the procedures, the book can be updated, and an email sent to all CBJs, letting them know that they need to go to the website and download the new addition.

Secondly, I think that there needs to be some continuing education requirements for judges. It is really the only way to make sure that everyone is on the same page. It could done entirely online. You could choose a subject you wanted to learn more about, and then go through a little online tutorial that ended in a short quiz...or maybe you get credits for going to or listening to the BOD meetings...something. I don't have all of the answers, but I imagine that there is some reasonable way for it to happen.

Finally, there needs to be an open, accessible, and functional conduit by which issues raised by either cooks or judges are taken seriously and discussed fairly.(I am not saying for sure that there is not one, but if there is, I don't know about it.)

None of this matters, however, if we don't somehow manage to convince the BOD that there are inconsistencies, and that these inconsistencies are simply unacceptable. I don't have an ax to grind with the BOD. I am sure that they are doing their very best to do what they think is right, but if we want the KCBS be the preeminent authority for BBQ in this country, the fact that we cant even seem to get our own house in order is frankly embarrassing.

Rookie'48
05-31-2010, 12:51 AM
I judge each entry "as presented" by the cook. To me this means judging not to my own tastes, but did the cook achieve a good blend of flavors from the meat, spices, smoke, sauce, etc. If I'm supposed to go by this definition of "as presented" then I feel that I should judge the whole box, not just the "best" piece.


After all; you wouldn't want me to judge just the "worst" piece, would you?

eurycea
05-31-2010, 12:56 AM
I respectfully disagree. I do not think it would be complicated at all. IMHO, the rule needs to be two-fold...
1. A judge should try to sample each different type of meat in a box as long as it does not create a situation where a judge will not receive a piece of meat to score.
This is pretty much the way it is already handled, and I have not heard any contradictory information to my first point. Still though, I think it needs to be on the CD.

So in the example I used the first 2 judges should take 3 types, the next 2 take 2 types, and the last 2 get 1 type - I think that is absurd. But even if that is the way you think it should be done your still going to have to come up with definitions of types. In chicken is each different piece a type or is it how its presented? In my example I think judges can figure out that they can choose a thigh or a leg and also get some pulled - but how do you write it as a rule?

"If there are at least six of a type you are required to sample that type, but if there are less then six samples of a type you should only sample one of the of those types unless there are 3 or more types that have less then 6 samples but at least 4 samples of each type then each judge should sample 2 of the types."

That doesn't even cover all situations. Obviously the way to rectify the potential rule is to require cooks to turn in at least enough for 6 judges of each type which would make the definition of type extremely important. And if you want a definitive policy as to whether the scores should be aggregated or only scoring the best you have to have a rule about sampling multiple types. I think we have enough rules as it is now.

I'm all for having a definitive policy, but I don't see how you can do it without making things a lot more complicated.

If you want to add something to the CD I'd suggest something along the lines of "If there are multiple types of meat presented, judges should use their common sense to try to split the samples as equally as possible"


I think most judges are smart enough to figure out how to handle entries with multiple types and if they are consistent with how they judge them then I don't see it as a big problem. There are much bigger issues with judging then this.

pinehollow
05-31-2010, 06:34 PM
I judge each entry "as presented" by the cook. To me this means judging not to my own tastes, but did the cook achieve a good blend of flavors from the meat, spices, smoke, sauce, etc. If I'm supposed to go by this definition of "as presented" then I feel that I should judge the whole box, not just the "best" piece.


After all; you wouldn't want me to judge just the "worst" piece, would you?

I agree with this approach and this is essentially what was taught in the class that I took. If the team puts it in the box, they want to be judged on it as an overall turn in.

davidh9946
06-16-2010, 12:59 PM
As a judge (with table captain experience), I would give the entry an aggregate score and not just the best score of multiple cuts. This is a good thread and I have encountered the confusion that results from entries that do not have similar samples for each judge. I would say that it is not in the best interests of a team to confuse the judges.....we are already hopelessly confused already.

I am judging at the Sedalia, MO. event this weekend and I will ask some of the other judges what they think about this.

Buster Dog BBQ
06-16-2010, 05:03 PM
I can't remember from my judging class, but do you have to eat one of each type in the box? If I did pulled, chunks and sliced pork do you have to try all 3?

davidh9946
06-16-2010, 05:05 PM
If there is more than 1 sample "cut", I encourage the judges to take one of each. This usually just applies to brisket and pork.

CivilWarBBQ
06-16-2010, 05:35 PM
I'm surprised to here that some have been taught to "score the best piece of meat". Every CBJ class and Rep I have questioned on this issue here in Georgia has unequivocally said you should give an aggregate score for the entire entry.

My personal opinion is that it is wrong to exclude anything in the box from scoring. If we are to ignore the taste of a bad chicken wing because we like the thigh better, should we do the same for presentation, giving a box a nine because the thighs look perfect even though the wings are carbon black? Omitting any meat in the box from judging is problematic and incorrect as I see it.

LindaM
06-16-2010, 06:22 PM
I'm surprised to here that some have been taught to "score the best piece of meat". Every CBJ class and Rep I have questioned on this issue here in Georgia has unequivocally said you should give an aggregate score for the entire entry.

My personal opinion is that it is wrong to exclude anything in the box from scoring. If we are to ignore the taste of a bad chicken wing because we like the thigh better, should we do the same for presentation, giving a box a nine because the thighs look perfect even though the wings are carbon black? Omitting any meat in the box from judging is problematic and incorrect as I see it.

Write to Ed Roith and get your clarification, he is in charge of the judges and instructors.

TheJackal
06-17-2010, 09:03 AM
Very interesting thread. Most of the topic has covered varying chicken pieces or pork pulled vs chunked, etc. How would you guys approach it if this was done with ribs? Say you open a box that contains half spares and half baby backs? You are not going to get 6 of each in a box so assuming 3 of each, do you reach for a spare if they are your preference over baby backs? Does this scenario change anything?

Rookie'48
06-18-2010, 12:38 AM
Say you open a box that contains half spares and half baby backs? You are not going to get 6 of each in a box so assuming 3 of each, do you reach for a spare if they are your preference over baby backs?

This approach is just begging for a PO'd judge. Without a doubt someone is not going to get whatever his/her favorite rib is. I would say that this would be kinda like giving 3 slices of brisket and 3 burnt ends - not a good move.
We, as judges, are not suppossed to judge down for what "isn't in the box" but I have heard complaints like "No one turned in any burnt ends, that sucks" or the one about "Why would anyone turn in spares that aren't trimmed St. Louis style?" These judges aren't very common but they do exist.

KnucklHed BBQ
06-18-2010, 03:41 AM
So being new to sanctioned events, I have to ask - Do most judges give any consideration to "stepping out of the box" when it comes to turning in miltiple cuts of a meat?

I'm not talking best case scenario or anything...

Say I turn in thighs and breast. I know that typically sliced breast is much more risky to offer since chances of it drying are higher, so does that technically score me any more points with the judges, just because i can turn in an alright sliced breast and thighs?
do the judges get excited when they see a box thats not full of sauce dipped thighs, but actually has something different to offer?

great discussion!!

Pigs on The Run
06-18-2010, 06:31 AM
Emotions always run high on topics like this. I am a cook , CBj and have helped on a few bbq judging classes. I know cooks want a fair shake and just the rumor of something unfair will send a cook in orbit!We have done multiple entries for everything but ribs. We feel that it is better to give judges a choice. A judge in not require to taste everything in the box. They can pick and choose. The reality is that luck plays a big part of it. One contest that we won a Gc in and they found foil in the box of first Place pork after the scoring was over ! I also sure that luck went against us at times too! Our goal is to do our best and hope for the best result. Just my humble opinion.
For as picking the best and scoring, I believe that judge , treated everyone the same.We are never going to get inside every judges head and know what and why. BBQ should be fun and relaxing.

To put things in prespective about this judging issue: I haven't talked to my brother and his family for over almost three years. It was an issue that dealt with me and my 16 y/o niece at the time.Really something stupid. Now she is graduating high school and guess who they wanted to BBQ for the graduation!It is funny, something we fuss about so much and How it can brings us back together again.
What is really important?

lbmksu
06-18-2010, 02:43 PM
If a competitor is witless enough to not put his best effort in the box, why should he not be given the lower score? The averaging is a good middle-route, but artificially raising the score to reflect the best sample in the box only lessens the effort of other competitors. Remember, you are judging the box, not the individual samples. Am I wrong?

pahutchens
06-18-2010, 04:32 PM
Barring all the greens, If its in the box I should be tasting it. If there is a mix of meats I think there should be enough for 6 portions of each.
I would be judging the whole entry.
Supporting my understanding of this is when I judge on appearence, I look at the whole box. I wouldn't cherry pick one rib bone or chicken part to base my scoring.
I feel It would be a disservice to the cooks to ignore part of their entry.

TexEx
06-18-2010, 09:31 PM
Actually when you judge for appearence/presentation you are judging the entire box as a whole.

When you are judging taste/texture you are only judging about 16% of the box ( 1 of 6 portions). Therefore you are judging only your sample and not all of the samples. If there are multiple cuts of meat AND enough samples to allow every judge to have multiple samples then by all means take one of each and score on the composite attributes (same as presentation). If the cook put it in the box he intended it (all of it) to be judged.

If there are not enough multiple cut samples to take one of each then use disgression and take only enough to make sure all judges get at least one sample.
Let common sense dictate.

Funtimebbq
06-18-2010, 09:45 PM
Write to Ed Roith and get your clarification, he is in charge of the judges and instructors.

I sent an e-mail regarding this topic and one other to the entire BOD on 6-9. No written response yet. Maybe this will be on their next agenda. I did hear from a BOD member at the contest last week in OC. His opinion is to average the scores. However, a procedure needs to be written telling all CBJs how to handle the scoring for different cuts of meat being sampled. The only way to make sure every cook is being treated the same is to have as little ambiguity in the judging process as possible. Our subjective tastes are widespread enough as it is.

Benny

CBQ
06-19-2010, 09:25 AM
I always sample everything and score for everything as an aggregate score when I judge. As a cook, I only put things in the box I want judged, so I judge the same way. If my pork butt doesn't slice well, slices don't go in the box. Maybe a judge will hold that against me, but not as much as turning in poorly cooked slices would.

You do take your chances with the judge's preferences. At my CBJ class, we were given the KCBS guidelines, but also told to judge on the basis of what I, as a judge, liked. If we get candy ribs, and I don't like sweet, then judge it accordingly. Tenderness can be somewhat objective, but flavor profile is completely subjective. I don't think anything the BOD does can change that aspect of a contest.