View Full Version : Interpreting 8's

Balls Casten
07-08-2010, 10:29 AM
I enjoyed reading Monty’s “Interpreting a 6” thread. So I was looking back at our numbers and ended up putting them all on a spread sheet. Which sparked another conversation over what we needed to work on and improve.

Aside from taking two weeks off, then quitting all together. What would you guys suggest we do with these rib numbers? http://smokerspurgatory.com/bbq/ribs.html
Change things up? Leave everything alone? Tweak times a bit? Tweak the rub? New Rub?

Basically our conversation was; are we just needing to hit the right judges? Or are we cooking ok competition meat that doesn't stand out, with no hopes of winning?

Put another way, when do you guys say this aint working we have to change something?

07-08-2010, 10:44 AM
I wouldn't change a thing on appearance..

07-08-2010, 10:57 AM
1. Get those tenderness scores up. These have to be 8s & 9s.
2. Once you accomplish #1, try kicking up the flavor if you are still getting a few 7s and mostly 8s.
3. avoid judge #2
4. clone judge #3

Jacked UP BBQ
07-08-2010, 11:27 AM
great scores, I wouldnt change much those are huge comps with good results

07-08-2010, 02:20 PM
great scores, I wouldnt change much those are huge comps with good results

That's what I was thinking. I'd be real happy with those results.

07-08-2010, 02:56 PM
I agree with the comment to get those tenderness scores up. You've got more 7s and 6s than you do 9s.

I've noticed, in general, scoring seems to be higher this year at the contests we've cooked. Any scores below 8s will impact your ability to place well in any category.

Get the tenderness perfect, and then worry about maybe tweaking the flavor.


07-08-2010, 03:22 PM
That's correct, Mike. We've had numerous 160.+ scores this year that haven't sniffed a call.

07-08-2010, 03:37 PM
Yea, last comp we had a 160something that was 29th out of 66. :doh:

07-08-2010, 03:55 PM
I'd go to smaller comps. :becky:

Lake Dogs
07-08-2010, 04:01 PM
Also, consider changing your rub and/or sauce ever-so-slightly. There's quite a bit
if 9's and then 7's and a 6. Apparently that which tickles one guy's fancy doesn't
do it for the next guy. Perhaps ever-so-slightly too sweet, or too spicy hot, or
too salty, etc.

Shame they dont require comments for every score. You'd know.

07-08-2010, 09:46 PM
If you tallied up the number of teams competing all of the PNWBA events in a year, it wouldn't come close to the events you've been cooking!

Balls Casten
07-09-2010, 11:11 AM
Thanks for the comments guys.

We’re wrestling with the idea of how much to change. How much of our scores are the judges and how much is our cooking. (The size of the contest could make a difference???) We have our comp skills to the point that we are cooking the kind of food we want. And I think we need to get better at knowing what the judges want.
For instance, we have more tender ribs each week. We just don’t turn them in. We cook extra ribs each week to take home. So we cook 7 to 8 racks on different spots on the smoker. We watch the center ones for doneness and pull them all off at the same time. So we end up with varying doneness on all the ribs. Then we select the rack that we can get clean slices without them falling apart.

No single straight answer, I know.
Enter more contests!

07-09-2010, 12:07 PM
In my experience as a judge and table captain I would be asking to interpret the 6's and 7's on appearance. Most experienced judges do not give 6 or 7 on appearance, therefore, you probably have a new judge that is afraid to give an 8 or a 9. The scores from the other judges seem to support this idea so in interpreting the scores just add 1 point:

Apple Blossom would be: 889; 888; 999;888;899
Great American would be: 889;888;999;888;888;899
Great Lenexa would be: 889;888;999;888;888;899

You can see how adding one point across that judge's scores can bring his/her low scores in line with the other scores. You can't make this assumption if the appearance scores are high and the others are low but when appearance scores are low the chances are good that you have a new judge at your table.

This doesn't help you at the contest but may give you a better understanding of why you received the scores you received.

That's my theory and I'm sticking to it :wink:

KCBS Master Judge
Proud owner of a dazzling fast and accurate BLUE Thermapen
one offset smoker
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Balls Casten
07-09-2010, 12:50 PM
I’m certainly not blaming the judges. We’re more trying to interpret the numbers and should we be messing with our process?

Our average rib score is 164. The average winning score is 177. Will judging fluctuate 13 points? Shure.
So should I wait to hit a table with Smokers Purgatory friendly taste? Or should I be finding a more friendly/favorable taste? At 164 should I be making changes?

Again I know that there is not one right answer. Just wondering what score will make you guys make changes?