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chad 10-21-2004 06:10 PM

FL State Championship and new judges
Well, Tim Cochran, my wife Anne, and I am registered for the FL BBQ Association judge's training at the FL state cookoff Oct 29-30. Looks like we are all "on the bubble" to be judges, too! :D

Nothing like getting to see the top teams in the state all at one time and get to see, touch, and taste it ALL!! Jump right in :mrgreen:

We should learn a TON!! I'm thinking our next outing just might move us up in the ranks a bit -- at least I would hope so!

parrothead 10-21-2004 11:19 PM

Great opportunity. Grab all the info you can.[url]

chad 10-30-2004 05:04 PM

Tim and I are now certified judges for the FL BBQ Association! Anne also attended the training but we had our 12 year old with us so she ran herd on him today rather than let him loose in a carnival for 4 hours. I'm hoping she can be certified in January!

Met some folks, learned some things -- still don't have the "winning solution" but at least we have some idea of what the rest of the association is cooking. Naturally, we were at different tables so we got to look at a total of 11 boxes between us. We were all encouraged to talk amongst ourselves AFTER each category -- learned a lot. Our table captain, of course, took a look at all the score sheets as we turned in and would ask why someone was high or low just so we could all sanity check ourselves.

Overall scoring was pretty tight but there was outstanding to "you gotta be kidding me" food in all categories.

Nothing jumped up and told me we couldn't produce winning que -- so we'll be regrouping and on running the FBA cirucit in 2005 - getting to as many events as we can.

We also got some ideas about rigs, rig configuration, trucks, concession setups, etc. I'm negotiating with a builder for a cooker and concession setup - hopefully I'll get the first estimate next week. Tim and I are really looking hard at concession/vending at these events - if we have the help (read that as the spouses) to help us do the sales we should be able to easily make up meat and registration costs -- and probably line the coffers at bigger events.

We're working through menu options and let's just say we won't be selling $2.00 ribs in a hot dog tray! :D

Overall, a pretty good weekend!

Bill-Chicago 10-30-2004 06:40 PM

If you havent already, drop Midnight a line

I could swear it was he who was doing the "festival trailer" stuff.

even posted pictures, if I recall

good luck!!

CinCity25 10-30-2004 11:25 PM

sounds like a great day.....i'm glad you enjoyed it! i've been thinking of heading stateside for a judging seminar but they seem to come far enough north for me!

Solidkick 10-31-2004 07:11 AM

I was thinking last night, "I hope DF and Tim have posted about the judging classes", get up this morning and my thoughts have been answered.

Thanks! Good luck next year! I know you'll do the Brethren proud.

BigBelly 10-31-2004 07:34 AM

Good luck on your possible business venture DF. Please let us know how you fare on this idea of yours. I too have been trying to flesh out this stage of a business plan.

The_Kapn 10-31-2004 08:01 AM

Ditto to what DF said.
The experience was worth it's weight in Brisket.
Learned a lot and saw the entire range of "excellence" :lol:
Had a team DQ for bloody chicken on one end and I gave my only 10s to the final brisket sample! Truly outstanding (but not as tender, moist, and tasty as DF's).
The big lesson was that scoring is a crapshoot and my hats are off to anyone who can do well consistantly.
Also learned that the regional judges down here want browm stuff and little sauce (except for one judge).
DF and I do not need to cook better, we need to cook brown stuff and will do great.
Anyone who gets a chance to do this in there area--do it-

chad 10-31-2004 08:19 PM

I have no idea if I ate their food but Grand Champion was Jack's Old South and Reserve was -- no real surprises there!! :D

BrooklynQ 10-31-2004 08:37 PM

Dave. I'd love to see an "inside the judge's tent post from you. I'm interested to see how your experiences differed from mine in CT.

chad 10-31-2004 08:49 PM


Originally Posted by BrooklynQ
Dave. I'd love to see an "inside the judge's tent post from you. I'm interested to see how your experiences differed from mine in CT.

Hmm, it's tough to define "inside the judge's tent" because I'm a compeitor first and judge second.

We set up like KCBS -- one judge on each end of the table and four on one side - the table captain can then do his thing from the other side.

I had a couple of real experienced judges (one became our first Master judge with at least 20 competitions, 5 table captain sessions and at least one cook team experience over 3 years). Our table captain has done over 14 competitions and 4 table captain sessions, etc.

The food was presented the same as KCBS - the only difference is FBA does not allow ANY garnish in the box. Criteria is generally the same: appearance, taste, and tenderness. We do the meats one at a time and score each before moving on to the next.

It was interesting watching faces during a category - especially if a box was weird - we had one brisket box with real strong vinegar flavor and a pork box that looked like chunked up loin instead of butt or shoulder -- facial expressions were easy to read in those cases.

Everyone pretty much abided by the no talking rules until after the category was finished. Lot's of good chatter between meats and reminders to judge each box on it's own merit, etc.

Overall a great experience. I'll definately judge in the future. I prefer cooking but ya gotta pay your dues!! :D

The_Kapn 11-01-2004 06:59 AM

Guess I could add a bit more.
My table had a great Table Captain and 4 judges with varied levels of experience, plus me and one other NEWBIE.
I am fortunate to have many years as an evaluator and was very comfortable in this role for BBQ. Evaluation is supposed to be a matter of taking the rules and the guidance ,looking at the "situation" with no pre-conceived notions, and then rendering judgement. I was careful to avoid comparing the meat prepared by DF or me, at keast until after the score was entered.
I really wish I could say all the Judges did the same. All but one at my table seemed to be objective and really "think it thru". Unfortunatley, on Judge was there to fill the leftover bag and wanted lots of sauce on everything. That judge thought that meat the consistency of mashed potatoes was perfect. The other new judge was still caught in the excitement of "real BBQ" and gave mostly 9's and 10's.
Overall, I feel the scoring was "creative" to the high side all around. I do think the best got scored as such most of the time. But, on the other end of the scale, the scores given were really high. But, our scoring system and the guidance given to new judges encourages high scores, so I guess it works for the region.
As it has been said often here, the judging remains a crapshoot. It would be a lot less of one if the judges were able to follow the guidlines. It will always be subjective, but there are bounds to how far we roam with personal preferences.
DF and I worked with a only 10 of the 30 Judges there and my experience with this one judge was probably unique to the room.
Also--someone down here decided that a little vinegar injection was good. A couple of other teams decided a bunch of vinegar must be better. HINT- if you open the box and vinegar burns your eyes, ya probably are using too much. 2 of our brisket boxes were this way and downgraded "way down" into the 8's :lol:

BrooklynQ 11-01-2004 08:14 AM

Thanks for the info guys.

Bill-Chicago 11-01-2004 12:29 PM

Thats funny. "Way down" into the 8's

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