I was contest organizer for the Connecticut contest and was expecting to be off duty once the Contest Reps showed up, a day of hanging out with the teams and drinking their beer. Not to be :(
I had two alternate judges signed up and thought I was covered. For whatever reason, there were four no shows and I got sucked into judging.
I was seated at Rob's (BrooklynQ) table and agree with most of his observations. First of all, the chicken skin sucked. If you can't do it right, go skinless! The breast entry was dried out and tasteless.
I was the judge who questioned the slab of ribs entry. The sauce was painted on so heavily that is was impossible to discern individual pieces. The Contest Rep said it was OK, and I ended up scoring it a 9 in appearance. If I had been the Rep, I would have DQd it. Unfortunately, I was also the judge who got the dried out riblet from the bottom. That killed them on my score card. I don't remember a discussion about smoke rings.
Most of the pork entries were mediocre. Bland.
There was only one passible brisket entry. Most were dried out.