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