Tim's got the right approach, IMNTBHO.
If you read that other BBQ forum, you'll see a lot of posts where cooks are pissed because they didn't like the scores. To them the judges are suspect already.
This will only be an issue with the loosing teams, but imagine what would happen if a case could be made that BrooklynQ was hanging with, tasting the food, directing and coaching the Big Creek BBQ team (picked only because it's the post above) and Big Creek took GC when BQ was judging!!! They would scream that BQ should be banned as a judge and the team disqualified! And rightly so.
What's the rules on family members as judges? I've been trying to convince my wife to judge, only to give her something to do at the contests while I'm playing with my meat. But I've met wives, girlfriends and in-laws of the cooks in the judge's tents.
In my limited judging experience there were three types of judges...
1. The judges. That's all they do. They don't cook. They don't compete. They're only there for the food. They come in for the judges meeting and leave as soon as the judging is over. These guys don't have any real ties to the cooks and don't want them.
2. The cooks. These guys are judges because they want to get a handle on the competetion. They're there to help hone their craft and improve their performance at the pit. Their team isn't in the contest that day, but they're still competiting by judging and comparing.
3. The pit crews or retirees. These are the guys who are the soliders in the pits who are taking that day off and judging instead of pit bitching or washing dishes that weekend. The retirees - they're done the circuit for years and just don't want to cook any more but still enjoy the contests. The pit crews and retirees will be back amongst the cooks as soon as the judging is over.
Now, I've heard from a lot of long time judges, that after awhile, you know whoose food you are judging. One judge in NJ told me that he could pick out Jack McDavid's ribs at every event. (The names have been changed to protect the innocent) Even I could pick out one team's ribs because I ate as a spectator at a previous event. (I wasn't sure when I was judging, but it was confirmed when he gave me some ribs after the event.)
In the vast majority of cases, I think that the vast majority of judges take the responisibily seriously and do their very best to be fair and honest. This really is a system that could be very easily exploited.
It seems to me that most of the judges have some sort of connection to the teams. Just don't flaunt it before hand.