Judging Rings and Garnish
(Excuse this first post, as I am sure it has been discussed ad nauseum before, but I couldn't make the forum search work for me - something about restrictions on newbs I think.)
In looking at judges' comments at places like BBQ critic, I notice again and again that there are comments on garnish and smoke rings. We all know those things shouldn't be considered in scoring, but let's face it, some judges consider them. And some who know better probably do subconsciously.
Is it a disservice to those new to competition (like me) to suggest that those aesthetic "non-factors" are really irrelevant? When one point can make the difference shouldn't we just come out and say it - garnish and smoke rings matter to judges.
Also, do judges get feedback to know if their scores are anomalous? (This is really a different topic, but I don't want to overdo the new threads right off).