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Old 10-08-2007, 03:11 PM   #8
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Join Date: 08-29-06
Location: Arlington, Nebraska

Originally Posted by jvreeland View Post
After reading Gordon's post over here about the issues he experienced at the American Royal - I thought I would start this thread on ways in which the KCBS can improve judging (this was originally posted over at The Smoke Ring, but I thought I would get everyone's comments here as well).

First off - I think at a bare minimum we need to start tracking the scoring of judges. This is without a doubt the biggest step we can make to working with judges to make their scores more uniform across the chart.

Second - Going one step further I think a simple review after the table has finished judging the box on why everyone scored they way they did would be great. I am sure we can come up with a simple piece of paper that has the standardized issues with boxes/meats. For example, on a brisket box a judge could not like the brisket because it was too tough, dry, bad seasoning, cut too big, etc...
If we had this simple sheet we could better understand from the cooks side why it was scored the way it was.

Third - (and this could be a radical move, so do not crucify me) nobody is a judge if they are not a CBJ. Stop bring people off the street. Is it going to result in judges having multiple rounds of boxes, yes - but at least we have certified judges judging the competitions.

I know others have some ideas on things that can be improved so please post them.
As this is the Brethren Forum I will let Gordon do his talking over on that forum and address your comments here. I am a cook, an organizer and a judge. I judged both the AR Invitational, Open sides (all three categories), open desserts, and the all of the Open meats.

If you have ever stopped and watch what the Reps and most table captains are doing while judges are stuffing food in their mouths your questions would be answered. Every time I have judged, the table captain has gone over each judges slip before handing them to the Rep. At that point every Rep I have had has gone over the slips again before handing them to be tallied. So judges are being tracked and if needed they are being called out if a Rep needs to do so. This was explained at both the invitaional and the Open. It happens.

I have not judged a comp where the judges did not go over the scoring and the reasons why they are judged. There is no way a standardized form would be able to be made let alone the time to go over things and mark them as needed. I will use your brisket example. I was talking with two guys and one said he prefferd his brisket cut thinner than the standard number 2 pencil as laid out by KCBS the other guy said he liked his much thicker than the # 2 Pencil. These two guys were not judges however they were 2 guys from the SAME TEAM cooking the open. So a standardization in the judges tent would be tough. Turn the card over and write why if you want, it is encouraged and I do it If I have to give something 5 or below.

All CBJ's would be wonderful. But often time a non CBJ is not as harsh as a CBJ so better scoring without all CBJ's. Not right, but there it is. Teams go out of their way to see how the judges tent will be stacked so they can adjust their cooking styles.

When I cook I know if my product sucks or not and when I get a 5 or 6 I know exactly why. To many cooks are to quick to look at the judges tent and not at themselves.

Now how to improve? How about reinstating the cooking regulation for the judge that is going to be given his Master Badge. I think this was a very poor decision on the part of KCBS. I actually think a judge should cook with a team LONG before 30 judging events. It is sad how clueless many judges are about what it takes and what goes on in the pit. So as a team, if you are not already a CBJ get to a class. Once there listen and ask questions. If you are team have a CBJ cook with you one weekend and show him the ropes, I guarantee he or she will be a better judge.

Sorry rant over.
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