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Competition BBQ *On Topic Only* Discussion regarding all aspects of Competition BBQ. Experiences competing or visiting, questions, getting started, Equipment, announcements of events, Results, Reviews, Planning, etc. Questions here will be responded to with competition BBQ in mind.


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Unread 10-10-2012, 10:43 AM   #1
Piggys Going Postal
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Default american royal judges

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I finished 405 overall at the AR this year, worst showing ever, maybe i am just a sore looser. But did anyone else get major surprises with the scoring.
Ribs 29.7, 29.7 30.2, 28,29.14,29.14 and wonderful judge 5 22.8
butt 29.4,33.7,32.5,28.0,32.57 and judge 3 25.7
I know there is always "that " judge, and we must deal with it, but really wonder if the event is to big and judges are not qualified, or table captains are not doing their job,

Am i just bitching and need to suck it up, and i hear there is a new judging system being tested

I look forward to listening to this and all the threads,
PS I was the contestant this year that was towed in on a flatbed tow truck and towed out as well, blew an axle ten miles from the event
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Unread 10-10-2012, 11:02 AM   #2
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Just my opinion, but I think at an event this size, table captains are on their best to do things right. Judges as well, but there are a lot of judges needed (over 500).

There were 545 teams competing and of that huge number only one could win and one DAL.

Complicate that by judging methods. Each table scored only six teams based on the overall experience, knowledge and tastes of those six judges, thereby placing a score comparing you to over 90 other different tables.

Also, many teams come in from very far and are very good. By sheer number, this is probably the toughest contest to get a call at in the whole world. Even great teams find themselves with surprisingly low overall ranks compared to normal just due to this fact.

That said, I saw something of a consistency in our scores. For example, on one entry we got 33's from 3 or 4 judges and 29's from the others. Not an ideal consistency, but did seem to show something. Our scores were not all over the map except one score on one entry that was really low and thrown out.

At the Royal, you must first deliver the absolute best product you can possibly kick out. After that, it is pure luck to get called. If 50 of the top teams in the world crank out their best, only 20 will get a call. Then there's the other 500 teams who are equally in play...
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Unread 10-10-2012, 11:14 AM   #3
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Default dessert 180"s

While i never would have entered dessert before, now please tell me is it right , fair, honest, true that all top ten desserts got 180"s, are they handing them out like candy, or complete different set of rules
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Unread 10-10-2012, 11:25 AM   #4
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While i never would have entered dessert before, now please tell me is it right , fair, honest, true that all top ten desserts got 180"s, are they handing them out like candy, or complete different set of rules
Those ancillary categories do not have judging rules. From my personal experiences judging contests with dessert categories, the majority of folks who make an entry have a sort of ringer, and turn in something way over the top that you weren't ever expecting, and it is always damn good.

Because of all this, it is not at all unusual to see all 9's for those over the top entries, which most of them are.

Also, understand that by over the top I don't mean Grandma's apple pie recipe cooked in a DO perfectly. I mean something like you would see on one of those cake shows on TV. You will feel honored just to see the entry, let alone eat it.

Personally, I felt the top ten got robbed by all having 180's. It meant a coin toss determined the difference between first and 10th place. That's nuts. But...they chose to enter a category that is not KCBS standard and with no clear defined judging rules. So they should expect nothing more, in my opinion.
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Unread 10-10-2012, 11:36 AM   #5
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You can look at the open many ways ...I hate it but I respect teams like Ryan's and Shiggin and Grinnin and the teams who had great back to back days....
I was bummed with our 154 in chicken talking to chris lilly is was more bummed with his 143 ribs....actually the judging for our other three categories was probably right on
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Unread 10-10-2012, 11:47 AM   #6
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I've been one to question the judging I will admit. But then the comment always comes up about the consistent winners, and there is a lot of truth to that. It was also my first Royal, so I was like a whore in church the entire weekend anyway.

I did experience the same thing on my ribs, however, with a 120 place there. My scores ranged from 24 to two scores of 34.85something. Pretty wild swings, but it's the reality.

I'm taking that as my product is great for some folks, but not for others and I need to work at developing recipes that have a more broad appeal to the judges.

When you look at the top teams this past weekend, they are consistently at the top every week. Once you get out of the money, does it really matter where you place?
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Unread 10-10-2012, 11:52 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Big Poppa View Post
You can look at the open many ways ...I hate it but I respect teams like Ryan's and Shiggin and Grinnin and the teams who had great back to back days....
I was bummed with our 154 in chicken talking to chris lilly is was more bummed with his 143 ribs....actually the judging for our other three categories was probably right on
Our open results were disappointing to us as well. Everyone wants to win. We got 88th in Pork, but we thought it deserved much better. The way I look at it, if our pork was the best at the table and scored well, there were 89 other tables and the scores those tables gave to their top pork entries put us in 88th place.

We thought we had a really strong chicken entry. I thought it would be lucky to get called, but should be top 50 or better, my partner, who competes more than I do, felt it should be in the top 20 and get called. We were both surprised by the actual result, our chicken scored very low. I can't recall where it fell right now and don't want to look it up again, but we basically tanked especially in light of our expectations.

We expected to get hammered on ribs. They weren't the best. Good, great even for some, but not Royal worthy. Plus, we cracked our box while arranging it. We knew we were farked there, and it was our worst showing, in the bottom half.

The brisket scored better than we expected. I thought it was probably going to score towards the middle of the pack and came in 141.

Overall, the chicken and ribs ensured we finished towards the middle of the pack overall, in the 240's. Very disappointing, but again, unless you deliver your A+ game, you have no chance of a call. Even if you do deliver your A+ game, you are lucky to be called.

Phil and Scotty seemed a bit disappointed at one point for only getting one call for 4th place chicken in the Invitational. I was there on site and sampled each entry, and they should easily have been called for more than just chicken. I think it was DivaQ who reminded them how lucky anyone is to get a call at the Royal and how any call at all is something to be very proud of.

It's hard to keep perspective at an event so huge.
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Unread 10-10-2012, 12:02 PM   #8
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I judged both the invitational and open. It seemed to me for the size of the contest the judging went very well. Most tables had a dedicated table captain. Some did double duty. To my suprise I found the open entries presented to me were of better quality the the ones I judged at the invitational. All and all I had a great time.
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Unread 10-10-2012, 12:18 PM   #9
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The Open is a crapshoot, and most people recognize it. That being said, the judges do an amazing job when you sit down and look at the results most of the time. In some cases they err to benefit the cook as they did my ribs last year. They were good ribs, with the exception of the membrane left on the rack that had the flavor and tenderness. That was a "good" table. You win some and you lose some.

I've judged another large contest, that isn't KCBS sanctioned. I did NOT compare entries, but some entries probably did impact others. Some of the brisket I got was so bad that I could not get the creosote taste out of my mouth several hours later. I ate a LOT of crackers, and drank plenty of water. It did impact my sense of taste. The first good box to come my way may have benefited from that, or the lingering creosote flavor may have overpowered some subtle magic I couldn't pick up.

As a cook it's easy for me to point the finger of blame at the judges, but the fact is that they tend to get it right more often than not. There is too much consistency in a process that lends itself to inconsistency for me to argue otherwise.
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Unread 10-10-2012, 12:30 PM   #10
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I think judges do the best they can, I know, weird coming from me. But honestly if you want to score better you need to cook just like the winners. That may change some year, but until then we need to cook what the judges like to eat.

Now, when somebody figures that out, please, please, let me know.
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Unread 10-10-2012, 12:50 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jorge View Post
The Open is a crapshoot, and most people recognize it. That being said, the judges do an amazing job when you sit down and look at the results most of the time. In some cases they err to benefit the cook as they did my ribs last year. They were good ribs, with the exception of the membrane left on the rack that had the flavor and tenderness. That was a "good" table. You win some and you lose some.

I've judged another large contest, that isn't KCBS sanctioned. I did NOT compare entries, but some entries probably did impact others. Some of the brisket I got was so bad that I could not get the creosote taste out of my mouth several hours later. I ate a LOT of crackers, and drank plenty of water. It did impact my sense of taste. The first good box to come my way may have benefited from that, or the lingering creosote flavor may have overpowered some subtle magic I couldn't pick up.

As a cook it's easy for me to point the finger of blame at the judges, but the fact is that they tend to get it right more often than not. There is too much consistency in a process that lends itself to inconsistency for me to argue otherwise.
As much as it bothers me, I have to agree with Jorgeís statement.

We did the Chicken Wing Challenge at our local Samís Club event. Later, we ran into one of our friends who we found out had judged the event.

When we described our wings, he said that he was at that table and immediately apologized. It ends up that the first entry was so hot that nothing tasted good after it.

Iím sure that the same thing can and has happened with the other categories. I know itís happened to me when I've judged.
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Unread 10-10-2012, 01:11 PM   #12
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I judged at the royal. I think things were handled as close to how they are required from KCBS guidelines. We had one person on our table that was not a CBJ. I think that was typical. There just are not enough judges. Our table had a good mix of experience. Right next to the non-cbj was a master judge.

One thing that may cause some lower scores is, typically people compete in their home area with judges from the home area. For a contest like the royal judges travel from further distances. That can affect scoring. Judges may not be used to flavors you use. Also styles of cooking.

For example: All the ribs I judged were dry rubbed only, no sauce. I have never run into this in other contests. I am sorry, but dry rubbed ribs don't have the wow affect that sauced and glazed ribs do. They don't look as appitizing. I scored them down.
Also, I had a lot of 3 boxes with chopped pork that was difficult for me to judge texture. There were things I ran into at the royal that I don't typically see in the upper midwest. Also, most of the food I tasted was cool if not cold temperature. An usually long time with food going into the box to the judges table might have lowered scores. Meat flavor and texture greatly changes with temp.

Just a few ideas for what it's worth.

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Unread 10-10-2012, 01:42 PM   #13
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I didnt judge at the royal, but I can talk to a little of the score variances person to person. I was judging this weekend and we had 2 judges just absolutely love one entry, and 2 other of us absolutely hated the entry. Later I found out that of the judges the 2 that loved this entry were smokers, and the 2 of us that hated the entry were life-long non-smokers. Apparently our taste buds are very different. In this case, the BBQ to me had a VERY strong charcoal flavor, to the point where I couldnt get it out of my mouth... The other 2 guys who loved this entry couldn't taste that at all...

Same product, just 6 very different opinions, 2 strongly one score range, another 2 at the opposite end of that score range.
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Unread 10-10-2012, 02:45 PM   #14
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With very few exceptions (and those exceptions haunt me), judges really take their duty seriously and try to give every entry the benefit of the doubt, if you will. You'll have variations in product itself, rib to rib, piece of chicken to piece of chicken, not nearly as much in pulled pork or brisket entries. I had one very skunky rib this weekend, and per the other judges they didnt have that problem at all (with that entrants ribs). Mine however was very bad; I assume it was probably from a different rack... Then, we all have different taste buds as I gave just one example of above. Some people are very sensitive to salt, others like a little BBQ with their salt. Some cant taste the burned/charcoal taste because of their smoking habits, others of us find it really nasty. I think the smoking is why some like their BBQ extremely smokey, some like it almost without (I'm in the middle personally). Then of course there is regionality, but IMHO taste has too many other factors, person to person in the same region to be able to generalize about regionality. People are still people. Even in cajun country, you can put on too much cayenne. Frankly, even in NC if you put on quite a bit of a good vinegar sauce you're likely as not to get scored down... Not everyone likes vinegar, not everyone likes a mustard sauce, not everyone likes a really sweet sauce, not everyone likes a very salty entry, not everyone likes a heavily smoked entry, etc...
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Unread 10-10-2012, 07:09 PM   #15
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We were 1st Pork on Saturday and 8th Ribs Sunday. I think Dan from KC BBQ said it right on Friday. "Cook your best and get lucky." Of the 545 there, any of the top 50 could win, it's all up to the table.
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