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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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Old 06-14-2018, 02:26 PM   #46
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The overall scores for last day was 702.83 for GC and 701.09 for 4th place. Do you know that a 1 point drop in score for taste(9-8 ) from just one judge equates to a reduction of around 2.5 points for the cook?


That means 4th place could have been GC. Now do you see why there is black and white to the rules?
These types of analysis makes me in awe of Darren and Travis (and the like) even more. How they consistently win GCs with such razor thin margins all around are truly amazing.
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Old 06-14-2018, 07:05 PM   #47
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OK, this thread is starting to drift. As the OP I guess can say that is fine.

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The overall scores for last day was 702.83 for GC and 701.09 for 4th place. Do you know that a 1 point drop in score for taste(9-8 ) from just one judge equates to a reduction of around 2.5 points for the cook?
Yes. 2.2972 to be exact. But what am I supposed to do with that? Give all the chicken one more taste point? That doesn't change anything. Pick out one team's chicken and give them a boost? How is that fair? All I can try to do is to be as consistent as possible and to learn from comparing my scores to table averages whether my scoring is biased vs the average.

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That means 4th place could have been GC. Now do you see why there is black and white to the rules?
This "black and white" idea has been mentioned a couple of times. Reading the rules, I don't see it. There is nothing, for example, that tells me the exact "black and white" difference between "excellent" and "very good."

One thing that routinely happens with spreadsheet analysis is "garbage in, gospel out." IMO the KCBS scoring system can be misunderstood in the same way. It is not "subjective in, objective out." Converting subjective words to numbers does not make them objective.

Years ago I had a PhD food scientist friend who worked in Pillsbury's test labs. It was very interesting to hear him explain their system for evaluating food samples. Each panel member was seated separately in a sort of booth and was given samples of "salty," "crunchy," "chewy," "buttery," and so forth, the parameters selected depending on the food being tested that day. Only after everyone was calibrated to use the same word for the same thing did the actual testing proceed. Even then, the tests had a fairly high degree of subjectivity.

So, I'd be very interested to hear the argument that the rules make the judging "black and white" but I just don't see it and further don't think it is possible even for Pillsbury.
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Old 06-14-2018, 07:34 PM   #48
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I appreciate the OP's transparency in his scoring and willingness to better understand a cook's perspective. I don't think the major problem with KCBS scoring is judges who score within tenths or hundredths of the table average.
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Old 06-14-2018, 08:26 PM   #49
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OK, this thread is starting to drift. As the OP I guess can say that is fine.

Yes. 2.2972 to be exact. But what am I supposed to do with that? Give all the chicken one more taste point? That doesn't change anything. Pick out one team's chicken and give them a boost? How is that fair? All I can try to do is to be as consistent as possible and to learn from comparing my scores to table averages whether my scoring is biased vs the average.

This "black and white" idea has been mentioned a couple of times. Reading the rules, I don't see it. There is nothing, for example, that tells me the exact "black and white" difference between "excellent" and "very good."

One thing that routinely happens with spreadsheet analysis is "garbage in, gospel out." IMO the KCBS scoring system can be misunderstood in the same way. It is not "subjective in, objective out." Converting subjective words to numbers does not make them objective.

Years ago I had a PhD food scientist friend who worked in Pillsbury's test labs. It was very interesting to hear him explain their system for evaluating food samples. Each panel member was seated separately in a sort of booth and was given samples of "salty," "crunchy," "chewy," "buttery," and so forth, the parameters selected depending on the food being tested that day. Only after everyone was calibrated to use the same word for the same thing did the actual testing proceed. Even then, the tests had a fairly high degree of subjectivity.

So, I'd be very interested to hear the argument that the rules make the judging "black and white" but I just don't see it and further don't think it is possible even for Pillsbury.
By the way, your middle name isn't "el" by chance...…...


Seriously though, I'm pretty much done spending thousands of dollar's a year on comps to hear judges that come out of KCBS judging class with this kind of response. No disrespect meant to you.
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Old 06-18-2018, 01:31 PM   #50
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I get it. And from this cook’s perspective, you’re not wrong for asking the question. In fact I don’t blame you. It’s fair to wonder after judging your first 3 comps, “is this what I can expect every time?” Clearly by now you understand that, Yes, it’s going to be like that - and now you know why. However, all we can ask is that you don’t use that bias to affect your scores as best you can. Yep, it’s subjective. Only you can ultimately decide what you think the difference between good/great/excellent is, despite any training. You’ll come to learn through experience and the avg. scoring system just how you compare to the pack and you’ll be seated accordingly. Most cooks don’t like the idea that as a human you will judge this way because your score probably won’t be the one that gets dropped. Your 988 will count and it will be the difference between someone getting paid for a GC or not getting paid for 4th with a 701 because their chicken was as deliciously red, juicy, and flavorful as everyone else’s, if not moreso.
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Old 06-18-2018, 04:03 PM   #51
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OK, I have now judged three KCBS comps and I have a question. (I was going to post this in the comps forum, but it appears to be pretty dead.)

I have now seen 18 chicken turn-in boxes. Most of them contained six neatly trimmed thighs; some contained drummies. In virtually every case the chicken was cooked near perfection but almost completely uncontaminated by smoke. In every single case, the pieces were coated in identical-looking red sauce. Mostly it was identical tasting (sweet) too.

Is this all there is? I would have instantly given three nines to a piece of chicken that was well cooked and seasoned, with pleasantly crispy skin. By seasoned I mean little more than S&P, maybe some sage or other unassertive spices. (Dare I hope for some decorative paprika? Zatar would be wonderful, but I understand that anything very distinctive is also risky.)

So is this true nationwide? Is all chicken comp boring and coated with sweet red sauce? Sorry to say though I am permitted to take it home, I never do. Ribs, brisket, and pork yes. Chicken, no.

Or have teams tried savory chicken with crisp skin and failed to score well?

Just askin'
You’ve inspired me to once again tap into my inner-rebel...for the last comp of the year in October, I’m gonna blow the judges mind in chicken.
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Old 06-18-2018, 04:31 PM   #52
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You’ve inspired me to once again tap into my inner-rebel...for the last comp of the year in October, I’m gonna blow the judges mind in chicken.


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Old 06-18-2018, 05:03 PM   #53
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Available at Walmart!



I've bought them to use in bone broth.
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Old 06-18-2018, 05:17 PM   #54
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You’ve inspired me to once again tap into my inner-rebel...for the last comp of the year in October, I’m gonna blow the judges mind in chicken.
Well, happy to be of service. Be sure to stop back with the war stories and some pictures!

And ... here's an off-the-wall idea: What if KCBS added a scoring category for creativity? The idea has obvious potential for cheating if turn-in box contents become identifiable, but if that could be dealt with it also has the potential of reducing the same-ness and lack of risk-taking that I have seen in my very limited experience but that several in this thread have cited.

Bacon-wrapped money muscle poppers with jalapeño mayo, anyone? Brisket Stroganoff? Chicken Cordon Bleu? Who knows?
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Old 06-18-2018, 06:05 PM   #55
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I don't see how one can be truly objective in regards to taste. You like what you like. If I like bbq sauced chicken over unsauced then it reasons that given 2 samples that are both good the sauce would score higher, unless I didn't like the sauce or the flavor of the unsauced was head and shoulders above. I understand they are each judged alone but you cannot take personal preference out of taste and be honest with oneself.
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Old 06-18-2018, 07:03 PM   #56
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Bacon-wrapped money muscle poppers with jalapeño mayo, anyone? Brisket Stroganoff? Chicken Cordon Bleu? Who knows?
It's a BBQ contest, not an episode of Chopped.
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Old 06-18-2018, 09:42 PM   #57
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Thanks to all. As a cook I will stay in the middle of the road and keep on using Blues Hog sauce.
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Old 06-19-2018, 01:05 AM   #58
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From my experience at around 200 competitions cooked and in my restaurants is that people (op aside), almost without exception, have their mind’s blown by properly prepared competition chicken. It’s that far above what they normally get as “BBQ chicken”.
For whatever it's worth, I mentioned your restaurant to my sister, who moved to Springfield a few years ago. She took her husband there for his birthday a few weeks back, and they were raving about your food. Apparently, his dad (who only smokes at home, and never in comps) has been to two of your classes. We are from KC, so she has grown up with lots of BBQ chicken, and it sounds like yours was pretty great. It makes me want to try some competition chicken.
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Old 06-19-2018, 08:39 AM   #59
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Bacon-wrapped money muscle poppers with jalapeño mayo, anyone? Brisket Stroganoff? Chicken Cordon Bleu? Who knows?
No. As an ancillary? Fine. As part of the KCBS program? No.
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Old 06-19-2018, 08:42 AM   #60
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I don't see how one can be truly objective in regards to taste. You like what you like. If I like bbq sauced chicken over unsauced then it reasons that given 2 samples that are both good the sauce would score higher, unless I didn't like the sauce or the flavor of the unsauced was head and shoulders above. I understand they are each judged alone but you cannot take personal preference out of taste and be honest with oneself.
The way it was presented in my CBJ class, is to judge it for what it is. If you like sauced chicken, and you get an unsauced piece, but it's the best unsauced chicken you can imagine - let your score reflect it.

That being said, I'm sure that this unconsciously is a factor, as evidenced by the fact that straying too far from the norm rarely, if ever, works.
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