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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 03-06-2011, 07:50 AM   #1
bbally
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Default Question experienced KCBS Comp persons

Since getting placed in the lower one tenth of my third competition I have been looking at the KCBS website and looking at the placings of teams and the scores from the comps on my barbeque.

Since the TASTE SCORE is multiplied by 2.28 this score is the one I keyed on for this research which led to my questions.

The judges video does not mention a style or taste profile of barbeque.

However, the cluster of winning teams, no matter the region they travel too, combined with the weighting system giving a preference to the TASTE SCORE that mathmatically cannot be overcome using the other two categories does indicate that a specific style and taste is being keyed on for the higher scores?



So when you look at the weighted scores, it becomes obvious that mathmatically taste is all that counts to be competitive. (While the other scores do count they only come into play for those whom nailed the taste category. Nines in presentation and tenderness are wiped out by a 7 in taste.)

When analyzing the results of teams in placings the clustering of a normal distribution indicates (knowing that the tasting is blind) that "some how" a specific taste profile is being looked at as preferred, based on the cross region success by competitive teams?

Anyway looking at the judges scores it appears that average and above average scores are given out regularly, however to get to the 8 and 9 category it appears one style of barbeque is being keyed on for the taste category allowing for the clustering of consistant winning teams?

What say you?
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Unread 03-06-2011, 08:04 AM   #2
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In short, yes...your analysis is correct. I think the million dollar question you're looking to have answered is "what is the flavor profile that judges are looking for"...right?

I can't give you a specific magic bullet, however for KCBS contests, if you can find the right balance of sweet, heat, meat, and smoke...then you'll be onto something. Are you coming out to the eastern side of CO for any comps this year?

E-mail me directly and I can offer up some things that may help you with Colorado judging taste profiles.

Good luck!
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Unread 03-06-2011, 08:28 AM   #3
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I agree that there is regional preferences, but the fact that teams like Quau and Pellet Envy win consistently all across the country also indicated that good BBQ wins regardless of region. With judges traveling around the country to judge I think the regional boundaries are blurring a little.

Unfortunately, I don't think there is a magic answer to what the judges look for. Talking to teams in the area where you will compete may help, but while a lot of us are helpful, we're probably not going to tell you everything

Don't discount appearance and tenderness, however. Just nailing the flavor profile isn't going to get you a call. You need to be consistently 8's and 9's in all categories to get calls, at least around here. If you ever lost out on a first place call or a GC by .0001 points, you'll worry more about that darned judge who gave you an 8 in appearance
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Unread 03-06-2011, 08:38 AM   #4
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Yes we entered the Sam's Club deal at Loveland on the front range. But based on the mathmatics of winning team clusters I am looking at scratching as I don't think what we make is what the judges are learned into keying on as winning.

I am doing the analysis is to decide whether our barbeque is going to be judged and competitive or whether this is more of a you change you style to meet what the judges expect type organization. I think your answer is one that indicates you change or don't get considered.

The normal distribution of the winnings teams suggested a learned trait for each of the meats. I don't know how that happens based on the judges video, only thing I can figure is judges are allowed to see scoring results or talk about scoring results which then begins to create a learned preference?

After 16 years of successful catering I am not changing styles or recipes, I am just trying to determine whether I am wasting my time going to these events based on a specific taste profile. It appears so from the mathmatics.

We will see what others with experience think, but the math sure says it pretty clearly.

Thanks for taking the time to share and the generous offer to help with modifications, unfortunately I want our recipes judged, it appears they do not meet the learned profile.
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Unread 03-06-2011, 08:40 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ron_L View Post
I agree that there is regional preferences, but the fact that teams like Quau and Pellet Envy win consistently all across the country also indicated that good BBQ wins regardless of region. With judges traveling around the country to judge I think the regional boundaries are blurring a little.
Actually the fact the win across the country indicates there is a learned profile without regional preferences. Somehow they are learning to look for that teams type of barbeque... don't know how, but with the styles across the country changing a team that can travel and win consistantly is either very good at changing recipes, or using the same recipe cause they have the judge learned preference figured out?
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Unread 03-06-2011, 08:48 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bbally View Post
Actually the fact the win across the country indicates there is a learned profile without regional preferences. Somehow they are learning to look for that teams type of barbeque... don't know how, but with the styles across the country changing a team that can travel and win consistantly is either very good at changing recipes, or using the same recipe cause they have the judge learned preference figured out?
I think that you just re-enforced my point. The regional preferences are blurring and aren't as important as they were in the past. I''ll bet that the teams that win consistently regardless of location don't change their recipes. They are keyed into a routine and stick to it unless things start going bad for a few competitions.

I think you may be over-analyzing. I'm guilty of this at times . If you can give the judges a perfectly cooked piece of meat that looks good and has a nice, balanced flavor (not too hot, not too sweet, not too salty, etc.) you will do well. Do this consistently and you'll win. If you want to know what the top teams are turning in, take one of their classes. The guys who have taught the classes that I have taken have been very open about what they are using and how they use it.
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Unread 03-06-2011, 08:49 AM   #7
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The flavor profile I use for catering and for home cooking is not the same profile I use for competition. In fact, I don't like sauce on all of my food. I prefer chicken without any sauce when I'm cooking for myself. However, I realized after two competitions that if you want to win in KCBS, you have to cook for the judges, not for your own personal preferences. The intensity of flavor is also a lot different in a competition as compared to home cooking. Judges are usually only taking one bite of the sample you turn in, so you have to pack a lot of flavor into that bite.

So, if you are cooking just for fun, and are not interested in winning money, then you don't need to change a thing. However, if you want to win, you will need to go for the profile that is achieving high scores from the judges.
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Unread 03-06-2011, 09:03 AM   #8
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Oh, and I just have to add one more thing.

BBQ competitions have made me a better cook, and I am now turning out a better product than I was before competing. I have learned that prior to competing, I was over-smoking my meat...something that is pretty common. I also learned techniques to improve moisture within my food, as well as how to balance the entire flavor profile. When I first tasted a winning entry, it didn't matter what "profile" the judges were looking for, I KNEW that was good BBQ. It had a resonating taste, was really moist, and was perfectly tender.
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Unread 03-06-2011, 10:02 AM   #9
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I like the KISS method. That seems like a lot of analyzing for something that I do for fun.

Maybe your styles or recipes are what the judges are looking for and you wouldn't need to change much. If not and you are not willing to change for comps and compete for the fun then maybe its not for you. Have fun with it!
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Unread 03-06-2011, 10:10 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Capn Kev View Post
Oh, and I just have to add one more thing.

When I first tasted a winning entry, it didn't matter what "profile" the judges were looking for, I KNEW that was good BBQ. It had a resonating taste, was really moist, and was perfectly tender.
that is what makes it all worth while!!
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Unread 03-06-2011, 10:21 AM   #11
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I agree with much of what has been said by the OP.

Especially in the sense that TASTE truly is the overwhelming most important aspect of Competition BBQ, and yet it does NOT get the overwhelming amount of PUBLIC discussion on forums such as this (for obvious reasons). We are more likely to discuss, (AND SHARE) specific information relating to presentation and texture techniques than we are to specific taste profiles.

Now, what you decide to DO with that information is your choice as a BBQ cook, and speaks to your motives playing the game as much as anything. What I will say is, competition BBQ is like golf. Right or wrong, you are not going to improve your skill in either if you play three times a year. I am living proof of this in both.
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Unread 03-06-2011, 10:22 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Capn Kev View Post
. However, if you want to win, you will need to go for the profile that is achieving high scores from the judges.

Cool. Send me a PM with the details on what that profile is please.
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Unread 03-06-2011, 10:37 AM   #13
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The emphasis may be in the taste category, but if you don't do well in appearance and tenderness you won't win. Anything food related is based on taste. If you don't put out a good tasting product you won't be in business long, or you won't win, etc. But the axiom that "you eat with your eyes" still holds true, especially with judging. Being a CBJ and a competition cook, I learned early on in competition, it's not about what you or your friends like, it's about pleasing the judges. You have to be willing to change what is necessary. Judging is a very subjective monster. There is no "correct" flavor profile to score well. The teams that do well have found a profile that a majority of the judges like regardless of region. It has less to do with mathematics and more with having a good product and hitting the right judging table. You could have a meat that 97% of the country likes, but if you get a table that has 2 people of that other 3% sitting at it, you won't do well.

As far as the judges seeing the scoring results, that has never happened at any contest I have ever judged. Unless of course a team lets you see thier score sheet. I have also never heard discussions between judges as to what scores they gave a certain entry (although, I'm sure it happens). There has been plenty of discussion of "I really liked the first entry, but not the fifth," but never a discussion of actual scores. Judges have a tendency to hide thier score sheets until they are handed to the table captain, as not to influence the judges around them. When I judged at the American Royal in 2010, I had the opportunity to sit with judges from all over the country. And still there was no discussion of scores.

Having placed in the lower tenth (and not knowing how you placed in other comps), and the unwillingness to change your recipes, I would have to say that maybe competition barbecue is not for you. After all, the majority of teams that compete are in it for the friendships they build, and eating barbecue, but are also there to win. That's why it's a competition and not a family picnic, they want to be able to say they were the best on that particular day.
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Unread 03-06-2011, 10:41 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Capn Kev View Post
So, if you are cooking just for fun, and are not interested in winning money, then you don't need to change a thing. However, if you want to win, you will need to go for the profile that is achieving high scores from the judges.
while we are a long way from the amount of discussion I hoped this would generate.... somethings are clear on your posts.

I joined KCBS because it supposedly has a Certified Master Barbeque judge method.

That, to me, means if you put in Luau barbeque chicken the judges have enough knowledge to know it is a south pacific barbeque and what is considered good in the genre. If you put in a smoke rub and meat they know what the standard is for that and judge it to that standard accordingly. But if you are saying that to win a chicken has to be sauced, you are saying that a KCBS judges on a specific style of barbeque as best and the rest be damned no matter how well it is done?

What you are saying (I don't sauce at all, sauce it to cover up dry or burn barbeque only) is they are looking for sauce on chicken? So if they are taught that then they are probably looking for sauce on ribs as well?

So if they are looking for specific styles of barbeque and not judging the style of barbeque there is no real master judge program?

There is the profile that wins and all other barbeque?

Not trying to be a pain, I am just trying to understand if there are master barbeque judges in KCBS or masters of just a specific style that means everyone must conform to that style? And are you then just paying to find out that luau style or South carolina style barbeque is to be judged like Icky Sticky Sweet smoked Kansas City Style stuff and loses?

It appears to me from the answers that latter is true in KCBS? Or do the judges receive training in all styles of barbeque and how to judge them for the standard they are created under?
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Unread 03-06-2011, 10:46 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Red Valley BBQ View Post
The emphasis may be in the taste category, but if you don't do well in appearance and tenderness you won't win. Anything food related is based on taste. If you don't put out a good tasting product you won't be in business long, or you won't win, etc.

Actually when you look at the math, with a skew weighted of 2.28 the points for taste are all that matter.

The appearance and tenderness only function is to seperate the teams that have figured out the taste category. That is it... if the judges don't know how to judge different styles of barbeque against each other and instead look for one style of barbeque.... and taste is weighted at 2.28 there is nothing else that counts or can place you. Appearance and tenderness only seperate the people who figured out what KCBS judges are taught is the basketball hoop for taste.
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