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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 03-27-2012, 09:59 AM   #1
MoKanMeathead
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We have received only a few comment cards but everyone of them has been a waste of time and completely worthless.

Here is an example: Last weekend in Midwest City, OK we received a comment card for our pork: "Virtually no flavor down in the meat. Try Injecting." The judge gave as a score of 8-5-9.

First of all If there was no flavor down in the meat I could understand it but leave off the "try injecting" part - I don't need your cooking advise. Second, we DID inject with SOW pork marinade. Thirdly, eat the whole chunk or MM slice - dont pick it apart - eat it as it was presented.

Lastly and most importantly the rest of your judging buddies did not agree with you on the flavor. The other judges flavor scores were 9-8-9-8-8. You completely wasted your time to write the card, the reps time to match it to the score sheet and our time for reading it...although we did get a good laugh out if it.

I wish that KCBS judges would just eat the product and judge it appropriately. What is the purpose of pulling it apart, sniffing at it, squeezing it, tugging on it, drapping it over your finger, etc. Just eat it and if you like the taste and tenderness score it well...if not score it low.

I don't often post about the judging but had to vent with this one.
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Unread 03-27-2012, 11:10 AM   #2
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Wayne,
That is a rough one. The most unsettling part of their statement was certainly the "try injecting" bit.

If the judge truly felt it lacked flavor, and truly felt it was a 5, then I have no issue with them scoring it as such, defending it, and also submitting a comment that said "This piece lacked sufficient flavor to best complement the meat. It was bland". To be honest, they may be way off base (probably are in this case!), but they may also be providing valuable input. (ie, did your injection make it down to where you thought it did? Did the slice itself fall apart on its own leading to a partial tast? hypohetical examples only)

Like you, after hearing some limited judging commentary, I was surprised at how often they said the following: "It was over cooked". "It was undercooked". "I did not like the injection they used".

It seems that these statements really should have been "the texture was tough and dry", "the texture was extremely mushy" or "there was a salty/metalic/vinegary/etc component to the flavor that overpowered the meat negatively, rather than complementing it".

It may be semantics to some, but I think there is an important distinction between them. Frankly, the judges can't know 'what' i might have done to screw the meat up, but what we do depend on is the result and their observations of that result. Furthermore, if a judge tells me my injection is bad ... and I never did inject ... I really have to discard whatever comments they may have as unreliable. However, if they describe an off putting flavor, I am compelled to examine my process to see what might have caused this.

Judging is a tough enough gig without trying to divine what happened to the meat before it got on the judging tray. I'll echo Wayne and say I'd like to see more focus on judging, (and critiquing) the end result and really focusing on what they are experiencing rather than trying to divine how it got that way.

(In case it is not clear: This is not judge bashing. I appreciate all those who take the time and effort to get certified and judge. I also think there is potential value in comment cards. I just think a perspective reminder may be in order more often than it is given)
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Unread 03-27-2012, 05:18 PM   #3
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As a judge its not my place to tell you how to cook. If I was that good at it, I would be waiting for a call beside you instead.
I should just report my experience of tasting, texture etc.
Sniffing I think is important in that it starts the tasting process, much like wine tasting. If it smells good or like lighter fluid it will have an affect on the sensory experience and hence the score.

The only meat I pull during a contest is brisket (none of your business any other time)
was actually part of my training to aid in evaluating an aspect of tenderness for that meat
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Unread 03-27-2012, 05:30 PM   #4
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Sounds to me like a cook in the judging tent giving advice.
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Unread 03-27-2012, 06:04 PM   #5
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Wayne, maybe he/she (we had plenty of shes) couldn't detect any sign of injection in the meat and, rather than say something that only an experienced cooker would pick up, thought maybe it was a new cook.
Personally, I didn't think there would be new cooks at these comps, then I was surprised by kale in a box at Ft Worth...

And where the hell did you get to so fast? We trooped down to your spot and there was nothing but dust. And some beer cans. :P

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Unread 03-27-2012, 07:16 PM   #6
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wonder what breed of pork taste like injection
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Unread 03-27-2012, 07:51 PM   #7
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Have you ever tried to fill out comment cards at a KCBS event?

When you think about it, you have 6 pieces of meat on a placemat, then you take a bite or two and either write down your thoughts on a scrap of paper or move onto the next piece of meat getting cold in front of you. Then the next thing you know the TC's are bringing around the next meats.

IMO there is not enough time with 30 minute turn ins to give a thoughtful comment. I'd be lucky if I could get a few out for each meat, and I'm taking the job serious knowing what the cooks are going through.
I'm with you Wayne, the KCBS events I cooked where I received comment cards were totally useless to me.

But then again I cook primarily PNWBA and each meat is judged separately and on its own merit with 1 hour turn ins and the CBJ's have adequate time to sample and give a somewhat detailed response if they choose. Yeah, they sometimes make you scratch your head and wonder WTF they were thinking about, but for every one of those there are 3, 4 or 5 others that "get it", and I like that!
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Unread 03-27-2012, 08:57 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Arlin_MacRae View Post
And where the hell did you get to so fast? We trooped down to your spot and there was nothing but dust. And some beer cans. :P

Arlin
Hey Arlin it was good to see you and Jean - we had a long ride so we left right after awards. We can talk again this weekend.

I hope you are kidding about the beer cans - we try not to leave trash when we leave.

BTW, I hope you judges don't take my post as bashing - wasn't my intention at all.
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Unread 03-27-2012, 09:51 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by swamprb View Post
But then again I cook primarily PNWBA and each meat is judged separately and on its own merit . . .
Brian, each meat is judged on it's own merits in a KCBS contest - there is no comparative judging. After the portions are placed on the plate each entry, in order, is judged on taste and tenderness. The scores are then written down on the scorecard before moving on to the next entry. Comparative judging is prohibited.
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Unread 03-28-2012, 07:16 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MoKanMeathead View Post
Hey Arlin it was good to see you and Jean - we had a long ride so we left right after awards. We can talk again this weekend.

I hope you are kidding about the beer cans - we try not to leave trash when we leave.

BTW, I hope you judges don't take my post as bashing - wasn't my intention at all.
I look forward to seeing you in MO, bro!

Yeah, I was absolutely kidding about the beer cans.

I learned something from your post, bro!
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Unread 03-28-2012, 07:22 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Contracted Cookers View Post
wonder what breed of pork taste like injection
I sprinkle Butchers Pork on the feeder pigs corn at my neighbors farm that way the flavor gets all the way in......
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Unread 03-28-2012, 08:25 AM   #12
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I sprinkle Butchers Pork on the feeder pigs corn at my neighbors farm that way the flavor gets all the way in......
I tried that but some were allergic to msg
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Unread 03-28-2012, 09:15 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MoKanMeathead View Post
Here is an example: Last weekend in Midwest City, OK we received a comment card for our pork: "Virtually no flavor down in the meat. Try Injecting." The judge gave as a score of 8-5-9.

...

Lastly and most importantly the rest of your judging buddies did not agree with you on the flavor. The other judges flavor scores were 9-8-9-8-8.
Just for conversation...is there any comment that this judge could have made that would have been helpful, or does the fact that the one score was so far off from the other 5 render any comment meaningless?

If a judge does feel like a piece of meat is tasteless, what should his comment be? Simply "Tasteless", or "Pulled was good, sliced was tasteless" (or vice/versa), or "Sauce overpowered the meat", or what? For that matter, if a judge really feels like a piece of meat is tasteless, what is a reasonable score?

And since we're talking about pork...just how do you judge taste when you have sliced, pulled, and chunks, all in one box? The pulled is usually more heavily sauced, so I try to remember to taste the sliced first, but suppose you do grab the pulled, it tastes great but it's mostly sauce you're tasting, then you grab the slice and it tastes pretty bland in comparison. You don't really have time to eat a cracker then re-taste the slice, so how do you more experienced judges score the taste in a situation like that?
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Unread 03-28-2012, 09:26 AM   #14
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I've yet to get a comment card that was of much use. things like "tastes like lighter fluid", and "meat tasted rancid" from a table that was largely 7-9 otherwise just makes me shrug. The "rancid" one actually got a call.
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Unread 03-28-2012, 09:50 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MoKanMeathead View Post

BTW, I hope you judges don't take my post as bashing - wasn't my intention at all.
I for one didnt take it that way at all. While I both cook and compete, I've always felt when I'm judging that it's not my place at all to tell you how to cook, or what I think you might've done wrong. When competing I received a few comment cards similar, and it was when the judge way over-stepped their bounds and frankly was wrong (ala. I had a brisket that wasy overcooked and starting to fall apart and the comment was "undercooked"). I've been a fan of check-box comments myself; fast easy and simply on point.

In your case, the box checked should've been: Bland

That was his/her opinion, and they were entitled to it. Glad others thought differently.
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