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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 04-23-2012, 01:06 PM   #1
G$
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Default On appearance scoring

Appearance is the only part of KCBS scoring that we can render (imperfectly) through a computer screen, so it gets a lot of press.

I am not a CBJ, just a sometime competitor. However, I do have opinions (naturally) on some of the more common items related to appearance scores, what the CBJs are taught, and how much is left to personal preference.

So, for you KCBS CBJs:
  • In class, were there any guidelines on specifically what a brisket turn in "should look like"?
  • In class, was uniformity of the meat samples discussed as an appearance criteria?
  • Is the criteria for appearance truly taught to be simply "Does it make me want to take a bite?"
  • Do chicken pieces and ribs that are the same size and shape make you want to take a bite, more than irregular pieces?
  • When you see a brisket tun in with slices with sides that appear to have been squared after cooking, does it effect how much "you want to take a bite"?
  • Do you think it would be unfair to mark appearance down for this, whether you do or do not do it yourself?
  • Do you think that "Brethren CBJs" are more educated or serious about BBQ judging than "non Brethren CBJs"?
Thanks to anyon willing to give their opinion!
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Unread 04-23-2012, 01:53 PM   #2
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I'm taking my class tomorrow night. I will be sure to report back here.
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Unread 04-23-2012, 01:57 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by G$ View Post
  • In class, were there any guidelines on specifically what a brisket turn in "should look like"?
Not that I remember, though there was a lot of discussion of sliced brisket flat. Maybe we were explicity or implicitly taught to expect that rather than cubed, chopped, or pulled, which are all legal.



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Originally Posted by G$ View Post
  • In class, was uniformity of the meat samples discussed as an appearance criteria?
In class, I remember specifically being told that every slice of brisket should be 1/4", or the width of a #2 pencil eraser, thick. While we (KCBS) do not actually bring #2 pencels to check, other sanctioning bodies do. If you think you can tell that the slices are not all even, sounds like a reasonable appearance ding to me based on what I was taught in class. If it is not correct once a sample is taken, we were given some feedback on how that affects tenderness. The other three categories were specifically taught as being wide open, and often regional. As the cook presents it was stressed.

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Originally Posted by G$ View Post
  • Is the criteria for appearance truly taught to be simply "Does it make me want to take a bite?"
Not that I remember. My instructor said "Does it look good to you?" which is different from "Does it make you want to jump in and slather it all over your face and body?" as others have implied appearance should be judged....


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Unread 04-23-2012, 02:02 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by G$ View Post
Appearance is the only part of KCBS scoring that we can render (imperfectly) through a computer screen, so it gets a lot of press.

I am not a CBJ, just a sometime competitor. However, I do have opinions (naturally) on some of the more common items related to appearance scores, what the CBJs are taught, and how much is left to personal preference.




So, for you KCBS CBJs:
  • In class, were there any guidelines on specifically what a brisket turn in "should look like"? not that I recall in the class
  • In class, was uniformity of the meat samples discussed as an appearance criteria? again not that I recall
  • Is the criteria for appearance truly taught to be simply "Does it make me want to take a bite?" That is part of the discussion, but not exclusive.
  • Do chicken pieces and ribs that are the same size and shape make you want to take a bite, more than irregular pieces? Not necessarily but some (can't think of a good word to describe what I am thinking) flow, linear evenness, balance?
  • When you see a brisket tun in with slices with sides that appear to have been squared after cooking, does it effect how much "you want to take a bite"? I may be thinking too highly of myself , but this seems to refer to a comment I made on another thread "Like the layered slices, but not sure the cut off ends help the appearance. And cutting off the ends will lose you some bark and flavor off the piece the judge will sample." I DID say not sure it affects the appearance, but to me makes it look a little artificial. I do stand by the part about trimming off the bark CAN change the taste, if the judge tastes the cut off end with less bark and seasoning.
  • Do you think it would be unfair to mark appearance down for this, whether you do or do not do it yourself? I don't think I would score down intentionally, but can't say for certain it may not affect whether I would score up.
  • Do you think that "Brethren CBJs" are more educated or serious about BBQ judging than "non Brethren CBJs"? I don't think being a Brethren factors in to serious judges. I know some good judges that are not members here. I think the Brethren are more serious about all things BBQ, and are maybe more informed than non Brethren judges but I remember several years ago a Brethren who was a competition cook posted about his judging for the first time, and he was absolutely brutal with his scores and comments.
Thanks to anyon willing to give their opinion!

To me I would say juding appearance is a little like looking at art from the Great Masters, I think the work of Pablo Picasso borders on absurd, but he is considered one of the greats. Give me the realistic work of Ansel Adams over Picasso anyday!

Only my opinions, I would have to ask my wife if I am right or wrong. If I ask my daughter I know I will be wrong.
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Unread 04-23-2012, 02:07 PM   #5
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G$,

I am one week removed for taking my second KCBS Judges class in three years. This one was in New Holland, PA and the instructer was Don Harwell. I have been an active judge since I took the class the first time three years ago. My wife took it with me this time, and it was for her sake that I took it again.

I will answer your question in two ways, blue from what I remember from the class and green from what I think goes on in the tent (from personal experience and talking to other judges).


So, for you KCBS CBJs:
  • In class, were there any guidelines on specifically what a brisket turn in "should look like"? No specific guidlines other than "what looks good to you" and that the smoke ring should not be considered.
  • In class, was uniformity of the meat samples discussed as an appearance criteria? Not discussed in class at all. I think uniformity (within reason) is highly critical for most, but not all judges.
  • Is the criteria for appearance truly taught to be simply "Does it make me want to take a bite?" More or less. I think the phrase used was "appetizing" as opposed to "take a bite," but the same idea exists. I think that this is the number one determinater of appearance scores for judges. First impression - bang "How badly do I want to eat that?"
  • Do chicken pieces and ribs that are the same size and shape make you want to take a bite, more than irregular pieces? To some large degree, YES! I know that this doesn't pass the logic test, but this does affect how appetizing the product is. It is the same with garnish, would logically should not affect how appetizing a product is, especially in a meat contest, but it sure does.
  • When you see a brisket tun in with slices with sides that appear to have been squared after cooking, does it effect how much "you want to take a bite"? For me, not at all. This one will get you the odd judge who does have make this an issue.
  • Do you think it would be unfair to mark appearance down for this, whether you do or do not do it yourself? I do not think it is unfair to mark appearance down for this (in the absence of KCBS guidelines to the contray). As I stated above, I would not do it, but I find it hard to criticize another judge for what he/she finds appealing or not.
  • Do you think that "Brethren CBJs" are more educated or serious about BBQ judging than "non Brethren CBJs"? Abso-farking-lutely!
If you haven't already, check out bbqcritic.com and you can see a lot of the judges comments regarding the appearance in brisket. Of course, that might be where you are coming from to start with. One thought on bbqcritic.com, though, is that you are going to have judges that are putting more effort into educating themselves and caring more about the bbq community. In other words, the best of the judges are there.
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Unread 04-23-2012, 02:15 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tdwalker View Post
G$,

<snip>

If you haven't already, check out bbqcritic.com and you can see a lot of the judges comments regarding the appearance in brisket. Of course, that might be where you are coming from to start with. One thought on bbqcritic.com, though, is that you are going to have judges that are putting more effort into educating themselves and caring more about the bbq community. In other words, the best of the judges are there.

Even at BBQ Critic (which I really enjoy checking out) some of the judges make comments that I just shake my head at. And just like at the judges table, there are scores given on BBQ Critic that range from 5 to 9 on the same sample. Since we are all human, we all have a variety of standards, and we apply these different standards to our scoring.
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Unread 04-23-2012, 02:25 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by G$ View Post
Appearance is the only part of KCBS scoring that we can render (imperfectly) through a computer screen, so it gets a lot of press.

I am not a CBJ, just a sometime competitor. However, I do have opinions (naturally) on some of the more common items related to appearance scores, what the CBJs are taught, and how much is left to personal preference.


So, for you KCBS CBJs:
  • In class, were there any guidelines on specifically what a brisket turn in "should look like"? I've taken the CBJ twice (2nd time to accompany my wife when she became a CBJ) and both times I heard that the brisket should be sliced a pencil-width (if slices are presented).
  • In class, was uniformity of the meat samples discussed as an appearance criteria? Not really, it was mostly stated that the meat should have a "pleasing" and "appetizing" appearance.
  • Is the criteria for appearance truly taught to be simply "Does it make me want to take a bite?" Not "simply", but one criteria is "does this meat look appetizing?"
  • Do chicken pieces and ribs that are the same size and shape make you want to take a bite, more than irregular pieces? Not necessarily; however, they are usually more visually appealing. Just NOT the skin covered perfectly round balls of mystery meat!
  • When you see a brisket tun in with slices with sides that appear to have been squared after cooking, does it effect how much "you want to take a bite"? NO.
  • Do you think it would be unfair to mark appearance down for this, whether you do or do not do it yourself? No.
  • Do you think that "Brethren CBJs" are more educated or serious about BBQ judging than "non Brethren CBJs"? A desire to continuously gain further knowledge of barbecue and of BBQ competitions is not necessarily an indication of "more educated" than "non Brethren CBJs"; however, I do believe that it is an indication of being serious about barbecue and BBQ judging.
Thanks to anyon willing to give their opinion!
Just my $0.02.
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Unread 04-23-2012, 02:25 PM   #8
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I get the feeling a lot of the folks on BBQ critic get a kick out of pointing out as many little things as possible..although a good tool for a cook to fine tune their boxes.. I really hope some of these folks aren't judging boxes at a comp.
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Unread 04-23-2012, 02:28 PM   #9
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I forgot that smoke ring was discussed and we were specifically told to ignore it because it can be created artificially.

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Unread 04-23-2012, 02:28 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bignburlyman View Post
Even at BBQ Critic (which I really enjoy checking out) some of the judges make comments that I just shake my head at. And just like at the judges table, there are scores given on BBQ Critic that range from 5 to 9 on the same sample. Since we are all human, we all have a variety of standards, and we apply these different standards to our scoring.
I very much agree . My favorites are the ones where they talk about more about how they don't like the way the garnish looks vs the food. So many very much so judge the garnish. Stinks, but I have been working to make mine better.

I only judged once last year after taking the judging class and the KCBS reps heavily stressed to only judge what is put into the box and to "stop trying to out think the cooks". I found a brisket box on bbqcritic where the brisket turn in was pulled and pretty much every comment was on how the cook must have screwed up and couldn't turn in slices. I hope the reps keep stressing that at competitions.
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Unread 04-23-2012, 04:11 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by G$ View Post




So, for you KCBS CBJs:
  • In class, were there any guidelines on specifically what a brisket turn in "should look like"?
  • In class, was uniformity of the meat samples discussed as an appearance criteria?
  • Is the criteria for appearance truly taught to be simply "Does it make me want to take a bite?"
  • Do chicken pieces and ribs that are the same size and shape make you want to take a bite, more than irregular pieces?
  • When you see a brisket tun in with slices with sides that appear to have been squared after cooking, does it effect how much "you want to take a bite"?
  • Do you think it would be unfair to mark appearance down for this, whether you do or do not do it yourself?
  • Do you think that "Brethren CBJs" are more educated or serious about BBQ judging than "non Brethren CBJs"?
Thanks to anyon willing to give their opinion!
I took my original CBJ class in KC in Oct of 2003, but did audit a class in Las Vegas last summer. Most of these are my memory from last summer, and it is fleeting...I am not sure if all of your question are asking if the KCBS teacher tried to teach it or are seeking the CBJ's personal observation, so some of my answers may need to be corrected.

No.
I do remember the #2 pencil comment.
I don't think it was a mentioned as a judging critera, but I believe it was referenced.
No.
No.
Yes.
No.
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