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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 05-20-2012, 09:24 PM   #1
Southland
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Default Memphis in May 2012 Question

Being from the Memphis area, I realize that if anything can be screwed up, we can do it.

Was reading the local rag listing the top winners and have a question.

In the whole hog, shoulder and ribs the paper listed the top three in each.
The whole hog won the grand champion, her business partner won top in ribs and a former team member won top shoulder.

There were 247 teams entered and only two teams out of the winners listed were from out of the area.

I know we have good que in the area but with 247 teams competing, it seems that we are heavy in the winners dept..

As someone that has never been to a comp. cook, my question would be is it possible to throw the contest even if it was a blind judge.
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Unread 05-21-2012, 07:56 AM   #2
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Onsite Judging certainly opens the door for impropriety, however with 3 separate judges the odds of getting all 3 with a bias toward a "local" team is pretty slim... particularly when many of the judges themselves aren't from the area.

Blind box is simply impossible to "Rig" in this event given there is zero garnish, zero marking on the boxes, etc. I suppose there is a chance to "Signal" judges through a predetermined arrangement of meat....however, again, you'd have to someone communicate this to all the judges or be lucky enough to have your table be completely biased and informed.

Basically, no. :)
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Unread 05-21-2012, 08:08 AM   #3
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Of course Melissa and Pete are from Yazoo Mississippi. While the competitors and judges are from all over creation, the price of entry and the additional costs to stay for that many days, etc. pretty much skews the field of participants somewhat to a local a bit closer to home.
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Unread 05-21-2012, 08:33 AM   #4
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Another fact is they are just that good.
All three have won Grand Champion before. I have judged Yazoo before and there is no doubt they deserved my 10.
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Unread 05-21-2012, 08:48 AM   #5
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And, Pete's a brethren! :-)
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Unread 05-21-2012, 09:24 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Swinebuck View Post
Another fact is they are just that good.
Exactly. There are some very solid teams scattered all over the country, but the majority of teams that truly master this TYPE of bbq are generally found within a few hundred miles of Memphis, TN.
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Unread 05-21-2012, 09:39 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Southland View Post
In the whole hog, shoulder and ribs the paper listed the top three in each.
The whole hog won the grand champion, her business partner won top in ribs and a former team member won top shoulder.
I choose to think that this type of result validates the judging process. You have three people who have cooked together for a while and probably have similar techniques and flavor profiles. Their samples went to different judges and all three were judged superior by three different groups.
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Unread 05-21-2012, 09:59 AM   #8
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Thanks for the answers. Was not trying to stir the pot but just looked a little strange that three winners had a close relationship plus over the years I have noticed repeat winners several times. Know it would be hard to "rig" but found it odd with 247 teams that the top winners were all local. Altho Horn Lake is on the other side of the "hood" from me, might have to drive down to the winners rest. and check the food.
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Unread 05-21-2012, 10:37 AM   #9
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Also, refer to sanctioning bodies. MiM is more MBN centric, and the teams that "specialize" in MBN competitions tend to do better at MiM (tendencies). Then look to where MBN has their competitions. Mostly TN, GA, MS, AL, some LA, NC, and VA. Your more practiced MBN style teams will more than likely be from these states.
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Unread 05-21-2012, 07:53 PM   #10
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msavard is correct... this TYPE of bbq is usually mastered by teams in/around the Memphis area for the simple reason that it is Memphis style bbq that the judges are trained to sample/judge. Even if the judges aren't from the area, they are trained to judge by Memphis Barbecue Network standards.

I have judged Yazoo in the past, in the rib division. They honestly deserved my 10 that day. (I judged two other excellent teams that day, and the decision was close, but they honestly earned the 10.)

Fact of the matter is: Each of these teams has been doing this style of bbq for long enough to know what the judges are looking for, and to cater to those tastes. They're just that good.
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Unread 05-21-2012, 10:46 PM   #11
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Default Memphis BBQ Company

Quote:
Originally Posted by Southland View Post
Thanks for the answers. Was not trying to stir the pot but just looked a little strange that three winners had a close relationship plus over the years I have noticed repeat winners several times. Know it would be hard to "rig" but found it odd with 247 teams that the top winners were all local. Altho Horn Lake is on the other side of the "hood" from me, might have to drive down to the winners rest. and check the food.
Thanks
Ride down and try them out. I've been there at least 5 times and had ribs, brisket and pulled pork. We even got a whole butt to go one night. All good.

...and you will get see their impressive MIM trophy shelf. Lots of wins.
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Unread 05-22-2012, 10:00 AM   #12
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I think I have the ability to pass on some input about the judging process at MiM. The Black Pig BBQ took 5th in the whole hog division. We are a small little team from Canada, with a small budget and small little cookers. Our blind scores were fantastic, we missed finals by just .9 of a point. Our short coming was due to the onsite judging. When a judge walks on site the impression scores count, atmosphere adds to the scores. This is often the tipping point. Big cookers, big (exclusive) set design, fancy floors, gates and history at the event will tip the scales when the pork is perfect. One judge can back and told us he had to give his three 10’s to another team (who did final) not of the pork or presentation but overall impression. Here all of the details count.

I'm not saying that we were any better then we were judged, what I'm saying is that this is not a double blind contest; there are "other" contributing factors.

With that being said, my daughter noted that we are a patio porker team that competes with the big rigs and big budgets, so if you have great pork, you can take grand, but it's not going to be that simple.

Kudos for all that were called, and to those who were not, just throw in some ABT's next year…


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Unread 05-22-2012, 04:32 PM   #13
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Great answers, thanks. Almost didn't ask question for fear of being slammed. My take now is that even tho judges may be from other areas, they know the favorite style for the area they are in. I also think that it would be correct to assume that whenever a team goes to a cook, they need to cook in the style of that area. Years ago a chili cook told me whenever he went to different areas, his recipe had to change. Think that woud apply to Que as well.
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Unread 05-22-2012, 04:55 PM   #14
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^^^ Not at all. However, the different sanctioning bodies define what is and isn't perfect BBQ differently. MiM judges are MBN judges. I judged MiM way back in 2006. I saw the same product in Memphis as I had in Milledgeville, and Macon, and Stone Mountain, and Vienna, and, and, and. BUT, in MiM (now MBN), you wont see nearly as much sauce as you'd typically see in KCBS cookoffs, or others for that matter. Also, the teams practice things like on-site (which KCBS and most others dont have), and finals (which only some have). It's a different animal altogether. Even without onsite, I see many KCBS cooks get frustrated with what it takes just to do something like GBA, which has a finals without the on-site.

All I was saying is that they're different, and the cooks and teams that practice that tend to do better. Yazoo's, and Gwatney, and Bubba Grills, and and and ... tend to do more MBN cookoffs than other types, so they're more practiced at those. Bub-Ba-Q, Quau, Cancer Sucks, etc. tend to cook more KCBS style so they tend to do better in the Royals and the Jacks...

I mean, KCBS for GC rewards consistency and consistent great Q, where MBN you could be DAL in everything but one category, win it and GC with one superior Q, the best BBQ overall on that day. Neither is right nor wrong, just different. The skills that it takes to put out consistently awesome barbecue on 30 minute time windows (one each of chicken, ribs, pork, and brisket) is different than the skills to put out an awesome Q on hourly intervals with an initial blind turn-in and a visitor on-site every 15 minutes judging not only your barbecue but the cleanliness of your camp and your presentation of your barbecue. Neither right nor wrong, just very different.
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Unread 05-22-2012, 08:06 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Iamarealbigdog View Post
I think I have the ability to pass on some input about the judging process at MiM...

...Our blind scores were fantastic, we missed finals by just .9 of a point.

I'm not saying that we were any better then we were judged, what I'm saying is that this is not a double blind contest; there are "other" contributing factors.
Not trying to put you down in any way here, but .9 is a ton on the MBN scale, and everybody knows the onsite judging is the key part of the competition going in.

I love the Memphis format, but there is no doubt it requires a much higher commitment of money and energy than most any other type of sanctioned contest short of the mega rib burn-offs, especially 800lb gorilla that is MIM. Kudos to you for having the gumption to take a stab at it! I bet your pork was awesome.
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