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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 05-12-2013, 10:41 AM   #1
BABYGOTBUTT
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Default Calling all kcbs judges!

I am relativly new to competition bbq having completed 11 competitions. We just wrapped up a competition in Fredericksburg and after reviewing our scores, I am left scratching my head. I am not, and I repeat, not playing the sore loser role because we did very well. Its that I saw something in the scoring that I have not personally expierenced in the previous competitions. Our scoring was ALL over the map. And I mean all over the map. I had two judges give us 9 9 8 and 8 8 9 in brisket. Two other judges gave us 5 6 5 and 6 6 6 for the same box. I know taste in subjective but as far as appearence? How to I go from a 5 from one judge to a 9 from another, both of which are looking at the same box. Tenderness? Same comment. I'm not saying it should have been a 9 or a 5. I'm just wondering how there can be such a swing. The biggest difference in scoring we have expierenced to date is 2 plus or minus. Same thing went for other meat categories? Any feedback is very much appreciated.
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Old 05-12-2013, 11:06 AM   #2
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While I am a cbj I've only judged once, but I cook a lot so my opinion is from that perspective......

We basically had the same thing happen this weekend and our last 3 previous competitions have been really good for us, especially in chicken. This time around I though the food (other than brisket) was exactly the same if not better than the previous 3 competitions and we had a few 6's and 7's in taste tenderness in chicken and pork.

In my short 3 years of competing (around 33 competitions total) I have now come to accept that 1 competition of bad scores doesn't need over analyzing especially if you thought the food was good. If your scores drop for multiple comps in a row then maybe you need to dig deeper into what went wrong. I really thought our food was great this weekend, but the judges did not. I actually thought our brisket was bad and that was one of our better scores .

So chalk it up to that. If your scores hurt for 2 in a row then it might be time to retool or think hard at what might have been different to make the scores drop.

For appearance when scores are way different for one judge I do wonder what happened as you would think scoring for appearance would see similar scores. For taste and tenderness though it is possible for 2 burnt ends or 2 pieces of chicken to have different tenderness. Can't bite into each piece of chicken to know for sure .
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Old 05-12-2013, 01:51 PM   #3
Hawg Father of Seoul
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Yeah, I actually thought of apologizing to Vince (Rhythm and Que) for not accepting some of his statements in the "new software, tracking judges thread".

Two contests in a row we have had a category where some mindless prick has given us 777 when all of other appearance scores were 9's. Give me a bad score, just not a mindless one.
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Old 05-12-2013, 01:51 PM   #4
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This weekend we walked in pork with 5th place. All the judges gave us no lower than an 8 in taste in tenderness except one judge. This judge scored us a 6 in taste & a 5 in tenderness. Then they left us a comment card stating, "Meat was very tough, not tender at all. Taste - not much at all." I almost felt offended when I read this. Of course, this score was dropped and we walked regardless; however, I have a sneaking suspicion that this was a new judge who had no idea what they were doing. The taste comment was kind of rude IMO. I can only hope the table capt. & reps inquired as to why their score was so off from the rest of the table. I pray for anyone who gets this particular judge again.
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Old 05-12-2013, 04:08 PM   #5
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Looking at the overall scores from that contest they are pretty low. This could mean there were a bunch of new or unseasoned judges there. I wouldn't beat yourself up too much about the scores.
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Old 05-12-2013, 04:27 PM   #6
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Probably caught a table with a couple of cooks judging...
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Old 05-12-2013, 05:36 PM   #7
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Newbie judges and new judges recruited for the contest (yes this happens more than you would believe) are told by the rep, the score card and the cd that average is 6 and a good starting point and this is hammered in. Last contest, we knew that each table had one recruit and a recruit as a TC. I looked at my scores and could tell you exactly which was the new recruit. Ignore this one an move on.

Most "seasoned" judges actually believe the range is 7 to 9 and not the 2 to 9 range. So the question is, which score is more realistic the john doe or the Master Certified BBQ Judge?
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Old 05-12-2013, 05:40 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BABYGOTBUTT View Post
Our scoring was ALL over the map. And I mean all over the map. I had two judges give us 9 9 8 and 8 8 9 in brisket. Two other judges gave us 5 6 5 and 6 6 6 for the same box. I know taste in subjective but as far as appearence? How to I go from a 5 from one judge to a 9 from another, both of which are looking at the same box.
Did you put burnt ends in the box? It may have been that a couple of those judges "expect" burnt ends and judge down if they don't get them instead of judging what is in the box.

Same with ribs, it may have been a "babyback vs. spares" type of thing.
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Old 05-12-2013, 06:55 PM   #9
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Differences of more than 2 points within the same table should catch the attention of the table captain and rep and eventually, hopefully, the organizer.

It is the table captain and rep that can tell if this happened just once or if a judge has a pattern of either high or low scoring compared to the rest of the table.

The reps I know will have a private word with a judge. Then observe to see if scores get more even.

There is just not enough information to know if officials were aware or tried to something so that the trend does not continue. Once the score is on the card, it can not be changed. So what is done is done and can not be undone.

I keep hoping that the new scoring system with judge tracking will help this situation.
Time will tell - and that is if the system ever gets into use.

At this stage, all of us just scratch our heads.

There have been judges I did not seat again when I know that scoring is out of wack
and attempts at rehabilitating have failed. Try to rehab a judge before black balling them. Won't help what is already done, but reduces the chances of it happening again.
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Old 05-12-2013, 07:45 PM   #10
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I was a Table Captain this past weekend and my table consisted of 1 first timer, another with 2 contests, 3 with 15 - 20 and 1 Master Judge. Reviewing the scores, showed that the newbies judged higher then the more experienced judges - although not as severe as your example. Listening to discussions after a catagory it's my opinion that it's the judges in the 10 - 20 contest experience that judge lower.
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Old 05-12-2013, 08:34 PM   #11
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I agree that on the whole Masters tend to be more critical judges than average. I keep that in mind when balancing my tables. A lot of the Master Judges in these parts are friends, so if you are not carefully controlling seating assignments you can end up with an entire table of Masters, and that table will be likely to be lower scoring than most.
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Old 05-12-2013, 08:54 PM   #12
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What most judges do not understand is that a 7 is the kiss of death for a team trying to win. What stands out to me is that a judge that scores an entry 977 or 877 had a positive view of the box but did not like the final product for what ever reason and I look very hard at trying to adjust in some way to appeal to all. This judge knows how to count to 9. At the same time there is someone who sees the box appearance as a 6 or 7. For some reason the 6-7 judge never ups the taste and texture score to a higher score than his first number. It is like that is as far as he ever learned to count. I am very supportive of the judges and have a great relationship with many of them. They do a great job. It is the 5-10 % that I have a problem with . They have a direct negative impact on 24 people who just invested $1000 and 3 days of their life for a competition. I really wish these people who pass out the low scores that are inconsistent with the other judges would have to work a complete cook with a team before they could judge again. The day will come when KCBS addresses this issue. In my opinion , this is the single biggest flaw in the whole organization.
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Old 05-12-2013, 09:30 PM   #13
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I want to thank you for this thread. I did my second comp this weekend and was mad, confused about the scores I got. I couldn't understand how ribs were scored for taste 1-9, 2-8, 1-7 and 2 6's?? I understand taste is relevant to an individual but I can't comprehend how one thinks perfect and 2 think horrible cause in reality that is what a 6 represents to a cook.

Had same score for tenderness. I had 6 bones from same rack so again how is their such an extreme from 1 to another?

This happened in every meat category fir tenderness and taste would get at least 1-9, 1-, couple 7's then a 6?

So as a new competitor I am looking to you guys for help. In my first comp we were in the top 50% every meat and overall. This one in bottom 10 every meat and overall. So do I change how I am doing things or see how the next one goes in 2 weeks?
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Old 05-12-2013, 10:32 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Hawg Father of Seoul View Post
Yeah, I actually thought of apologizing to Vince (Rhythm and Que) for not accepting some of his statements in the "new software, tracking judges thread".

Two contests in a row we have had a category where some mindless prick has given us 777 when all of other appearance scores were 9's. Give me a bad score, just not a mindless one.
Sorry to read about the unfortunate scores. I know it happens to all of us but it still sucks when it does. As for an apology, none is necessary. The beauty of a forum that we all have the opportunity to exchange ideas and opinions. I recall that our dialog in that other thread was just that, no hard feelings or disrespect given or received.

Best of luck at your next event and hopefully the mindless pricks stay home that day!
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Old 05-12-2013, 10:46 PM   #15
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Just being a MCBJ doesn't mean that you are a great judge. MOST Master CBJs are very good judges who take their responsibilities seriously, occasionally there's one that isn't.

On an average, I would say that the toughest judges are competition cooks who are judging this weekend. A lot of them are harder on themselves, and other cooks, because they feel that they know what deserves a 9 and if this entry doesn't meet that expectation then too bad.

Almost every organizer or KCBS Rep will do their level best to mix up the judges according to experience, so that one table won't have all Masters while another one has mostly newer judges. Yes, judging is a subjective art and there's going to be differences of opinion on what's a 6 or what's a 9.

The Table Captain should tell a Rep if one judge's scores are way out of line. The Rep should keep an eye on that judge's scores and have a "chat" if the Rep feels that it is needed. The new scoring software should be able to track judges who are consistently out of line with the other judges at his/her table over a period of time. That doesn't mean on one category or at one contest - it means that if there is a pattern of being way too low (or way too high) it will show up.
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