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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 04-17-2007, 08:51 PM   #1
The_Kapn
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Default Judging--"Catch-All"

I'm feeling "frisky" tonight, so lets just get it on!

We have several threads running about judging. Just like all the forums out there.
A lot of really good stuff, and some absolute BS posted everywhere.
So--here is my "Not so Humble Opinion"

I will address only the PRO competitions and only KCBS and FBA.
Those are my only certifications.
In all cases, this is my goal as a competitor and my thoughts as a Judge.

APPEARANCE overall:
It is a PRO competition!
Make it look PROFESSIONAL!
That means (to me):
A well thought out arrangement of the meat and garnish (if garnish is selected).
A focus on the meat with any garnish complimenting the meat.
A presentation that looks visually and artistically appealing.
And, most importantly, MAKE ME WANT TO EAT THAT MEAT!

How do you do that??????
Do not expect me to score appearance high if you:

Pile stuff in there with no organization or apparent plan.
Line the sides with wilted or "crappy" garnish. Garnish is "your choice" to use or not (KCBS)--do it PRO or leave it out! If you use it--I will definitely consider it from the artistic and PRO side of your entry.
Line the sides with garnish that is not organized and somewhat even (or even showing a "plan").
Cut all of your ribs differently or have ragged cut marks or all of that. A properly cooked rib (or brisket slice) will have a clean cut if done with a properly sharpened knife. Cut your ribs evenly! Don't present me with some that are one inch wide with bone showing on the side and others that are "double cut" in the same box! (Do not laugh--I have seen that!)
Show me "X" slices of brisket that did not come from the same area and that you did not even line up in order.
Show me "X" number chicken pieces that you have made no attempt to make "at leasts similar" to each other.

Sliced, chopped, shredded??? Take your best shot!
I will judge appearance it as presented and record my score to the best of my ability.
If it is "overcooked brisket", that is mushy--and that you have chopped or whatever to cover up the overcooking--I will be catch you with the tenderness or flavor score
If it is really well done brisket that you elected to chop--I will reward that on the tenderness and flavor scores.

So--I look at the box from two perspective's:
Is it appealing from an "artistic" and "Professionally prepared" view.
Is it "making me want to eat it" as the second part.
Both are important in my mind!

I have written earlier about the difference between a "diner" and a "5-star" restaurant. It is the "presentation" and the delivery that make me pay $50 for a meal and not $10
I "see" PRO--I expect to taste PRO.
I cook for (and judge) at the PRO level--that is what we do!

Basically--I look at the box as "Did a PRO do this" ? Attention to detail is what Pros do

As to "covering up" defects in the meat with the presentation--go for it!
That is what PROs do. That is why they are successful.
Appearance/Presentation is a small part of the overall score and I will give them the presentation score and catch it later on the taste or texture score if they were hiding chit. I "presume" nothing on appearance about taste and texture!

Taste and Texture:
I like spicy food!
I do not cook spicy BBQ for comps--I prefer to score well
If someone has a really sweet entry, I judge it as it sits.
If it is edible, and if the flavor does not overwhelm the meat--I am good to go!
Do what you want to do with sauce and flavors--just let the meat shine through!!!!!!!!!!!

I like food cooked to a certain texture!
Do I score "Up or Down" based on my likes----NO!
But, I have judged some really great "texture"--I know it can be done.

I prefer to cook and eat spares. We have scored well with both babybacks and spares. As a judge--I do not care! Cook what you want, do it well, and I will record the results the best I can!

I think a lot of the "Internet confusion and emotion" comes from the inability to separate "What I like" from " What score did I give" in the posts

All I can say as a cook and a judge is:
Pay attention to detail and have a great time!

Just some thoughts--I think we get too stressed out based on what someone says in a forum.

Let it start!

TIM
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Unread 04-17-2007, 09:05 PM   #2
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I have to say I think I see it the same way.

One question about ribs being even. Seems to me that it is easier to get similar sized and cut spares than baby backs. Similar sized baby backs are tough to get. Do you agree and do you consider that when looking at a box of BB's?
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Unread 04-17-2007, 09:12 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Plowboy View Post
I have to say I think I see it the same way.

One question about ribs being even. Seems to me that it is easier to get similar sized and cut spares than baby backs. Similar sized baby backs are tough to get. Do you agree and do you consider that when looking at a box of BB's?
Todd,
With all due respect--Nitpicking!

I want to see some consistant slices and I do not care what the source is!
If you put them in the box professionally--they all look fine!
We have little problem finding spares or BBs that are similar.


TIM
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Unread 04-17-2007, 09:20 PM   #4
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Great post TIM. Much more concise and well put than my comments!
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Unread 04-17-2007, 09:33 PM   #5
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I think if all judging was done as the Kapn does it, we would all have fair scoring and, as Spice put it, not a 989 then a 555 on a chicken entry. I think there are too many out there that go off "personal taste" and not a "standardized" requisite for judging professional barbeque. Great post!
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Unread 04-18-2007, 08:17 AM   #6
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Good post... however, the covering up part... A pro does it so it doesn't LOOK like he's covering something up. Just placing parsley in a spot because something is there that the cook doesn't want judged in appearance looks amateurish.
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Unread 04-18-2007, 08:49 AM   #7
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Excellent post, Kapn! give yourself a gold star for the week! I'm going to be judging my first competition later this spring and I will keep your observations in mind.

One thing that I still have a hard time understanding is the topic of personal taste. Yeah, just because I like things spicy that does not mean that I will score down ribs that aren't spicy, BUT, if a judge has a strong aversion to a flavor (let's pick on Cumin since we have a few members who don't like cumin), and that judge gets some ribs that have Cumin in the rub or sauce (not overpowering cumin, but detectable), The natural reaction is to not enjoy those ribs because of the aversion to Cumin. How do you judge impartially in that situation? I don't have any dislikes that would be that strong that I couldn't overlook them, but I'm sure that there are judges out there who do.
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Unread 04-18-2007, 09:04 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cmcadams View Post
Good post... however, the covering up part... A pro does it so it doesn't LOOK like he's covering something up. Just placing parsley in a spot because something is there that the cook doesn't want judged in appearance looks amateurish.
That is really what I was getting at Curt.
Not advocating using garnish, but meat placement can help if done correctly.

Too many words in my rant to get them all just right

TIM
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Unread 04-18-2007, 09:43 AM   #9
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Thanks for your post Kapn! Andy and I will be taking a CBJ class next month and hope to judge a few contests sometime this year. I will keep your comments in mind. I am usually open minded and fair in my everyday life and will be that way when judging.
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Unread 04-18-2007, 09:55 AM   #10
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great post - I have saved it as a doc file and next time I judge I will review again.
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Unread 04-18-2007, 10:07 AM   #11
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Thank you for the great info......I am newbie wanting to learn and this was a very good post. My hat is off to you and I will drink one in you honor today.
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Unread 04-18-2007, 10:29 AM   #12
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Great thoughts Kapn. Im not a judge but maybe someday I will take a class. Hopefully it will help me to be a better cook as well.

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Unread 04-18-2007, 10:59 AM   #13
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Thumbs up.
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Unread 04-18-2007, 11:04 AM   #14
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The tough part on judging is differentiating personal taste vs. what the cook was trying to do, I think. I saw a lot of judges say they didn't like something, but too often it was that they didn't like this or that spice, or it was too sweet, not that the cook did poorly.... Led me to think a lot of personal taste was used. One entry of chicken had a southwestern flavor to it, and one judge didn't like that.. I know he scored their taste poorly, when it was one of the best entries we had.
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