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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 06-19-2008, 10:34 AM   #31
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Your article brings up some very good points, and things that I feel I have experienced as a competitor. I am judging my first comp in a month and I am very much looking forward to seeing how things happen in the tent. I have taken the judging class and I learned a few things, but thought it could have been better. There will, and always should be, some subjectivity to the scores but I am really looking forward to my experience inside the inner sanctum in July!
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Unread 06-19-2008, 11:17 AM   #32
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ZBQ View Post
One thing that I have always thought is that there should be a requirement that to become a judge, you have to have cooked at least one comp, maybe more.

It's a pet peeve of mine when I hear judges talking about things after the entries are scored and cards turned in and you know right away that they have never cooked a comp because they have no idea just how much money, hard work and time goes into getting that box in front of them.
I don't buy the argument that being a competition cook produces a better judge. Don't insult me. I've been cooking backyard barbecue for years, and only last autumn became a CBJ. While I learn something each time I judge, I defy anyone to challenge my ability to determine what constitutes an entry done well.

Competitors choose to compete. I marvel at the talent and experience necessary to produce four quality entries on time; I'm not sure I could do it. I also appreciate the hours and money spent to compete. However, when I judge, I consider nothing but the quality of the piece before me.

A couple times, earlier this season, I've heard contest reps implore us judges to consider the less-than-desirable weather conditions cooks have had to endure, and to score perhaps more generously than normal. Baloney! Every team at these comps dealt with the weather. In the end, the best that day won. Their entries may or may not have been as good as the week before or after, but do not expect me to grade on a curve...this ain't elementary school. Furthermore, please note that the harshest weather I witnessed this season was at the Capital City Cook-off in Jeff City. Ironically, it was at this very competition that I sampled more top-notch entries than any other contest I've judged in '08. In my mind, scoring artificially higher would have been an insult to everyone who endured the cold winds.

When I judge, I consider only what the anonymous team has put before me,
not my preference for dry rub over sauce,
nor my disdain for parsley that I invariably must pick off before sampling,
nor my boredom with sugary-sweet sauces.
I judge not the teams' choices, rather whether they were successful in implementing those choices.

Anyone want to try to convince me that being a competition cook would make me a better judge? Invite me to join your team for a weekend, maybe I'll change my mind.
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Unread 06-19-2008, 11:37 AM   #33
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Chris,

I understand your point and idea. The whole goal of my idea would be getting the judges away from personal taste. If everyone had the same ingredients for the basics it would come down to who can BBQ. I understand your thought on the meat process, but if you get a good purveyor to come in, you will limit these problems. The problem I see in competition is that when fifty teams turn in pork for example, there are fifty different items being judged, that usually taste nothing alike. If everyone has the same base ingredients, it would become an all around BBQ comp that involves cooking. I go to a lot and compete in some comps and everyone makes great food. I had what I consider horrible brisket that I made at my last comp, and my neighboring teams was perfect, I got 15th place and he got 34th place. Only because they probably liked my sauce better.

As far as the teams go, it would be picked out of a hat, it wouldn't matter if all the good teams were in the same bracket or not, you end up against them anyway as it goes now. You have know control at this point who enters the comp. I also believe anyone who enters is a good team with a good chance.

I will stop babbling and get to my point. If everyone is cooking with the same ingredients, it would be a better comp, because it would come down to who can actually cook.

Remember my opinion is like an a$$ hole, everyone has one! LOL
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Unread 06-19-2008, 11:42 AM   #34
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MrSmoker View Post
I am a CBJ and the first time i judged a KCBS contest we were told not to give a lot of nines. They didn't want judges scoring to high. This affected my judgment a lot, especially in the taste category. The first piece was very good but i didn't score to high because if i give it a eight and the next five are better then what, they don't want nines and they can't be all eights.I think we need to taste all the entries and maybe even take another taste to be sure before we score them. I did judge one more time after that and still did not feel comfortable with my choices and i don't think i will judge again.
I would love to know who the Contest Rep was. You are supposed to call it as YOU see it. If you feel it's a 9 you should circle 9 on your card. I think the instruction you got from that Rep was very wrong and should be corrected immediately.
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Unread 06-19-2008, 12:49 PM   #35
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Quote:
Originally Posted by thunter View Post
Well, I am passionate but not crazy... therefore, I will not be turning in chicken feet! I think the point is that the cooks should have some latitude for meat selection (within reason of course), and their selection/entry should be judged for what it is rather than what the judges are accustomed to seeing. To me, this enhances the spirit and atmosphere of competition.

As for what will fit in the box, the KCBS rules are clear that there must be at least six (6) separately identifiable pieces of meat. Now, chicken wholes or halves just don't seem reasonable for obvious reasons; however, if I decided to turn in all breasts or, all wings or, all legs, why should they be scored down because they are not thighs or what the judges are used to seeing? In fact, the rules state that Cornish Hens are legal, but cooks don't turn them in because the judges will score the entry down because of what it is not - thighs! That is just plain wrong and it stifles the atmosphere of competition. what if someone makes a Cornish hen that absolutely rocks? Well, because the judges want to see thighs, it is instantly out of the running! That again is just plain wrong!

As a cook, my job is to make great BBQ for the judges to sample. As a judge, my job is to fairly judge the legal entry that is put in front of me without bias and to do otherwise is a disservice to the cooking teams and the spirit of competition.
In the comps I have judged we have had legs, thighs, breasts and leg quarters turned in that I remember for sure. I haven't heard anyone say anything about judging down because it's not a thigh. In fact I have heard just the opposite. People commenting on their desire to see more than just thighs.

I think that as far as the garnish issue goes, if you use garnish in your box then you should expect the garnish to be an issue in the judging. If it makes your box stand out then it's to your advantage and if it detracts from your box or covers your meat up then obviously it's to your disadvantage. That's why making practice boxes is so important to me. Make lots of boxes and get lots of feedback and the garnish will work for you instead of against you.

Personally, I joined the KCBS knowing the rules of the game and I am not unhappy with the judging experience either from my cooks standpoint or from my Judging standpoint. I would take exception however if I had a rep or table captain that told me not to give too many 9's as I feel that it is up to each judge to decide what is the correct score for a sample. I would report that behavior to the KCBS quickly.
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Unread 06-19-2008, 01:00 PM   #36
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Quote:
Originally Posted by StLouQue View Post
I don't buy the argument that being a competition cook produces a better judge. Don't insult me. I've been cooking backyard barbecue for years, and only last autumn became a CBJ. While I learn something each time I judge, I defy anyone to challenge my ability to determine what constitutes an entry done well.

Competitors choose to compete. I marvel at the talent and experience necessary to produce four quality entries on time; I'm not sure I could do it. I also appreciate the hours and money spent to compete. .
I didn't say, and didn't mean, that it would make a better judge.

All I meant was that they would at least understand the processes
that go on to get the entry in front of them.

I heard a CBJ once laugh and say, "How hard can it be to cook chicken and
throw it in a box?" in response to a team getting DQ'd because they missed turn in time by
seconds.

He also said, "I'll take Damons over this stuff any day, but hey, it's free eats!"

I can see that you at least understand and appreciate the process and
are serious about how you judge. There are CBJ's that can't say that.
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Unread 06-19-2008, 01:02 PM   #37
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Quote:
Originally Posted by OC PIG ASSASSINS View Post
If everyone had the same ingredients for the basics it would come down to who can BBQ.
Not true - how much rub you use makes a big difference, so does trimming and exposign surfaces.

And I agree with the point that all meat is not created equal. Take a case of butts and each cryovac is cut different and with different size butts. So it will also cook differently.
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Unread 06-19-2008, 01:07 PM   #38
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Quote:
Originally Posted by thunter View Post
Judges primarily look for one thing (at the moment) and that is chicken thighs.
Not true -and I spent the 2005 season cooking boneless, skin on breasts. I nailed them one contest for a call but otherwise they just were not as good as thighs. Bottom line is thighs stay moister longer. My test of chicken is leave one piece out and don't touch it until 12:15 and see how it held up. White meat, especially cut usually fails the test. That's why it's scored down and not because a judge wants to see a thigh.
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Unread 06-19-2008, 01:14 PM   #39
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ford View Post
Time out. First the contest is put on by the organizer not the KCBS. The KCBS has no control over who judges. An organizer can use zero CBJ's if they want.

So my question to you is how do your verify that a CBJ has cooked a contest? Do they have to be the head cook or like for MCBJ just work with a team. I have a number of good friends that mainly judge and some have cooekd with me but I don't think that really makes them appreciate just how much a cook puts into a contest.

Bottom line is you pay your money and take your chances.
I totally understand that the organizer is the one who controls who the judges are, not the KCBS.

I just meant to earn the title of CBJ there should be more requirements.

To weed out the "Free Food" crowd and such......

A thought that I had was that the class of prospective judges would have to be there and watch or participate in the prepping and cooking of the meat that is being cooked for the class to evaluate. I realize this is more "labor intensive" and might not be completely feasable but at least they could then understand and appreciate the processes involved and not think that Q is just slapped on a plate and served in 10 minutes.
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Unread 06-19-2008, 02:07 PM   #40
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ZBQ View Post
I didn't say, and didn't mean, that it would make a better judge.

All I meant was that they would at least understand the processes
that go on to get the entry in front of them.

I heard a CBJ once laugh and say, "How hard can it be to cook chicken and
throw it in a box?" in response to a team getting DQ'd because they missed turn in time by
seconds.

He also said, "I'll take Damons over this stuff any day, but hey, it's free eats!"

I can see that you at least understand and appreciate the process and
are serious about how you judge. There are CBJ's that can't say that.

The example you cite is unfortunate. Given this explanation, your previous remarks are more understandable.

I hope you understand that my initial was response was not intended as a personal challenge. I've been a member of this and other bbq forums for several years, and can't tell you how many times I've read ...judges should have to compete because... That is the argument I take exception to. Give it up folks – it'll never happen.

I can let this point rest knowing that you and I better understand each other.

As to Tony's original points: He has a worthwhile position. In my opinion, however, I agree with the posts that maintain it is the mindset of some judges that needs adjustment, not the scoring system. Personally, I'm there to judge, not eat for free. That is why you will never see me bring a cooler; but that's a whole 'nother can of worms...
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Unread 06-19-2008, 02:14 PM   #41
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Tony Great read. As I agree with most of what you say and think you did a great job of saying it. Positive change is how an organization grows and improves I hop we have a lot of intelligent conversations throughout the BB!Q community on this topic.

Ford on the other hand this is not a dead horse just because some of use are old cranky and set in our ways I question what you mean about cooking what the judge likes (which of the 42 or more judges do we cook to impress?)

Garnish is optional and the only reason people spend hours making something look like a salad is old farts want give up the notion that it looks better and as far as I am concerned if I do not put it on my BBQ why should I put it on a turn in other that against the judging rules some judges will mark down on it. One of the absolutely beautiful pork displays had no garnish and was a great display of pork pulled, sliced, and chopped.

Tony keep the faith and maybe some day we can overcome the need for garnish and be judged fairly on the meats we cook. Thanks
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Unread 06-19-2008, 02:15 PM   #42
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i fully appreciate the work you've put into this report, and you're obviously an intelligent person.

Having said that, good bbq is good bbq, and play the game as it is. (some) Judges like garnish, most think differently about pulled chicken, etc.. I think most of us know what to do in a contest and what not to do. We can't change this games unspoken rules, so we just do what is expected and do the best we can.
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Unread 06-19-2008, 05:33 PM   #43
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Ford,

completely uderstood, that being said by you, you would understand that if you were given a piece of meat right before you needed to start cooking, it would take a better bbq'er to adjust. Anyone (almost anyone, not my brother!) can by a peice of meat three days before a comp, google how to cook it and get rub recipes and show up and cook it. It takes talent to be able to adjust to any raw product thrown your way. All pork butts are able to be used, size and shape doesn't matter if you can adjust. If you the cook cannot adjust, I am not sure they should consider themselves professional?

As far as the rub goes, they are not rubbing your meat for you, they would give you the ingredients and you would need to measure, mix, and rub yourself.

I do a lot of cooking comps bbq and other kinds and that is just my opinion on how you can tell who really knows the art of BBQ, if everyone started equal.

With that said I love KCBS events and meeting everyone and partying for three days, so I hope to see you there!
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Unread 06-19-2008, 07:18 PM   #44
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Quote:
Originally Posted by OC PIG ASSASSINS View Post
Ford,

completely uderstood, that being said by you, you would understand that if you were given a piece of meat right before you needed to start cooking, it would take a better bbq'er to adjust. Anyone (almost anyone, not my brother!) can by a peice of meat three days before a comp, google how to cook it and get rub recipes and show up and cook it. It takes talent to be able to adjust to any raw product thrown your way. All pork butts are able to be used, size and shape doesn't matter if you can adjust. If you the cook cannot adjust, I am not sure they should consider themselves professional?

As far as the rub goes, they are not rubbing your meat for you, they would give you the ingredients and you would need to measure, mix, and rub yourself.

I do a lot of cooking comps bbq and other kinds and that is just my opinion on how you can tell who really knows the art of BBQ, if everyone started equal.

With that said I love KCBS events and meeting everyone and partying for three days, so I hope to see you there!
OK - so can we use our own cookers? Personally I think it's much harder to build a fire or let's go all the way and give each team some cement blocks and sheets of tin. I seem to remember a show that did that. Now there's a test of who is really a "true" bbq'r. And how about a burn barrell so we only use preburned coals for cooking. That's the true art of BBQ. But it doesn 't mean it's the best BBQ and that's what KCBS is about.

Head out to the mid west sometime and I'll buy you a beer. I did my East Coast trip a few years back.
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Unread 06-19-2008, 07:20 PM   #45
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Two years ago at the BBQlossal, I was at a table where one judge told me that she scored down a pork entry because it didn't have any sliced pork in the box. I gave her an earful, but the table captain really let her have it.

I'm a judge and an cook and I absolutely hate it when we are at the judging table and the judges are more interested in the "doggie bag" to take the food home than in the judging itself. I'd like to see them do away with the "doggie bags" so the judges can focus more on the entry than what they'll be eating later that night.

I wish they would do away with the garnish. It's supposed to be a meat contest, not a parsley contest.
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