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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, 07:55 PM   #46
StLouQue
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Originally Posted by watertowerbbq View Post
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.
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Unread 06-19-2008, 08:41 PM   #47
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I agree with Ford on how to "fix" the juding problem.
Education, education, education

I was judging last weekend at Mt. Vernon. one of our chicken entries was breast meat. I liked the way it looked - i found out after we turned in our cards - everyone at our table judged it the same way as it was presented to us. I thought that was great! It gave me a warm and fuzzyy :)

I sat next to St. Lou Que at Jeff City and it was without a doubt the best food i had all year too. (except for the third rib entry, yikes! remember those Steve?) and it was flipping cold. I didnt like hearing the reps say to give the teams a break. What if some judges didnt do that. Sigh.

BTW, I too would like to see it be required for judges to cook more than once and sitting with a team and watching them for a weekend should not count. But then judges like Steve come along and he really doesn't need to compete. He is out there giving his honest opinion and trying real hard, judging the way he is supposed to be doing. If the judges we had out there would just do what they are told to do then we would all be better off.

Another thing I get tired of reading is get rid of the garnish. It WON'T happen. Spend you time wishing for something that might happen, like $2 a gallon gas.
It is part of what makes KCBS, KCBS. If you dont want garnish do a FBA contest. I did a contest recently where there was no garnish, it was a LOT harder to put that box together. I can hide some "mistakes" with garnish. It is easier to keep the box clean with garnish too! I like that we have garnish, I like what the garnish does and what it means.

Also last weekend at Mt. Vernon we had a chicken entry where the garnish covered up the chicken about half way. EveryONE at the table scored it down because we could not see the meat.

I also sat at a contest this year and the person on my right was there for the take home bag and I still dont know how he was able to judge the chicken he had. I dont understand taking home food to eat and share with others. You ate off of that , why someone else would want to is beyond me.
I have taken home food once and it just wasnt the same. You better believe I told the organizer of the contest but I did not tell anyone else. The other odd thing was the judge ate most of the other three categories but the chicken looked so untouched it was ridiculous.

That same judge really came across as a backyard cooker who "knows" good BBQ. I dont think he knows his ears from his nose.

I have judged four times this year and that judge is the only judge at my table or any other table that I did not want juding my food at a contest. There are just a few bad judges out there there that are giving all of us/them a bad rep.

Although as Ford will tell you , this year it doesnt seem to matter which judges gets my food, the food just isnt turning out like i want it too. :(

Bottom line is as far as i can tell it isnt as bad out there as you think it is
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Unread 06-20-2008, 02:30 AM   #48
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Thanks for the compliment, Greg.

A CBJ at my table once complained that the chicken sample received wasn't "done." "It wasn't bloody, this judge admitted, it just... didn't look done."

That's the stuff you cooks are up against, and I feel your pain. Competitors are too often faced with the occasional judge's resistance to accept barbecue that may be different from what he/she is accustomed to eating at home. I witness stubborn adherence to habits, every day. That's too bad, in my opinion, because when we refuse to open our minds (and tastebuds) to the unfamiliar, we deny ourselves greater knowledge, better understanding and more varied experiences.

Maybe CBJ classes should include a dvd, with close-ups detailing what defines the KCBS standards?

But, all the responsibility for wacko scores does not fall solely upon the judges. There are two cooking negatives witnessed repeatedly at each of the four tables I've sat down to, this year. Pork shoulder that is mushy, and brisket that tastes like injection fluid. Why these items turned out as they did is interesting to me as a cook. When your meat tastes off, I learn what to avoid in my own barbecue. If you want higher scores, don't give me reasons; give me better barbecue.
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Unread 06-20-2008, 11:44 AM   #49
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MrSmoker View Post
...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.
That is too bad! It sounds like you are conscientious judge and that is what we need to begin making things better! I would strongly urge that you go back to judging and just do what you know is right regardless of what they say!
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Unread 06-20-2008, 11:54 PM   #50
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Roo-B-Q'N View Post
Tony, good luck with this. I don't want to rain on your passion here, but don't hold your breath with the KCBS Board. Comment cards were beta tested last year and met favorably by the judges, teams, organizers and the several of the reps that tested them. It was apparent that the membership wanted this type of program implemented. The Board ignored the membership and voted it down.

In my opinion KCBS is out for only one thing when it comes to CBJ's and that is increased membership. They push for classes to be held, and "graduate" scores of CBJ's with very little to no follow up or oversight of them. In fact they demand that the organizers of contests ensure they are truely CBJ's. To me this is like a lot of people that bring children into the world and expect society raise them.

The current system is not broken when it comes to judging, but it is by no means perfect either. Your ideas have merit and hopefully someday they will be looked at seriously and implemented. Until then Candied Thighs anyone?
That was a strange vote, we ran the test and the south really fought the score cards but would use the judging comment cards. When the vote was taken the vote it went the other way. Can't explain why.

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Unread 06-20-2008, 11:59 PM   #51
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I know that KCBS is working with the Unv of Missouri to improve the judging train program. It should be interesting to see what they come up with.
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Unread 06-21-2008, 12:13 AM   #52
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jminion View Post
I know that KCBS is working with the Unv of Missouri to improve the judging train program. It should be interesting to see what they come up with.
Jim,

This is excellent news! I would be willing to participate in any pilot classes or beta programs associated with this.
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Unread 06-21-2008, 05:06 AM   #53
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I would too. I think judges should have to take refresher classes. Especially if they do not do it often. I plan on doing that
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Unread 06-21-2008, 12:24 PM   #54
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The issue isn't with the judges, it's with the standards - there aren't any.

Here's my perspective as a judge:

I don't care how much money competitors spend, how far they travel or how much work goes into what's in front of me at judge's table. I know it's a lot but none of that matters. I look at each entry the same regardless of whether the competitor drove 5 miles or 500, spent $100 or $10,000.

When that box is opened, I judge:

Appearance:
Is it legal under KCBS rules?
Overall, how appetizing does the meat look?
Does it look dry or greasy?
Is the overall presentation clean?
If portioned, are the portions even?
If garnished, is the box balanced or does the garnish overwhelm or take away from the meat?
How much do I want to eat this entry based on what I see?

Tenderness:
Is it undercooked? (tough)
Is it overcooked? (ribs fall off the bone, brisket falls apart, pork mushy, chicken rubbery)

Taste:
Do I get the taste of the product itself?
Is it over/under salted?
Is it over/under seasoned?
Is it greasy?
Is it dry?
If pork, it it over cured (Hammy)?
If sauced, does the sauce compliment the product or overwhelm it?
How is the overall balance of flavor/sweet/heat?
How is the finish flavor?
Is there an aftertaste?

I do this for every sample put in front of me and score based on these criteria.
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Unread 06-21-2008, 07:44 PM   #55
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Slamdunkpro,

Thank you, thank you!

Your description of the things you consider in judging each entry placed before you is outstanding. After reading it, I realized that this is what many of us do without thinking about it to come up with the scores we award each entry. This is the first time I have seen these criteria listed in such a logical and complete manner.

I have attended CBJ classes held by two different trainers and neither one provided nearly this complete, concise and informative explanation of the things we should be considering when evaluating each entry. This should be made part of the CBJ training.

Your comments regarding the fact that the finished product as submitted to the judges is what matters, rather than the money and effort expended to produce that finished product is also right on target.

Thanks again, Mike
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Unread 06-21-2008, 11:38 PM   #56
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I'd like to know why a lot of cooks will remove the skin from the chicken thighs, do their magic on the meat then wrap a tender, tasty, juicy piece of meat with a chunk of rubber masquerading as skin? KCBS rules state that chicken may be skin on or skinless but if presented with the skin then the judge should take at least one bite if the skin. If I take a bite of skin and it is so rubbery that I can't tear a bite of off it, then rest assured your score will suffer.
A few of us in the tent at State Center had this conversation today. Almost all of us agreed that (at least in some cases) the entry would have done a lot better if it was turned in skinless.
I know that I'm not an experienced judge (one year & 7 comps) but it seems as if some other CBJs feel the same.

By the way, we had an entry of drummies that did pretty well.
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Unread 06-22-2008, 10:06 AM   #57
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Quote:
Originally Posted by StLouQue View Post
...judges should have to compete because... That is the argument I take exception to. Give it up folks – it'll never happen.

I wont argue but it might help Judges appreciate the process more and that cant be too bad of a thing. IMHO a Master Judge should cook at least once but that is my opinion.

That is why you will never see me bring a cooler; but that's a whole 'nother can of worms...
After cooking all 4, I dont want any BBQ. Bring your cooler, sign a waiver and I will load you up, after Judging of course.
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Unread 06-22-2008, 10:57 AM   #58
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Quote:
Originally Posted by thunter View Post
That is too bad! It sounds like you are conscientious judge and that is what we need to begin making things better! I would strongly urge that you go back to judging and just do what you know is right regardless of what they say!
After reading Slamdunkpro's tread i think I will try again.Since I stopped competing I miss being involved with the contest. Thanks for the encouragement.
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Unread 06-22-2008, 08:32 PM   #59
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Quote:
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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.
I think the reason most cooks turn in thighs is because they (a) tender up nicely (b) are likely to stay moist (c) take seasoning/flavors well. It is the best cut of meat to put in the box, if the box is going to have to sit and wait to get to a judges table, etc. Breasts can get rubbery, and dry out very quickly/easily. Legs have lots of connective tissue that does not get tender... wings, well, they are wings - I eat them with lots of cold beer.
I'm all for turning in other parts of the chicken - but the other parts are less likely to end up as good, or consistent as the thighs. I don't think it has as much to do with what a judge "expects" to see - as what tastes good when it makes it to the judge... and what fits nicely looks good in the box.
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Unread 06-23-2008, 07:43 AM   #60
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There ladys and gentlmen is a man wise beyond his years.
There are six different taste buds at each table and don't assume all enjoy thick sauced candied thighs.
The first box of big, well cooked, seasoned dry wings gets a row of 9's from me.
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