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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 07-21-2008, 09:26 AM   #1
Sir Smoke A Lot
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Default First (and probably last) time judging

I was really looking forward to my first judging experience this past weekend. As the moments before the first turn in approach, I was eager with anticipation.

Chicken - I am thinking to myself "Those are some pretty good presentations. Remember - garnish is optional, so you are judging how appetizing the chicken itself looks." I gave the chicken some fairly high scores all the way around. For the most part, it was cooked very well, and even though some of the sauces used were not exactly my cup of tea - it did not detract from the overall effort.

Ribs - Here is where I ran into some trouble. It was brought to my attention that my scores were lower than everyone else at my table. I know what a well cooked rib is supposed to be. Does that automatically make it a 9 on tenderness? I guess I don't believe it does. If it is well cooked, we are looking at above average at least. If it is not well cooked, does that make it average or below average? I tend to believe it does. If it falls off the bone when I take a bite, if I score that as average or better, is that not a dis service to the other cooks that nailed it? If your rib is well cooked, but you left the membrane on, that is going to hurt you. I don't leave it on - I expect everyone else to remove it as well. Removing the membrane does not make a rib above average - it is what everyone SHOULD do. From what I remember from the class, taste is rather subjective. I DO NOT like sickly sweet sauce. I am probably the exception around here. If your rib tastes like it was dipped in sugar, I am not going to score it high, because that is not what I like.

Pork - again, here is where I got in trouble. Once again, I was told my scores were lower than everyone else at my table. I believe I am good pulled pork cook. If I look at an entry and it looks like it is mush, I am not going to rank it high on appearance even though the box may look nice. I am judging it based on how much I am looking forward to trying it. Is this wrong? If you serve me mush, am I seriously supposed to score it high because it is "tender"? And if all I can taste is salt, even though it may be cooked well, I am going to knock you down.

Brisket - I think they figured I was a lost cause at this time. I got a "square" of brisket. It looked burnt on the top and it was full of fat. While the meat was tasty, it was overcooked and the fat inside detracted from it. Some of the entries were decent and they were cooked pretty well, but there was just not alot of flavor.

So, tell me, am I too hard? I judged things how I truly felt. It may have gone against everyone else at the table, but I was honest with myself. I understand the reps were only doing their job, letting me know my scores were low. I have no ill will toward them. I guess I am very hard on myself as a cook and that translates toward other cooks as well.

Has this happened to anyone else?
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Unread 07-21-2008, 09:36 AM   #2
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In my KCBS judging class I was one of the lower scoring students (having cooked 3 years). It was suggested that those people worked so hard, they would be upset at my scores.

I have not and will not judge. If you cook sh*t, I'll score it accordingly!
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Unread 07-21-2008, 09:38 AM   #3
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It sounds to me like you were very straight forward...it was not a matter of "I dont like this sauce" it was more, expectation for the process for the meat that went into the box....no resudual resentment score from being fooled by appearance to the time that you got to taste the meat.....sounds like a hellova time deciding....
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Unread 07-21-2008, 09:48 AM   #4
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Sorry, but I don't think your competent to be judging! You obviously don't know what a burnt end is and your scoring down for that and your bringing in your personal preferences into your judging and scoring down for that.

Sorry to be harsh here but many of us invest as much as $1000 per contest and expect those that are judging the cooks to have a minimal knowledge of what they are judging.

I'd give you a three as a judge and I'm being kind here!

I'll give you a 7 for being honest and seeking improvement!

Its nice to know that someone is looking at scores that deviate significantly from the norm.
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Unread 07-21-2008, 09:59 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Double D's BBQ View Post
Sorry, but I don't think your competent to be judging! You obviously don't know what a burnt end is and your scoring down for that and your bringing in your personal preferences into your judging and scoring down for that.

Sorry to be harsh here but many of us invest as much as $1000 per contest and expect those that are judging the cooks to have a minimal knowledge of what they are judging.

I'd give you a three as a judge and I'm being kind here!

I'll give you a 7 for being honest and seeking improvement!

Its nice to know that someone is looking at scores that deviate significantly from the norm.

Seriously, is a 2" by 2" chunk of meat is a burnt end? I always thought burnt ends were diced chunks of meat from the point - they are NOT fatty, they are well done and very flavorful. The box that was turned in had 6 2" by 2" chunks of meat that were full of fat.

I have cooked in at least a half dozen contests, so I know what it takes to compete. I was one of 2 judges at my table that has cooked. I usually compete by myself so I am doing all the work. I have taken walks, so I can't be completely clueless.

Do you turn in ribs with a membrane?
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Unread 07-21-2008, 10:01 AM   #6
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yeah, oooops, I didnt vison the "burnt top" with the fat as a burnt end......that is part of the presentation and meat that shows variety in the skills.....and damn good to boot.......
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Unread 07-21-2008, 10:10 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sir Smoke A Lot View Post
Seriously, is a 2" by 2" chunk of meat is a burnt end? I always thought burnt ends were diced chunks of meat from the point - they are NOT fatty, they are well done and very flavorful. The box that was turned in had 6 2" by 2" chunks of meat that were full of fat.

I have cooked in at least a half dozen contests, so I know what it takes to compete. I was one of 2 judges at my table that has cooked. I usually compete by myself so I am doing all the work. I have taken walks, so I can't be completely clueless.

Do you turn in ribs with a membrane?
Yes, burnt ends are either square or rectangular pieces of meat (depending on how the cook cuts them) that come off the point. They are full of fat and flavor and are generally regarded by most to be a delicacy and the most flavorable part of a brisket.

I'd go with your gut feeling here and either consider retiring from judging or increasing your BBQ knowledge. You owe that much to the cooks whose BBQ you are judging. Are you a CBJ? If so you're already violating your oath as a judge. Leave your personal preferences out and judge the product placed before you.

And yes we always take the membrane off the ribs. At least the top one. We leave the bottom one in tack. Did you know that a rib has two membranes? Hopefully you're not scoring down for that!
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Unread 07-21-2008, 10:19 AM   #8
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Just some thoughts.........

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sir Smoke A Lot View Post
Ribs - Here is where I ran into some trouble. It was brought to my attention that my scores were lower than everyone else at my table. I know what a well cooked rib is supposed to be. Does that automatically make it a 9 on tenderness? I guess I don't believe it does. If it is well cooked, we are looking at above average at least.

So what would it take to make it a 9?
Or do you think that a 9 doesn't exist?


If your rib is well cooked, but you left the membrane on, that is going to hurt you. I don't leave it on - I expect everyone else to remove it as well. Removing the membrane does not make a rib above average - it is what everyone SHOULD do.

I must have missed that in the judging class. Can you show me where
removing the membrane is a requirement or even suggested?

Yes, I remove it, but I would NEVER score down soley for that reason.


From what I remember from the class, taste is rather subjective. I DO NOT like sickly sweet sauce. I am probably the exception around here. If your rib tastes like it was dipped in sugar, I am not going to score it high, because that is not what I like.

I know that taste is difficult but if you think that all ribs that have a
sweet sauce on them are crap, aren't you doing a disservice by interjecting your personal tastes since sweet sauces are commonplace? What you are saying is, no matter how well a rib is cooked, if you put a sweet sauce on it, you will score it down. I would hate to have you for a judge.

Brisket - I think they figured I was a lost cause at this time. I got a "square" of brisket. It looked burnt on the top and it was full of fat. While the meat was tasty, it was overcooked and the fat inside detracted from it.

This sounds an awful lot like a burt end, part of the point.
Many judges like these.

So, tell me, am I too hard? I guess I am very hard on myself as a cook and that translates toward other cooks as well.

Maybe judging just isn't your cup of tea..........just my $.02.....nothing more.
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Unread 07-21-2008, 10:26 AM   #9
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What were the scores they were questioning? Were you giving out 2,3,4's?
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Unread 07-21-2008, 10:29 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ZBQ View Post
Just some thoughts.........
You bring up some good points. I do believe a 9 exists and I did give some 9s on the chicken. That is really why I was asking - is a 9 reserved for an exceptionally cooked rib, or should it be more commonplace - for well cooked rib. It seems that the prevailing opinion is that it should be for a well cooked rib. This is the feedback I was looking for.

There is no requirement for removing the membrane, I guess I feel (therein lies my mistake - personal preference) that it detracts from the rib if you can't take a bite without pulling the meat away from the membrane.

I am still not envisioning what was turned in as burnt ends, but maybe I need more brisket education.

Judging probably is not for me. Lesson learned.
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Unread 07-21-2008, 10:30 AM   #11
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by your comments, either you've not been to a judging class, been to a bad class, or didn't pay attention.
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Unread 07-21-2008, 10:32 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sledneck View Post
What were the scores they were questioning? Were you giving out 2,3,4's?
No - the lowest score I gave out was a 4 for some pulled pork that I really wanted to spit out as soon as I put it in my mouth. It was completely mushy.

For chicken, the lowest was probably a 6.

For ribs, it was a 5.

The pulled pork was 4 and the brisket was 6.
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Unread 07-21-2008, 10:39 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sir Smoke A Lot View Post
No - the lowest score I gave out was a 4 for some pulled pork that I really wanted to spit out as soon as I put it in my mouth. It was completely mushy.

For chicken, the lowest was probably a 6.

For ribs, it was a 5.

The pulled pork was 4 and the brisket was 6.
I guess you were kind then because if it was to be spit out then accorsing to this you should of given it a 2


The Board of Directors have approved changes in the judging procedures for 2008. After, a year of testing and development, a new judging slip will be used beginning March 1st, 2008. Each number on the judging slip will have a definition associated with it. The starting point of six has been abolished. There will be no starting point. The definitions are as follows.

9 – Excellent
8 – Very Good
7 – Above Average
6 – Average
5 – Below Average
4 – Poor
3 – Bad
2 – Inedible
1 – Disqualified
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Unread 07-21-2008, 10:46 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Double D's BBQ View Post
Sorry to be harsh here but many of us invest as much as $1000 per contest and expect those that are judging the cooks to have a minimal knowledge of what they are judging.
.
Yes we do all spend upwards of a 1000 but I would hate to keep spending it an turning out bad food and not knowing how bad it was because a table of judges felt bad and didn't want to offend me because of their conscience on how much of my effort and money went in to it. That should be left at the door.
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Unread 07-21-2008, 10:48 AM   #15
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I Think you have it nailed down pretty well, Judging is not for you, lesson learned. its to bad for the teams that completed at this contest.
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