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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 02-19-2010, 12:27 PM   #1
wayner123
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Default Judging and Allergies

Hello All,

Getting back into BBQ'ing. I am interested in becoming a judge before I do any competing. But in looking over various threads, watching tv shows, etc. I wonder if that is a good choice or not?

My main question is should I judge if I have food allergies? More specifically, I am allergic to iodine (which is foudn in every fish, shellfish, etc.). I can eat iodize salt and even some seaweeds, but even smelling fish for too long gives me a small hive outbreak. Is this a concern for someone doing a typical KCBS or even local FBA judging?

I would love to hear your thoughts on judging and food allergies in general as well.
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Old 02-19-2010, 12:38 PM   #2
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Welcome back. Yes, I'm of the opinion that starting as a judge will help you understand
what works, what doesn't, etc. without having to guess (as a team might if they'd not
had the benefit of sitting in a judging chair).

I dont have allergies myself. With that disclaimer, when we've entered anscilary
categories we've always had to declare if we're using any type of seafood or peanut
product (for those two specific allergy types). As a judge (MIM/MBN), I've seen
boxes come across the table labeled (by judging committee, not the team) as having
seafood or peanuts.

Interesting to see if KCBS requires this. I haven't seen, personally.
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Old 02-19-2010, 12:41 PM   #3
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I believe it you have bad food allergies, you are better off not judging. You never know what may come in your box. 60 percent of teams don't even know what is in their product.
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Old 02-19-2010, 12:43 PM   #4
wayner123
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lake Dogs View Post
I dont have allergies myself. With that disclaimer, when we've entered anscilary
categories we've always had to declare if we're using any type of seafood or peanut
product (for those two specific allergy types). As a judge (MIM/MBN), I've seen
boxes come across the table labeled (by judging committee, not the team) as having
seafood or peanuts.

Interesting to see if KCBS requires this. I haven't seen, personally.
That's exactly the information/experience I love about this place.

That raises a couple other questions. If the box is labeled, then how is it judged if one of the judges is allergic? Do they group judges according to allergy as well? Or would that box get a average table score miunus 1 judge?
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Old 02-19-2010, 12:45 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jacked UP BBQ View Post
I believe it you have bad food allergies, you are better off not judging. You never know what may come in your box. 60 percent of teams don't even know what is in their product.
Yeah that was kind of what I had gathered. That many themselves couldn't tell you what was in their product.

In my specific case though, do you find many "products" containing seafood? And the other question is what if someone is using the same grates to cook seafood on? I would for sure get a reaction.... which makes me think my goal of becoming a judge first, is not a reality. :(
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Old 02-19-2010, 01:17 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wayner123 View Post
Yeah that was kind of what I had gathered. That many themselves couldn't tell you what was in their product.

In my specific case though, do you find many "products" containing seafood? And the other question is what if someone is using the same grates to cook seafood on? I would for sure get a reaction.... which makes me think my goal of becoming a judge first, is not a reality. :(
Nobody is going to change the grates in their cooker between items. Scrape, brush or burn to clean, hopefully, but change the grate entirely or remove it and wash - no, that doesn't happen at a contest.

Anchovy is used fairly often in sauces and marinades, including Worcestershire, which is employed quite a bit in BBQ. Cooks that use prepared products may easily serve BBQ that contains seafood products unknowingly, unless they read all their labels carefully.

If your reaction is more of an annoyance then you might want to gamble, but if it is more serious I wouldn't take the risk. If you have allergies and choose to judge, you are taking responsibility for rolling the dice, not the organizer or cooks.
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Old 02-19-2010, 01:22 PM   #7
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We've been to many contests that had ancillary categories, and never been asked to pre-disclose ingredients -- not even in California, where seafood entries are popular.

In the presence of potentially serious food allergies, I wouldn't take the risk.
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Old 02-19-2010, 01:23 PM   #8
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I've got a seafood allergy - I deal with it on a daily basis, living where I do - but I've been a CBJ for years. It was never mentioned what to do if you have food allergies at the initial class I took, nor at any of the classes I've helped out at so I don't think there's any standard. There's been a few contests where they've had either a seafood dish or a cook's choice-sort of category, and I always ask to be excused for that round if there's seafood involved - no one's ever had a problem with that. Fortunately, as I've gotten older, my reaction is less and less severe - when I was in college, say, smelling too much fish meant a prolonged period of gastrointestinal distress, whereas now it's usually a light rash on my arms & upper legs.

When I cook at BBQ contests, I've never come into contact with any seafood products. You'd think that cooks in LA would use seafood at every possible opportunity, but a lot of the ones around here are caterers as well and are used to watching out for allergies by default. And the cookers I've met overall are pretty conscientious to start with - they just want their product evaluated, they don't mean for anybody to get sick in the process.

Can it happen that you encounter a seafood product in the BBQ you get at a contest? I suppose - after all, I'd bet all it would take is for someone who placed high at several contests to admit they use this or that fish product on their meat. And then, I also suppose you could put some sort of seafood product in chili, or pie, or who-knows-what that gets judged.

All I can say is that with the seafood allergy I have, I've never had a problem with BBQ judging. And neither have several CBJ friends of mine with similar allergies. YMMV.

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Old 02-19-2010, 01:25 PM   #9
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Wayne, see above. Civil is correct, I doubt anyone would ever change grates, ever.

My personal BBQ has a small amount of Worcestershire in the spritz, good amount in
the marinade, and a small amount in the sauce...

If you're reaction to it is that bad, yes, skip judging. Might be helpful if a competition
will allow you to witness judging, just for the learning, without having to consume
any.

I dont recall ever seeing a BBQ labeled Peanuts or Seafood, but I have ancillary.
The one time seafood came across and one of the judges had a seafood allergy,
we simply relocated him to another table (ala judge swapping).
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Started competing in chili cookoffs back in the 1990's and have competed in more than I care to count. I became a CBJ in MiM in 2005, then MBN and in GBA in 2010. I've probably judged 130+- BBQ comps (sanctioned and unsanctioned) over this time. That said, I really enjoy competing more than I enjoy judging, and hope to get back to doing 4 or 5 a year in the near future.
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Old 02-19-2010, 01:29 PM   #10
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I would really worry about it...

I do know of teams that use Oyster Sauce and the like on their food...

This thread did make me think that we should stop using Peanut oil and switch over to something else....
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Old 02-19-2010, 01:45 PM   #11
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Some of the ingredients used in injections is derived from both seafood and seaweed.
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Old 02-19-2010, 01:55 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Divemaster View Post
I would really worry about it...

I do know of teams that use Oyster Sauce and the like on their food...

This thread did make me think that we should stop using Peanut oil and switch over to something else....
Speaking of peanut oil, MANY cookers are seasoned using Peanut Oil.

We recently went through a re-seasoning. For this reason alone, this
was the first time I used Lard rather than Peanut Oil...
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Started competing in chili cookoffs back in the 1990's and have competed in more than I care to count. I became a CBJ in MiM in 2005, then MBN and in GBA in 2010. I've probably judged 130+- BBQ comps (sanctioned and unsanctioned) over this time. That said, I really enjoy competing more than I enjoy judging, and hope to get back to doing 4 or 5 a year in the near future.
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Old 02-19-2010, 02:16 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Smoke'n Ice View Post
Some of the ingredients used in injections is derived from both seafood and seaweed.
Too true! Like MSG, anchovy paste, seaweed extracts and even Thai fish sauce are great sources of glutamates and could potentially be used in any of the categories in a sauce or marinade, etc. Seems like you'd be better off not taking the chance.
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Old 02-19-2010, 02:31 PM   #14
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If you are allergic to fish, you might consider that some of the products you are judging may have anchovies in it from either wooster sauce, or just plain anchovies or anchovy paste to get that flavor. Or even other stuff as others have mentioned. In my opionion, anyone with any food allergies that are significant enough to cause concern should never judge, because you have no way to know what is in the food you are judging.
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Old 02-19-2010, 02:46 PM   #15
wayner123
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Thanks all. I think I will try the observing the judges route. I didn't even think of that as an option.

Thank you all for your concerns and advice.
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