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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 06-30-2010, 08:50 AM   #1
monty3777
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Default Interpreting a 6

Though our overall placement in M'Town was a disappointment (20 something out of 60 some teams) I was surprised that with such a low placement we had almost no 6s. The folks who won must have been near perfect!!

It got me to thinking about a conversation I had with Pat and the Smokehouse bros about scoring. When I see a 6 I am assuming that that particular judge was disappointed with my food. I know that some interpret a 6 as average. To me, as a cook, 7 is average and 6 is a statement of dislike. When I see a 6 I assume that the judge had a hard time even swallowing my food.

How do you all interpret scores, especially scores under 7? (Luckily we have never gotten anything below a 6 yet...)

Just something I have been thinking about. I don't dispute scores I'm given, but I wonder if judges fully understand what a 6 does to a team's score. 6 is the kiss of death - thus I think it shouldn't be interpreted as "average."
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Unread 06-30-2010, 09:04 AM   #2
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Well, I for one would like to see a comment card required for anything 5 or below. I would also like to see a way to balance scoring where you might get a 5 from one judge and 9's from others. Why is there a 4 point gap. I got a couple 6's in Marshalltown while other judges in the same category gave us a 9. One of those was on presentation.

On a 6 I can only assume the bite they had was either too dry or maybe too big a build up of rub concentrated in that area. Maybe they got some fat in the bite.

I think you might have hit something there Nate with disklike. I am sure some judges out there judge what they like vs the merit of the entry. If they like dry rub and get too much sauce then they will mark it down for example.
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Unread 06-30-2010, 09:13 AM   #3
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I fill out comment cards for anything 5 or below. Those are entry's where I was disappointed and therefore list what problem I had so the cook can adjust if they desire.. I had to fill out two of them this last weekend (sadly).

I have given some 6 scores as well, but I do not fill out a card for them. I do not think they are disappointing to me as you say. For those scores, there is simply nothing that jumps out in a great way about the product, but does not merit a comment because it is not "bad". It's just average. If I were to fill out a comment card for a 6, it would probably be rather vague like, "it was just OK really, nothing special". If it really had problems, like being tough, or dry, or overcooked, or whatever, it would get a 5, not a 6. If it was cooked and seasoned to a reasonable degree of acceptance, but simply isn't notable in any way, I'm not sure why scoring a 6 doesn't tell the cook exactly what the problem is.

I do not judge based on what I like either, but I know some do. Just this last weekend, two of the other judges at my table said they do not like it when they get an entry with "generic sauce", aka KC Masterpiece or the like. My thoughts are, maybe it is homemade but for whatever reason it tastes to me like KC Masterpiece? Why score them down on that?

I have judged entries that are not to my PERSONAL taste a 9 if it was cooked perfectly, and delivered what the cook was intending as well as possible. I doubt every judge can be as impartial, and for that matter maybe I'm not as impartial as I like to think I am? for example, I did knock a point off a rib entry for taste this last weekend where I thought the ribs tasted "hammy" and were quite salty. I scored it an 8 because otherwise it was a fantastic rib. I just felt it did nto deserve a 9 for the hammy flavor and the oversalting. Most of the judges at the table gave it a 9. After talking about the entries after cards were turned in, a coupel of the other judges thought I was too harsh on the hammy/salty thing. I dunno.

I do not htink such variances in judging shoudl cause a 3 or 4 point variance though, like I would not score the hammy/salty entry that was otherwise perfect a 5 or 6, because it was excellent. If in addition to being hammy and salty it was tough, then I would probably score a 5 and comment on all of those points, but the 5 was really more for turning in an undercooked rib. In my opinion, you're not really in the game unless it's at least close to being done properly (not perfectly, there's a difference).
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Duh.

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Unread 06-30-2010, 09:18 AM   #4
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In this area, 6s tend to be the offering of less experienced judges. They've been told that 6 is average, so they feel "safe" handing out 6s and 7s like candy.

The only shows where we've seen 6s (on down) liberally dispensed were those with a large number of new or nearly-new judges.
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Unread 06-30-2010, 09:26 AM   #5
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^^^ what Diva and Bigabyte said. Get a table with 3+- newby judges and some
pretty darned good entries get slammed with 6's and 7's. They didnt mean to slam
it, but that's what happens in a mix of 40+ teams. This is one reason I'm really not
a fan of the 1-9 scoring system; too much point variance and one or two rookies
can kill an otherwise very good entry. KCBS does pretty good in handling/dealing
with this by throwing out the worst score, but a few can kill.
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Unread 06-30-2010, 09:27 AM   #6
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Sorry about all of the edits above...what is in there now I will leave alone. I kept going back and adding more!
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Unread 06-30-2010, 09:28 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bigabyte View Post
If it was cooked and seasoned to a reasonable degree of acceptance, but simply isn't notable in any way, I'm not sure why scoring a 6 doesn't tell the cook exactly what the problem is.
The problem is if you are the only one with a 6 and everyone else is 8 and 9 it is hard to tell what happened. At least to me it is. If other scores are consistent to yours then yeah it is more obvious.

What has been experienced the last couple contest here in Iowa is you get a score of 6 8 8 9 9 9 8 or something like that. That to a cook says there's a problem with judge 1. A 6 7 7 6 8 7 says your food was the problem.
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Unread 06-30-2010, 09:34 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DivaHerself View Post
In this area, 6s tend to be the offering of less experienced judges. They've been told that 6 is average, so they feel "safe" handing out 6s and 7s like candy.

The only shows where we've seen 6s (on down) liberally dispensed were those with a large number of new or nearly-new judges.
I think that's pretty typical around here, too.

We had some 6's at Marshalltown, too, Nate, but what really bothered me was that four judges gave us 9's with an occasional 8 and two gave us 6's and 7's for the same entry. It's that kind of inconsistency that I wish could be solved some how. At one comp last year we had four judges give our brisket 999, and two judges give us a 5 for appearance, and then 8's and 9's for taste and tenderness. One of them was thrown out, but the one that was kept dropped us from 1st to 4th. I cannot for the life of me figure out how 4 judges can look at an entry and score it 9 and two can look at the same entry and feel that it is below average and score it a 5.
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Unread 06-30-2010, 09:43 AM   #9
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The way I approach that is to base my scores as much on the words as the numbers. If I give someone a 6(Average), it does not mean that I disliked the food, it just means that it was nothing special, or that it had multiple issues. If it tastes like it was marinaded in kerosene or a brisket is like beef bubble gum, I get into the 3-5 range. I do understand what a six does to a teams chance of winning, but I don't really have a problem with that. Not to sound rude, but if the team is turning in "average" food, should they really be in the running anyway?

Whether or not the KCBS should change the verbage such that 7 is average is another discussion. Until that happens, however, I am going with 6 as average.

Having said that, I do understand and agree with the issue of wildly fluctuating scores...if one judge gives you a 6 and one a 9, something is not right. That goes to training of judges, and I think that some reform is certainly warranted in that area.
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Unread 06-30-2010, 09:56 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DivaHerself View Post
In this area, 6s tend to be the offering of less experienced judges. They've been told that 6 is average, so they feel "safe" handing out 6s and 7s like candy.

The only shows where we've seen 6s (on down) liberally dispensed were those with a large number of new or nearly-new judges.
Bingo! I think you hit the nail on the head.
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Unread 06-30-2010, 10:27 AM   #11
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I suppose as I think more about this issue I should re-examine the purpose of a 6. The fact is that there needs to be a mechanism in place to distinguish truly great food from average food. A 6 is that mechanism. I suppose that I shouldn't expect to be rewarded for average food - and maybe that is what I'm expecting if I am honest with myself. For some strange reason I expect to get calls and I expect to be in the top portion of the pack - so I see a 6 as a sort of slap in the face that keeps us from achieving those goals. However, perhaps the problem is that from time to time our food really is good, but not great. Why should good food get a call when it is judged against great food?
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Unread 06-30-2010, 10:34 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by monty3777 View Post
Though our overall placement in M'Town was a disappointment (20 something out of 60 some teams) I was surprised that with such a low placement we had almost no 6s. The folks who won must have been near perfect!!
I don't have my score sheets with me, but I can't think of any 6s on our score card at all - just not near enough 9s - at least in ribs or pork.

Regarding the overall scorings - our 8th place chicken and 10th place brisket were both 170.????. So some tables were giving out big numbers - seems like other tables weren't (basing this off various comments and discussions I've taken part in since last weekend and various team histories per categories - and using their input).

I'm sure all competitions have this issue to a varying degree, but the M'town comp seems to have had this issue exaggerated beyond what we (cooks) have seen as a norm.

I believe this is the nature of the beast of our hobby - judging food is subjective - judging pretty much everything for competition is subjective. I'd guess nearly all of us have benefited and been shorted by judging subjection.

Could it be better - maybe
Would it always guarantee the best contestant that day won - not sure

Would it be worth KCBS tracking each judges scoring history and then assign the judges to tables so that tables are set using scientific methods to help the odds of various tables being drastically low or high compared to others?

Ex: (exaggerated for purpose of example)
Judge 1 has an average of giving a 34.8572
Judge 2 has an average of giving a 33.7142
Judge 3 has an average of giving a 32.5714
Judge 4 has an average of giving a 32.0000

Judge 5 has an average of giving a 31.4286
Judge 6 has an average of giving a 30.8572

Judge 7 has an average of giving a 29.7142
Judge 8 has an average of giving a 28.5714
Judge 9 has an average of giving a 28.0000
Judge 10 has an average of giving a 27.4286
and so on

Judges 1, 10, 11, 20, 21, 30 would be at table 1
Judges 2, 9, 12, 19, 22, 29 would be at table 2
Judges 3, 8, 13, 18, 23, 28 would be at table 3
Judges 4, 7, 14, 17, 24, 27 would be at table 4
Judges 5, 6, 15, 16, 25, 26 would be at table 5

thoughts?
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Unread 06-30-2010, 10:44 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tonto1117 View Post
Bingo! I think you hit the nail on the head.
If judges are still using the "6 is average" idea, there needs to be some re-intruction going on in the judges tent IMHO.

As much as it may be some of the newbie judges, I think there may be some older judges (the ones with the blue shirts with pink type and before) that may still be judging by the old criterion

I know that is what they taught when I went to judges class a few years back, but now, they even have what the numbers are supposed to mean written on the judges sheet. And they changed the class instruction a while back as well. This is an error that shouldn't be made!

As much as it may be some of the newbie judges, I think there may be some older judges (the ones with the blue shirts with pink type and before) that may still be judging by the old criterion

But as much instruction is given, I was always sort of amazed at the variance that can be seen between 6 judges at the same table. Always made it a nicer experience if all the judges at my table had like, or similar feelings. I felt that the cooks we judged were treated better if we were all in agreement.

I think I'll stick to cooking instead, as long as we can afford to.

Oh well, I'm a reletive newbie compared to many here, many here do more comps in 1 year than we have in 3, so I will go sit in the corner now
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Unread 06-30-2010, 10:59 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Stoke&Smoke View Post
If judges are still using the "6 is average" idea, there needs to be some re-intruction going on in the judges tent IMHO.

As much as it may be some of the newbie judges, I think there may be some older judges (the ones with the blue shirts with pink type and before) that may still be judging by the old criterion

I know that is what they taught when I went to judges class a few years back, but now, they even have what the numbers are supposed to mean written on the judges sheet. And they changed the class instruction a while back as well. This is an error that shouldn't be made!

now
Wait...I'm confused. Are you saying that we should not be using the "6 is average" idea, or are you saying that some of the older judges are not considering 6 as average? I am not trying to be a jerk, I just want to make sure I understand your point.
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Unread 06-30-2010, 11:05 AM   #15
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Everyone has alot of valid examples and points in their posts. All I can say is Iv'e come to one solid belief......To a certain extent, "Any given table, Any given day".
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