BBQ Judge

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Master of the Pit
Original poster
OTBS Member
Jun 29, 2006
Peculiar, MO
April 7 I am doing the KCBS BBQ judge certification at the American Royal in Kansas City. After that I will work toward a KCBS Master BBQ Judge certification. Would like to judge at the American Royal BBQ Competition and Memphis In May.
Just one of those things I want to do because I can. Figure there is a lot to be learned there.
There is no way I could be a fair judge ........ my last taste would always be my winning vote! I have no self control when it comes to something like that.

Have fun and enjoy the good eats. And please share any secrets you learn.
this would be such a cool thing. i assume you would have to save some and retest it to make sur after your notes?
i am sure there are going to be just a few you have to make your final decision from, and that will boil down to which one tases best cold.
i would suggest slimfast for a while afterwords
Take small bites, You don't have to finish everything you try. between tasting one piece to the next ou cleanse your palet with water and saltines. My wife and I judged a KCBS event last summer. We won't have the time this year because we'll hopefully be to busy.

Did the KCBS BBQ judge certification yesterday. Folks, it ain't what you might think! You don't just sit down and eat some great Q. JoeD617 is right on target.
Fact is, in an average competition if you eat a 1 ounce sample of every piece presented to you for judging you would eat 2 lbs. of meat! And it's not all great eating either! Some may not be fully cooked, some may be overcooked, some may have a really bad rub or seasoning, or sauce. Regardless, you have to taste everything, except those you find undercooked.
Interesting though. I learned a lot and have more to learn.
I've been watching the KCBS website hoping they will have a class in Louisiana or at least somewhere close. Haven't seen one coming up yet. I would love to get certified.
Might contact them and see if they would do one there. They go all over.
They require at least 24 people to do a class. The one I did yesterday had 72.
One of the few things I have learned about the KCBS is "sauce on the side" is not allowed. Sauce has to be on the meat or no sauce at all. I think they said no "pooled sauce".
Now that I think about it, I have read that in their rules.
I judged a chili cook off once and it might be the worst experience in my life. Most of it was burnt, some of it was so spicy hot, you couldn't hold it in your mouth long enough to taste it.
Now I realize some of you like that kind of food, though I don't understand why. My motto is; Food should not hurt.
Spice (and sauce) is OK if used to enhance flavor. I always figure that if it's used for anything else, it's to cover up something that went wrong or is just a bad recipe to begin with.
Yep. No dipping sauces. No "pooled" sauce allowed in the container. Critera is "more than about the size of a half dollar" is a disqualification. Sauce on "the product" is fine. Deal is you are judging the meat, nothing else.
Two pounds of meat? That let's me out. How many hours do you get to eat two pounds of meat? Seesm if your to full that would effect your rating.
Don't forget you get a "Place Mat" with 6 spaces on it. You get to 1st look at the meat in the container and pass it around and then it goes back to the table leader. This continues until you view all 6 contestants. The table leader tells you the number to right down on the place mat square, then passes the 1st container around again and you get to pick one piece and place it on square that is marked with the number of the contestant. This happen until your mat and everyone elses mat is full and then you get to try the bbq. So if there are 12 judges at one table this process takes time. The meat cools down and on a cool day it cools even quicker. So take small bites and pace yourself. You can also get a container and place the left over Q in it for later. We brought home alot of Q to eat later

Have allways wondered wether the rule of "you tend to remember the first thing you tasted and the last thing you tasted the most" applies here. Either way, if the Q isn't terrible, it has to be hard to judge.

I missed a class here they held in March
Hope they have another one soon.
Yes, Joe is right on according to what the reps have told us. I had thought about taking the class, but since I can't eat pork, it kinda would be a wasted trip and $$$$$.

So, I guess I will continue on with trying to blind cook pork and ribs. You just can't imagine how hard it is to cook something without being able to taste it to really see if it measure up to your standards.

I have to rely on others tasting it and telling me what it is like... to their standards... it is really hard. Half of the competition is blind cooked for me, so with my handicap, I am really struggling.

Then I thought of taking a cooking class too. Same problem. I am sure I would pick up a lot of pointers, but there again, I am not able to taste the pork products, so I can't really see doing that either.

In KCBS sanctioned events there are NEVER 12 judges at a table. There are 6. No more, no Less. The process takes very little time. Usually 3 or 4 minutes. The table captain holds the clamshell full of samples and passes it by the judges eyeballs. The speed s/he goes is directly related to the amount of time the judges need to look at them. A nod, a wave, or other non-verbal indication- like the judge motions toward the scorecard with their eyes & pencils- tells the table captain that the judge has determined the score and s/he'll move on to the next judge. If a judge continues to look at the sample, the table captain will slow & wait for that judge.

The only reason you may see a number of judges other than six is this:

The contest organizers failed to recruit the required number of judges, a judge/s failed to attend as promised, and/or additional bbq teams were added to the number of competitors at the last moment. (etc!)

In these cases, the contest organizers are sometimes unable to recruit more judges prior to the judge's meeting.When this happens,The sixth judge is standing. S/he is acting as table captain in addition to one's official duties as judge. This rarely occurs, though I've performed 'double duty' three times in 30 contests.
Actually, it really isn't that difficult to judge the different entries, as you DON'T compare one to another. You just determine how good each entry is on its own. It is hard NOT to compare, but the KCBS guidelines are NOT to compare against each other or against any preconceived notion of what good Q is supposed to taste like.I just completed the CBJ training from KCBS in Ohio a couple weeks ago. is reader supported and as an Amazon Associate, we may earn commissions from qualifying purchases.

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