Barbecue Judging Survey - All Results - Click Here!
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Thanks for your tips Bill! Love them...
no not yet but i'm sure that will change.
KCBS santioned contest's should be required to have 100% certified judges. you can really tell if a contest had a selection of no-certified judges.
relatives and known friends of contestants as judges should be discouraged possibly banned
I like the system as it is currently written. I am both a cook and a certified bbq judge. While I would like to see the prize money increase I don't want the entry fees any higher than they currently are. The one change I do recommend is having only certified barbecue judges at events. I've judged large events (American Royal included) where a large percentage of judges are first timers off the street and do not judge on the same criteria I do. Also, the scoring system that we currently use has most scores landing between 6 and 9. If we changed the numbering system for a max score of say 15 or 20 that would allow for a larger distribution of points
keep up the good work
As part of the judging requirements they must compete or be part of a team competing in at least 2 compititions.
I live in texas and it's a different ball game here then what you can do where you are.
Have more ''in-depth'' judges training. The problem with that is you can't teach ''taste''. Myron is right. Some of the bigger compititions swear in a bunch of teenagers who are simply looking for a free meal.
use at least 50 percent certified judges. Montana state championship use all judges that take course the day of the contest. they are there to eat and not judge.
Eye appeal is important so with garnishing, it would complement a plate very well if done properly. Presentation is very important, along with the quality of the food. No judge should be on the take. IE: favors of any kind, and should an attempt be made, should be reported. Thank You
Garnishments now dominate KCBS contests to the point that lettuce is more important that the product itself. I also feel that judges not place so much weight on what type of chicken is submitted. Thighs versus legs, breast and etc. One last thought, make it tougher to become a judge. It's too easy and many judges are uneducaetd.
The whole idea is to judge the food. Drop turn in time cutoff and just deduct points for each 5 minute late turn in up to 15 minutes. Judges should be drawn from a pool of judges. I believe there should be judging at the cook site in addition to the turn in.
Judges should be tested annually. Pay Them! No gluttens allowed! No Tables with all Newbies!!!
report on why the judge liked or disliked the entry.
Corruption always starts with the elite group of people that control, but not play the game.
More schools, more grads, more available judges
Require judges to cook with a team several times before being certified.
I agree that having people who do the judging, but have never experienced competing in a professional BBQ is seem odd! Just look at the Food Channel when they have a competion the judes are always professionals in high standing for their particular expertise. Pastry judges judge Pastry competion, baking competion is judged by professionals that are recognized pros in the baking profession!
With out sanctioning bodies spending a lot of time and money to upgrade judging, better education, of bbq cooking, I'm not sure very little will change. When KCBS and others provide prize money overall beyond first 2 places is some thing I would rather see, but there is no central organizing of contests so that won't happen either. FBA and KCBS should have created the Pitmaster TV idea as a national platform to help alot of teams, exposure, growing this sport, etc.. KCBS doesn't really want change, it is what it is good or bad. I would rather tackle things in bites- How many errors are caused from mis-read inputting of scores? Why there isn't a wireless system that judges punch in numbers in 2010 is beyond me in this age of technology or at least double checking of scores input. but once again its all about money they don't want to spend.
I liked your article. It brought up some good points. However, your idea is just one of many. I think a good deal more needs to be gone over until we find a system that works. Is the current system broke? To a point it is... Judges teaching new judges what is and is not acceptable, taste preferences, that stupid garnish, etc. However, we do have start somewhere and the KCBS has at least put in the time to see that we have at least that. Additionally, a skewed survey that only seems to support YOUR idea isn't the answer either. If you are going to bring up points that affect us all, at least be a little more constructive in your delivery and try to go not only outside your own box, but all of ours as well. While I commend your efforts, going forward think more about our brotherhood more, and less about $$$, and the people who decide how much $$$ your clam box may claim (should it be good or not). Keep up the newsletter, maybe a less on pushing product and telling the masses those (x#) of secrets that every team out there already knows, but thinks no one else knows and guards with their life, or at least their wallet. Silly silly ''sport''...
1. Have a warming box at the judging site to hold food at a specified temp to ensure all meats are judged equally relative to meat temp. 2. Establish a blind turn-in procedure to prevent judges from identifying a competitors turn-in box. 3. Establish a clear set of rules including what constitutes cheating, meat preparation prior to competing and limit the amount of meat, per category, that a team can cook and select from for turn-in. 4. Have a ''Code of Conduct'' that teams must abide by concerning team conduct, professionalism, etc. 4.
I am neither a competitor, now a judge. Merely a backyard King-a-the-Egg! Thanks for posting! ~ Broc
don't use people that dont have a clue as to the importance of what they are doing!!
I am also a CBJ and at class everyone ate the same BBQ from the same Cook and the class gave scores on taste and texture from 6's to 9's for the same cook. How can there be that much variiation in scores. Maybe the problem with scores starats att eh class not at the contest. Tom
In my experience - there are many contests that use ''celebrity'' judges and un-certified judges. These scores should be thrown out. And, there are many certified judges that score way outside of the scores of the other judges. There is currently no method for disciplining (or un-certifying) a judge who scores consistently outside of the scores of the other judges at the table. This is vary unfair to the competitors who invest a great deal of time and money into a competition only to be undercut by an incompetent judge.
i think judges should only be able to taste (judge) the food they are there to judge and not be allowed to take home competitors foods.
I agree that there is room for improvement. I prefer to see CBJ's especially if the contest has an invitational. Any contest with an invitational should have a majority of Master CBJ's I also think there should be feedback from the judges about a contest and how it was run. If it was run poorly it needs to be noted and looked into. I am thinking about the American Royal and how poorly it was run and the low quality of judges (Not the judges faults either, it was how the contest was run.) At the AR there were competitors that were knocked out of the contest because in-experienced judges were scoring incorrectly. I do dis-agree with contestents acting as judges. There are way too many issues that can arise.
Each team should turn in 2 ''turn in boxes'' for each category. The top 6 teams of each category will be judged by a final panel of judges. Remaining turn in boxes can be given to event staff, left out for competitors to sample or be donated to local shelters or non profit organizations.
none at this time
Judges should have been an active BBQ competitor for at least 2 years and have been through 2 - 4 BBQ judging schools before becoming an active judge. The art of judging good BBQ is achieved through experience and not ''Joe Public'' on one four hour course on the weekend.
I am a KCBS certified BBQ judge and I also have a BBQ team we compete in 4 to 8 contest each year and when I can't compete I judge. And I have a parttime BBQ catering Co. So I think I know a thing or 2 about BBQ. And as for a late entry, each team has enough time already as it is. We have never been late. Judging if a team can't compete then let them judge like I already do.
I would like to see the age limit raised to 21 not school a 16 year old one night and judge me the next! With a kid that don;t know a pork loin from a beef brisket unless some one told them.
To insure an unbiased opinion,the judges should be rotated randomely and have term keep the event-judging fair!
I feel the outside comp. judges would get corrupted quickly. I love the idea, but it wouldn't work in a real world senerio.
Not interested in competition, only BBQing. Not interested in paying for videos.
Set up a judging criteria and make sure all involved know.
I believe the problem lies in the teaching. As a judge in two organizations I can say both sucked as far as the teaching of judges. They then work after the judge is judging to try to train them. Not enough time is given to the training. I know I could improve the training 100 per cent.
Trained judges with the hi low throw out
I am a backyard BBQer and I very much enjoy your website.Thanks,keep it up
Overall I think you had some good suggestions in your newsletter.
in a compatition of more than 100 contestances I think a lot has to do with luck
Make sure that all judges pay for and attend a full judge course. Some are sworn in on the day of a contest not enough time to know what is going on
You need to look at it from both sides. I have done both cook and judge. I think you said it best this sport is just in its infancy stages and as in matures it will become better. Like a cook, you didn't start out the best as time goes on you learned and improve, the same for the judges. I have been to more contest last year where we had 100% CBJ's I have been cost to cost learning how to judges and I have learned a lot and seen a difference in contest and exceptions for all that are there depending on location and contest. I feel the reps, cooks and judges need to be on the same page to make the contest better for everyone. You spoke to how much work it is for each contest, there is work for everyone in the sport. I have met a lot of judges like cooks that are serious about judging and travel to contests to improve and make the sport better. Like cook I have met some judges that are there to have only a good time. They need to be washed out not sure how. The good contest rep make sure everyone is clear on the contest, rule and exception's. My opinion we need to foster the sport at all levels and work through the tuff spots, by talking and working to and understanding that make the sport better for all. Most of all stop putting one group against the other. There is no benefit to anyone by doing this most of all the sport. If this continues to happen we all loss the contest become less, then who wins
My biggest beef is with those head judges who show serious favoritism to those competitors who the drank their butt off the night before. I've literally watched the president of a large BBQ organization here in Central Texas direct competitors to specific tables at turn in times. I started watching for this at later competitions and found that the only people who were called up were the competitors who turned in on a specific table. You've got 50 to 180 teams paying big money to compete only to have the president of the organization pick out who's making the final table before even turn in the meat. I went up against the top 11 teams from that organization at another event where there was outside judges and took 1st place in brisket and 3rd in chicken. I beat every one of those 11 who hold the points leader board under CTBA. Or those who bring in the most donations. I understand giving them an award for most donations received but what does that have to do with the taste of their food. NOT A DAMN THING so why give them a charity trophy and 1st place brisket. I agreed with everything you said in your article.
Honestly, there needs to be some changes, but I don't know that the changes put forward would work. If you got rid of judges, that would kill most of the dues paying members of KCBS, which would in turn kill KCBS. Prize money is what it is. Contests can't pay the bills, it is a hobby or side effort. It isn't cheap to put on a contest, when you consider that most are done for charity, you quickly come to see that it really isn't possible to make the prize money what some would like to see.
none at this time
I would love to see more of the public involved threw tasting maybe a combined total of public and judges
I'm not hard to please but, I do believe that the rules should be strick.
I bbq a lot but dont compete. I have read and seen enough about bbq competion to understand exactly what you'er saying.Your suggestions are great.
How about using judges how ever they may be but include a consumer judge category that has less points to judge by?
I do not - but thank you for the opportunity!
Survey Item 4 Use current system and throw out low and high scores or throw out low score only.
After cooking at the Royal in 2009, I was really inpressed with the judging. Their judges are schooled to judge in a KCBS comp. I don't like for someone to judge my meat only because they are hungry. Texas needs to catch up with the rest of the bbq world and train judges.
Question 6: Have a late window after official turn-in time of 2-3 minutes and not be penalized. THEN start the countdown of deducting points up to 2-3 minutes before disqualification.
You cook, we'll judge
I'm neither a competitor or a judge, just an interested on-looker. I agreed with most of what you said until you started suggesting competitors be judges. Bad Idea.
Ban the dog and pony shows that you have to put on, at your site, for the judges. Competition is stressful enough without having to brown-nose the judges. It's demeaning.
no matter what...there will always be cheater but things like the high and low to be thrown out will help.
Why not make the garnishment an option & not matter ethier way. Whatever the competitor wants to do. (with or with out).Judge only the way the Q looks.
Judges not associated with the contest, but know barbeque. Situation may arise for a late entry, so a few minutes provided. Prises should be appropiate not excessive. Garnisment not judged, the barbeque is the main concern, therefore the garnisment should be provided in a prearrainged container, to standerdise the presentation.
Have the judging area close to everyone.
Always identical containers
I did not answer #4 because none of them fit I like outside judges but not just 8,I think the final table should be a complete new set of judges and Judge like Lone Star BBQ judges,Ther is an example of what the entry should look like if you will go to the web site. Lone Star Barbcue Society where it will show you a Picture of the three meats and how they are to be presented.
Judges should be on the same playing field. I hear judges say there was a nice smoke ring, so they gave it higher points.
Give them a sobriety test before they begin!
No .........not now ....
Time for change act now time has change so must we
I would prefer a system where the turn in box is numbered with the cook having a matching number. After judging and scoring the winning box is called by number. No one knows the winners until the number is called. This is truly a blind system.
In my experience at competing. I do not think alot of these KCBS judges know what good is. Nor does this class really do much. I have had a judges give me 9's 4 out of 6. And have 2 give 4's. If they are supposed to be schooled on the same things. Gaps in number scoring. Should not be so great in difference between judges. It cost us big last year by tenths of points.
You have covered the majority of the areas that I here discussed at every contest.
I think judges should have to catagorize there favorit BBQ (texas,memphis,carolina, KC) or (sweet, savory, Vinegar) ETC.... Judges dispersed as evenly as possible to prevent good BBQ from failing because everyone at the table doesn't like your style.. mark (
when passing out turn in boxes . they should call for team name and not to include a box #.or team # no numbers.........
Make all the meat to be used provided only by the Hosts of the competition. The contestants would have to pay, but everyone would would be on a level playing field as far as the type/or source of the meat product. I have been in a contest where you were given a box of meat, and it was branded when you opened it by a judge, to keep contestants honest...Yes, It has come to that in more than one contest... Benny Rhoads
I believe that judges do a very good job, for the most part. I don't always agree with their decisions, but that will happen with just about any two people at some point in time. I know of no way to eliminate the ''human'' factor in judging. If the current system bothers people to the extreme, then I suggest that they stop competing in contests. I am new to BBQ contests (only have one under my belt) but the thing I liked the most about it was the ability to meet and talk with others. Yes I wanted to win, but my focus was not so much on beating someone else, but producing the best BBQ that I could. You mentioned in your article that it is possible to cheat using the current rules. You are correct, however I believe that the effort required to ''cheat'' on the results of a contest is more than it would be worth. Yes, people can invest large amounts of money to compete, but that is their choice, not something that they have to do. I don't believe we need to ''rebuild'' the rules to judging a BBQ contest. Maybe a tweak here or there, when needed, to keep things level and promote an enjoyable atmosphere.
Run preliminary semi finals and finals table so you are judged against everyone
Judge the judges - too many competitions depend on the luck of the draw - and that's the most unfair part.
have a course book with visual pictures of what a 6 usually looks like and what a 9 looks like.
I am Relatively new to judging, so at this time i cannot suggest anything different than what is in place.
No BBQ Sauce. It is used to cover up poor BBQing
Meat is unpridictable at best so are pits and wood. 10-15 minutes would be better.
Recertification and review of all Judges periodically.
I loved the suggestions. i hope they get traction.
after training for judges, the trainee must cook with a team before getting certified
Judging is a personal thing, and pretty much lines itself up by ware the contest is taking place. So I would say all judges need to become acquitted with all the different styles of BBQ so they learn to judge the meat, and not just the style.
No suggestion, but worried about the competitors cost to compete. Higher prize money will tempt cheating, reference NASCAR here. Small/minor improvements would be good but nothing that leans in the direction of taking the fun or brotherhood out of it.
use KCBBQ Jdges only.
separate the rookie class from the experinced grillers or smokers .
Teach judges, have them cook and see what is involved with cooking and preparing competition bbq before you turn them loose to judge. Not only to show them how much work those teams are going through but, to give them more than ''Barbecue is what you think it is''
I feel if one judge has a hi or extremly low score compared to others, they should explain why to table captain, and adjust
It needs a major overhaul!! It is no where close to fair the wa yit is now.
all judges should have to compete in at least 1 contest per year min.
really don't know enough about judging to comment, love to bbq though
Pre-assigned tables to minimze the ''shuffle'' that happens at many comps. Some Reps do a bette job than others sorting out who should be at what table.
have judges tell the competitors why the scored the way they did. Point out good and bad aspects of entries.
I know the time disqualification can be somewhat unfair. As we all know, ''stuff'' happens and time can rapidly slip out of one's grasp. What I'd like to see would be a 2 minute overlap, penalized at 1 Point per 12 seconds for a maximum of 10 pts. It would take another column in the judging, but there are some very good cooks at competitions that get disqualified on time. If everyone is one time, very one is even, if someone is late, then he gets to still compete but is penalized. Just my thoughts.
Judges must be trained and must ''re-qualify'' at least bi-annually. Part of the initial qualification process must involve working with a team the entire weekend (not just the contest). Every other re-qualification should include working with a team.
If you are 70 years old and have acid reflux DO NOT JUDGE BBQ
I don't know how to correct this but I find judges using their personal bias on points. One lady told me she never gives high points on ribs because she doesn't like ribs.
Have runners pick up the bbq from each contestant. They will radio back to the judging area that they have picked up number so and so at a select time. The box will be delivered to a booth window so nobody knows which box was placed at a particular time. No garnishment in the box, only bbq and sauce. Judges cannot walk the bbq areas until after the competion.
perhaps more stringent qualifying criteria for judges, maybe judges should have to demonstrate some ''ability to judge''
have them enter some of the contests/
not at this time thank you
the cream always rises to the top. leave it alone.
I think training to become a Judge needs to be more than a few hours. A new judge should act as an apprentice during four to five different competitions without the ability to vote. They would take their score and then compare how close their score was to the actual Judging.
do a good job
Cooking site judging for cleanlyness of work area
The BBq contests are very difficult to judge, it's really a crap shoot at many contests.....I cooked for many years and finally decided to get certified to judge....this gave me a great insite as to what other cookers were doing.....I got so many different ideas and it's really expanded by education on what's expected and how to improve my would really help if everyone that judged was also a competitor.....but I don't see that happening anytime's usually a good ole boy set of judges and a free meal.....many judges are wonderful, it's just limited for many of the others education....they love BBQ but are unaware of the overall them it tastes great, which most BBQ fans love overcooked food that falls off the bone, which for contests is just plain overcooked and the score should reflect that....jim
I think judges should have to cook before becoming a judge. A lot of judges I have met do not even have a clue how to cook competition bbq or what it takes produce it.
I am a KCBS Master Judge. You have some very valid points concerning judging. I have been thinking about your newsletter and plan to e mail you with my thoughts as soon as I have time to formulate some positive feedback. Some of your suggestions probably are not practical for reasons which practicalities. For example, I think the suggestion for increasing the number of judges to 8 per table would be worth a try. However, I have never been to a contest that had tables big enough to accomodate 8 judges. Most of the contests I go to are in the KC area which should have the greatest concentration of certified judges, but few contests have 100% certified judges. I table captain more than I judge for the last few years and non certified judges are not nearly as consistant as certified judges. All judges should have some refresher training, but how do you get people who are volunteers to do that? I truly believe the certified judges who are serious enough about BBQ to stick with it for more than a season really do their best and take it seriously. I agree that judges should cook with a team often enough to understand how much time, effort and expense are involved. I really love to do it but just do not have time to do it very often. The fact that you stirred up strong responses is good. You have apparently got people thinking. Bill Derr
need to have scoring for all entries not just the ones that get to the final table. if there are 240 teams you should know if you finish at 239th.
I belive that it would be a more honest score if the judges were in a booth such as something that would prevent judges from looking at the other judges scores. Also I feel that they should judge the entry and not discuss it with others at the table with them. I say this because I have watched several turn in people wait and try to get there box on the same tray as the tray of someone that is new or ussually scores low. I feel the judge should look at the box and score that. Then after all have looked then they each get there piece of meat and can make there scores. Again I feel this should be done with out talking about the entry and with out peaking at the score sheet next to you.
I actually think that judging should be done by ordinary people from the crowd. That way, no one judge has tasted say a Jack's Old South, or a Checkered Pig BBQ before and judge other teams according to what they tasted in the past. The judges can judge by the taste they think is best. I also feel like judging should be done by walking around to the booths anonymously and disqualify contestants using ANY kind of electronic device on their smokers. This would include fans and electronic fed pellet feeders.
Test the judges to maintain their certification.
Have total impartial judges do it
None I can think of at this time. Just have more barbeques to judge, and in more areas of the country!
Not at this time.
Allow all smokers to compete, Propane Powered as well as Stick & Charcoal and Pellet. Who set the standards for the way BBQ should be presented, cooked, and judged? Maybe BBQ should just be judged for the best tasting BBQ, not how it's packaged or if it's turned in time.
all judgeing should be fair the judges should be from another area that does not have any ties to the comunity that you are in thank you for your time
Blind judging is the only fair way to judge BBQ.
KCBS judges need to be retrained such that everyone is on the same page. There is confusion as a result of the KCBS judging instructions that were changed a few years ago. There is currently too much variance in the scores judges are giving. In MBN judging, manditory 10's should not be given if all three onsite teams have a poor product. In three events in the past two years while doing MBN onsite judging I have been assigned to judge three poor quality teams who did not have a product that deserved the one required 10 in each criteria, as compared to what is good product and the product of other teams in the event. The better product should always get the highest score. In blind judging in both KCBS and MBN, it would be better if judges judged more samples in just one category to have more uniformity in the judging for the category. It would be ideal if the same set of 6 or 8 judges judged all of the entries in a category, that way everyone in a category would have the same set of judges judging with the same mindset in that category. There would be a different, but uniform set of judges for each category. A judge could evaluate a maximum of 25 samples in an event. Use the fewest number of sets of judges as needed to judge a category (if you have 20 to 25 entries in a category, use 1 set of judges; if you have 40 to 50 entries in a category, use 2 sets of judges). Do not have 6 to 10 sets of judges in each category as is now the case. I agree with throwing out the high and low scores for each entry. Event Staff / Judging Officials need to get the team's warm entries from the ''turn-in table'' to the judges tables as soon as possible. I have been to many events where the entries were not presented to the judges for 20 to 30 minutes after the end of turn-in time, and the entries were therefore cold. This does not make for good or fair judging.
All judges should have competed in at least 5 BBQ competitions so they have a true understanding of what the contest is really about.
Impliment a uniform garnishment and have one table captain dispense the meat to be judged, eliminating the possible recognition of a friends BBQ. The uniform garnishment stops the sause from smudging all over the container. Allow a 4 minute window to deliver the BBQ and DQ any competitor who waits by the receiving table to better position their product. Grouping of the BBQ product should not be a visible process
I fail to see how having a judge work with a team is going to improve scores. Do you think, per your comments, that having a judge with you for 5 days is going to give you a better score? How so?
Not enough room here to discuss this topic. I feel you accomplish an outstanding service but maybe barbecue judges should be everyday people. Not the same judges all the time. If your 'cue is that good, you won't have issues. Toss the high and low and select people's choice. just my thoughts.
As you stated, a persons personal taste comes into play more than they will admit. I believe there should be a standard of what is wanted no matter what part of the country you are in since there are differences in different regions of the country. Same standards for all contests. i.e. sweet with a bite I also disagree totally with garnishments. Why should how it appears have anything to do with how it tastes. Its supposed to be about the taste, tenderness, and doneness, not about appearance.
Would like to see more ''People's Choice'' awards/participation.
The only real way to do it is with trained professionals, I am a competitior as well as a judge, I also have been an umpire, referee and cop for 30 years. Objectivity is the most difficult thing to achieve. Maybe a rule requiring each competitor to judge at least one or two contests a year. It will always be subjective training has to be stressed that the meat is held to a standard set not personal likes or dislikes.
From a statistical point of view, negating high and low scores drives the curve closer to average or ''mediocrity''. You would, therefore, be forcing rewards for entries that appeal to average or median tastes. It should be made clear at the beginning of the contest whether or not unusual or innovative products have a lesser chance of winning.
i belive this survey covers it
Leverage should be allowed in some cases.
Standard set of judging requirements as it pertains to the food judged.
If they are not going to use all of 2 - 9, then change it to a system of 2 - 5 and allow the use of all the numbers. Having 2 - 9 out there, and only using 6 - 9 makes no sense.
Keep up the good work, your correct in your thinking.
I feel there are a number of problems with the present judging system now in use. I feel your suggestions have merit and would be a good place to start changes. I'm a kCBS member and certified judge.and proud of it. Don Jones
Do not try to fix some thing that is NOT BROKE
6-8 judges. some of the smaller competitions don't have a lot of extra judges standing around. Late entries would automatically be ''marked'' because they come in separate and can be identified as late.
seprate catogories for auto smoker i.e. fast eddie ,traeger ect. and stick burners as for question #4 how about reveiw panels made up of cooks to reveiw poor scores
Don't act like Obama!
If anything is not broke, don't fix...just a couple of things. ;-)
Kick out all sweet sauces and go with smoke and rub flavor,that puts everybody on the same scale. Now thats real BBQ.
Just a point, if you know what time the turn-in is and you don't plan for it, I don't see the need to change the system because someone does not plan ahead. At each contest everyone is under the same time frame for turn-ins we all run the same into the risk if we don't allow enough time.
Be fair, if I only have to walk across the mid-way to get to the judging table and someone else has to walk 3/4 of a mile that is unfair, 3/4 of a mile could mean the extra 15-20 minutes in the smoker and that means alot at the end of the cooking time.
RE QUESTION #4- The typical tables don't fit 8 judges. 6 trained judges ok but can throw out high and low-this just changes the total score not its relative value. Judges could be required to work with a team prior to obtaining judge status. Cook teams would also need to be more open to this. As a judge, it was difficult to find a team to cook with. I even asked you but was turned down. Cook teams should also be involved with educating the judges. When judging I occasionally noticed some of the hardest scoring judges were cooks. It might not be such a good idea to have competitors judge each other when the scores count toward an end point prize. Fixing the judging problems involves improving the training and thus the quality.
Celebrity judges and little old ladies should not be judging a contest or they could be the 7th and 8th judge as they do not know what good Q is or how hard we work to get it turned in.
I dont like it when judges ''discuss'' a entry one judges opinion can easily influence another, keep your opinions to your self and put it on paper.
Part of the competition is to get your food done on time,boxed and turned in, so I totally disagree with #6.
I think that adding 8 CBJs is a great idea, giving you the ability to throw out highs and lows. But let's get real, are you really willing to take people off the street to judge vs. CBJs? You may not mean it, but you come off sounding like you have utter contempt for the entire KCBS certification process, and that's just not right. The perception this creates is that this is a group of people who largely ''don't get it'' and don't respect what teams go through during a contest. Please know, all of us are painfully aware of the investment and sacrifice each and every cook team makes to compete in a contest. From dollars to heartbreaks, it is a commitment that we are consistently reminded of before each and every judging session. As you know, many of our fellow CBJs are from cook teams; their insights are tremendous and cherished. We spend hours with our cook team colleagues waiting, socializing, talking and learning new things about Q from different teams' perspectives. Yes, our Masters stint of cooking a couple nights with a team hardly gets us into the real, complex ''Zone'' of a cook -- but that, matched with the ongoing experiences of judging all types of bbq -- experiencing lots of other viewpoints on a regular basis, in my heart of hearts, makes us more qualified to give teams their due process more than any other source-- more than tapping into ''unschooled'' sources, or tapping into a less-diverse source - one comprised exclusively of Cooks. This option - as thought-provoking as it is, risks -- and you know as well as I do -- bringing a high-degree of bias and ''my way or the highway'' viewpoints into the tent and onto the scoring slip. Yes -- us CBJs have our own degrees of bias as well, but I'd dare say, less so, than someone who spends heart and soul every day executing his or her vision of prepping and cooking the perfect Q. (And, besides Bill, do you really want someone judging your brisket after its been sitting around in a warming tray waiting for the cook-judges to arrive?) Bill, thanks for bringing your feelings to the forefront. I am not a long-time judge -- 25 contests working towards Masters -- but I cherish Q and embrace anything that will help improve the system. I would not travel miles from my home -- leaving my wife and kids for a weekend -- paying my own gas and hotel -- if I did not care. And I am hardly alone. KCBS is constantly trying to find ways to improve: Comments cards -- the planned long-term tracking of a judges scoring history -- and open discussion of issues like those you raise -- are all part of keeping the system fair, vibrant and reflective of the time and effort Cook teams spend on their passion and livelihoods. Keep the dialog's healthy. Let's just not be prone to throwing the baby out with the bathwater and undervalue the strength that is out there. Thanks.
scoring sheets need to be explained to rookie judges-just because old Fred puts Oreo's in HIS chili-don't make good chili
There should be more discussion prior to contest between the judges, especially regarding the point system and the potential of one aberant score on results and the characteristics of great BBQ.Great BBQ is not only an individua'ls opinion as there are universal standards of good Q that must be met.
Stop using people that don't know what good BBQ is.
maybe judeges that consitly score lower should be retrained ornot invited to judge
Are our taste buds being challenge with more then 5 tasting's at one time?
Question 4 does not leave enough options. The current system works as well as anything suggested in 4. Some of the problems with the current system are: 1. The 6th judge (low scoring) is not used at all to break a tie untill the taste and tenderness scores from the 5 are compaired again. 2. There is no tracking system to highlight consistantly low scoring judges. 3. Judges are not required to cook with a team unless they are trying to get there master judging. 4. There is too much bird biting by judges who are more interested in how much they are taking home.
stop the practice of using non qualified individuals in judging positions
Make sure either all judges use the ''start at 9 and go down'' or ''start at 6 and go up and down'' doesn't work mixed.
Prize money is set by contest organizers. You will eliminate smaller contests if you attempt to require minimum prize money. As a competitor you CHOOSE where to compete. Good luck.
I agree with all your suggestions, especially about prize money. How do they expect people to compete when the prize money doesn't even pay your expenses. there should be bigger prizes for all levels of prizes.
I'd like to see the judges, when the food is first presented, ask themselves one question; Does this look good enough to eat? If yes, = 9, If no = 6. Honestly, I've judged and I think they are afraid to give out HIGHER scores as if something magical is going to happen when the box is first opened! I think the judges should also be reminded..THEY are not the STARS, the COOKS and the FOOD are the STARS and they should feel fortunate to sample such quality as they will unlikey ever get the chance again!
Bill, I think you are on to something. I am a competitor and a judge. I think that some arrogant judges should be weeded out. It seems that if they dont like good BBQ then they should judge chili or ice cream or something else. Regards; Tom O
Do not allow Judges to take extra BBQ home. Must eat everything to make sure they tasted the cooking teams turn-in as trained by KCBS
Judges should be trained and carry a qualification that is renewable every 3 years. NO pulling judges from competitors or the gen public as is common under IBCA here in Texas. Every team should be inspected, pit must be inspected, multiple times. Too many times people show up in 100K diesel pushers pulling a pit and the pit never gets lit, yet they win--suspicious
Have 45 minutes between turn in times.
Just don`t get Joe Blow walking around to judge, most of all one who has ben drinking
Keep up the good work! People get too comfortable with the status quo...there is always room for improvement. Brian - Smokearitaville BBQ
Keeping the meats warm would help a lot..
add categories for cooker styles so that it doesn't require the big bucks machines seen recently
I'm in Texas and the BBQ's contest does not allow garnishment. As far late entry, leave it as it is, we all watch and time our cooking. I would like to see cooking teams be allowed one golf cart or have a golf cart per ''row'' be there available for contestants. We have ten minutes before and ten minutes after turn in time and it would help if we could get there easier than fighting the pedestrians
do everything possible to keep blind judjing blind keep judges away from turn in table
I,m a cbj I have not done a contast yet. frist question. I agree with you. It will half to been slow with these people. older the person older the rules they don,t want charge. just the way it is.
use more outsiders.
I would like to see more instruction to new judges. The current judging classes are ok, but it takes more than 4 hours in a class to be a well informed judge. I also think ALL judges should have to spend time with a team to see what goes into an event.
Not at this time. Thanks
I haven't done any contest cookin in several years so it's not for me to say what is right or rong in judging, however I wonder, Bill, are you the authority on judging & how did you come by that position? PaPa Roy's Texas Bar-B Que
Point deductions for late entries seems like it bring up even more arguments. Competitors as judges means I have to do something else at a comp. As long as the playing field is level for all the competitiors, I'm good
If I turn in a bid late, It will not be accepted. If I have put in days putting together the estimate, it does not matter - I violated the rules. I will not say that CBJ's are perfect, but we are trained and we do try our best. No one would be perfect, but are do have standards we look for. People off the street hurt the judging as they are there to eat - not judge. Having competitors is a bad idea, as you know each others flavors. Eight judges would be fine with throwing out the high and low. Garnishments are tough, but I do not know what you would do instead, as boxes would be scattered and unsitely.
Publish the ''standards'' that are being used so that it is eminently clear what the judges are looking for.
more qualified judges not just celebrity judges.
STOP WHINING. I have heard several cooks say ''That was the best chicken I've ever cooked and it got nothing''. Well, guess what? It may have been his ''best ever'
it's the cook that makes the que. And I'll set my que next to yours any time. Any time."
Have a poultry catagory.
I do like the idea of keeping the food warm until it is judged. When I try a box and it is cold or luke warm at best it is hard to give it an accurate score. Warming boxes would be a simple cure or even a electric blanket like you suggest.
As to first question... am a KCBS CBJ who hopes to compete in the future (1-2 years). It is not relative trying to combine multiple sanctioning judging techniqies. Let the Board be guided by its members for input on a case-by-case situation... not by an vague poll which you are trying to convey.
I have just started watching competitive BBQ. I would like to find out how to become a judge
Reduce the price of your videos... I cannot afford the videos... Just lost my job... Sorry... I know they are probabbly Great... I am a home BBQer not a competito; However, I have been told I have the best Ribs in Idaho... I have been cooking since I was 10 and worked in French restaurants until age 30+. I was an Executive Chef for over 4+ years and love to cook... I am now 57 and have been let go by Hewlett Packard... I worked for them for 28 years as an Engineer... I still study cooking mostly Asian and outdoor BBQ... Thanks for all the information... I like your book... However, I am still trying to produce a BBQ sauce that I had 30 years ago... I sent you in a question... However, the style of sauce you suggested is not the answer... He was a very old Black Gentleman that smoked his meats in a chimney and had a very liquid sauce that was extreamly flavorful with spices and a bit ''Hot'' spicy... However the sauce what very liquid and tasted like the Ribs with a slight taste of a Ham flavor... Hardly any tomato sauce and not sweat... Any suggestions... Thanks againg for your BBQ instructions... Keith
Let's see, you pay KCBS to join, pay all your own travel expenses to contests and what do you get in return except a badge that says you are the judge. I've competed and judged so I know hard difficult it is to serve the perfect BBQ. Most judges still compare the different samples to each other I'm convinced. Turn in eight samples to two teams of four judges and look at the difference in scores for the same cook. I would love to see a test run. Rick 414-305-7312
Don't mix the disciplines of Chili and BBQ.
Judging is very subjective. I as a judge may be use to the BBQ in my area. Then I travel 1,000 miles to be a judge in a competition that has different style of bbq, I would think that I would favor the bbq from my area rather than from the local area.
Set guidelines, wet or dry BBQ, judge the meat not the sauce.
They tell you at judging class the meat does not have to have a smoke ring but everybody judges it on whether or not it has a good smoke ring. Either judge it with a smoke ring or without. don't say it doesn't matter.
Turn in tables for blind should be heated or have heat lamps for maintaining temperature of entry ONLY! These heating mechanisms should not raise temperature of entry; however, as some tables seem to be very punctual in reaching judging tables, some seem to sit for an inordinate amount of time.
Don't allow judges into the cooking area until all submissions have been made. Also, isolate judges from each other. Sometimes weak judges get influenced by the reactions of other judges (even if they are instructed not to react upon tasting).
#1 I do not think competitors should be used as judges as they are familiar with each others products thus this would lead to very unfair judging. #2 Charge the networks more to allow them to broadcast (ie: food network) if they can pay $25,000 for the worst cooks show they certainly can put more into a good bar-b-q show. We are been used! #3 Have a turn in carton made with a drip tray in the bottom to remove the ugly juices or what-ever and then get rid of the garnishment. We are about bar-b-q not salad.
As a competitor and judge, I found your article very interesting, especially regarding the amount of time and money that must be invested in order to compete.
One thing that would cut down and expose a bad judge, would to be to redo the the scoring form. If a judge considers to mark an entry down ,then they would have to say why. then those concerns go to the table judge to validate. Also give feed back to the contestants as to why ...Exp. too dry...tough..wrong entry...right now you get the judges score and start looking for that stupid judge that in your opinion knows nothing about BBq. Thank you for asking.
As in any sport, Raceing is a good example, Those team that can afford big rigs- computer driven smokes ect. would be in a super class- and-then classes for each competion level- just like in raceing starting at the bottom--Weber grills are great but is not fair to put them up aganist the big units-----bicycle----raceing a Harley--- do not take the little mans money then put in a race he can not win A.L. Prick and Son David Jones
Judges should be re-certified every two years.
Judge the meat on the merit of the meat, not the display, arrangement, garnish or sauce. Let the meat speak for itself. Everything else is just smoke and mirrors.
Judges show have to spend a weekend with a cook team and be part of the workforce, not just sit back and watch. This includes set up, cleaning and teardown.
I have no interest/use for the MIM system. Absolutely SUCKS.
I also like the idea of using competitors as judges...
KCBS should allow judges to attend 1 judging class every year of so without charge so that we can keep focused on the process & not get lazy or, adjusting our judging to suit our personal prejudices.
No.(6) Adding time for the late entry only slows the turn-in for the other competitors. No.(4) It's hard enough to get 6 qualified judges now.
Non certified judges should be required to go through a short (free)course the morning before a contest. They should only be allowed to judge 1 comp without then getting certified. If a course is being held the night before a comp. 1 team member should be allowed to audit it free of charge
You would have to use outside judges as long as garnishing is allowed. Here for the fun although the money is certainly a plus.
I think the blind judgeing is the best, I don't like head cooks judgeing, but helpers are good, but when the meat gets to final table, get judges off the street. look for marked tray , if any thing is on the meat, that is a marked tray, call the head judge over and show it to him or her, she will make the decision to disqualisfy or not.
I've seen too often ''competitor'' judges mark nearly every entry low in order to boost their own chances
I think you hitthe nail on the head. Your the man Bill!!!!!
I am neither a competitor nor a judge. My perception is that barbecue and preferences vary significantly with geography. I'm not surprised at wide variations in judging from place to place. the notion of competitors doing the judging feels like a poor way to get independent judging. Having multiple scores and rejecting highs and lows seems sensible. Regarding prize money, let the market place determine whether people or sponsors are willing to pay enough to boost the prize money. This has the inherent risk of reducing the number of competitions -- perhaps not a bad thing.
instead of 8 judges go with 7 and throw out high and low, and keep track of judges that give scores constantly out of line low or high. next retrain the judges and give 1 more chance then ban.
I feel the air tight units should not be allowed or in a different catagory. These are ovens rather they run off charcoal or pelltes. You are not a pit master if you set it and forget it. Where is the spirit in that type of cooking?
why so much attention to how good BBQ looks in the box .Its a food contest not a beauty contest.
Thanks for bringing this issue to the table. I noted that I was a competitor however I'm also a judge and as a competitor I see many things that disturb me. I like the idea of taking the low and high score out or at least having a minimum score.
I think that using competitors to judge would lower scores even more. I know that someone like you would judge fairly but some others would score low to help their chances of winning. Especially the new and unexperienced teams. Also, how fair would competitors be if they think their recieps are the best? I.E.- competitor thinks a mustard base is the best, so he grades low for anything else. ( hey, it's done now with regular judges.) Competitors are people just like the judges you have now except the the judges you have now don't have $$ invested. So, in my opinion, you need to move towards getting judges to understand what is good BBQ. (I.E.-Not personal preference of what judges like, but was it cooked well, (I.E.- should be able to take bite out of chicken without whole skin coming off, {Amoung other criteria for other meats}) Also, more time should be spent on informing judges that they must judge meats if it is cooked proprely and has a taste the cook was going for and not their personal preference. (I.E. Judge who like mustard base, marks down if he doesn;t taste mustard base.) If the judging schools would spend more time on these topics, I think you would get fairier judging. Also, there might be a situtation where teams could be judged on ''meat only'' where there is a ''no sauce'' requirement. Means comptetiors would be judge solely on how well they ''cooked'' the meats. Understandably, you wouldn't serve your meat this way at a ''get together/ catered event'' but it sure would tell who knows how to cook meat. In other words, concentrate on how well the cook, cooks the various meats. Forget about the garnishments and sauces. It wouldn't taste as good without sauce but it would be on a more even playing field. Also, if they continue judging the same as in past, I would say that the judges need to take a lesson from the MBN. (I know, I hate to bring in an other sanctioning body, but they do have a good idea that they tell thier judges). And that is, ''What is the best you have tasted ''today''. Now I realize KCBS is judge each individual entry on it's own and then more on. But it might help to at least tell the judges that if you tasted a ''GREAT'' piece of meat 2 years ago and your nor trying to score all your entires compared to that, then you are doing a diservice to the cooks. I hope you understand where I am coming from. Thanks
have a comprtitor skill grading set up such as novice/intermediate/professional and judge each group on their skill level and then the winner of each group be judged for the top award
Judges that score 4 and 5 should fill out a comment card for the reason so that the team will know why they got such a low score.
yes, KCBS reps. should be reprimanded when they mess up the results. Such as including names of teams on the results sheets that did not even participate in the contest. Something is not right in the way some reps. must be using the judging template on their computers.
In the Ibca I would like to see the competitors be able to know their place all the way from 1st to last
Use spectators to judge. Everyday people! They are the ones that count in the end!!!
I like the idea of contestants judging, as long as they would not be allowed to judge their own product
Let the judges be some who is a person who b.b.g.`s so they can say. been there done it.
lets just start all over
we should use the people that compete as judges. let the compeditors judge there peers
not now---still thinking what I would change if given the opportunity
more certified judges! People who dont know how to judge, will judge on what they like in the backyard. ribs falling off the bone, different flavors etc. Thats not what we learn in judging classes. thats the only reason I can figure you can get scores that range from 9 8 9 to 9 5 6. Its so obvious when presentation is close but taste and tenderness can be so far apart. I think the best thing that would help is to show each judge as certified or not and it would be great to get some sort of simple feedback.
None at this time
for prize amounts.... remember we do this for the love of Bar-b-que The money is to help cover the expense of that event not all events,
Provide feedback/comments to the teams along with scores - especially the low scores. That's how we improve. Maybe a 6 or less requires a comment. (This might also weed out the poor judges.)
The one thing that I would like to see changed is how judges are certified. They take one class and then they are certified. I would like to see them still take the class and then participate in at least 10 contests with a master judge and then they would be certified. The one thing that serveral of the judges don't understand is that they are to judge on what is presented to them, NO ON WHAT THEY LIKE personally!!!!!!!!
i feel that cometitors want to know why they were scored low so hve the judge sy whts wrong if they give a lpw score !
always use outsiders for judges, even if you have to fly them in.
Have score cards available at the end of contest, so anyone can verify to make sure no one has keyed in higher scores in the computer. (just to keep everyone honest )
use more common sense in selecting and training of judges, a person does not need to be trained or certified to know good food
do away with the buddy system
all your meat should be from same vender
KCBS should have a team or two that judge contest accross the country even if the have to be compensated. I think this would be more consistant.
if you are in abbq contest it shoule be a meat conter not a sausc contest.cook with sause and after it hits the tray No sause be added ,it has to be cooked on.
require that the food be smoked, not grilled
Have the judges cook a set number of competitions, not just help a team cook.
8 outside judges and taking the high and low score out seems like a postive change. I do think that competitors judging opens up a whole new set of problems. As far as complete disqualification for a late turn in I think is a great rule. There is no excuse for being late. Competion BBQ is all about execution of planing and TIMING. Steve
There is room for a lot of improvement in these contests. And the changes need to come quick before the teams working there way up give up and the sport slowly dies.
# 3 If they have to pay out more , Will they take a higher percentage from venders ? # 6 If you give them 10 extra minutes, Some of them will still be late. That is why you set a dead line !
eliminate any type of ''celebrity'' judges
I would like to see more attention paid to safe sanitation conditions, the way the food is pasted around during Judging.
I would like to see more attention paid to safe sanitation conditions, the way the food is pasted around during Judging.
I would like to see more attention paid to safe sanitation conditions, the way the food is pasted around during Judging.
I would like to see more attention paid to safe sanitation conditions, the way the food is pasted around during Judging.
give the turn in time an hour or 45min for all entries at once, when everything is turned in at once to give time to do so and keep it warm so bbq''rs can judge them after we cook it and put in blind trays or something
Have wet/dry judging ?
I'd like to see an hour between turn-ins, rather than half hour increments
None at this time
its always time for some change and up dates the old system is been around to long. the cost of everything has increased to do bbq so why not the prize money. somebody is making it or there wouldn't be anymore contest.
In BBQ Contests were there are many contestants, there should be more qualified judges. I am more concerned with the judges being trained or taught way before the day of or the day before the contest. Taste buds do not matter because we all have something different in our palates. In real large contests, there is more to judge, so there needs to be more qualified judges.
More open forum pertaining to exactly what judges like and dislike. What the want to see/taste and what they don't want to see/taste
yes i do to many times have i seen judges table where one certain table give a high score so it seems all about luck of the draw......So here is my answer to that ''after all the entrys have b'een judged get the top 10 take them to extra judging table and let them go head to head this will tell us who had the best stuff not by which table you got all we have to do is put in few extra meat slices in the turn in box and do away with the free samples
A tiered, or round robin type of judging. The high score of each catergory from each table goes on to a new set of judges (maybe the competitors) for the final round of judging.
I would love to get rid of the garnish! Doesn't it contradict the rules of marking entries? Also, they say it's optional. Huh? Not if you want to get a call. It is a bbq contest, not an art fair. I think doing away with garnish alone will present a more even playing field. I would love to know how many feel the same way, and how we could go about getting this rule changed collectively.(if possible) I'm not sure how to fix the rest, it is so subjective to personal taste, but I do think certified judges are getting way to critical. Give someone off the street a 15 min class on what to look for (smoke ring, tenderness tests, etc) and let them go at it! That would get rid of the ''good ol boy'' network that seems to prevail in especially larger events, and I guarantee you would see alot of different (so called no-name teams) start winning more local contest. I mean lets face it, just because Joe Blow didn't pay $75 for a class, does not mean he doesn't know good bbq. In fact, I personally think that makes him more qualified, because he's not familiar with the circuit, he doesn't know the teams, and how big and bad their smokers are, or who the more popular cooks are, and so on. He is just there to simply judge what he thinks is good bbq, period! And to me that's the way it should be. Get more of the public involved, and not charge them $75 to do it! It's time to get rid of this rediculous idea that since you paid for a class, you are more qualified to judge good bbq than someone else. Step up, take a 15 min class for FREE, and judge some bbq. You would never have a shortage of judges, and I bet different teams would start winning every now and then and not the same old teams over and over. The more even the playing field, the better chances of winning, which in turn brings more overall interest, and finally a better arena to compete in. Just my opinion, but I am curious of your thoughts on my comments. You can email me at if you would like to. Thanks for the forum, and have a good day!....Steve Beilman KCBS competitor/judge
Lose the MIM system.
yes, judge according to quality, not who won last or who wins more often.
No samples taken home,ie, no coolers. Come to judge, not fill your cooler.
Lower the entree fee's so the average joe can compete too.!
i agree with some kind of late entry if your 1/4 mile away. however long it takes to walk the distance should be added to the time of your respective teams deadline..maybe multiple turn in tables so that everyone is the same distance or at least minimize it to an acceptable level.
#4. Switch to 8 compertitors as judges, throw out high and low scores.
1. Recognizing that most all competitors are the best of the best. KCBS should push the philosophy that all entries start as a 9 and should be graded down from there based on objective reasoning. 2. I could support changing the judging system, but I didn't particularly like the options offered. A competitor can judge now, but he should never be allowed to judge a contest in which he is competing.
Single table for entries so that contestants cant see whose entry is going onto a tray. Would keep contestants from waiting to see whose entry goes onto a judges tray.
The table captain should call for and rejudge an entry that scores high from the majority then one judge scores low on any catagory
I think the qualagation should be raise not every joe blow that like bar-b-q can be a judge
1. Tracking judges contest scoring as it pertains to other judges at the same table/contest, disqualifying judges who have scores consistently out of line. 2. Add a section to the certified judging class to start to help educate the judges what is actually necessary for a contestant to compete. This would be compatible with the track of having a CBJ cook with a team in order to become a Master Judge to begin their education to help them better understand what it takes to turn in an entry to be judged.
All judges have to take a KCBS or similar judging class/seminar to get qualified and not just sworn in at the time of the competition.
Having judged many contests including the American Royal I do think there are many excellent judges out there. I think the problem is the amount of teams that are allowed to participate which in some events there are too many causing the lack of true certified judges.
use 8 judges with half being competitors, and throw out the high and low score...
I would prefer to use contestants as compared to using people off the street.
Judging is such an individual preference of taste, there really is no way to explain the way to teach non judges of what to judge on just because it's good, I think that the non certifide should sit thru a mini class before the games begin with donated product
I think most judges try to do the best they can, I've learned to cook for the lowest common denominator. I've had some some judges admit they dont even like Bbq.
I would like to see the contest provide the meat so everybody is on a level playing field or at the very limit what can be used. EX only use choice brisket so teams with deep pockets cannot use kobe etc.
Open some classes for Novice competitors who have ''everyday equipment'' like homebuilt or smokers costing under $150. In my opinion BBQ competition has lost the true people that started it! It's all about the ''Big Buck'' equipment etc!
Have better instructions to Judges at the contest as to specifically what to look for in an entry.
Competitors should be able to vote for 2 competitors to be voting members of the sanctioning body. I like the shows on Food Network, but they should contribute prize money.
Maybe you could mix the competitor in with the judges.
Everyone uses apple juice on their meat. The judges seem to have been trained to only like meat with an apple taste to it. I don't like it and never have. Using outside judges then throwing out the high and low scores might help this.
would like to know if judges are male,female,young,or old before cooking ,so cooks can adjust accordingly