Properly Evaluating BBQ Contest Scores...

Dear BBQ Friend:

Evaluating your BBQ contest scores is very important. In the Waynesboro, GA Boss Hog Cookoff, I noticed my "taste" scores were a little on the low side. If you are a competitor, you should know that the three scores for appearance, taste, and tenderness are weighted...

Appearance - 0.5714
Taste -          2.2858
Tenderness - 1.1428

As you can see, taste counts 4x as much as appearance and tenderness counts 2x as much as appearance. It is true that you need that appearance score and there is the notion that judges eat with their eyes so a good looking turn in tray may actually help your taste and tenderness scores. But if you really want to jump up the ranks at your next barbecue contest, work on your taste score a little bit. Fixing your tenderness scores wouldn't hurt either, but that usually goes hand in hand with taste.

For example, look at my scores from the Waynesboro cookoff...bbq contest scores

Note that I got two 7's and three 8's for taste which resulted in a dismal 14th place. That could definitely stand some improvement... so what I did was make sure my rub was adhering to the chicken better. We cook our chicken in a pan of butter these days. If you want to know how, visit The butter tends to wash off the rub a little, so what I did was apply some rub beneath the skin in addition to the bottom and top of the thighs. When I flipped the thighs, I sprinkled on a light coating of more rub on the bottom.

So... in Tryon NC, my scores were a little better which resulted in a nice 2nd place walk and didn't hurt with our overall Grand Championship score either...

barbecue contest score sheet

Note... I got four 9's and two 8's this time. That's a pretty good improvement! Evaluate your score sheets after every contest and if you see a pattern of low scores, do something to improve it!

Here's the Tryon, NC Blue Ridge BBQ & Music Festival video. My turn in box pictures are included in the video at the end...


Bill Anderson