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WhiteTrash BBQ -- Real Pit Barbecue from New York City. This is the story of a fire obsessed guy, living in Brooklyn, with a dream of producing award winning, competition busting, real Barbeque. Come live the dream as I compete around the country in the KCBS Championship Barbecue circuit.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Here Come Da Judge

I'm a bit overworked right now, but I want to put up the KCBS judge's oath that is recited before every contest...

"I do solemnly swear to objectively and subjectively evaluate each Barbeque meat that is presented to my eyes, my nose, my hands and my palate. I accept my duty to be an Official KCBS Certified Judge, so that truth, justice, excellence in Barbeque and the American Way of Life may be strengthened and preserved forever."

I already mentioned that I like to review the rules and thought processes before judging contests and I'll be talking more about that later, but on the BBQ Forum, there is a thread about a judge who purposely low balled his scores at a recent event. I find that a little hard to believe as I've never encountered a judge who doesn't take the oath seriously, even if it is a bit corny.

I've heard the complaints from cooks about low scores and inconsistent scores and I don't really share their opinions. Sometimes a low score is justified. Sometimes a low score from one judge when everyone else at the table gives a high score is justified.

At one event where I judged I sampled a rib that was a tough as shoe leather and scored it appropriately. When the judging was complete, the judge next to me pointed to his sample and declared it the best of the bunch. I challenged him and we each then sampled each other's ribs. (Easy now.) His rib was indeed one of the best ribs I ever had, and he agreed with me that my rib sucked. (OK, we're going over the top here.)

When asked how he'd score my rib, he gave an even lower score than I had. So my dear cooks, sometimes a low score from one judge is indeed credible.

Most judges take the oath very seriously and think very hard before putting down a score. I think the KCBS scoring system works and hopefully this "judge" will be stopped before he judges again.

EDIT: I posted this because on the BBQ Forum it stated that this judge was out to hammer the teams, as he is usually a competition cook and was looking to hurt teams he usually goes up against, but I wonder if that was his real goal. On another forum he states that he was judging honestly and as best he could. If that's the case, he did good. If he can justify his low scores they should stand.

I'll give him the benefit of the doubt as I don't know him and I wasn't there. But if he was out to low ball the competition, IMHO he should be banned not only from judging, but from competing as well.

Photograph courtesy of Pig Daddy's BBQ.

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At 4:55 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Someone should have reminded that judge that the lowest score is thrown out so he wasted his time.

At 6:59 PM, Blogger Terry (aka) Big Daddy said...

Ok, here is my 2 cents. How can a Judge low ball a team when there are no team names on the turn in boxs, (only Memphis in May has team names that I know of) only numbers and those numbers are changed before they are taken to the table.

So you have no idea what team you are judging. How can you low ball someone?

When Julie & myself took judging class we were told to throw out personal taste and judge the meat on the three things.

Some people do judge what they taste against their own cooking, but to score bad, it has to be a new team or you really have to screw up bad on turn in.

If a judge is low balling everybody, they just don't have respect for the cooks. You may have got a rib that was tough, the next judge may have got one that was killer, you score what you get.

All of us have been taught for years to cook fall off the bone, in KCBS that is over cooked. It's hard to adjust to that thinking.

Over cooked to me would be rib jerky...

Personal taste aside, judge the meat and only the meat. It might look pretty in the box, but you judge the taste, texture and tenderness of the meat.


At 6:57 AM, Anonymous 89Taklliw said...

I think they should make judges wear silly paper hats.

Then, only the people that truly want to be there, will put up with wearing the hat.

You have to admit, its pretty entertaining reading when some of these cooks are faced with the fact that their product might indeed suck.

Always someone elses fault.

The BBQ Forum reads like a bunch of whining children sometimes.

At 9:45 AM, Blogger WhiteTrashBBQ said...


From what was posted on the BBQ Forum he was going out after all the teams...

"At a contest last weekend (KCBS) there was a judge, who normally is a head cook of a team (KCBS). At this contest, this judge layed down the Low Score hammer through the first 2 rounds, chicken and ribs. He was so hard on teams that the other judges, table captains and the reps took notice as he was obviously way off base. As other judges were giving 8's and 9's on appearance, taste and tenderness, this judge was giving 4's and 5's. He was confronted by the reps about his scoring. He continued to lay down his law for the last 2 rounds. This judge was overheard telling a team after the contest that he was hard on the teams."

In other posts he says he wasn't trying to be hard on the teams, but to judge it fairly based on his training.

If he was only giving low scores, he was definitely out to get someone/everyone. There's no way all the entrys in every category only rated 4 and 5.

On a side note, I always find it interesting that no one complains when judges do the reverse and only give high scores.

At 9:49 AM, Blogger WhiteTrashBBQ said...


You'd be surprised what some people will do to get the free food and imaginary power and prestige of judging a contest.

I agree, it can be fun reading about the cooks getting bad scores and their reactions.

But it also get boring. If I hear one more complaint about how much money, time and effort is needed to compete, I'm gonna puke. As a judge, this has absolutely no bearing on how their food is scored. It's a level playing field out there.

Most of the forums are filled with whiners. That's why we read them!


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