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.