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In Reply to: BBQ Judging Complaints posted by Herb on July 28, 2011 at 22:56:18:
1. I think cooking with a team is a good idea, not because the judge would understand the effort, that has absolutely nothing to do with scoring but to see the different cuts of meat,smell and taste the different spices and see how/why the meats are cut the way they are. Question: How would one know what the money muscle is if you've only seen it cut up into small pieces in a box or how would one know if brisket is cut improperly if one never sees it cut correctly? The only reason I know about cross grain cutting is because when I was young my very southern stepmother slapped the snot out of me for ruining a whole roast by cutting it wrong.
There's a myriad of things besides "effort" that a new judge would and should see before judging.
2. Stop the garnish or add it to the scoring. It's very confusing to people to keep hearing "garnish is optional" and then go through a whole section on what's legal and many times hearing how it should look but don't score it. Huh???. Same with sauce, it's troublesome/confusing to some to hear "sauce if present should complement the meat" and then to hear "it's not a sauce competition". Sure it is the way it's currently done. Then you have the skin issue which needs to be clarified. It DOESN'T have to have skin people! I've tasted a few that I'd have sworn had skin had I just tasted it but after inspection they didn't.
3. Cuts of meat. This really needs some clarification, many judges (and some cooks to be honest) I've sat with seem to be under the impression that you can only turn in one cut of chicken or spares (no baby backs) or only one cut of pork/brisket and only done one way like pulled. Again, judges should actually know a thigh from a breast (don't laugh, I've been at comps where they didn't).
4. Teams should not be in fear of being scored down for turning in breast meat or legs as well as thighs for example. If a perfect piece is submitted no matter what the (legal) cut it should be scored as such PERIOD. Heck, I'm impressed when a team turns in a perfect breast piece because it's much harder to do than a thigh imo.
I get the impression they're trying to keep the class as short as possible while cramming as much as possible into that short period so as not to take up peoples time BUT we're now dealing with THOUSANDS of dollars (vs the old days of a few bucks and bragging rights) both spent and won not to mention the teams possible sponsorships, event sponsor $$ etc so shouldn't the judging rise to the level that should be required of someone deciding where these thousands will go?
As a judge I take into the tent in the back of my mind that this is a business for many and at the minimum a very expensive hobby that demands the best and most honest job I can do on any given day and would hope the rest of the judges do the same.
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