This is about the day in the life of a barbeque judge or how I survived eating 6 pounds of meat in two hours. Yesterday, Dr. Biggles, Ms Goofy, and Yours Truly spent half a day at the Tomato Festival in Fairfield California. We were invited to be judges at a barbeque cook off. How could we ever pass this opportunity by. What fun! We had visions of free food, cold beverages and passing out a couple of ribbons. Well we did get the free food and a lesson about competitive barbeque.
Competition Barbeque is serious business. This event was sponsored by the Kansas City Barbeque Society(KCBS). The people who enter this event spend a large amount of time, money and commitment to compete. There is a lot of prize money involved. If you placed in this event, You would be eligible to compete in future and larger invitational events. Barbeque Competition is a lot of fun, but there is a lot of responsibility to be a judge. We experienced this close up and personal. I have the heartburn to prove it.
We were asked to get to the fair at 9:30am. The first step was to check in. There were 60 other judges. Some were novices like ourselves. There was a group of experienced judges. They have taken a class from the KCBS and have judged other events. We were broken into groups of 6 with a mix of eperienced and novices. Each group got a table. We received a small class in rules and regulations for the competition. There is a specific ritual to marking of a score card and placing the meat on your score plate. We were told what to look for in the food and how to score it. It basically broke down to Appearance, Taste, and Tenderness. You would assign a number from 1 - 10 . Nine would be most excellent. 2 would inedible. We would sample 4 different plates of 6 meats. The plates were Chicken, Pork Ribs, Pork Shoulder or Tri-Tip and Beef Brisket. We went over some more rules. There was one rule that was a little disappointing. No carbonated beverages or alcohol may be consumed while judging. I told you it was serious. We even were seated facing away from the competitors when they brought their food in. I am not going to guess the reason for that. We then took an oath. Bring on the Food!
The actual judging started around 11:45 and went to around 2:00pm. We took our judging responsibilities seriously. We tasted some very good meat. We also had some not so very good meat. Overall it was a blast. This was an opportunity to go behind the scenes at a barbeque competition. I think we might enroll in the KCBS judges class. But first, would you pass the Rolaids.