It is the dawning of the 2015 competitive bbq season. These few months of incremental weather we have not abandoned our passion of barbeque judging. We love to barbeque year around and Ms. Goofy hones her judging skills by the score card she keeps on my cooks. An all day teaching seminar was offered on the subject; "Advanced Judging Class" by the California BBQ Association. (CBBQA}. We participate in numerous activities of the CBBQA during the year. This just seemed like a perfect way to spend a Saturday. Not only would we gain new knowledge but would be able to reconnect with our barbeque community friends. This event was held in Alameda California in a beautiful old 'Elks Lodge".
It is early Saturday morning and Ms. Goofy let me drive the Racing Honda. I think I fouled a couple of spark plugs because of my light touch on the throttle. We made it to our destination without the usual whiteness of the knuckles. The Elks Lodge is huge and we had to search for our classroom. Once found we were greeted by approximately 50 like minded bbq judges. The setting was informal with table seating. I loaded up on beverages and snacks to prepare for the onslaught of knowledge.
The session was split into eleven modules. Each module was taught by experienced people in the bbq community. These people consisted of bbq celebrities, bbq representatives, promoters, cooks, and Master Judges. These also were our friends that we have gotten to know over the years. We were very comfortable and excited to start the day. Here is an outline of the modules.
Module 1 Roles and Responsibilities
4. Contest Organizers
6. Ranch to Table
7. Regional Taste Profiles
10. Tenderness & Texture
11 Judging Myths (Panel Discussion)
We absorbed a wealth of knowledge in the morning. The history was an extensively researched presentation. Did you know that bbq may or may not have some origins in cannibalism? The sessions flew by with Ben finishing the morning by sharing his expertise as as a promoter. A welcome break for a catered lunch was held. Surprising it was not a barbeque lunch. It was most likely because of the hall full of bbq critics. Chicken, sausage, salads, rolls and various sides of vegetables and rice made for a nice lunch break It was time for the afternoon sessions.
The afternoon was another barrage of learning bbq knowledge. The last section was my favorite. It also involved a panel discussion with a celebrity panel. Harry Soo (Pittmaster, Celebrity), Donna Fong (Master Judge and reigning Oakland Grand Champion) Scott Simpson, (Master Judge) Amber Stipecevich (Cook & Judge) Ben Lobestien (Organizer), Aaron Staines (pending Master Judge) with Kelly Mcintosh (KCBS Representative) as moderator was our all star panel. This lead to discussion that was informative and a highlight of our day.
It was a long wonderful day of learning. Knowledge is a wonderful thing. We hope to be the best bbq judges we can be. This was a wonderful day in our journey. If you are interested in taking this class, it will be offered again in Southern California. Thanks to the organizers and instructors. We cannot wait for the new bbq season to start.
Advanced Judging Class