Backyard on the Grape was held in Lodi California this weekend. This was a private barbeque contest held for cooks and judges to practice and hone there skills. There were winners today but what they gained was knowledge by what judges thought when scoring their meat entries. The competitors would present an entry and it was judged right in front of them with the judges giving an oral critique in appearance, taste, and tenderness.
It was a beautiful Spring day with the temperatures breaking into the low 70's. Thirty five competitive bbq teams where ready for this learning experience. In a KCBS contest the judging is called blind judging. This means the cooks do not know who judges their entry and the judges have no idea who cooked the entry. The cook also has no knowledge why a judge gave a certain score unless an optional comment card is filled out by the judge. This was an opportunity for the judges and cooks to interact.
Today, I was only a visitor. I walked the grounds and said hello to the busy cooks. I then went into the judging area to see the action. The cooks would walk into the hall with their entry. They would sit right in front of the judges. The entry would be passed around the judges and they would give it an appearance score. The judges would orally give the cooks their thoughts on what was wrong or right and how to improve the entry. The judges would taste and repeat the oral process of helping the cooks. This process also helps the judge to put into words why they scored what they scored. This is a win-win situation.
This is a popular event that has benefits for judges and cooks. It is just a warm-up for the big events to come this summer. We will be attending a large and fun event at the end of the month in Santa Anita. Stay Tuned.