So here I am with Senior Judge Morrie Thomas the event Marshall for the 2010 Trojan Cook-Off for Anderson University's annual homecoming. This photo is of course me receiving my SCBA certified BBQ judge's apron upon the completion of its requirements to this level. This was a pretty great day for cue. In particular, I got to sit, stone faced and sober as a judge (which I am after all) at the big kids table so to speak. In other words, this was the first day my scores counted (you have to get four novice events under your belt before you become qualified to judge / have your votes count). We sit at our table, we get our score place mats (for the samples), we get our scoring sheet, we get a bottle of water, some crackers, and a few forks and napkins. We have a little bit of an introduction all around the table and then our table captain speaks.
The table captain is the person in charge of our samples and the one who makes any kind of ruling on problems or issues related to how we score the cue or the sample itself. A runner will bring the entry to the judges tent, a receiver will take the entry and mark it with a number. The sample gets taken to a judges table. The table captain will pass the entry around for appearance and aroma (we all get a peek and a sniff) and then the sample gets passed around for us too sample. We use our forks to select a generous portion which we place on our score place mat marked with the entry number. We have to judge the sample of different criteria, such as appearance of entry, aroma, tenderness/texture, taste, and an overall impression. All of these go on our score sheet where we keep score of all the BBQ Cooking Teams by number (since it's a blind competition we only go by team number no names) to stay objective. To the right and below are my sample place mat and my score sheet from one of my previous novice competitions, the Berkeley County Cook-off in Monks Corner, SC.
There is also a place to indicate any comments the judge may like to make. Overall becoming a certified judge for the SCBA has been an amazing compliment to 100 Mile Smoke and as I work my way towards Senior Judge I will continue to meet new people, eat fantastic food, and learn more and more about the process of barbecuing and competition cooking. In fact, one of the requirements is to spend time with a cook team, from start to finish (yes over night even) to get the full experience of what the competition is all about! Maybe April and I will become KCBS (Kansas City Barbecue Society) Judges one day, but for right now I can't think of a single good reason to! I'm not knocking the KCBS, in fact I don't know enough about it to have an informed opinion, it's just that SC is my home and for right now, SCBA is providing me with everything I need BBQ competition wise, so to speak.
SCBA, South Carolina Barbeque Association