Yup, you heard it right. I spent over 5 hours today with Chilebrown and his wife Ms. Goofy in a classroom getting fully instructed while eating chicken, pork ribs, sliced/pulled pork and beef brisket. Neat, eh?
The class started this morning at 7:30 in Fairfield California, just 30 minutes from home. I signed up a month ago or more, they don’t come to town often and the chance to attend wasn’t an option. While I did guest judge the 5th Annual West Coast Championships, I felt it was time to make it legal.
Don’t get me wrong, sure it was fun and the food was really good. But it was an instructional class in every sense of the word. We were schooled in every aspect of judging BBQ by KCBS rules. And brother, or sister, that ain’t no joke. These people take what they do very seriously. The sheer volume of respect they have for the teams is huge. They go way out of their way to make damned sure it’s fair.
You sit a specific direction when judging, no talking, no sitting next to friends. You must be on time and if you don’t show? You’re very well bloody likely to never judge again. Green lettuce, parsley and cilantro are your only garnish, use the white part of iceburg and you’re marked as disqualified for Appearance. If the pork rib meat falls-off-the-bone? Marked down, it should come clean with a tug with your teefs. When a judge reaches for a pork rib and two come away? You get 2 and the 6th judge gets none, everyone marks this team as 1 (disqualified) for Appearance. For me, the most important part of the judging is to rule your decision based upon the merit of that BBQ. You cannot judge it based on how well you cook, or whether you prefer something different. I like that part.
Soon I will be receiving my card, a judge polo shirt and a certificate stating my place in the circle of true BBQ competition judges. I’m a greenhorn to judging and competition, but not to good barbecue.
If you’d like to see a few more pictures from the day, please visit KCBS Judging Class 2009.