IBCA Judges Expectations

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ringer1
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IBCA Judges Expectations

Postby ringer1 » Sun Oct 02, 2016 6:32 pm

I was raised by the saying 'you won't know an answer to your question if you don't ask'.

My family and I have been competing in IBCA events for the past two years. We have been doing a little better lately but notice the same teams seem to get walks at every event. These teams obviously are great cooks and know what the small details that put them at the top.

So with that said, what is some advice that you guys are willing provide that could help us in our journey. Things like

What a winning box should look like?

Do you turn in point meat or always from the flat?

Do you utilize the 10 minute window to turn in your box?

I look forward to your responses.

Thanks

Jeff
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Re: IBCA Judges Expectations

Postby Finatic » Mon Oct 03, 2016 7:14 am

Jeff. Most of the time the same teams win because they can cook. While there are always going to be bad apples most events are judged fairly.

This is what I have learned through cooking and judging in IBCA and LSBS comps:

As far as your box goes, there's not a lot you can do other than make sure your slices (for brisket and ribs) are uniform. Most folks eat with their eyes. If it doesn't look good and the flavor is average that entry will likely get a low score. If it looks amazing (has great color) and has average flavor that entry will likely get a higher score. IMO appearance matters. I'm not saying it's more important than flavor, tenderness or being juicy but don't overlook the appearance of your entry.

I always turn in the flat for my brisket entry. Turning in the point means your going to have slices that aren't uniform because you likely will not be able to get 7 slices out of your point. In judging events I'd say 90% of the brisket entries I've seen are slices from the flat.

To me it doesn't make much of a difference waiting until the last minute to turn in your entry because the judges usually wait until all entries are turned in then randomly label each entry with a number. So even if you wait until the last minute there's no guarantee your entry will be the first judged.

If you haven't done so I recommend judging some events (all categories). You'll learn a lot.

Good luck!
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Re: IBCA Judges Expectations

Postby ringer1 » Mon Oct 03, 2016 10:30 am

Finatic,

Thank you so much for your reply. You basically backed up what I told my wife this weekend. We were in a competition this weekend with 45 teams and had the best results I have had so far. We got 10th in ribs, 7th in chicken, and made final table in brisket (14th). And let me say that I really feel like our contest was judged fairly. So I'm not complaining about the judging at all. I'm just looking for advice on what the judges are looking for. This weekend I really worked on my box presentation more than I ever have and noticed a couple of things which made me ask about this topic.

I have an employee that her and her husband will enter the local contests and we always set up next to each other so we can taste each others food. They always produce good chicken. Chicken is my Achilles heal. So, like I said, their chicken had great flavor while mine was just ok in my opinion (my wife says I'm a little too critical of myself). But my box looked better than it ever has. Well, we end up getting 7th. That is the best we have ever placed in chicken. So in my mind it was the way the box looked. My employee didn't make final table.

Now onto ribs. My ribs were some of the best ribs I have cooked to date. The appearance and tenderness was spot on. I am still experimenting with my sauce but I feel like I'm almost there. My employees husband was upset that his "tasted like pot roast". Well, we got 10th and he got 8th. So now it get's me thinking "What are the judges looking for? Is it looks or taste?".

Now onto brisket. This is the one that frustrated me the most. Brisket is my best category. My brisket was spot on at this competition. it had great taste, had a good smoke ring, and all my slices were the same thickness and fit the box perfectly. I thought for certain I was going to get a call. Like most people, by the time I finish my brisket don't want to take anything home so I give out samples to the public. Everyone that tasted my brisket said that it was between me and one other team for the brisket that they tried. So like I said I was extremely disappointed when I didn't get a call in brisket. I thought out of everything I cooked I placed the best on the worst thing I cook and I placed worst on the best thing I cook. So that is was prompted me to make this post. I am just confused as to what the judges are looking for.

As for judging a competition, what is the protocol that I need to go through in order to make this happen? I have sent emails to a couple of contests asking if I could judge and never get an answer back. I always email the person running the contest. Am I doing something wrong?

Again, thank you so much for the feedback.

Jeff
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Re: IBCA Judges Expectations

Postby BigDave » Mon Oct 03, 2016 12:27 pm

What we did was visit several contest close to home and went early enuf to ask the head judge if we could judge. If you wait until turn in times or close to that time, chances are the judges needed have already been acquired. Go early and ask. I never had much luck emailing early to ask to be a judge. Just too many things going on in advance of a cookoff IMHO. Wait until the event is happening and ask early.

Judging is a great way to see what others are turning in and to see what the competitions entrys taste like. In IBCA, don't put much in appearance! Some of our best winners have been "not so purty". They were tender and they tasted good.

Once you have judged a couple of comps you will have a much better idea of where you are "missing the mark"! Sometimes it will leave you with the feeling of....I don't know why me stuff ain't hitting better! :) At least you will know if you are on the right path.

However, if you are consistantly hitting in the top 10 or high in finals tables, my advise would be to change very little if anything and when you do change something...let it be a small change of 1 part of a recipe. If you start changing a bunch of stuff you are less likely to help yourself if you are already hitting.
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Re: IBCA Judges Expectations

Postby ringer1 » Mon Oct 03, 2016 2:47 pm

Thanks Big Dave!

I am going to put more effort into judging a competition. As much as I love to compete i think I am going to have to sit a couple out and judge.

Thanks so much for the advice!
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Re: IBCA Judges Expectations

Postby Finatic » Mon Oct 03, 2016 2:54 pm

If you think it's going to be a big cook-off you may need to go by the event Friday evening (usually the promoter is there by 5 pm) and they will have a sign up sheet for the judges. Sometimes (depending on the promoter and the size of the cook off) you can just call the promoter (usually the number listed on the cook off flyer) and they will put your name on the list.

As for your brisket your not alone. I'm sure almost every comp cook has experienced this once and quite a few experienced this many times. If you think it's good and the people that sampled it said so I wouldn't change a thing.
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Re: IBCA Judges Expectations

Postby k.a.m. » Tue Oct 04, 2016 11:15 am

The best advice I can give to you is learn how to cook good cold BBQ it is that simple. Staying consistent with your turn in product is important meaning if you hit with tender ribs don't mess up and turn in under cooked ribs. You walked in two meats and hit a final table with 45 teams in my opinion your product spoke for itself that day so do it again. DO NOT MAKE CHANGES until you know that product is not hitting a final table. In my opinion final tables are not a reason to change a recipe drastically but maybe make a subtle change if they are consistently there.
At 45 teams you probably had 1.5 hour turn in times this means by the time your product hit a final table it was tasted by at least 10 different people in an hours time at this point in the game 10 minutes before or after means nothing.
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Re: IBCA Judges Expectations

Postby ringer1 » Tue Oct 04, 2016 10:01 pm

k.a.m. wrote:The best advice I can give to you is learn how to cook good cold BBQ it is that simple. Staying consistent with your turn in product is important meaning if you hit with tender ribs don't mess up and turn in under cooked ribs. You walked in two meats and hit a final table with 45 teams in my opinion your product spoke for itself that day so do it again. DO NOT MAKE CHANGES until you know that product is not hitting a final table. In my opinion final tables are not a reason to change a recipe drastically but maybe make a subtle change if they are consistently there.
At 45 teams you probably had 1.5 hour turn in times this means by the time your product hit a final table it was tasted by at least 10 different people in an hours time at this point in the game 10 minutes before or after means nothing.



K.a.m.,

Thank you so much. Your comments tell me I'm doing something right. I REALLY appreciate everyone's comments. It really inspires me to keep working at everything. I can tell you I read everything I can and try to learn as much as I can. I'm hoping one day that my wife and I can say that we won a GC
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Re: IBCA Judges Expectations

Postby BBQBrew01 » Wed Oct 05, 2016 7:52 am

Don't give up! You can hit final table or even place in the top a couple of comps. Do the exact same thing again and not even make the final table! It can be very frustrating at times. Most of the other teams are very friendly and seem to always be happy to share.....some are just A-holes....but that is to be expected. :D
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Re: IBCA Judges Expectations

Postby Big Ed » Thu Oct 06, 2016 8:43 pm

KAM hit the nail on the head!!! If you turn in BBQ that taste great when its cold, you'll do well!! Especially on brisket.
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