Sunday, March 9, 2008

CBBQA Backyard 3 - March Meat Madness

Big Dog BBQ was represented at this CBBQA event as a judge. A Backyard Competition is a practice competition, giving team a chance to go up against other teams, try new techniques, test out that new rub, etc - and to do so in a friendly atmosphere. It's all about continuing to learn to help you do better in your next showing.

This was a reschedule from the original event date back in January, that date we got rained out. So imagine our surprise when we started getting calls and posts on the CBBQA Forum on Friday that the event had to be canceled again! Originally this was going to be help in a residential neighborhood, and the host was tied up in important business meetings that he couldn't get away from. BUT - within about 90 minutes a new team and member had saved the day! Thanks Hershel!

I was on the road at 6 AM, behind schedule already. But was able to get gas and make it up to Santa Ana River Lakes in Anaheim in about 90 minutes. It was cold and wet. Forecast called for clearing about noon, so we had hope for some sun...but it never did show. It just got colder. But it was a great location with lots of entertainment from the folks fishing right next to us, the various fowl running about, and the big turkey making his way through the area at the end of the day.

There were a number of great gifts donated for prizes.

Grand Champion, Reserve Grand Champion and the number 3 team all received Forschner knives donated by BLQUE and
Grand Champion also received the huge basket full of BBQ goodies from Eggs by the Bay and Darry Smith.
1st, 2nd and 3rd slots in each category (pork ribs, chicken, Tri-tip and Anything Butt) got homemade Apple or Pecan pie, brownies, or chocolate chip cookies. Nice stuff! Thanks Kristin!

We ended up with 10 teams at the event. We lost a few teams from the original list, but still a good turnout. I thought it was very interesting to see all of the different cooking tools. Everything from Weber kettles, to Brinkman vertical smokers, to a medium Spicewine all the way up to a big ole 5th wheel based, custom built smoker rig.

Teams rolled in and set up, got wood or charcoal going. Worked on preparing their meats. The usual.

But being a Backyard event it was very relaxed. Judges were allowed to come early and socialize with the teams (which was great for me). I wanted around and chatted with folks from various teams. This was my first CBBQA event so I wanted to meet folks and start putting faces to the names I see on the forum. Everyone was very friendly, as you would expect from folks that love BBQ!

Cooks meeting took place. KCBS rules. Then we had a short class from Kristin on how to put together your turn in boxes. This was great for me as I've never been to a competition before! Also, there were a lot of first time teams at this event, so helpful for a lot of folks. Then the judges meeting. As this was a practice event and geared at learning and bettering your craft, we did a few extra things while judging. We included comments on each entry, and shared those with the cooks after all the judging was done. The judges were encouraged to chat with each other between categories (not while judging!) to compare those on different pieces. This was a chance for judges to learn too - like the teams, we had a lot of new judges. We also got a report at the end of the day that let us know how our scoring compared with the others at the table - just as a way to gauge if you might be judging too harsh or too easy, or just about the same as the majority. Just a few CBJ's, a lot of folks had judged just once before, and a few (like me) who were judging for the first time.

Then it was time to wander some more and see how folks were doing. Bentley was there with his UDS and put out a fattie (yum, by the way) and some other goodies to share. Later they put out the homemade Gyros - just before the judging, so I didn't eat any.

The judging was interesting. We had ten teams, so we split the 12 judges into 2 tables each judging 5 teams. I was warned not to eat too much from each sample, but in the end I could have eaten more!

You are reminded that as a judge you need to make your own decision, and to judge each piece on its own - not in comparison to the others you have eaten. You judge on three criteria - Appearance, Taste and Texture. These are weighted so that Taste is most important, then Texture, then Appearance. Scores from 2 - 9 (1 - disqualified).

This is all harder than it seems - assuming that you want to do a good job and be fair and consistent. I hope it gets easier with practice and experience - it must. It is an interesting process and I enjoyed taking part. Good to finally get my feet wet!

There is a full set of Rules and Regulations in the judging procedures, the meat turn-ins, disqualifications, etc. These are set out each year in the Kansas City Barbeque Society Official Rules and Regulations / Judging Procedures.

It was a fun day. What a nice group of folks! Looking forward to doing more in the future.

The ride home sucked. Way too much traffic for a Saturday evening. But I got home safe and that's what matters.

Teams at the event:
  1. Funtime BBQ
  2. When Pigs Fly BBQ
  3. Smell My Butts BBQ
  4. Yanqui Pit Boss
  5. Four Q BBQ
  6. Andre Macedo BBQ
  7. Leanza's BBQ
  8. 7 Kinds Of Smoke BBQ
  9. Road Whore BBQ
  10. Professional Cookers, Inc.

You can review the results at:

See my photos at: 

Professor Salt got some photos too: 

More event info and details: