Here come da Judge

by zydecopaws on August 8, 2009

It’s official, I’m certifiable. My friends have been telling me that for years, so I suppose none of them will be surprised. Today I took a judging class at the Cascade Country Cookoff and now find myself a certified judge in the Pacific Northwest BBQ Association (PNWBA).

In addition to learning all the necessary criteria for judging in the PNWBA (slightly different procedurally from the KCBS) we were able to practice on this group of folks.

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These folks were all members of a cooking class taking place at the same time as the judging class. Instruction was given, and off they went to cook up some barbecue to be judged. I can safely say from this first experience that results varied wildly, from the pretty darn good to some of the most wretched BBQ I’ve had in a long time. Some folks just haven’t figured out how spices work yet…

On the other hand, here’s some guys that do have their act together. Left Hand Smoke is a team of BBQ-Brethren from the northern part of Washington that are competing in the “official” competition tomorrow. They were kind enough to put up with my ignorance and constant questions about how stuff works at the comps, and I wish them the best of luck tomorrow.

UPDATE: Left Hand Smoke took third place overall, which is really good considering the competition they were up against. Of larger note is that they scored a perfect 180 score in ribs! This is pretty rare that the judges are that WOW’ed, so this is a real achievement. It should also be noted that Lynnae Oxley of Sugars BBQ also got a 180 for her Brisket. Makes me wish I’d hung around to judge the real thing!

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It wouldn’t be right to talk about a comp without at least a couple of pit pictures. Here’s an older Lang, a very impressive piece of equipment that was loaded up with food for sale, and also cooked some of the food we practiced on in the class.

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And then of course there was the big Klose monster. I’m told this pit is for sale; I didn’t bother to go and enquire about the price as I’m a bit tapped out these days from buying furniture.

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Tomorrow I’m gonna have to cook something for myself. All this time spent around all those barbecues and eating other food makes me want to try out some of the stuff I learned today…

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