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Have you considered becoming a KCBS Certified BBQ Judge

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As the number of UK and European KCBS events are growing it can be a challenge for some of the event organisers to find sufficient judges for their event. If you like good BBQ and want to help to grow the number of available judges in the UK, why don't you certify as a KCBS judge. If you are interested then the next UK course will be at Smoke on the Waters in Devon on September 8th. There are still places available and so if you are interested please contact John Gower at admin@quietwatersfarm.co.uk. More information about the course can be found here

I would like to thank Linda and Harry Havinga (The KCBS representatives at QFEST 2018) and also the attendees of the judging course for allowing me to take and upload the photos from the course.

Becoming a KCBS certified judge is not onerous and does not entail any coursework, revision or homework. It is a one day course during which you will learn and understand the criteria and standards that are set down by KCBS by which the meat cooked by the competition teams should be assessed. All of the judging courses worldwide follow a specific format that is laid down by KCBS and so once certified in the UK you can judge at competitions throughout the world.

What to expect on the day...

After the initial course paperwork has been completed the trainer will take you through a series of slides that explain the following

  • The history of the KCBS and common terms used
  • The definition of Barbeque
  • The KCBS four basic categories, Chicken, Pork Ribs, Pork Shoulder and Beef Brisket
  • The scoring system used by the judges
  • KCBS rules and regulations
  • The official judging documents used whilst judging - Judging Plate, Judging Slip and the Comments Card
  • The Do's and Don'ts of judging


Once you get into the details for assessing the meats you find out how they can be presented and the types of garnish that are allowed - and which are forbidden


You then get to taste real BBQ...

For each of the meat categories, each table of judges will judge the meat from up to 6 teams (sometimes 7). The entry from each team is first shown to each of the 6 judges on a table and they are each asked to score it for appearance - from a range of 2 to 9.


The judges each take a piece of the meat and place it on their Judging Plate. Teams are penalised if they do not provide sufficient meat for a full table of 6 judges.


Once all of the meats from that category have been taken the judges then get to taste. They give scores (2-9) for each piece of meat fro both Taste and Tenderness


As they score each piece of meat the scores are recorded onto their Judging Slip. If a judge feels that one is particularly good (or bad) then they are encouraged to fill in an optional comments card to help provide feedback to the team.


All of the scoring is carried out "double blind" meaning that the judges do not know which team's meat they are judging and the teams do not know who has judged their entries. Even the comments cards that are fed back to the teams are anonymous.

There is one final item, which will be alien to most us us here in the UK - the repeating of the KCBS BBQ Oath. All judges are required to say the oath before judging in any KCBS competition. It does seem strange the first time you do it but after several events you almost grow to love it. Oh those Americans and their quaint customs ?

Oath 1.jpgOath 2.jpg

The judging course is great fun and judging in real competitions is very rewarding. Why not share in the experience and book onto a course now :thumb1:

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Been waiting a whole year. Booked it last September, but found out I could of booked a course last April at Burton on Trent. Now I have to travel all the way to Devon!

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:thumb1:  Will have to follow it up for next year,  find out more about it. Is it the same price?

Edited by Icefever

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15 minutes ago, Icefever said:

Is it the same folks that do it at Burton??  that's way closer to me as well.

These do not tend to be annual events but are more one-off courses that are tagged onto BBQ competitions. The KCBS courses are all run by official KCBS representatives ("Reps") and the courses are usually advertised on the KCBS web site https://www.kcbs.us/kcbs-classes/judge. I notice though that the course next weekend isn't there - though Harry and Linda Havinga are the KCBS reps for the competition on the Sunday so they will almost certainly be running the judging course too.

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Used the link and checked for 2019, can't see anything for the UK at the moment....will have to find out more when possible.


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Photos from this weekend's KCBS judging course at Smoke on the Quiet Waters. Two courses took place - the Certifie BBQ Judge and the Table Captain courses.



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Great experience to take be part of the Judging Course at this weekends Smoke On The Waters BBQ Competition.

I was selected to judge today.

It was like the first day at “Big School” sat on a table with judges that had judged up to 30 Competitions around the World.

It was a real eye opener, and I will be honest, there was some really good food, but some mediocre as well, but cooking under that pressure I can understand it.

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It did last year however the camping was in a basic field as they had just had a lot of vandalism on their attached campsite so it was closed. I am not sure about this year. I expect it will be included again but cannot guarantee it.

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