CBJ demand or lack there of

This post’s topic is relating to the KCBS’s certified BBQ judging classes. 

First off I will say that I do believe that the KCBS does a great job for competition BBQ. You are assured that each event will be ran the same as the last and that it will be judged in the same manner as the last. Each sanctioned event does it’s best to utilize certified BBQ judges. 

With that in mind, I looked up the events from August and the percentage of CBJs for each event. Here are the statistics that I come up with:

Out of 48 events (as of the date of typing), providing CBJ %s, there were 37 events with 100% CBJ and 11 with less than 100%. 

Of the 23% that weren’t fully judged with CBJs, the avg percentage of CBJ was 87%

The avg # of non CBJ was 5 or about 1 judge per table. Now remember that the low score of the table gets thrown out.

Out of all 48 events the avg percentage of CBJ was 97%

Now with these rough stats it brings me to wonder how much of a need is there for KCBS judging classes? 

It seems that classes aren’t being held out of a demand, but more out of a money producer. A quick look a past local events and most are 100% CBJ. Why would it make sense to allow more classes to be held in an area that already seems to be well filled with judges? 

This overflooding of judges only hurts the organizers trying to host a class and judges trying to compete to find an event to enjoy their passion. The KCBS in turn gets membership numbers and fees up. What harm does the KCBS endure if there are too many judges for events? An eventual increase in non-renewals?

Why not research what regions are typically lower in CBJs and encourage organizers to host a class? Hopefully that helps with classes meeting the minimum and gets more judges into an area that lacks. I just feel that the blind question on a sanctioning application of “Would you like to host a CBJ class?” gives a false assumption. 


Smoke it does a body good

Ah yes that rush of completing another intense cook. That is what an addict craves, the rush. Maybe that rush feeling is actually exhaustion coupled with stress. Either way, that’s what I love to feel.

This weekend we were scheduled to cook for a KCBS certified judges class and thought why not make it a bit more challenging, let’s do a small amount of selling. After all the smoker is going to be running anyway.

That thought punished me something fierce.

As a paramedic by full time trade, I have adapted to sleep deprivation pretty well and that has helped me a ton, cooking the style that we do.

Everything went pretty much according to plan, except my injector failing while injecting the pork butts for the class. Good thing it wasn’t at a comp and I wasn’t cooking a true comp profile for the class. Why you ask?

As ridiculous as it may seem, I don’t want any other teams to taste what I truly turn in at comps. Not that I am on a huge winning streak, but if I have a bit of an advantage I want to keep it.

Sometimes, and this time was no exception, teams sign up for the judging classes to “get inside the head” of a judge. I played this card myself, Leslie was an attendee this time. I’m not sure if this will work to my advantage or not.

As the day continued, with 3 hours of sleep, I was feeling the pressure (AKA: the rush) of getting things to fall into place. I even started to think that Leslie should have been a mind reader. I began speaking in broken semi educated sentences and expected her to know what I meant, while I run around looking like my head was cut off.

The typical paraphrased version of the conversation was something like: I need that thing, the you know, that. That right there.

When she didn’t understand me, my general response was “move I’ll just get it”.

I was needed the cookie sheet, I think. Did I mention that I function well sleep deprived?

After all of the orders were out, my wife was loving enough to say to me, “Honey you impress me”.


“For all of the chaos, stress and what appears to be a total mess of things unfolding, you always manage to pull it together and make it a success”.

Man I love that woman.

Class time comes around and I am feeling only OK about the cook. The chicken turned into nuggets. I didn’t change my trimming on them, but would love to get them that shape at a comp. I’d have more appearance options. The breasts cooked great and believe it or not very moist. I may change things in chicken again.

Ribs didn’t pull back, but had a good bend. The samples we had seemed to bite clean. From the words I heard, they were mixed from the attendees. One of the ladies that owned the place we were using told me that she normally won’t give an opinion on someone else’s food, but my ribs were right on the money. The other owner said she doesn’t really like ribs. Before the night was over, she asked if I could cook some for her dad when he comes to town.

Pork, was really good on tenderness, not real flavorful. Great money muscles. I wish I would have gotten them really injected.

Brisket. This is something that we have been doing really well with and it showed again. We got lots of great compliments. Several wanted to know where our restaurant was and when are we open. Patience people, I am trying LOL. One of the people in the class said “I have eaten BBQ all over Texas. Your brisket has got to be one of the best that I have ever had”. Oh yeah, man do I love brisket.

That kind of stuff just really makes it worth all of the sleeplessness.

The class finally let out around 10pm. Time to go home and sleep for a week.

Well maybe a few hours. I promised the kids that we would go to Six Flags in St. Louis in the morning.

I need a smoke

I sit here debating the fact that I might be addicted to BBQ’n and find myself losing the argument to the side that I am. The anxiety of possibly not competing until the end of September has me needing a fix from my cooker. This fix will not come from the small one but from cooking up a challenge similar to a comp. Thank goodness I am cooking for a KCBS CBJ class.

This is just what I need. With so much stress going on trying to get things together to try and maybe purchase a restaurant, I need a day or two that I can do what I truly love to do. Make magic from the basics.

You know the addiction lies within you when you start thinking about how to modify normal indoor cooking into an outdoor experience.

An example, a couple of days ago, I actually considered boiling water to make shells & cheese on my Weber kettle. This was stopped after I sifted through the cabinets looking for an old pan.

I might be an addict, but I also know the wrath that would follow had I not contained it to some degree. My wife coming home to find the paint on her new pan set discolored. I might be dumb but I ain’t stupid.