UNION COUNTY — What is that aroma in the air? It’s the smell of barbecue smoking on a grill that has caught your attention. If this aroma makes you want to dive into a big plate of bbq, devour a plate of succulent ribs or grilled to perfection bbq chicken and tender juicy brisket, then you’re someone who loves bbq.
Know what’s as good as eating bbq? Being a certified barbecue judge and setting down on a Saturday morning to a table with samples of all of your bbq favorites prepared by the best BBQ competition cookers in the South. You can be a judge, simply by joining the Southern BBQ Network and attending their training class. Once you have completed the class you can then judge any of the competitions that the SBN sanctions.
SBN judges an assortment of meats ranging from whole hogs, pork butts, different varieties of pork ribs, All kinds of chicken (Cornish hens, free range, whole chickens prepared (uncut, halved or in pieces) and Beef (Brisket, steaks, tri-tips, etc.). Why do you need to attend a training class for barbecue? Well, to start off there are certain guidelines and rules with the judging process that judges need to know. There are three categories used in judging and they are Appearance, Taste and Aroma, Texture and Tenderness. Each of these have to be studied in detail and samples tested in order to determine the quality of each meat and render a skilled judgement.
Appearance deals predominately with the presentation. The best way to demonstrate this is does it look like something you want to eat!
Aroma simply means what kind of a smell does it have, smokey, spicy or none at all. The class teaches what sort of an aroma to look for. Taste composes a variety of things to consider with the class looking at both positive and negative features. What spices were used, sauces, can you taste the smoke, too much, too little and so on.
Texture and Tenderness are closely related and deal with the skill of the cooker. The class teaches the cooking techniques needed to determine if the product was property prepared.
Once the person has the concept grasped, then the scoring methodology is explained. The organization uses a “double” blind scoring process. This assures that both the competition cookers and judges do not know whose products are being judged. SBN has judges score on a one decimal point scale of 1.0 to 10.0 with ten being the best score. The categories of Appearance, Aroma and Taste, Texture and Tenderness are “weighted “with Appearance being the lowest in value and Texture and Tenderness being the highest. The reasoning being the ability to prepare the meat is more difficult than making it look good. Score sheets are collected, reviewed and then entered into a computer program that calculates the scores. Detailed reports are provided to the event coordinator so they can announce the winners and to the cookers to show how they placed in the competition.
How do you know what is the quality of the training? The organization’s trainers have extensive experience over many years in both the actual competition and conducting training classes. This class is being conducted by Seth Watari. Seth is an original member of the Southern BBQ Network and was one of the persons that developed the training manual each person receives. He has conducted SBN classes for over five years across the South. He is also an avid competition cooker and has competed in the Kansas City BBQ Society, and the South Carolina BBQ Association events in addition to the Southern BBQ Network. He has won a number of events and has been invited to the World BBQ Championships.
Why is proper training important? Judges need to have the knowledge of BBQ to provide results so that cookers know they receive fair scores. Cook teams are competing for prize money, respect and a chance to enter the SBN Cook Team of the Year competition. They have to have confidence that their meats are being judged by judges that know the quality of the cooked meats.
But most of all it is fun! Where else can you sit down on a Saturday morning and have excellent BBQ for breakfast and enjoy the friendship of fellow judges!
Jack Waiboer is a founding member of the Southern BBQ Network (SBN). Jack is a live fire cooking specialist. His expertise with pits, spits, grills, Dutch ovens, open pits, asada and camp fire cooking is well known.
Jack is one of South Carolina’s most decorated BBQ enthusiasts. He is a Master Judge for SBN, an SCBA Master Judge and a KCBA Certified Barbecue Judge. He is an All Star Pit Master for Kraft Foods and a contributing author to the Kraft PitMasters Choice Recipe Book. Jack is a 15 time Grand Champion, 3 time South Carolina State Champion, A Kraft Foods BBQ Champion, and host of the internet podcast GrateTV.com. He was a team member with Mike’s Catering at the 2011 National Best of the Best Invitational where the team was crowned Whole Hog Champion.
Jack has been a contestant on Destination America’s BBQ Pit Masters cable television show, American Grilled — on the Travel Channel, and has cooked on the sport’s biggest stages. Jack will be attending the SBN judge certification class that will be held here in Union on Saturday, January 23 at the South Carolina Works Upstate office at 103 West Main Street from 10 a.m.-2 p.m.
If you are interested in BBQ, here is your chance to meet and interact with one of the true “Personalities” in the world of BBQ. Even more exciting, you can become certified to be a judge for a contest that happens right here in Union! Sign up to become a judge and you might just be able to sit at the same table with Jack and sample some of the best BBQ in the State. It’s all great fun for great causes. Come out and help to choose a champion!
If this sounds good to you then you can join as the SBN will be holding a training class on Saturday, January 23 at the South Carolina Works Upstate office at 103 West Main Street in Union. Class is from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. with lunch provided. The fee for the class is $25, plus $ 35 for annual membership (you must be a member to judge).
Persons interested in becoming a certified BBQ judge can sign up on the SBN website at http://sbbqn.com/ by clicking on the “Certification Classes” picture or at the registration table on the day of the class or by contacting Mike Wright at 843-425-4186.
Seth Watari is an original member of the Southern BBQ Network and helped develop the training manual each person who takes the SBN training receives. He will be teaching the SBN training class this Saturday at the South Carolina Works Upstate office at 103 West Main Street in Union from 10 a.m.-2 p.m.
Jack Waiboer is a founding member of the Southern BBQ Network and a live fire cooking specialist. He will be present for the SBN training class this Saturday at the South Carolina Works Upstate office at 103 West Main Street in Union from 10 a.m.-2 p.m.
The Southern BBQ Network will hold a training class this Saturday at the South Carolina Works Upstate office at 103 West Main Street in Union from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. The class will be for those interested in becoming a certified barbecue judge and a member of the Southern BBQ Network.
This story was submitted by the Southern BBQ Training Network.