Monday, June 14, 2010
The trials of barbecue judge
Barbecue contest number four took me to Nesbit, MS, on Saturday for the 2nd Annual Desoto Shrine BBQ contest. It was a lovely area and the Shriners have quite the compound out there. The contest was part of a larger event - the Shriners had a car and tractor show and a concert for the evening. I didn't stay for any of that - just the barbecue - but I got to see some nice cars and cool, old tractors.
It was kind of intimidating to be honest. The Shriners' compound was, as my choice of the word "compound" implies, a fenced-in area with several buildings. There were a lot of bikers helping control the influx of vehicles. Once parked though, they had tractors pulling trailors of hay bales giving rides to the back of the compound where there was a little pond where they held the contest. It was within walking distance of the parking lot, a good walk, but still a reasonable one, but the heat was so extreme that the ride was welcome. Temps were in the mid-90s Saturday with a heat index making the "feels like" temperture soar to the mid-100s. Fortunately our judging was inside where the AC was kicking.
We're not allowed to photograph any of the entries, so this is as close to that as I can get. My judging plate, scoring slip, pencil and water - all the essentials - are ready to go. Unfortunately, the fact that this was still a young event was pretty evident. There were a few experienced teams out there, but my table didn't seem to get any of their entries (except maybe for the pork category). Overall the entries we judged weren't as good, on average, as my previous three competitions. But none were as bad as the worst I've had, either.
According to the contest reps, this was the first year the event was sanctioned by KCBS, so I guess it's to be expected that the majority of teams were going to be newer to the competition circuit. The event itself was very well organized and went off without a hitch on our end of things. I plan to judge the event again next year. Hopefully it will pull some teams away from some of the other nearby events that go on the same weekend. This has a superior prize purse to some of them. We'll have to wait and see.
Next weekend - Mountain View, AR.